How to Avoid Backlash With Baitcasting Reels

How to Avoid Backlash With Baitcasting Reels
Backlash, or "bird nesting," is a common problem when using a baitcasting reel. However, the benefits of using a baitcasting reel far outweigh the complications arising from backlash. When higher test lines of 10 pounds or above are required, baitcasting reels are a viable option. Using a baitcasting reel allows you to catch bigger fish in both fresh and saltwater angling. Backlash can result in lost time fishing while you remove the "bird nest" from your reel or, worse, have to cut the line.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing rod
  • Spooled baitcasting reel
  • Lure
Step 1
Attach the fishing lure to the end of the fishing line.
Step 2
Hold the rod in your casting hand and parallel to the floor.
Step 3
Turn the clutch (the small knob on the handle side) clockwise two times.
Step 4
Place your thumb on the reel spool and depress the casting button.
Step 5
Slowly release your thumb from the reel spool. The line should not move. If the line drops towards the ground, tighten the clutch another turn.
Step 6
Turn the clutch counterclockwise until the line and lure starts to drop from its own weight. The lure should not drop too fast or too slow, but steadily move toward the ground.

Tips & Warnings

Using your thumb to depress on the reel spool just before the lure lands in the water will help avoid backlash. This is called feathering.
A few additional adjustments are sometimes required depending on wind and casting distance during fishing.
You should reset your clutch every time a weight or lure is changed.

Article Written By W.E. Shugart

W.E. Shugart has more than 10 years of experience writing creative fiction and non-fiction articles related to outdoor activities and construction. He writes for various short story publications, trade journals, outdoor websites, and magazines. Shugart is an accomplished licensed contractor with more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry. He also guides hiking, backpacking, fishing, and waterfowl hunting expeditions.

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