How to Adjust Baitcaster Reels

How to Adjust Baitcaster Reels
The open-reel design of a baitcast reel, combined with the horror stories associated with the dreaded backlash or bird's nest, is often enough to steer many anglers clear of this very useful reel. Baitcast reels allow more precise placement of baits and lures and offer more leverage when fighting a big fish than do other reel types. Setting up a baitcast reel properly can greatly reduce the problem of backlash.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Baitcast reel and matched casting rod
  • Fishing line
  • Practice plug or old lure
Step 1
Familiarize yourself with the baitcast reel before proceeding. The baitcast reel should be mounted on a casting rod, spooled with line and a practice plug or old lure attached. Identify the two main adjustment points on the reel, the small cast control knob located by the handle and the brake control located opposite the handle.
Step 2
Hold the handle of the the rod so that the rod itself extends out in front of you. Press the spool release button located on the upper rear of the baitcast reel and allow the plug or lure to fall to the ground. Ideally, the plug or lure will fall at a slow and steady rate.
Step 3
Adjust the cast control knob by turning to tighten or loosen the amount of tension on the line. One method is to tighten the control knob completely and then press the spool release. With the rod extended in front of you, begin turning the knob until the lure or plug falls slowly downward.
Step 4
Set the brake control of your particular reel. Depending on the manufacturer, the control will typically be marked with numbers from 1 to 10. The 1 setting is essentially no brake while the 10 is maximum braking. Set the dial in the middle or near 7 when first casting a new lure or bait or when you are learning to fish with a baitcast reel.
Step 5
Reel the line back onto the spool so that the lure or practice plug hangs down from the rod tip about 8 to 10 inches. Cast the line and observe how the lure or plug travels and for what distance. Reduce the brake setting to obtain greater distance. Keep in mind that more control must be used by keeping your thumb on the spool as the brake is decreased.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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