How to Use a Baitcaster

How to Use a Baitcaster
Baitcasters are types of fishing reels that most commonly are used by anglers who are targeting larger species of fish like bass, walleyes, muskies and pike. Using a baitcaster allows anglers to use heavier baits and heavier lines than they could with other types of rods and reels. Anglers who use baitcasters also have more control over their reel and can make adjustments to the reel to accomplish certain tasks.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to Use a Baitcaster

Things You’ll Need:
  • Baitcasting rod
  • Baitcasting reel
  • Fishing line
  • Fishing lures
Step 1
Determine where you plan to fish and the species you plan to target, which will determine the rod, reel, and lures you will need. Heavy-duty baitcasters are required for muskies, for example, while small baitcasters suffice for bass.
Step 2
Attach a lure to the end of the fishing line. A lure that weighs one-fourth of an ounce is about the lightest you want to go, and the largest reels can handle lures that weigh more than 1 ounce.
Step 3
Set the drag on the reel. On baitcasters, the drag is the star-shaped piece on the handle. Turn it clockwise to tighten it. The drag should be tight enough that it takes a firm tug to make the reel release line. To test the drag, grasp the line just in front of the reel and give it a tug.
Step 4
Set the reel's magnetic resistance or centrifugal brake, depending on which it has. If it has magnetic brakes, there will be an adjustable dial on the side plate of the reel that controls the brake. On reels with centrifugal brake systems, the brake is either on the spool (you need to take the spool off to access it) or on the inside of a detachable side plate. In either case, pins control the system; pins in the "off" position provide no resistance. The heavier the lure, the less braking that is required. The more resistance, the less likely the line will backlash when you cast, but more resistance also limits casting distance. A good starting place is to set the resistance halfway and then adjust it up or down based on your comfort level.
Step 5
Depress the thumb lever on the reel (some are buttons near the side of the spool, some are levers that go across the spool) so line can come off the reel, and then place your thumb over the fishing line on the spool.
Step 6
Cast the lure out into the water. As you swing your rod back, keep your thumb on the spool. Bring your rod forward and release your thumb from the spool once the rod tip is past your shoulder. Use your thumb to apply a small amount of pressure to the spool as the lure travels through the air, and press down on the spool once your lure hits the water.
Step 7
Turn the baitcaster reel handle clockwise to retrieve your lure back to the boat or shoreline.

Tips & Warnings

You can extend the life of your baitcaster by oiling and cleaning it at least one time per season.

Article Written By Larry Anderson

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

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