When it comes to fishing, your success is determined by a variety of factors ranging from the weather conditions to the equipment you use. Even if your fishing equipment includes high-quality Abu Garcia baitcasters, understanding how to set up, adjust, and use baitcasting reels is critical to ensuring that your fishing sessions are successful.
If you’re new to fishing and you’re interested in learning more about how a baitcaster works and how to use it to get the best results, this post may be of interest to you because we’ve highlighted below the do’s and don’ts of baitcaster use to help you get the best results.
How baitcasting reels work
Baitcast reels are intimidating to most anglers, and this has something to do with the fact that they are so complicated. Compared to spinning and spincast reels, baitcasting reels are more difficult to use and more complex to master. However, once you understand the fundamentals of baitcasting reels and the adjustments that need to be made in order to get the most out of them, mastering them becomes much easier to achieve.
Backlashes are one of the reasons why many anglers are reluctant to use a baitcaster, but once you understand the mechanism of this tool and what each of its components does, you will also understand why backlashes occur and how to prevent them.
A tension knob is included with a baitcaster, and it is used to apply tension to the spool in order to prevent it from spinning or to allow it to spin. During the casting process, it also has a centrifugal or magnetic brake that keeps the machine moving.
When the spool exceeds the capacity of the cast, you will experience a backlash. Even when the wind is blowing hard and providing resistance, such occurrences can take place. You can, however, avoid this from occurring by making a few minor adjustments.
Before proceeding to the adjustment stage, you must ensure that you are using the proper gear, lines, and other components. When learning how to use and cast baitcasting reels, professional anglers recommend that you use monofilament as your main line.
You will notice that users will also use fluorocarbon or braid lines to cast, despite the fact that both of these materials may produce even worse backlashes than mono. It is therefore recommended that beginners stick to 12- or 15-lb monofilament lines in order to make the learning process as simple and as painless as possible. Ensure, however, that you do not fully load the reel in order to prevent it from overrunning.
Adjusting the spool tension
As previously stated, the baitcaster is equipped with a tension knob, which is typically located near the handle or somewhere on the same side as the handle. It is essential that you adjust the spool tension in order to enjoy successful casting and a smooth casting experience.
Remember to keep your rod at 2 o’clock and to reel the bait in until the line coming out is somewhere in the range of 8-12 inches in length. Tighten the tension knob until you feel a bit of pressure, and then release the bait by pushing the thumb bar to the left or right.
It is best to let the bait fall slowly and gradually release the tension knob pressure until the bait falls on its own. If it takes more than 2-3 seconds for the lure to land on the ground, you should increase the tension. If the tension is appropriate, this should occur without the need for line overruns to occur.
It may seem difficult at first, but with practice, it becomes second nature, and after a few attempts, adjusting the spool tension should take no more than a few seconds per strand. Maintaining tension should be done every time you change the lure is important to remember.
Adjusting the brake system
When it comes to adjusting a baitcaster, the most difficult part is actually related to the brake system adjustment, and this is due to the fact that each manufacturer has their own design.
However, even though the differences between brake systems are not significant, and thus the process of adjusting brakes from different brands should be largely the same, there are some models that perform differently and therefore require different adjustments.
There are two types of brakes available: centrifugal brakes and magnetic brakes. In spite of the fact that some users believe it is best to begin with a centrifugal brake because it appears to be easier to use, backlash problems can still occur if the brake is not set properly, regardless of whether it is a magnetic or centrifugal brake.
When it comes to centrifugal brakes, the mechanism by which they operate is quite straightforward. Finding them is the most difficult part of the process of adjusting to them. You will need to remove the side plate in order to gain access to them, and the procedure will vary from one brand to another. The instructions that come with the reel should make it simple for you to figure out how to do it.
Centrifugal brakes are simple in their operation, and their mechanism is straightforward to understand. For the most part, the spool spins faster when the brakes are closer to the center and slower when the brakes are farther away from the center, to put it another way.
The pegs should be visible once the side plate has been removed. These pegs will assist you in adjusting the brake to your specific requirements. Because each brand’s brake system is unique, it is possible that each brand’s adjustment will be unique as well. For this reason, make sure to read the instructions that came with the item you purchased in order to properly adjust it.
Magnetic brakes are also a popular option, primarily due to the fact that they are less difficult to adjust. As opposed to centrifugal brakes, they have a dial that is mounted on the outside of the side plate, which allows you to access it without having to remove the plate as is necessary with centrifugal brakes.
Depending on the model, the dial can display numbers from 1 to 10 or from MIN to MAX. If you want to apply more break, you will need to choose a higher setting, and the opposite is true if you want less break. Hybrid brakes, which are a combination of the two brake systems described above, are also available on the market.
Despite the fact that adjusting such a brake system is done in the same manner, some users find it to be a little difficult. It is best to experiment with a variety of brakes to determine which one works best for you. After all, it is dependent on the individual’s preferences and abilities, and what works in one situation may not work in another.
Having completed the adjustments to the knob tension and the brake system, the next step is to adjust the drag, which isn’t particularly complicated. If you look closely, you should notice a star-shaped dial located between the reel’s body and its handle. Turning this dial forward will tighten the drag, and vice versa. If, on the other hand, you wish to loosen it, make certain that it is turned in your direction.
Practice the cast
Now that you’ve learned the fundamentals, you can work on your cast. Check that the spool tension and brake systems are properly adjusted before beginning with a few short casts. While doing so, keep an eye on the reel and feel it. You will be able to make a few more adjustments as a result if it appears that the line is about to backlash.
You can cast in your backyard if you want to be more comfortable. Please be patient. It may take some time before you get the hang of it, and you may need to make a number of adjustments before you find the one that makes you feel the most comfortable, but you will learn by trial and error.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.