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Old 04-15-2017, 10:13 PM   #1
Sancroix
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Dipping into bait caster

So, I've been using spinning reels for over 40 years. Figured it was time to give bait casters a try. I bought a Shimano Casitas 151HG on discount at the FTU vendor sale about 10 days ago. You tube reviews on the reel are positive; with reviewers highlighting the reel's ease of casting and fast retrieve. About the only casting rod I have on hand is a Penn Legion LEGIN1017C70. It's listed as 7' long and Extra Fast action. I spooled it with 30lb FINS Windjammer line.

Like many reels it has two methods for controlling backlash: the brake weights and the spool tension knob. The reel's guide book says the weights can help with backlash on the beginning of the cast, and the spool tension can help at the end. Practice casting on my lawn with a 1/4 ounce weight tied on has me pulling out backlash on almost every cast; mostly occurring at the end of the cast. I realize the ground is causing a hard stop, and that is likely contributing, but from those who use these reels a lot I'd appreciate some insight on how to cast and not get all knotty.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:15 PM   #2
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You also need to learn to thumb the spool. It takes a while to master it but it's not that difficult. Just use light pressure with your thumb and stop the spool when the lure is about to hit the water/ground. I'm sure there are guys on here that can explain this much better than me but if you are not thumbing the spool, you need to.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:30 PM   #3
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If your used to reeling with your left hand from spinning gear then buy a left handed bait caster. Once you learn how to cast it and work the brakes it's game on from there. Can find lighter reels and they hold more and bigger test line. That's why switched. I like lews tourney lites, the brakes are right there on the side of the reel and they are light as a feather and cast a mile. Just keep your thumb on the spool lightly at first and as the cast progresses apply more pressure as it starts to come to a stop. Start with your brakes tight at first and keep casting until you get a birds nest. From there tighten it up a bit until you get a nice happy medium. Too much pressure = short distance. Too little pressure = birdsnest. Gotta get in the middle and as u get more confident u can leave it on the looser side. Also you will learn to adjust your brakes when casting into the wind eventually to avoid backlash
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:32 PM   #4
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Don't try to over-throw it. Light thumb pressure, then stop it when you want it to stop, until you get used to the landing. You might also try starting out with heavier lures/rigs when you use it on the water. As you get used to it, you can dial back all the gizmos that influence the spool, and you'll feel more comfortable throwing plastics, spoons, etc.

Learned how to use an Abu 5500 in the back yard when I was 8 or 9, and I still backlash it. That being said, I can also zing a live shrimp on a hook a fair distance without wind.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:39 AM   #5
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Lots and lots and lots of practice. Also might try a heavier bait while learning.

I fished with a spin caster from old enough to fish till my early 20's then switched over to a baitcaster. I still suck at throwing a baitcaster.
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:36 AM   #6
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Starting off with about 12# mono helps the curve too imo, braid can be tuff to learn on. Secondary brakes (in gauge at least two on that reel) control end of the cast and the spool tension controls beginning.


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Old 04-16-2017, 09:39 AM   #7
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Another tip. To tweek your spool tension. Hold the rod our perpendicular with your lure or weight reeled up. Press the spool release button and let the lure fall down. Keep adjusting the tension knob until the lure or weight just barely stops. When your new you may want to tighten it just a hair more. Make this adjustment every time you change baits. I'll 2nd the mono recommendation...much easier to pick out than braid. One other trick. When you backlash place your thumb on the spool and apply pressure. Give the handle a few turns and then start working on picking out your backlash. It'll be much easier.
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:58 AM   #8
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I'd try hitting targets out on the lawn. Start with a fairly easy distance and perfect that, then gradually increase. Like others have said, get the reel set up right for the lure first. You might have the spool too loose. The thumb's roll in it all becomes second nature. I don't use baitcasters a ton anymore, but it's like riding a bike. You will get muscle memory and it becomes natural with repetition. The only time I backlash nowadays is when I try to overpower and squeeze just a little too much out of the cast and know ahead of time it's going to happen. The acceleration and deceleration seems different than spinning reels. Baitcasters don't like too much sudden acceleration or deceleration. That's where the thumb comes in.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:04 AM   #9
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Good info above, and it all has to be applied together. it's really all about the settings and the details really matter a lot.

Start with the post from BFI-Tx on setting the spool tension knob. Then open the side plate and engage 2 brakes Like CajunTriton indicated (starting with the brakes pushed fully in toward the shaft of the reel, you'll have to push two out until they click. But don't push them off their individual shafts... just push them out away from the main shaft along their shaft until you feel a slight click. This is pushing them into a position that will allow them to 'spin out'. The faster the reel spins the more pressure and drag they exert on the braking surface ( a brass ring they move along.

Feathering, or thumbing the spool, like ForEverFishing said, is more of an advanced technique but you might as well start now. You'll do this during the cast. After you make your back cast with the thumb on the spoil, casting the rod forward you're releasing your thumb entirely. Instead, after the initial thumb release during the cast, this is where you keep ultra light pressure on the spool or spool edge with your thumb just touching it. This adds a little resistance to the spool as the spool spins and feeds out line keeping the spool from 'over spinning'. This will take time to learn fully. In the end you'll be able to adjust the settings much looser and thumb the spool just a little during the first 1/4 of the cast and then maybe a little at the end, before ending the cast by placing your thumb squarely on the spool with pressure right as the lure hits the water or just slightly before.

Use a heavier bait like Drundel suggested, and also cast 'down wind' not up wind. This will help with distance and lessen the 'backlash' or 'over run'

From here its' setting the spool tension knob and adding or subtracting the brakes like SkipJack Slayer said. It's all about the settings, and you may have to adjust the setting with almost every lure change. A heavier lure will require a little less resistance of the spool tension knob and a lighter lure will probably require a little more. This is because the lighter lure slows down faster similar to what Karstopo was saying. Like SkipJackSlayer said though.. after you initially set the spool tension knob like BFITx, in starting out, i'd add a 1/4 turn tighter, this should get you casting without a backlash... from there you'll slowly loosen it every cast until you start just getting one or two loops to looser out during the cast.

Don't be scared of backlashes. you'll eventually set your reel with only one brake and have just a little spool tension and be able to cast very far even with braid.

As far as distance and casting hard or is accuracy more important. Both are important to learn. In sight casting or fishing sand potholes accuracy is a little more important and i've sightcasted redfish less than 10 feet away, others like Karstopo have probably caught them even closer. That said, there are times that you'll still want to learn how to cast farther and you will catch more fish covering more water at times. Confidence doing one will allow you confidence in doing the other most of the time, but not all the time. If you get confident hitting targets it will help you cast farther but you'll still need to adjust your technique, timing, and casting force to cast the lure the farthest. I think it's easier to learn to cast accurately first, then work on your distance. LIke MJZ said, at first don't over throw it That said, casting for distance is all about setting your reel just right, casting hard, loading the rod correctly casting with 2 hands, and timing, with some very slight feathering or thumbing.

If you want anymore specific guidance I've written a couple of articles on all levels of using casting reels. Pm or email me and I can send them your way. They guys pretty much covered it, I just wanted to add a few finer details.

I have my Lews set up very lightly at this point, like most guys, at a later point you'll be able to almost have no brakes and no spool tension at all and just thumb it a little. Give yourself time to get there. And like I said, don't be scared of the backlash, I still get a couple here or there with the looser settings, it's part of the casting reel use.

Have fun, hope this helps, good job guys.
t
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:44 AM   #10
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My thumb is my main way to control the spool while casting. You will find out as you use baitcasters more that a lot of factors will change how the line comes off the spool such as wind, rain, or what kind of line you have spooled. Everyone will have their own preference on how much they want the spool to turn free. For example, I have buddies that have a hard time casting my reels the way I have them set but they cast theirs just fine. It's all about getting comfortable with the reel you are using.

Just start at max spool tension and adjust from there. Do not start with max free tension with a new baitcaster or you will be asking for trouble. Do not start off by trying to cast a mile. Just try to cast without letting the line backlash on the spool. As you cast more, you will become more and more comfortable with the way your reel is casting and before you know it you will be casting farther and farther. And after using your baitcaster for a while you won't even have to think about what you are doing. FYI, for every new reel I get, I, too, do what I stated above about setting the tension to max and adjusting from there. I hope this helps and if you have any questions feel free to PM me and I'll be glad to help you out if I can.

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