Fishing & Hunting Tips

How to Set up a Baitcaster Reel ( Complete Guide )

Introduction: From the early 1870s, baitcaster reels are a famous name in the sports fishing world. If you want an old model baitcaster, you will find one in an antique shop but if you decided to afford a baitcaster of this day, you need to know something cause without knowing the facts, it will be a nightmare for you with a baitcaster.

Hello angler folks, we are here to help you about how you can set up your baitcaster reel. Welcome to Top Review Geek.

Things you need to know

Let’s be honest with you! If you just started fishing and don’t have any idea about it or have a little idea, then maybe a baitcasting reel is not what you want. You can go for a spin cast reel or a  spinning reel because of its simplicity and affordable price. Here in this article, you will find some of the best bass spinning reel under 100 $.

But if you already did some spinning reel fishing or you want to start with a baitcaster reel and can manage some time practicing how to set up a baitcaster reel then this article is absolutely for you.

Though there’s some complex handling a baitcaster but then again it’s not a rocket science and it is possible with a little effort. I’m trying to cover all the basics and techniques that you need to know.  So let’s get started.

Basic of a baitcaster

With time baitcasting reels are so advanced nowadays with loaded cool features. Fishing larger freshwater species like largemouth bass, muskellunge or northern pike to serious bluewater fishing like tuna, shark fishing or a large monster like grouper with a baitcasting reel is too much fun.

There are some certain things that I love about a baitcaster which it does very well. A cool thing about a baitcaster, its too much light but a lot of power at the same time. A major difference between a baitcasting reel and a spinning reel is its weight, a baitcasting reel is almost 50% lighter than a spinning reel. Arm fatigue is a big issue for many people, for me, it is a huge issue cause I love fishing for a long time.

Then I must have to admire that baitcaster have a huge line capacity. Bluewater fishing such as shark fishing needs lots of lines, its only possible with a baitcaster. The drag is another awesome thing about it, you will get a lot of drag with just a little baitcasting reel!

You need to learn one more major difference between a baitcaster and a spinning reel. With a baitcaster you hold the reel up and the eyelets up, with a spinning reel the eyelets, are down and the reel is also down. For a baitcaster, if you are a right-handed then it will be easy for you if hold the hold the rod with the right hand, make your cast then switch hand and reel it with your right hand.

Now that’s all about some basic discussion of a baitcasting reel. Let’s move forward.


Let’s see Some key features of a modern bait caster.

how to use baitcasting reel

Steps for a successful cast with a baitcaster

Reel the line: Reel the line 10-12 inches downwards from the rod tip including the lure.

Set the magnet to the max: Setting the magnet to the max is gonna slow down the spool. Now for a fresher in baitcasting, I would strongly recommend to set it to the max, because that’s how you are gonna learn by practicing it again and again. It won’t allow you to cast too far but you should consider it set to the max. When you will become a pro, you can switch it off.

Tight up the tension knob: Now this part is very crucial, it’s very important the tighten up the tension knob perfectly for a newbie. You can make it free spool by turning it off or tighten it a little bit. So, first tight it fully and then lose the knob until the bait barely starts to falls. If it falls like half of its gravity, you are all set up for casting. If you don’t follow the rule, it will be ended up with a backlash and that’s will be a disgusting part for you.

Holding the rod: A good tip for you here, what you can do is take a phone or a wallet and put it on your under arm. Then cast it using your shoulder and wrist without dropping the wallet. You can cast straight or sideways whatever you want but make sure to use your shoulder and wrist.

Spool button: Don’t forget to press the spool button while you cast the line, it allows you to free the line and make the cast.

Stopping the spool: after casting the lure, you have to stop it manually by simply pressing the thumb on the spool. When you have to stop? Remember, the moment your lure hits the water, press your thumb gently to the spool and stop it. Don’t get panicked, just focus and stop it when the lure hits the water. If you don’t stop it, it will keep going and the spool will stark making a bird nest which we say backlash! Trust me, you don’t want it to backlash cause it’s not fun at all!

Choosing the right lure: Don’t choose the lure that weighs quarter ounce or less, try to choose heavy lures for baitcasting. You can go for spinning reels with those light weighing lures, but not with a baitcaster. So choosing the appropriate one is a fact.

Alert button: let’s talk about a fun part now, you can turn on the alert button to experience the amazing sound of it when there’s a fish picks the lure. I just love hearing the sound all the time whenever I go with my baitcaster.

Some effective tips

  • Practice all the casting techniques in a free space, away from water. Handling a baitcaster is fun but it won’t be perfect overnight, must need some practice and you can do that practice in an open space first. Don’t do practices near any bushes. You will find your lure stuck in the bushes or trees and also the line will backlash. It will cost you lots of bucks for no reason.
  • At the very beginning, keep the magnet button to the max. After the time, you can pull it slowly to the minimum and once you are pro, you can fully set it to the minimum and get the longest possible cast.
  • For starting with baitcaster, pull some lines maybe 100 yards of line and then place a piece of tape(any tape) to the spool and then practice casting. What it will do is if it backlashes while practicing it, it will backlashes only that 100 yards and ultimately saves you some bucks on your line.
  • In a very windy situation, sometimes you will face a problem that your line can’t make it up with the spool. The wind will resist you lure but the spool will keep spinning and results in a horrible backlash. What you can do is turn the reel on its side before casting. The gravity will help it by pulling towards it a bit and reduces the chances of backlashing a lot.
Conclusion: Going with a baitcaster without any practice or without knowing the techniques is not a good idea at all. We all know its little bit complicated handling a baitcasting reel than a spincast reel. You can’t be master of it by overnight but once you did a few casts with it, you will start enjoying it by grabbing fishes.

What we do is, we bought a baitcaster with a good amount of price and also the lines, lures and then go for a fishing with zero experience and it turns out to be a nightmare. Trust me, a backlash is not a fun and without practicing it will happen with you for sure.

So, before going for a baitcaster fishing please follow all the rules and techniques and then enjoy catching lots of fishes with your baitcaster reel. Nice fishing, fellas!

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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