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Burnham

learning to use a baitcaster

13 posts in this topic

okay lately in fishing vids i have watched i have noticed lots of baitcasters and see their benefit, so consequently i started looking into baitcasters. I have ALWAYS used a spinning reel, and never even considered changing as it never even crossed my mind. Well my uncle, long story short- dropped off a bunch of rods not too long ago and i started looking at them and sure enough there was a st croix rod (10-17 lb test, medium power), with a shimano chronarch baitcasting reel on it, hmm. he almost for sure never uses it as he musky fishes only, and i figure he will sell it too me for dirt cheap, if not give it too me.

ive been casting with it some this week and of course get the backlash quite a bit, am getting OK(at best) with big daredevils(because they seem easier to cast), but cannot seem to successfuly even pitch a 1/2 oz size lure. any advice as to working a baitcaster is very welcome. i have NO idea what im doing with the darn thing haha.

thanks in advance

ryan burnham

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The number 1 key to success is to have your freespool adjusted properly. Put on your lure, then adjust the small dial on the side so that the lure very slowly falls when you push the freespool button. You will need to adjust this everytime you switch lures. This way the spool wont keep spinning as easily after your lure hits the water. You will still need to keep some pressure on it with your thumb though. It wont take long and you will be casting like a pro. Good luck.

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Burnham,

I was in the same boat as you with BC's. I killed a spinning reel with big spinnerbiats and deep-diving cranks (too much resistance for the gearing). They just take time to figure out. Rangerguy hit it on the head: Adjust the dial so that the lure falls slow and the spool stops when the lure hits the water and keep your thumb near the spool. You can also use the magnetic dial on the other side for fine tuning. I prefer the reels with the dial rather than the ones where you have to pop open the side plate and adjust those little pegs.

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Burnham, nice setup - If I remember correctly that reel has a centrifuge brake system. Here is some baitcasting info I posted on a different thread, hope it helps:

"... since your new to baitcasters, a few key tips for ya that I found very helpful when I first started:

(1) You'll likely get a frequent backlashes when you first start out. Be patient and keep working at it - may take a while, but once you figure it out you'll love baitcasters.

(2) Search youtube for videos on how to take out backlashes - help you learn to get them out quicker without having to cut our your line.

(3) Make sure you spool it up with very limp line (not florocarbon starting out) - helps reduce backlashes a lot. I've had good luck with 12-14# Gama Copoly, it is fairly cheap so it isn't so costly if you have to cut out a backlash. Don't worry about line kinks from any backlashes - you can respool after you get the hang of it. Later if you want to go with a superline/braid - you'll want a round line, 30# test (don't recommend you start out with this cause it is expensive if you have to cut out a bad backlash)

(4) Using a 6'6" Med action rod will work well starting out.

(5) Do not start practiceing with lures that will get hung up in the wind (e.g. light crankbaits, spiner baits, etc). Start with someting that is 3/8-1/2 oz range. Bass jigs or larger lipless cranks work great for learning.

(6) Adjust the clutch/spool tension break so that the lure just just slowly drops under its own weigh. If changing lures, you should recheck this.

(7) Set your centrifuge brakes so no more than 2 are off (pins opposite each other pushed in towards the center of spool) or put all in on position. If brakes are magnetic, turn on full or at last 1-2 notches.

(8) Casting when starting out - make sure you are NOT casting into the wind. Also, make shorter easy casts until you get the hang of thumbing the spool at the end of your cast. Trying to gun it hard right away will likely mean a nightmare backlash and lost lure on the breakoff. Doing side casts might be easier initally versus overhead.

(9) One last tip before your start casting, you can minimize how deep backlashes go into your spool by pulling out more than a casts worth of line, then putting tape around the spool at that point. By doing this, it should prevent your backlash from going past the tape.

Once you get more confident using your BC, you can reduce your brakes & the amount of spool tension nob to get more distance on your casts by using your thumb to manage your spool instead of these mechanical devices.

Good Luck!"

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All good information. I might add...... A baitcaster requires a different technique for casting. If you are used to snapping your lure out with a spinning rod you will forever fight backlashes. You need to swing back and feel the weight of the lure and allow the rod to swing it out as opposed to a quick snapping action that some people use on spinning gear. It's hard to explain but I've watched people do it and really struggle trying to get it down.

Aside from that, all the above covers most everything you need to know. I started using them about 20 years ago and rarely now use a spinning outfit for anything.

Pitching takes practice, it will come to you in time. All I've ever done different to pitch is to loosen up the knob that gives the spool it's tension, but you have to be really good with your thumb. Also pitching in the yard is one thing and in a boat can be a whole lot different. The first thing I noticed was I'd hit something on the boat while starting the pitch, now talk about a backlash.

Good luck, keep at it, don't be discouraged. You will get it.

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Great info here....keep at it, you'll learn to love it. To me I love the feel of fighthing a big fish with a BC reel vs a spinning real...it just feels like you have so much more control with the rod/reel just by the way you hold the combo differently.

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Burnham, (your inherited rig sounds fabulous)

For big lures, those with lots of water resistance, baitcasting is definitely the way to go. Also, you're able to use the heavier lines and lures needed for bigger fish and nastier cover. Your accuracy, too (eventually), will be phenomenal. Power and control are increased because, as a simple winch with a direct line of pull, any baitcast reel possesses cranking power superior to that of spinning reels.

For learning purposes (as others have said)

You may as well use the line that's currently on the reel. Assuming you have the predictable number of backlashes during the learning process, just be sure to put on new line once you're confident enough to go fishing. Backlashes have a cumulative negative/weakening effect on all lines. In a perfect world, I'd recommend using #14lb mono while learning, as this represents a compromise between castability and easy backlash removal.

Mechanical, digital, or magnetic braking systems are very small enhancements to the true braking system--your thumb. Your thumb is never really off the spool at any time during the cast. Rather, it is always in very light (feathery) contact with the spool, and this contact gradually,steadily and lightly increases throughout the cast until you, ultimately, thumb the lure to a stop.

Use a heavier lure for practice. The increased weight will give you more feedback as to when to stop both backcast and forecast. Heavier lures also load rods more easily, and they more readily transmit decreasing lure speed. The decreased lure speed is a signal to you to apply more thumb pressure--and this is all part of learning feedback.

Avoid casting into the wind during your learning phase. There's plenty of time to do this later.

Casting with a sideways, or even an underhand motion, is best for learning.

You'll be a decent caster within a weekend, and you'll be great in a month.

Have fun.

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wow! thank you for all of the advice, i have familiarized (sp?) myself with the reel fairly quickly and decided to throw a few casts on the river(after hundreds on land of course)...it went suprisingly well, no fish but that wasnt the goal...i went about 30 minutes before getting a nest that i had to cut, and decided to bike back home(homework cry)....

i do understand all of the components of the reel BESIDES the brakes, i see all of the little point things, there are 5(i assume the brakes), none are touching the metal below it, and i cannot seem to find out how to adjust them.

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they should be on a little peg,just slide/pop the plastic cap part out to the rim of the spool, start with a few. that should be all you need..... good luck

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... i do understand all of the components of the reel BESIDES the brakes, i see all of the little point things, there are 5(i assume the brakes), none are touching the metal below it, and i cannot seem to find out how to adjust them.

Where are you seeing these "point things"? If you are referring to the 5 pointed wheel just inside of the reel crank, that is used to tighten (clockwise) & loosen your drag. For reels with a centrifuge breaking system, you need to open the side cover opposite the reel handle. Inside you should see six pins with caps on them. Pushing the caps out towards the ouside of the spool turns it "on". It is recommended you turn them off (cap inward) so that it keeps spool balanced as follows: 2 off = pins 1 & 4, 3 off = pins 1,3,5, 4 off = pins 1,2,4,5.

If setting the breaks is still confusing, go to the Shimano HSOforum, look under customer service + reel manuals. It describes how to set the centrafuge breaks.

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dont cast into the wind and right as the lure is about a foot above the water stop the spool with your thumb bigger lures and practice should make you kvd JUNIOR... HIMO spider wire is the best bait caster line out there..

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The round knob on the handle side of the baitcaster is used to tighten up the spool with pressure. If you are getting backlashes early in your cast tighten this knob. When making adjustments to this knob make very small adjustments. A good starting point is to push the button and hold the spool with your thumb, let go of the spool and let your lure hit the floor, if you get a backlash when the lure hits the floor it is too loose. If you the lure won't fall on it's own it is too tight.

The centrifugal brake system is on the opposite side of the handle and is inside the reel. Typically if you are seeing backlashes at the very end of your cast you should adjust the centrifugal system. To access this on a new chronarch there is a small lever on the opposite side of the handle. Flip this lever and the side plate should pop open. The older chronarchs have a plate that you flip and then unscrew to open it up. Once it is open you should see 6 plastic weights that are equally spaced apart. Think of this as a figure skater. When a figure skater is spinning, if they have their arms in tight to their body they will spin faster. If their arms are stretched outward from their body they spin slower. If all the pegs are in (arms-in) it will spin fast. If all the pegs are out (arms-out) it will spin slower. Start with all of the weights pulled out (they snap in to place but still have a little movement). When you start to cast consistantly without backlashes you can move the weights in. Start with two at a time and make sure they are opposite each other to maintain spool balance.

When you change lure types or sizes you will need to make adjustments. You've already noticed that spoons seem to cast the best. The heavier, more aerodynamic the lure is, the easier it is to cast.

Unfortunately you are the only one that can set the reel up because everyone has a different casting technique and every lure is different. The more proficient you become the more you can loosen it up. The more you can loosen it up the longer you will be able to cast.

Hope this helps.

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