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Steve Foss

Baitcasting Reels?

14 posts in this topic

No line twist, better casting control (by thumbing the spool in mid-cast), better power while reeling, generally more line capacity. The list can go on and on.

Look for a reel with a smooth drag and a solid feel (no play between handle and reel body, no advancing the handle a whole turn before the spool engages).

I own eight baitcasters. All but two are Ambassadeurs. The 5500 series is good for bass/pike, the 6500 series for big pike/muskie/catfish. The 5500 series is nice for ice fishing lake trout too. They are smooth, they are strong, they are a proven design and can be had on sale at major stores for around $60 to $70.

That being said, Shimano and Diawa also make excellent baitcasters, and they have their advocates as well.

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Hi,
I've never owned and barely operated a baitcasting reel, but the advantage of direct-cranking, and really accurate drops looks appealing. Anybody want to give me some introductory info on these critters? What to look for, how they operate, compare/contrast to spinning reels? Whatever ya'll could tell me would be appreciated.
Thanks,

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RobertC

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Thanks a lot folks! I think I'll put a baitcaster rig on my list. Sounds like a superior tool for accuracy.

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RobertC

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I just started fishing with baitcasters last year. I have had the opportunity to try many different types and have found the Shimano Curado 200 to be the easiest to cast with the least problems. My brother had never fished a baitcaster because of the backlash and control problems that are commom when starting to fish them. After a few casts he was amazed at the preformance and ease of this reel. My second and less expensive recomendation is the Shimano Caylx it is also a very good reel and you can pick them up for around 50.00 both of these are low profile reels I also have an Ambassadeur 5500 and 6500 very happy with both as well use them for trolloing. I agree with the comments above on the preformance. Happy fishing!!

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I use all my 5500 series reels with baitcasting ice rods for pike and lake trout, and occasionally will use one for 'eyes rigged with 12-lb line for river fishing on ice, since the rivers are pretty cloudy, line visibility isn't an issue and those eelpout from 3 lbs on up will tear up lighter spinning gear with 6 lb line in a snap (you'll pardon the pun grin.gif).

There's nothing like the cranking power and smooth drag of a 5500 when fighting a bigger fish under ice.

One note: fireline and other braids are bad choices unless you're always in a heated house. They retain water and freeze up, so your spool can become a block of ice. Even with mono and a baitcaster, if it gets too cold the spool doesn't spin as freely (mono brings water into the spooled line and can freeze it). In spite of these drawbacks, I really like the baitcaster when possible.

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A couple of questions before I offer any tips.

What species, or group of species, would be your primary target with a baitcast reel?

Do you real Right Handed with a spincast reel at this time?

Are you looking for a boat reel & rod system (Casting and trolling applications), or a shore casting system?

Ho much would you wish to invest, on a reel or on a rod& reel combo +/-? (TIP)Many times a matched combo is by far the better deal, especially in a pre-season package.

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

BWGedcatlogobar.jpg

backwtr1@msn.com

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-16-2003).]

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Eddy,
For me -
Right handed use of the spinning reel (left retrieve)

Boat & some river work - any thing that more control on presentation would benefit from, such as plastics for bass, for instance. Looks like there's more direct-cranking power in a baitcaster, too - for big river beasts.

Mother-in-law -
Doesn't like spinning reels and wants something more reliable than a spincast. She's looking for an all-around rig. Panfish, jigging 'eyes, bass, river-shore.

Both of us, first combo as inexpensive as possible with out being cheap.

All - thanks!

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Robert:

Tough to find one baitcast reel that can do light, medium, heavy, as per your mother-in-law's needs. You can find small ones for open-water applications and ice fishing that accept 6-8 pound line, but these are not suitable for heavier fishing situations like bass and river cats.

Sounds like, for yourself, you want a rig that will work for bass/pike/river cats, etc., and only want to get a single rig for now. So a 6.5 foot or 7 foot graphite or graphite composite rod with medium/heavy action (with a soft tip and stiff butt), a baitcaster such as an Ambassadeur 5500c4 (again, many other great reels out there, I'm just using the one in my experience) spooled with 12-14 pound mono or stronger test fireline with a 12-pound diameter, will meet those open water situations (for bassing in clear water, you can tie on a 10-foot leader of mono or fluorocarbon if you have fireline on the reel).

A combo like that could run you $100, but less if you watch the sales. Reel on sale, maybe $55. Rod could run about $50, but the big chain stores like WalMart and KMart have fine Berkley graphite rods with the required action that would work just fine and run $30 to $40 in 6.5 foot length. That's also where I'd watch for reels on sale. They buy in such bulk that they offer very good regular prices, and their sale prices get darn cheap.

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What ever you do don't get the cheapest baitcaster on the market. You will just have tons of troubles like backlash's, short casting distances etc. I bought my first baitcaster for $25. It was a Diawa and it had at the time the new anti-backlash control with a dial. It works ok for trolling and ice fishing but if you ask me to cast it forget it.

When you are checking out the different models make sure that at the bare mininum they have at least 4 ball bearings. If they have bushings you will be purchasing a new reel in a few years because they wear out. I really like the low profile reels just because my hands are a little small and I can palm a lowprofile reel better. I would try to find a reel with a frame made out of aluminum not graphite. It will hold up better. Low end reels have graphite frames.

If you have never used a baitcaster before make sure you take the time to practice with it. Get some 17 or 20lb test line and a casting weight and practice. You will need to get used to setting the spool tension for each different jig you use and you will need to figure out how to get the backlash's out. The backlash will probably be the most frustrating.

As for your mother-in-law she should stick with a spinning reel. They are a lot easier to cast and more forgiving to use. You can also run smaller line on a spinning reel for panfish and heavier line for pike or eyes.

I have been fishing with a baitcaster for almost 20 years and I still have not mastered it. I don't use them at night just because I can't see what I am doing. I own 5 baitcaster's and a ton of spinning combos.

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I asked if you were using your right hand as a power hand to cast your spinning rod because I have found the lefty baitcasters to be far more efficent. I am the same way, started with a right, swiched to left hand retreaves for casting applications, far more efficent. I would recomend them highly.

A combo's that I would recomend is the Pete Maina Signature Series Muskie Rods featuring powerful IM-6 graphite blanks with ”Power wall” design and Fuji® Hardloy® guides.

Includes weight balance system (SWEET) for comfort and fatigue relief. Two reels are available, the PMX3000M with a 4.2:1 gear ratio for maximum power or the PMX3000MH with 5.2:1 ratio for buzzbaits, plus an audible clicker for live bait.

Both reels feature smooth 4-bearing system, PowerLock™ instant anti-reverse, 1-pc. aluminum frame, machined-aluminum spool, 6-pin centrifugal brake system, titanium-coated levelwind guide. Hot new anodized gold finish! Weight: 11.9 oz.

Reel PMX3000MH 5.2:1
70632-closeup.jpg

Rod PMX80XHT-T 2-8 OZ 8' 9 GUIDES
71677.jpg
Great combo price too, $139.98.

The Pete Maina combo I really love for cranks, bottom bouncers, trolling, and bait rigging larger baits. I would say it is the most versitile rod system I own, love it. The telescopic handle section alows it to fit in the rod locker, plus the weight balancing system takes the wear and tare out of casting cranks all day or night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another one for sweet no brainer casting is the Abu Garcia® Ambassadeur® C4 Reel/ Extreme™ XPS™ Rod Combo.

Reel features: Super-quick 6.3:1 gearing; 3 ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing for smooth, quiet, and free-spinning performance. Instant Anti-Reverse™ provides solid hooksets.

Rod features: 54 million modulus graphite blank built through the handle, GripTite™ coated graphite reel seat, genuine Fuji® Hardloy® guides, premium cork handle.

A good walleye cranking and general purpous combo. The C-4 and C-5 will hold up to years of hard use, and work like new.

60868.jpg

ABU 5600C4 & 5600C4-L
10.6 OZ 6.3:1 25"
12 LB/ 205 YDS
Rod ETX66MT 8-17 LB 1/4 - 5/8 OZ 6'6" M

$119.94 Combo at Bass Pro

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Abu Garcia® Eon® Pro Reel and Bionic Blade™ XPS™ Rod Combo.

73837.jpg

Reel features: UltraCast™ system, 6.2:1 gear ratio, 7 bearings, Instant Anti-Reverse™, dual braking, oversized drag, Thumbar™, Duralight frame/body, aluminum spool system, self-disengaging levelwind.

Rod features: 54 million modulus graphite blank, Grip-Tite™ reel seat, Fuji ® Hardloy ® guides, premium cork handles.

ABU EON EXL3600-L
8.1 OZ 6.2:1
24.4"
12 LB/105 YDS

Rod BNX70MT 8-17 LB 1/4-5/8 OZ 7' M
10 GUIDES

$164.98 Combo price at Bass Pro.

The new ABU EON is a very nice reel, very very smooth, easy to cast and extreamly light. Good for a beginer and the old hand.

Hope this helps.

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

BWGedcatlogobar.jpg

backwtr1@msn.com

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-17-2003).]

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My first baitcaster was an Abu Garcia 5400C. I love that reel, but I overlooked a very important detail before I bought it. mnfishman hit on it earlier- the low profile. My 5400C is a big round reel. As much as I love that reel, casting it all day becomes quite uncomfortable as I have small hands. My next baitcasters will be much smaller, as how the reel fits in my hand will be a major part of the criteria for my next reel.

Regards,
Double

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