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rundrave

Baitcaster Rookie needs advice

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I just purchased my first baitcaster and I didnt want to invest a lot so I purchased a right handed Abu Garcia Silver Max 3.

I spooled it up with Trilene XL 6lb smooth casting low vis green and put it on a 6'6 scheels medium action rod. I dont remember which model exactly I can look it up as I am sure it may play a factor.

I watched some youtube vids and tried to get it dialed in.

To set it I tied the lure to the line and left it out about 2 feet below the rod tip. I then slowly turned back the spool tension knob until the lure started to fall slowly.

Where i get confused from there is where or how to set the brake adjustment dial.

I spent the last few nights practicing in the back yard and then some time on the water before dark. I knew I would get some birds nest and I am slowly getting better.

My main issue is that I am not comfortable casting over head yet, so I have been casting from the side  going from my right to my left. This works great and I am comfortable casting out to about 20-25ft. I can do this consistently with no birds nests. I am casting with my left thumb and releasing it from the spool while the lure is in the air and then pressing my thumb back on the spool just before it hits the water. This works fine but I would like to be able to cast further.

So any time I try to cast further or harder I immediately end up with a birds nest even when I try to release my thumb correctly and apply tension back on the spool. Its like its spins so fast with a harder casting motion and I then just get into trouble.

I know a lot of this will just be practice and building up comfort level but any other tips or advice. Do I need to be using a heavier or lighter lure? Or a specific type of rod or line? Should I purchase a nicer reel? The SMAX3 seems to get great reviews on line for a beginner to learn with.

For the record I did catch a nice 2lb LMB on a wally diver so it was great to reel something in but the birdsnests can sure ruin an outing with frustration lol.

 

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Here's a trick I used when I was first learning to cast a baitcaster, spool off about a cast and a half of line then put a piece of electrical tape across the spool over the top of the line.  Then reel the line in that you pulled off, now if you get a backlash it wont go past the electrical tape, and be more manageable.  The other thing that I did right away is tie on a heavy lure, like a 3/4 ounce spoon with the hooks removed and cast in my yard, the heavier lure makes casting easier and was a good way to learn when to thumb the reel and how much pressure to put on it.

Also 6 pound mono is really light in my opinion for a baitcaster, I would definitely go heavier.  But how much would depend on what you're fishing for and what cover you're fishing in.

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thanks for the feedback what do you guys suggest for line? It would mainly be for bass while kayak fishing, and a lot of the lakes I fish are just prairie potholes that are big bowls, no rocks or major structures. Just a few weed lines here and there. Water would be dark/stained, nothing like what you all fish in MN that is much clearer. 

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12-15lb is on the mark IMO, for off the shelf I would start with Berkeley trilen XT, readily available and inexpensive, you won't feel so bad if you have to cut out a few back lashes. Order online, I would recommend same lb but YoZuri copolymer, again inexpensive and is a do all line IMO. No need to spool up the reel to 100% initially, maybe 75% or so, that will help you get the feel before you get a professional over run. 

 

Setting tension, my rule a thumb is to loosen up the tension so that the lure falls to the floor and the spool stops spinning when the lure hits the floor. The brakes are for controlling spool speed at the end of the cast, if your finding the backlash is in the beginning them tighten the tension, if it's at the end as the bait is hitting the water then tighten the brakes. 

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I agrree with Todd, go with mono in the 12-15lb range and something cheaper to start. Doesn't hurt so much when you have to cut a bad one out! Another tip would be, when casting into the wind, set the brakes higher. You can always back it off a bit, but at least you won't get a backlash right away.(Did not follow this rule today and I might be cutting one out tomorrow!)

Use heavier baits in the wind also. Throwing something like a shad rap in the wind is just looking for trouble. Good luck with the new reel.

Edited by RuddyDuck

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12 hours ago, RuddyDuck said:

 Another tip would be, when casting into the wind, set the brakes higher.

And watch out if you're in a hurry to switch lures to a much lighter one and do not compensate for the weight difference.

These two reasons are the majority of my birds nests.

Actually it's one reason..........mind flatulence.

:)

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Def. with the guys saying 12lb mono, Fluoro is great, but honestly it doesn't cast the same as Mono.  And just learning I wouldn't want to have to cut it out.  Another good option for practice is like a 1/2 oz jig they don't have much wind resistance and honestly it "should" be a bait you will throw a lot on that Baitcast setup.  Really what it comes down to with Baitcast reels is PRACTICE...sorry I wish there was a magic tip for you but really it's just the practicing and small tweaking.  Heck I still get backlashes, and I've been using them for 25+ years.

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Definitely not fluorocarbon for a beginner.  I have been fishing with baitcasters for many years now using both braid and mono.  I rarely backlash anymore.  This past wknd I made the switch on one of my reels to 10 lb fluoro and I was backlashing constantly.  It was like the line would explode in my reel.  I had to tighten my spool down so much and thumb it the whole time, that I could only cast half the normal distance.  I was using an averaged size chatterbait until the line broke on a cast and the lure sailed into the great unknown.

I recommend 12 Trilene XT to start.  It will be easier to get the backlashes out and you will get backlashes with any line, especially if you are casting into the wind.  Braid casts fine, but when you get a backlash, it isn't as easy to untangle in my opinion.

Nels

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I actually cast 12lbs Invizx better than I do mono. The stuff is smooth as can be. There have been a lot of previous posts on fluorocarbon and it all comes down to how much you want to spend on the line. There is a reason some of those 200 yards spools of fluoro are $20-$50. You have to go by the old saying...you get what you pay for. Right now I have reels with fluoro 12lbs and 20lbs, Trilene Big Game 15lbs, and braid 50lbs. My 12lbs fluoro reels are always my favorite to cast. 

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1 hour ago, bassfshin24 said:

I actually cast 12lbs Invizx better than I do mono. The stuff is smooth as can be. There have been a lot of previous posts on fluorocarbon and it all comes down to how much you want to spend on the line.

I put on Seaguar abrazx Flourocarbon.  Maybe other brands are better.  Also I spooled it the same day I used it and used a conditioner spray on it when I spooled it.  All I can say is I was very disappointed. I've never had backlash problems like that and I have lots of experience with baitcasting reels.

Nels

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I usually recommend beginners start by throwing a 1/2 oz frog or spook. Both cast well, and when you do get the overrun you won't compound the hassle with getting your bait hung up.

maybe try casting right handed, if you are right handed. Your dominate hand should have a more sensitive thumb

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so I ended up putting on some 12lb Trilene XT and seems to be working much better. Backlashes are gone and I am working on building my confidence to really let it rip on some further casts. Just spent some time in the back yard over the lunch hour doing some more practicing.

Was out in the kayak over the weekend and went to a local lake that was killed off a couple years ago and restocked with a bunch of LMB. They are still really small 10-12" but can literally catch one every cast so its been a good confidence builder and great practice. Even landed a couple nice walleyes by surprise. Go figure I go out and put on a heavy jig and twister tail simply just to practice casting with no expectations to catch fish and I cant keep the walleye off.

Thanks again for everyone's help. Next thing you know I will be upgrading reels and really getting into trouble haha

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Once you master casting, then it's time to work on pitching. Set up a couple of coffee cans or something in the back yard (or even in the house) and practice pitching til you can drop it in the bucket most every time. Accuracy in pitching is an essential skill. Glad to hear it's going well for you so far!

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