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BassProAddict

Baitcaster Knob Controls

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All over the net you may find varying opinions on the relevance of the 3 knobs found in a baitcaster.I, myself, have to consult with this being primarily a spinning reel guy.

Let's discuss the importance and varying settings of the baitcaster's 3 knobs and how to set it up for purposes of avoiding backlashes, getting max distance and getting optimum fish-playability.

Let's start with the knobs' names:

1.Star Drag

2.Magnetic Brakes

3."The other drag thingy"

Can anyone give the book description for each and what they're supposed to do and what these can REALLY do for you?

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the star drag is for for fighting the fish think of it alot like the drag on your spinning rod when setting it

"the other drag thingy" works off friction i believe, I've always been told should be set so the when you push the button to cast, if you arent touching the spool the lure should fall very slowly but the tight the easier

the magnet brake works by adjusting how close the brakes in the frame and the spool are to eachother this these are nice because they arent affected by the heat generated from the friction while casting. But they also slow the spool much faster they are great for casting into the wind I sugest setting the drags on the heavier side to start and work your way looser which will equal more distance also once you get the hang of it (peice of advice from grandpa) try practiceing in a wide open area at night this makes you feel out the reel more while you are casting makes a huge differance when theres alot going on out in the boat the last thing you want to be thinking about is if your going to make a good cast or not

most important dont get upset about nests they happen to everyone and if you do get a nest recheck your settings hope this helps and someone please correct me if im wrong about anything this is just what ive been taught and understood from over the years

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Let's say forward ahead is at 3 o' clock, straight up is 12 o'clock and bottom is 6 o'clock...at which point do you engage the spool via thumb when you do the troublesome overhead cast?

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Let's say forward ahead is at 3 o' clock, straight up is 12 o'clock and bottom is 6 o'clock...at which point do you engage the spool via thumb when you do the troublesome overhead cast?

I guess it depends on the reel, and the bait being tossed. I have some that you dont need to "feather" at all, others need to be kept in check.

The free spool adjustment, IMO, is the most important knob on the reel. Once you learn the free spool and get it set for how you want it, your "birds nests" will go down with time and getting that free spool to work with you instead of against you.

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yeah you need to play around with your reel and figure out what works for you i know as long as im not casting into the wind i fish with almost no drag to get that extra distance when fishing crankbaits

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The star drag has no effect on your cast whatsoever. Set it according to your line weight and what you're fishing for. It acts the same as your drag on a spinning reel.

Here's a good way to set your cast control knob. Tie your lure on, hold your rod tip at a 45 degree angle to the ground, and push the thumb bar. You want your lure to fall to the ground and the spool to stop (and not overrun) when the lure hits the ground. You will need to adjust this knob when you change lures.

The magnetic cast control is all about your thumb skill and wind. Casting into the wind is tough for anyone, so avoid it when new. If you're just getting the hang of a baitcaster, you can set it at 100%. You'll be able to back off as you get better. Once you've backed off on it, you will likely have to increase it if casting into the wind.

The trick is educating your thumb. Once you get the hang of it, your thumb will do the majority of the braking. Keep at it and you'll get proficient.

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most basic...Let the baitcaster do it for you. Second most important thing next to your thumb is setting the casting control knob. Any spool or any baitcaster will birdnest on you if your thumb isn't trained or you haven't adjusted the spool clutch to slow down so it won't bird nest on you. Now this affects mostly in the initial cast where the spool revs up quickly. If you've adjusted enough pressure onto the spool to the point where you don't need to feather your spool, it's all machine from that point on. However you have to remember that changing lures usually means requiring to change the setting. High quality reels allows for better micro adjustments, especially with those click settings. I find it very important to also adjust it for when the lure lands on the water that your spool stops spinning. Super/Braid line will perform better or worse on certain reels.

Star drags don't affect casting but vary by max performance pressure for fish fighting. For example, the Pfleuger Supreme baitcaster will not bite down on the spool no matter how tight you turn the star wheel. It performs at about 10# of drag pressure, so if you've got 12# test line, it's very unlikely to ever snap on you. Other bait casting reels will allow you to cinch down on the spool and lock it tight.

Now the spool brakes is where it's affects the spool once it's revved up to speed. The centrifugal brakes are little pins with weights that rubs on the outer wall. I think of them much like the drum brakes on automobiles. The faster the spool spins, the more the brakes rubs. Magnetic brakes, work on the concept of having magnets placed closer to increase the braking force. It doesn't depend on the speed of the spool spin. I find that if unsure, set the brakes for centrifugal on half and/or magnetics on max at first. Then proceed to add more brakes or reduce it.

I find that by only adjusting both the cast control knob/spool clutch knob and the spool brakes can one find the correct balance to suit one's preference.

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Me and my son bought a bait caster. I wanted to throw the dang thing into the drink! I have never used one before but my lord... I guess I wasn't expecting it to be such a mess. When I cast, it seems like the bait does not go out, but down right into the water and I have a huge birdsnest. He was doing the same.

I shall practice in the yard from now on with some cheap line.

PLUS.....Educate your thumb!.....Saves me many a birds nest.

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The other thing to remember is this...

You get what you pay for with baitcasters.

...it is kind of sad when you think about it. People who are just trying to get into it just dable a little and get a $45-50 or less real and just get junk. A bad real will give you bad problems. This keeps most people away or sours them so they give up.

Buy something good, ask for the best in your price range. Practice and be patient. The learning curve can be tricky. but it is worth it.

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I'm using a cheapo graphite baitcaster and it's been my learning curve with plenty of tangle times. It performs decent with moderate casting swings. This reel will tell you to forget about trying to cast for distance or short casting. Try for distance and the line will knot on you. Try for short casting and the line will unspool enough enough to give you some loop stranglers. I'm thumbing to save my life.

It makes for a great ice fishing reel...that makes me think about getting some cheaper ones...just maybe.

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if you are haveing issues with slamming the bait in the water try side arm casting i personally think it is much easier, when you are starting the really heavy line it looks like rope, its some kind of braid. it was really nice to learn with it didnt have memory so the line didnt have all the bumps in it and its way easy to pull out nests

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Is an overhead cast really all that important other than space considerations? Is it really more accurate?

When using a baitcaster for pitching (bale open), does the cast control knob have to be loose? I'm having trouble getting distance with pitching as the lure won't grab line...or am I just not tossing it hard enough?

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as far as casting goes i say do what works for you I pretty much always cast side arm.

As for pitching i just learned this year to I like to think im comeing along nicely but anyway what worked for me was lossening my spool brake all the way up and tightening my magnets down quite a bit its something you really have to play with my buddy dose it exactly the oppisite as me so just go out and play around on the front step also make sure your not holding the bait to tight That made a huge differance for me when i figured that outit just needs to lay in your hand and just fall away when you swing it out

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On a 15-20 pitch, how far down (in terms of o'clockiness) does your rod tip go down? How much force do you need to toss it forward and still grab some line?

Most importantly, how do you not make a splash/ripple?

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I feel so stupid since I'm having such a hard time casting with this. I have an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500 c3.

You're going to need to throw pretty heavy lures with that reel. Spinnerbaits should work fine.

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I feel so stupid since I'm having such a hard time casting with this. I have an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500 c3.

When I read your first post about having problems, I assumed you were using a cheap reel, but that Abu is a good reel and with the proper balance of bait/line size and adjusting it as stated above you should be able to cast that very well.

Could you please explain what type of line (braid or mono), the size of the line, and what kind of lure or bait you are trying to cast.

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I have yo-zuri hybrid fluorocarbon polymer 25 pound line on. Practicing at home I use a 3/4 oz rubber core sinker. On the lake I had a 3/4 skirted football head jig. I just read on startribune outdoors that I should possibly have a longer rod? I have a 6.5 foot ugly stick medium. Could that be part of the issue too?

Originally Posted By: slimerg0d
I feel so stupid since I'm having such a hard time casting with this. I have an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500 c3.

When I read your first post about having problems, I assumed you were using a cheap reel, but that Abu is a good reel and with the proper balance of bait/line size and adjusting it as stated above you should be able to cast that very well.

Could you please explain what type of line (braid or mono), the size of the line, and what kind of lure or bait you are trying to cast.

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Actually I think that 25lb fluorocarbon is probably causing some issues. If I'm not mistaken that is a pretty large diameter line which makes things worse.

Before you give up, I would try something of a smaller diamter, maybe a braid or smaller mono/fluorocarbon.

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I had tried it with a 10 pound line fluorocarbon at first, had issues then thought maybe the thicker line would help. I do have some 12 pound hybrid line I could try. They should have a class for people like me. My son was fishing last night with his and had the same issues, he has a cheaper quantum with 12 pound on it and was asking me what he was doing wrong... I had no idea what to tell him other then practice.

A guy at my work told me that he has bought many reels for cheap from guys who have gave up... I hopefully wont be one of them.

Thanks all for your help.

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I guess the biggest thing is making sure that the spool isn't spinning too fast.

When you hold your bait off the ground and hit the free spool switch, the bait should fall very slowly to the ground. If it falls fast you need to adjust your spool tension tighter. The tension knob is one that is adjusted constantly for different baits and conditions. It's not a set it and forget it deal.

I will say that there is a "sweet spot" in which you need to release your thumb from the spool when casting. Somewhere between letting go too soon and too late grin

I would say that with an overhead cast that position is around 2 o'clock.

If you let go too soon the bait will just fall next to you, too late and the bait will shoot straight down into the water in front of you.

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-to add

Something that I learned was that it greatly reduces bird nesting if you can cast and point your rod in line the direction so that the lure pulls line out directly from the spool and have very little contact with the line guides. In other words I usually end up with my rod steady flat or basically it points to the lure and when the lure hits water it's pointed right at that spot.

I too started with the 6'6" ugly stick, but since I moved up to a 7' St Croix Avid, I too notice better improvement in my casting.

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Does anyone ever use the setting where the braking mech. is completely off? I'm curious if people can throw a bait with a completely free spool?

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