Friday, April 14, 2006

Baitcast Reel Technique

The baitcast reel offers anglers a high degree of casting accuracy, essential when working lures in and around snag infested areas. Unfortunately many first time users become frustrated by continual over-runs, and if not properly instructed in the finer points, give up and return to the relative safety of the thread line. Understanding the various set-up controls is the key to success.

The correct setting of the Cast Control Brake is the first step. This mechanism allows you to fine tune your outfit to the weight of each individual lure. First attach the lure you intend to use to the mainline and retrieve the line so that the lure is almost at the rod tip. Hold the rod just above horizontal and press down the Thumb Bar, allowing the lure to free-spool to the ground.

If the Cast Control Brake is set correctly the lure will drop in a controlled manner and the spool will cease to feed out line the instant the lure touches the ground. If this is not the case, and it probably won't be from scratch, adjust the Cast Control Brake knob and repeat the procedure. This adjustment must be set each time a different lure is used.

The Friction Cast Control sets a variable degree of load on the spool during the cast and for first timers should initially be set to maximum loading. While this will reduce cast distance it will also dramatically minimize the risk of a spool over-run and the consequent birds nest. More experienced anglers, for the same reason, use this control to load the spool when casting into the wind.

As you become proficient, steadily reduce the level of applied friction until you no longer require this function, apart from when in upwind conditions. Now that you have your outfit tuned to optimum, the next thing to master is the cast technique. Press down the Thumb Bar and 'thumb' the spool in preparation for the cast, with the reel facing in as shown. The starting point for the cast should be with the rod back over your shoulder, roughly in the two o'clock position. The whole action is from the elbow to the wrist. Short, sharp and sweet.

The release point (thumb off spool) should be approximately at the ten o'clock point, enabling the lure to be cast in an arc. If you have set the reel brakes correctly there should be no need to thumb or feather the spool during the lure's flight. As the lure makes contact with the water, thumb the spool to a dead stop to prevent over-run, then crank the handle to engage the retrieve mechanism. That wasn't too difficult was it? Of course, nothing beats practice so the more time you spend on the water, or even dry casting in the park, the more adept you'll be.
Note: It's much easier to get a quick result side-casting but while this is a useful technique to get around overhanging tree branches, it won't endear you to your companions when you're in a group, casting from a boat.

Even the best anglers will at some time experience an over-run and its associated and much dreaded birds-nest. If it happens to you, don't panic, and whatever you do, don't attempt to pull the birds-nest out while the spool is still disengaged. This will only create an even bigger problem.

If you follow our advice you'll be back in business in no time, and with a smile on your face. Turn the crank handle just enough to engage the retrieve mechanism then back off on the drag tension (left). This prevents the spool rotating too freely, which will create more loops and tangles.
You can now pull the line out. Nine times out of ten you'll have no dramas.

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