The open spool baitcasting reel is a standard in bass fishing. If you have not used one one they can be frustrating but you can learn to fish one with a little time and effort.
Start with a quality reel. There is no need to spend big bucks
on one, but a cheap reel will cause even more frustration and discouragement.
Use a brand names like
Abu Garcia Round Baitcast Reels,
Shimano Citica E Low-Profile Baitcast Reels.
When first learning how to cast, spool up your reel with the heaviest test line recommend for your reel
even if you plan on fishing with lighter line. Heavier line is easier to learn to cast, and easier to pick out those unavoidable backlashes. Don't
fill the spool on the reel, start with half a spool or less. The more line on the spool the heavier the spool and the faster and longer it will spin.
Spinning too long is what causes backlashes, so start with less line.
Setting your reel to begin casting.
Turn the brake knob tightly clockwise, then press the
free-spool button. Your lure will not descend. Now turn the brake knob
slowly counter - clockwise until the lure starts to fall. Fine-tune the
knob so the lure falls slowly, without having to jiggle the rod when
you take your thumb off the spool, and stops when it hits the floor.
Remember that you need to repeat the process whenever you tie on a new
lure with a different weight.
As you advance how much control you should apply will depends
on your skill level and the conditions under which you are fishing. Once
you get the hang of it you can select a looser setting, which will
enable you to cast further. When you're using heavy lures or casting
into the wind you might want to increase the control because these
conditions have more potential to create backlash in the line.
Educate your thumb.
The most important part of casting a bait caster is a smart thumb and properly holding the reel to when you cast. Your
thumb rides on the spool of line and controls it, so you must educate your thumb. You can practice this any where any time. Tie on a fairly heavy
weight and sit down. Loosen up the spool control until the weight drops freely, and use your thumb to stop it just before it
hits the floor. Do this over and over until get the feel for feathering the
spool with your thumb and stopping the weight just before it reaches the floor.
When casting lightly thumb pressure through your forward casting motion to let line out. To prevent backlashes in the line, you
must apply just enough pressure on the spool with your thumb as the lure
flies through the air so that the rotating speed of the spool never
exceeds the speed of the line coming off of it.
The ability to apply the right amount of thumb pressure is primarily a
function of practice, remember to always make sure you have set the
reel's braking system properly.
Properly holding your reel to when you cast.
When you are ready to learn to cast, tie on a practice plug or sinker.
Many anglers assume they should hold the rod so that the
reel faces them in an upright position, but that's not correct. After
pressing the freespool button, hold the spool in place with your thumb
and turn the rod sideways so the reel's handle faces upward (down if you
cast left-handed with a right-handed reel).
The reel should stay this way throughout the cast. Take your reel out
and make short lob-type cast. Swing your whole arm, don't try to snap
the rod tip with your wrist to start with. The reason for casting like
this to start is you want the spool to start spinning slowly and evenly.
A lob cast will do this. A snap cast will make the spool start spinning
fast from the beginning, almost guaranteeing a backlash. When the lure
reaches its target, apply heaver thumb pressure on the spool to stop the
lure's forward motion. Don't be overly concerned by accuracy to start
with just pick a general area as a target. Accuracy can be practiced
when you get the cast control and rod hold position down.
Keep casting like this, making longer and longer cast. Gradually loosen
up the freespool control until you have to stop the spool with your
thumb, just like you practiced. Once you get confident in using a heavy
weight, try lighter weights and learn different ways to cast.
Everyone will get backlashes at times. Don't let them discourage you.
Keep practicing and you will find out why the bait casting reel is so
Choosing Your Equipment
A reel with a magnetic braking system is superior to the centrifugal braking systems.
Fill the reel to no more than an 1/8-inch from the spool's
edge, and for beginners, 1/4 to 1/2 an inch is better.
Baitcasting reels do not cast lures weighing less than a quarter-ounce well
better to cast lightweight lures with spinning or spincasting gear.
Choose a rod of the right length. For most lure weights, a rod of 6 to
6-1/2 feet is a good length.