There are many advantages of using a baitcasting reel.
One thing about casting reels that discourages many from using one is the dreaded backlash also known as a bird’s nest.
In this post, we will give you some tips on how to cast a baitcaster without backlash.
First, what is backlash?
When you push the thumb tab on a baitcaster it puts the spool into free spin mode. This free spin mode allows you to cast your lure. When your lure hits the water, the lure slows down, but the spool does not.
When this happens the line has nowhere to go, thus you will have a big mess of tangled fishing line. This is known as backlash.
Another common name for it is a ‘bird’s nest’ because the end results look much like a bird’s nest. This is not exactly what you want your fishing reel to look like nor is this a good way to start your fishing trip.
With that in mind let’s discuss some tips that will prevent this from happening or at least make it easier to deal with.
How to cast a baitcaster without backlash?
Choose a heavy lure: Baitcasting reels work really well with heavy lures. When beginning to using a baitcaster choose a heavy lure such as a large swimbait or big crankbait. If you start with a light bait, you will find yourself backlashing like crazy.
This is because the light lure may not be able to take the line out fast enough to keep up with the reel. Avoid this problem by starting out with something heavy.
Choose the right fishing line: While practicing for the first time you will mostly like experience a backlash. Choosing the right line can make it easier to untangle a bird’s nest. For example, getting a backlash with braided line can be very difficult to get out.
Fluorocarbon, on the other hand, tends to backlash more than monofilament. Thus, I would recommend using monofilament at least why practicing. It won’t prevent you from getting a backlash, but will make it easier to untangle your line.
Don’t cast into the wind: When casting a lure into the wind your bait will slow down, but your reel will not and the results will be a backlash.
When first starting out it is always better to throw with the wind rather than against it. As you gain more experience and are more comfortable using the reel you can begin to cast into the wind.
Choose your fishing pole wisely: Choosing a shorter fishing rod rather than a longer one at first will give you more control. Also, if possible, you want to choose a rod with a medium action. A medium action rod is much more forgiving and thus will help you make a cast with fewer backlashes.
Adjust the braking system: Most if not all baitcasting reels nowadays have an adjustable braking system. This system can be adjusted by a knob located on the outside of the reel. When used properly, it can help to prevent you from getting a backlash.
When first starting out set your braking system to the highest setting. As you gain more experience you can slowly lower the brakes to allow for longer casts.
Spool Tension: Closely related to the braking system is the spool tension. Having the spool tension set too high or too low will result in a backlash. Before casting make sure your spool tension is set just right. The correct tension will allow your lure to fall down at medium to slow speed. You don’t want your lure to fall down too fast or too slow.
Practice, Practice, Practice: Don’t wait until you are on the water to begin to experiment with a casting reel. This will only lead to frustrations. Rather, if possible try practicing in your backyard. Practicing in your backyard can at least give you some control of your surroundings.
Try an entry-level reel: There are many beginner baitcasting reels on the market. They are both inexpensive and some actually have systems in place that will prevent your reel from backlashing. Buying a beginner reel will give you a good feel for what it is like to cast a baitcaster without breaking the bank.
Use a line conditioner. Now you have probably heard that using a line conditioner can increase your casting distance, but it also can be very effective in reducing the number of backlashes.
What is line conditioner and how does it work?
Line conditioner is basically a lubricant for your fishing line that helps the line to come off the reel with less friction. Obviously, with less friction, you are going to experience fewer backlashes. In addition fishing line that is well lubed, even when you do experience a bird’s nest here or there, is going to be much easier to deal with then if you didn’t use any lube at all.
What is the best line conditioner?
One line conditioner that I really like is the one found here. It comes in a spray bottle making it easy to use, but the best part is that it doesn’t leave behind any residue or scent.
How to apply line conditioner to reduce backlashes?
Let’s briefly talk about how to apply line conditioner to your baitcasting reel.
Spray the spool. The first approach and probably one of the easiest is to spray the spool as you bring in the line. This can be done by first making a long cast. Next, quickly spray the spool. Reel in some line and spray more if needed. For best results, do this the night before you go fishing or you plan on practicing your casts. That way it will have plenty of time to dry.
Apply as you spool your reel. If you are trying to learn how to cast a baitcaster chances are it is because you haven’t used one before or perhaps you just bought yourself a new one. Well, before you go ahead and spool up the reel be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to apply some line conditioner. This can be done by first applying it to a rag and then apply the wet rag to the fishing line as you spool the reel.
Watch the following video to see how to adjust your baitcaster as well as how to cast it.
Unfortunately, even following these tips we may experience a backlash or two. Watch the following video to see how to deal with a backlash when it does happen.
For further reading check out the following links:
Now it’s your turn. How do you cast a baitcaster without backlash? Share your thoughts in the comments below.