How do you adjust a baitcaster?
Response by Craig Baugher - Dated 2/29/2000

  1. How do I properly set the reel for the lure weight?

        On your baitcaster, next to the handle is a knob. This knob is called a "Spool Tension" control knob. By tightening or loosing it, you are controlling the ease in the spool turns. As a rookie to baitcasters you will adjust this knob very time you tie on a new lure. So begin by tying on a lure, and tightening up this knob. Then reel in your lure to about 2 inches from the tip of your rod. Then hold your rod level with your waist and press down the clutch bar. If you tightened up the knob your lure should be still about two inches from the tip top.

        Now loosen the knob until the lure just starts to fall slowly. Reel it up and press the clutch bar again and see if the lure starts to fall slowly. If it doesn't, shake your rod and it should start to drop. If it does, great. If it doesn't, loosen the knob a little more. Now turn your magnets all the way up.

        Under this setup you should not backlash, even in the wind, with the exception being if you are throwing a spinnerbait that can really catch the wind. Repeat the above process every time you change lures.

  2. How should I set my spool tension and magnets for the conditions?

        The only condition you really need to adjust for is wind. If you are casting into the wind, as a rookie baitcaster, you will tighten the spool tension knob a little and ensure your magnets are set to 100% or all the way on.

  3. How do I effectively clear a backlash?

        Start by looking down at your spool and you will see a loop that has caught the out going line. Start by pushing your line back into the reel. Then grab the line and pull it back. This should expose the loop that grabbed your line. Grab the loop and pull it up while pulling the line out of your reel. In most cases that should do it. Keep pulling line out of your reel until all the slack line is out, then pinch your line between your fingers just in front of the reel to put pressure on the line and reel in all the loose line. But if you have a real bird nest. Grab your scissors and start cutting through all the slack line and pull it out.

  4. How do I keep from backlashing in the first place?

        Follow instructions in #1 & 2 and you won't backlash. You won't get a great deal of distance, but you won't backlash either.

  5. Which is better, centrifugal or magnetic braking system?

        Both are quite effective, and today, both come with easy adjustments dials on the outside of the reel. But in the past or on older model reels, centrifugal braking systems required you to remove the reels cover to adjust them.

  6. How will I know how much line I can put on my reel?

        Common rule of thumb is about an 1/8" from the top of the spool. As you are casting and becoming comfortable with a baitcaster. Start applying thumb pressure to your spool while you cast. As you become comfortable doing this, start backing off the tension on your spool through the spool tension knob. But the biggest thing you have to remember is that with a baitcaster, you do not put a lot of muscle into your cast. The more muscle, the more likely you are to backlash. Here is the basic forward cast. Hold your casting arm elbow close to your side. Then left up your rod to the 12 o'clock or straight up position. Using just your forearm cast. In this way you will learn to cast with the right amount of muscle and also develop an accurate cast.

        As time goes on, you will have your spool tension knob backed total off. Then start backing off on your magnets. Until you reach a point that you can cast 150+ feet with ease and only using your magnets to control for wind conditions.

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