Adventures in Baitcasters – The Beginning

Abu Garcia Black Max Average Hunter

In my 35+/- years of fishing, I have never cared about what fishing reel I used, what brand it was or what style it was.  All I cared about is that it would cast a worm or lure easily.  But I have always been curious when I see pics of people fishing with baitcasters or all those tournament anglers out there using nothing but baitcasters. So what’s the big deal with those reels?

I will admit, I have tried baitcasters in the past.  I think when I was a teen, I came across a cheap reel and I thought a baitcast is a baitcast and I would give it a shot.  I, like many, tried it, failed miserably and proceeded to dispose of the reel accordingly.  Again like many, it’s still at the bottom of that pond I was fishing in.   So for all this time, I was totally fine with using all my random reels that were passed down or found on the side of the road.  Until recently.

Picking Out a Baitcaster

Abu Garcia Black Max Average HunterI have been in a monthly fishing competition with my brother-in-law for the last couple months and kicking his butt by the way.  But with the added competition, I have had to pick up my fishing game some.  I have read more and asking more questions about tricks to catching bigger fish.  The more research I have done, I have been drawn more and more into finally trying out a baitcaster again.  So with A LOT of help from all my friends on Twitter, I decided to take the small leap into the world of fishing with a baitcasting reel.

The majority of the suggestions I received all said that Abu Garcia was the brand to go with and because I was new at this and still very hesitant, I didn’t want to spend much on a reel.  I decided that the Black Max from Abu Garcia was the model I wanted to get.  At under $40 at Wally World, I didn’t think I could really go wrong.

Now, did I mention that I am cheap and with still being unsure about using these things, I didn’t want to put much money into it.  That includes going out and buying new line.  But luckily I had some Tuf-Line braid that I really love on my spinning and spincast reels.  It’s a 50# braid that cast extremely well and I thought it would be perfect for this.  Although many on Twitter said to use mono, I decided to go this route.

Let The Practice Begin

I knew this isn’t something that I wanted to just put the string on and head out to the lake.  Everyone that I talked to mentioned it taking months or years to become good at being able to take full advantage of using baitcasters.  Just like in everything else, practice makes perfect and let the “bird nesting” begin.

I knew that I wanted to start heavy.  With the way these reels are designed, the heavier the weight, the more I could get away with.  I won’t go into how each feature works on baitcasters because I am still learning this myself.  But I know you set the brake to max and then adjust the red knob there until the spool turns slowly on its own with released.  How’s that for a technical guide to how to use a baitcaster?

bird nest with baitcasteWith using a heavy weight and keeping the settings tight, I was quickly making some decent casts down the driveway.  With cast after cast and getting more and more cocky about just how good I am.  I decided when I actually go fishing to loosen things up a bit and prove to myself just how good I am.  We all know what happens when one gets too cocky.  Sure enough, I got put in my place real quick with an errant cast and that spool was a mess.  After 20 minutes of picking and pulling, I had to resort to the knife to clean up my mess.

Lesson of the day kids.  Don’t get too cocky.

As I continue to learn more about using these evil reels, I will continue this series of articles about what I am learning and share my failures and read more about reels at FishingLab.  Please leave me some tips and tricks in the comments below and help me get past this learning curve.




  • Joe August 12, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I found breaded works better for bait casters. Adjusting your cast tension is key depending on the weight of the bait using. Bait casters are great for drop shots, casting in a underhand like motion and always keeping your thumb on spool to better assist the reel not getting noted. Using your thumb on the spool can also help get your distance you want during your cast. Then I use a bait casters for long fast casts, over my head with a fast regulated cast using my thumb in the spool too. It’s all personal preference for reels but sometimes I feel bait casters come in major use when drop shotting underhand to get a precise cast in tricky areas with minimal splash, a long stiff did is also important. Usually the rods are labeled “casting rod” or “mega casting rod” with a trigger like grip. Always go one peive with bait casters, sucks to store em but when I cast over head strong and fast I know it won’t separate. It’s 3:20 am and I enjoyed reading this article, hope my early morning typing isn’t too far off and maybe it makes sense? I grew up a bass fisherman now I love in Alaska, catching halibut and salmon. I miss using my bass rods, mostly bait casters, so I picked up a Citica Saltwater baitcaster to get the same enjoyment from fishing for bass.. It’s a bigger fight with salmon using a baitcaster, not always the best Rod grip so I mostly using a spinning rod for these silvers. Hope this helps, keep the good articles comin! Three more hours and I’ll be fishing for kings!

  • Jake August 12, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Instead of putting your brakes to the max, put them about glad or 3/4 of the way. This will get you a little bit more distance of you need it but it’s still slowing that spool down quite a bit.. Practice on half (the harder setting) and when ou fish use it at 3/4 so it’s even easier and you have more confidence. I practiced using a bait caster by learning the whole “flipping and pitching” techniques. Holding the bait in your hand, releasing the spool while building tension and letting it glide out towards the water easily. Look up those techniques on YouTube. Very simple and easy to control and once you’ve mastered it, one is able to flip and pitch up to 20 yards.


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