How to Use a Baitcasting Reel Like a Pro

Whether you’re new to fishing or a seasoned veteran, you can learn how to use a baitcasting reel like a pro angler.

A baitcaster is a step above the traditional spinning reel, but it requires a bit more work to use it correctly. With the baitcaster basics, you’ll be bringing in prize fish in no time.

Birdnesting happens to every fisher at some point, and it’ll likely happen more than once. You can also call this event “backlash.” It happens when the spool spins faster than the line is moving, which results in a mess of fishing line tangled around the spool.

While backlash is frustrating, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s part of learning how to use a baitcasting reel. With the right items and know-how, you can know how to set up a baitcaster reel and get fishing.


The other half of knowing how to use a baitcasting reel properly is knowing how to cast with one. It’s great to set up the reel properly, but you’ve got to get the bait in the water before you can get any bites!

Casting a baitcaster will go smoothly if you hold the rod properly as you do it. You’ll then need to know when to release and stop the line to prevent backlash.

Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t perform the perfect cast your first time. Even the pro anglers had to practice before they could cast correctly. As you practice, you’ll refine your form, and it’ll feel more natural.

Knowing how to hold a baitcaster comes down to your thumb placement. Many fishermen are more comfortable casting with their dominant hand, so start by holding the rod in your dominant hand.

Your thumb should sit just over the spool, allowing you to both press the spool release button and push your thumb onto the spool. Some find that sitting their thumb at an angle over the spool allows more control, so you’ll need to experiment to find which position works best for you.

You don’t have to put your other hand on the rod, especially if you’re a beginner. You’ll be able to cast with the strength of one arm because you don’t need much strength for a short cast.

Before you cast, make sure your bait is hanging 6 inches to 12 inches from the tip of the rod. When the bait is at the right length, press the spool release button and place your thumb on the spool to prevent the bait from dropping.

For an overhead cast, bend your casting arm so that your elbow forms a 90-degree angle, and the rod is pointing just barely behind you. If you had a clock next to you, your rod should be pointing at 2 o’clock.

Swing the rod forward, and take your thumb off the spool when the rod passes the 10 o’clock point. The weight of your lure should send the bait and line toward your intended target.

Just before the lure touches the water, place your thumb back on the spool to stop the line. This will drop the bait into the water and prevent backlash in the spool.

Once you get your lure in the water, you’re ready to fish.

Love Video? Here’s a great one to go along with this article:


It takes some time, but anyone can learn how to use a baitcasting reel. All you need is the best baitcasting reel, the right equipment, and an understanding of how they work. You can then work on your cast until you get it down.

What was the hardest part for you to learn when using a baitcaster? Let us know in the comments section.

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