Home Fishing How To Adjust A Baitcaster Fishing Reel Guide

How To Adjust A Baitcaster Fishing Reel Guide


Baitcaster fishing reel can be adjusted. A properly adjusted reel will improve the reach, the drag, and for them to work better all around.

The baitcaster fishing reel video covers…

  1. How To Adjust A Baitcaster Fishing Reel
  2. Older Model Bait Casters
  3. Baitcaster Fishing Reel Issues to Overcome
  4. Casting The Furthest Is Not Always The Best
  5. Increase Your BaitCasters Accuracy Tips
  6. Proper Casting Is All In The Wrist
  7. Easier Way To Cast Your Baitcasters
  8. Final Words and Credits

You can read more about the baitcaster fishing reel below.

Adjusting A Baitcaster Fishing Reel

How To Adjust A Baitcaster Fishing Reel Guide
This Baitcaster training fishing video, brought you by Glen May from Bass Resource. He lets us know how to properly set up a baitcaster fishing reel for maximum output.

Below is the video transcript of the above video.  Subtitles have been added to organize the text.

Some words were hard to understand, so I did the best I could to match them.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase an item thru these links. Thanks.

How To Adjust A Baitcaster Fishing Reel

Hey folks, Glen May here with bassresource.com, and today I want to talk to you about how to cast with a bait caster.

Now I know when you’re first starting out, it can seem really difficult and real daunting, and even when you’ve been using it for a while.

It can still seem kind of a pain in the butt to try to get it dialed in and get it working correctly.

So, let me show you a few tips and tricks on how to get there and how to make sure that your casts are smooth, accurate, and backlash-free.

First off, I want to go through the different types of anti-backlash controls that come with bait casters today.

There’re basically three kinds…

  • One is that pin kind,
  • the other is the central fugal break kind
  • and the third is the magnetic break kind.

And some bait casters come with a combination of two of those, or even all three, which can make it even seem more confusing.

So, let me take you through each one.

Pin Kind Baitcaster Reel

Baitcaster Fishing Reel
Pin Kind Baitcaster Reel – Image Source: Amazon

The first one is the pin kind And the reason I want to show that first is that’s regardless if your unit comes with just one or with all three.

The pin is the first one that you want to adjust.

And you can see in this one here, I’ve taken the side plate off, it has six different pins.

Lixada Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Lixada Baitcasting Fishing Reel (Amazon)

And if you look closely, you’ll see that this one right here is sticking further out than the rest, except for the one on the opposite side.

I have two here that are out and the others are in, or closest to the center of the reel.

Now, when it’s closest to the center of the reel, that’s off.

And if you click it, you just stick your fingernail in there and just give it a little bit of pressure, you feel it pop out, then it’s on.

When it’s on, it’s going to give a lot more resistance to the spool.

It’s going to help cut down on backlashes.

I recommend when you’re first starting out, you want to have three, maybe four on, and always do it in crisscross patterns.

Don’t do one, two, three, four, like that.

You want one, two, three, four, in crisscrossing patterns.

Go with four and if you first started out maybe three, then you put the plate back on.

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Now, those are breaks are always on.

They don’t adjust or change as throughout the cast and that’s important to know.

We’ll get to that in a minute later.

Now, I’ve been using bait casters for a long time, you can see I had two on.

Sometimes people like them one, sometimes like to free spool them.

Once you get to a certain point in your comfort level, you can start clicking them back and turning them off.

Until you feel comfortable with them and as time goes on, maybe with lighter lures… you might want to turn some more on, or you might want to turn some more off.

You can experiment, but it’s always good to start with three or four on and then adjust from there.

Centrifugal BaitCasters Reel

Centrifugal BaitCasters Reel
Centrifugal BaitCasters Reel – Image Source: Amazon

Next, I want to show you is the centrifugal brake, which that’s always this knob on the real handle side.

No matter what make model reel that you’ve got, it’s always with the one next to the reel handle.

And all that is a little knob right here and you turn it clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen.

Baitcaster Fishing Reel
Low Profile Centrifugal Baitcast Fishing Reel (Amazon)

You’ll notice that as you get through this, they’ll become a sweet spot where just a little bit of incremental change forward or backward can make a big difference.

And what the centrifugal break does is it applies some brakes internally in the reel, on the spool on this side.

And then again, that applies brakes all the way through the cast and that helps again, reduce the backlash and the more you have it on, the more breaks that you’re going to, have less backlashed.

Of course, the more you have it on the less distance that you’re going to have and perhaps even the harder you’ll need to cast.

We’ll get to that in just a minute.

Magnetics BaitCaster Fishing Reels

Magnetics BaitCaster Fishing Reels
Magnetics BaitCaster Fishing Reels – Image Source: Amazon

But then, lastly, I want to show you the magnetics breaks.

And I’m going to tell you in a minute, how all this works together in harmony, I just want to show you what these are.

The magnetic brake, as you’ll notice, here’s a centrifugal on this reel right here, the magnetic is on this side.

Baitcaster Fishing Reel
Super Smooth Baitcast Reel with Magnetic Braking System (Amazon)

That’s always the case, no matter what make model you have, the magnetic brake is over here.

This has a gauge, usually, it’s one through 10.

What the magnetic brake does is it applies braking more towards the end of the cast than at the beginning.

Very useful for when you’re throwing light lures or you’re throwing into the wind, works really well for that.

So sometimes I’ll have this dialed all the way up if I’m throwing it and wind, sometimes I have it all the way off.

Oftentimes I have it for all kinds of things in between, depending on the weight of the lure I’m throwing.

Depending on the wind conditions and depending on the rod and the type of casting that I’m doing.

This is what you use to fine-tune your casting once you get everything done.

If you notice I’ve shown you a progression in order that you adjust as you’re setting your reel up.

It’s pins first, centrifugal next, and then your magnetic brakes.

Older Model Bait Casters

Baitcaster Fishing Reel
Round Baitcasting Reel, Perfect Conventional Fishing Reel (Amazon)

Some reels, I just missed, I forgot about a fourth type.

There are some rails where there’s just a knob over here and that’s both your centrifugal and magnetic.

They don’t make so many of those anymore, but there’s still some out there.

You just have one knob to adjust and that’s all there is to it, you don’t have to worry about that.

Same with just centrifugal, that’s pretty popular as well.

Just that one, you don’t have to adjust anything else.

Anyway, what you want to do is once you have to adjust it is set your lure up… hang it 90 degrees in parallel to the boat or to the ground, release the button and let it free spool.

It should drop at a slow controlled rate and once it hits the floor, the reel shouldn’t backlash.

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It’ll spin a little bit, but not much, it shouldn’t backlash.

If it backlash is too much readjust as necessary until you get it to the point where it just stops spinning right when the lure hits the floor.

Then you know you’ve got it set up, at least initially you’ve got it set up correctly.

But you know, once you have it set up, that doesn’t mean that guess what? I’m good to go, I won’t have backlashes anymore.

No. These brake mechanisms are not silver bullets, they’re not going to prevent all backlashes.

And as a matter of fact, a lot of issues people have with casting bait casters have nothing to do with getting it set up properly.

Baitcaster Fishing Reel Issues to Overcome

So, let’s go through some of the other issues you can have and how to overcome those once you have your bait caster setup.

Okay, so now we’ve got the bait caster set-up right, we’re ready to rock and roll, what are some of the issues you may have?

Well, first of all, you’re casting, a couple of things to remember, the release point.

  • When you cast, you want to let go at about the 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock position.
  • And how you can tell whether you’re releasing too soon or too late when you cast. If the lure goes really high, comes back down, you released a bit too soon.

A big, huge splash is a good indication of letting go too soon.

Conversely, if you’re cast in the lure lands right in front of you or lands in a straight line really hard into the water.

Typically that results in a backlash, then you’ve released too late.

So, pay attention to when the lure hits the water, how it hits the water, what kind of arc it has.

That gives you an idea if you’re released timing and whether you need to release sooner or later.

One other thing to keep in mind is that with most bass casting techniques, it’s all on the wrist.

It’s not what the forearm and it’s not what the arm, we’re not here to do passes, we’re not throwing touchdowns here.

So don’t do any of this, I don’t want to see the rod way back behind you and you’re throwing it.

No. Doing that, you’re going to throw it too hard and you’re going to cause backlashing issues.

Part of the reason why you get backlash is as you’re throwing way too hard.

Casting The Furthest Is Not Always The Best

Casting The Furthest Is Not Always The BestAs a matter of fact, when you’re first starting out, a lot of people get obsessed with their distance.

Please don’t do that.

Please, please, please don’t do that with bass fishing particularly.

It’s all about accuracy, not distance so don’t worry about your distance.

And as a matter of fact, as time goes on and as you get more and more practice, your distance will get there.

It’ll come later, don’t worry about it.

If you try hard right now to throw as far as you can, I guarantee you, you will get a backlash.

So, first off, forget about your distance, it doesn’t matter.

Increase Your BaitCasters Accuracy Tips

Increase Your BaitCasters Accuracy TipsWhat matters is technique inaccuracy.

As a matter of fact, a great way to do this is to practice in your backyard, set up a target, and aim for it.

One that’s not very far away.

Don’t try to jerk it all the way across your yard, you’re going to be disappointed with the results.

Focus on something within your range and focus on that accuracy.

Now, when you cast again, it’s wrist and you don’t need to bring the rod way past, go over here behind your head.

No, because when you do that, you don’t know which direction it’s going to go in, it’s hanging back here, who knows?

When you fire forward, it’s going to go somewhere.

Keep it right in front of you.

Keep the rod right in front of you.

That’s the best way to keep it accurate.

So, all it is, you might go a little bit past your shoulder, but it’s just a little cast like that.

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It’s really light, it’s not much.

Proper Casting Is All In The Wrist

Proper Casting Is All In The WristWatch my wrist again is just wrist.

Very simple and straightforward.

You don’t have to throw it really hard, it’s just a simple wrist.

And one other thing, it’s a lot harder when you shake people’s hands to move your wrist like this, than like that.

So, don’t cast with your wrist like that, put it like that.

See that? I’ve got it up and down.

The reel handle is up.

I’m right-handed if you’re left-handed, you’re going to have it the other way. But right-handed, your wrist, you want it the way you would when you shake someone’s hands.

Easier Way To Cast Your Baitcasters

Easier to cast that way.

A lot easier to cast that way, straight up and down versus trying to do it like this.

And a little small thing, but the spool then is on its axis and it will spin a little bit easier.

It’s a minor thing.

Especially when you have a reel, that’s got nine or 10 bearings, it’s pretty much such a minuscule improvement.

It’s not much, but it does give you a little bit of a performance advantage.

But keeping your wrists straight up and down, using your wrist, not bringing it back, and not throwing it as hard as you can.

Just practice on that release point and practice with how much pressure do you use with your thumb on the reel.

Initially, when you’re casting, you want to use quite a bit of pressure on the thumb.

Right on the reel to make sure it doesn’t spin really hard.

As you practice, you can start letting lose a little bit more and more.

Final Words And Credits

But I’ve been doing this for 40 plus years.

I can tell you, I always have my thumb, at least resting on the spool when I cast, I can feel it.

After a while, you can tell, if you start to get a backlash, you can use your thumb to apply more pressure and prevent it from happening.

So that’s it.

It’s very simple, very straightforward.

A couple of things to keep in mind, get that reel adjusted correctly. Then start practicing with short targets.

I guarantee you, you will get better and better, and you’ll love your baitcasting outfit.

For more tips and tricks like this visit bassresource.com.

You can find out more about them at their BassResource – Bass Fishing Techniques Youtube Channel here.

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How To Adjust A Baitcaster Fishing Reel Guide

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