I had thought that I was getting pretty decent at casting a baitcaster without having bird nests, but I wasn't casting quite as far as I could, at least compared to a similar spinning set up. I've been running programs that take a while at work, so I thought I'd go out and get some practice in between runs and maybe catch something, too.
Since I've been trying to add a little distance, I've been bird nesting all over the place while the lure is in the air and launching all kinds of lures into the Patuxent. I read about turning my wrist while casting and not putting too much muscle into the cast, and both of those things seem to help a lot. I've also been checking the drop rate and adjusting the spool tension knob whenever I change lures and after several casts, but I'm still getting bird nests, and I can't figure out why.
One question I have is how do you set your brakes when you're adjusting the spool tension? All the way on, all the way off, somewhere in between?
The frustrating thing is that I'll have a great cast, then I'll cast again in the same direction relative to the wind with the same wind speed, and get a bird nest and lose the lure. I think I'm keeping my thumb pressure constant, but I can't be sure. I've had a few bird nests at the beginning of the cast, but I think that's from over-muscling it. Most of the bird nests seem to happen near the middle of the cast. Any thoughts?
I'm using an Abu Garcia Revo SX-HS with 20lb Powerpro.
Thanks in advance.
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attach the lure you are casting.
reel it in to the rod tip
keep the rod level
put the reel in free spool thumb on spool
remove thum (from spool)
adjust the break (knob on the side) so when the lure its the ground/deck the spool stops spinning
That is how I was instructed to adjust the reel for casting..
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Try keeping the keeping the rod tip up/level and wrist striaght, I had a problem of dropping the tip/breaking my wrist right as the lure hit the water, line keeps spooling off, lure stops, causing the bird's nest.
I wouldn't fiddle with the breaks. Smoother casting will reduce backlashes: often when I try to wing a lure, the motion gets jerky, and I get a backlash. Most of the casting should come from your wrist. Try casting for awhile without moving your arms, but just snapping your wrists. Once you get that down, starting adding in modest arm motion. How big of a lure are you using? Some lures (lighter, or more wind resistance) will simply not go as far with a baitcasting setup versus spinning in my experience. As for spool tension, keep on adding until you stop backlashing. Usually for me this is just when you can barely feel tension in the knob. Any less and I backlash, any more and casting distance suffers. How long is your rod? I prefer seven footers personally.
If your thumb is getting burnt during the cast ,try feathering the side of the spool. I use Shimano baitcasters and have 3 brakes engaged while the 3 remaing brakes are off. Also, be sure to stop the spool when the lure hits the water. It takes a certain feel that only comes with time and practice
It takes some practice to get good at baitcasting reels - even then - a birdnest now / then is to be expected.
Snag an antenna while casting - you want to see a bird nest - ouch.
I never liked the brake / tension knob - instead , used my thumb. You develope a 6th sense on how much pressure to apply and when.
Most times with baitcasters - you are looking at short but very accurate casts.
If distance is the goal - spinning gear gets the nod.
If you aresnapping off lures - most likely you're trying to force more distance then the rod / reel or lure can deliver.
One good casting tactic is to swing the rod almost level with the ground - but slightly angled upwards. This keeps the lure in a flatter arc - but again - only so much distance can be expected.
I know some bass gurus go to great lengths to get their baitcasters to perform. They remove the level wind - use special lube on bearings - polish the spool shaft - and guess what ? They still get a backlash now / then.
If you are casting accurately 50 to 75 feet with no backlash - I'd be happy.
Farther then that needed - grab a spinning reel.
What could be more mundane than dying of old age or of natural causes when there is death by misadventure to be pursued ? Skip
Don't snap it and use your thumb to control. If you try to get that extra yard it will bite you in the A$$
livelining, free spool and use the tension knob to limit the spots movement. much better than a bait runner and all you have to to is touch the handle and the drag is locked
Here, in a nutshell, is how I taught my boys:
Keep the brakes at the factory setting. Tie on a half ounce jig head, hold the rod tip straight out and tighten the tension adjustment so that the lure falls, but is somewhat restricted (not much). You have it set right when the spool turns a quarter to a half turn when the jig head hits the ground. Now, make an overhand cast above your head while keeping your wrist and arm straight. In other words, a lob cast. Keep your thumb on the spool so that you can feel it turn, but not so hard that it slows it down. When the lure stops at the end of the cast, stop the spool with your thumb. Keep practicing those lob casts gradually increasing your distance and slowly easing off on the tension until you start getting some distance. Don't be greedy, you have to practice some before you can really throw far.
Once you get absolutely comfortable with the lob casts is the time to start working a little wrist snap into your process. At first, don't snap at all, just stop a little shorter than you did with your lob casts making sure you keep your thumb on the spool. You might need to pick back up on the tension knob a little. After you've stopped short and the lure takes flight, follow through by keeping the rod tip pointed at the lure all the way through its trajectory. Again, put your thumb down as soon as, or just before the lure hits the ground or water. Don't even worry about rotating the reel until later on. That's a technique designed more to keep the older Garcia reels in check.
Gradually increase your snap as you get more comfortable. This is a process that takes years, not days or weeks to master. The good news is, you really don't need much distance for baitcasting on the Bay. Most of my casts are underhand flips and less than a hundred yards. I usually use a spinning outfit for topwater or light lures in the wind. That said, don't underestimate the advantages of a baitcaster for jigging rockfish around structure. Oh, yeah, one more thing - If I were teaching a baitcasting course professionally class 101 would be called "backlash picking" and last three months!
I would also drop down to 14-15lb line unless you are sure HUGE fish are around.
Last edited by spynet000; 08-11-2010 at 05:08 PM.