Backlash happens when the lure slows down after casting, but the spool does not—resulting in a tangled mess of line, also known as a “bird’s nest.” This is what usually discourages people from using a baitcasting reel. However, there are many advantages to using a baitcaster rather than a spinning reel—such as allowing for more precision and control, giving you a more accurate cast. Listed below are a few ways to help prevent, or lessen, backlash.
1. Choose the best equipment
Before anything else, you need to ensure that you have the best equipment for baitcasting. When you are just beginning, choosing a shorter rod will give you more control. You should choose a rod with medium action to help you cast your lure without backlash. When just starting, you want to choose the right fishing line to make it easier to untangle a bird’s nest. Monofilament causes the least backlash and is the easiest line to untangle than a braided line or fluorocarbon.
You also need to choose the correct lure. A heavy lure—such as a big crankbait or large swimbait—works really well for baitcasting when you’re just beginning. Heavier lures pull the line into the water more quickly, while a light lure will just follow the line, or the wind, causing more backlash. Light lures may not be able to keep up with the reel and may not cast out fast enough.
2. Adjust the brake system and spool tension and do a test cast
In the beginning, you want to set the brake system to the highest setting. This gives you more control and allows less movement while you practice. When you become more comfortable, you can begin to lower the tension to allow longer baits. You can find the wheel or dial, which controls the braking of the line, on the side of your baitcaster.
Most baitcasting reels enable you to adjust the braking the system, which helps in preventing backlash. Just as important, you need to ensure that your spool tension is set just right. If it is too high or too low, it can result in backlash. You want your lure to fall at neither too high nor low of a speed—but at a medium pace. There is no correct setting, so use trial and error to see where you feel most comfortable.
3. Practice short distances
As you start out, and are getting used to the new settings on your baitcaster, you should begin practicing with short distances. This will allow your hands to get used to the feel of the baitcaster. It is usually easier to begin casting side arm and then moving to overhand.
4. Use the wind to your advantage
When you start out, do not cast your lure against the wind, but with it. Using the wind to your advantage can help push the bait forward for more accuracy in casting. You may want to do a few test casts on dry land if you can’t find a spot that has the wind to your back. Casting against the wind will slow down your lure, but not your reel, resulting in backlash. As you become more comfortable with your reel and gain experience, you can begin casting into the wind.
5. Practice makes perfect
In the beginning, you can invest in an entry-level reel to give you a good idea of what it’s like to cast a baitcaster. Beginner reels are affordable and some have systems that prevent backlash. If it’s possible, try practice casting in your backyard so you can have some control of your surroundings.
Once you’ve gotten the feel for your baitcaster, test it out on the water. You can experiment with different braking and tension settings to see which is most comfortable. When you feel that you are getting the hang of it, you can try investing in a more advanced baitcaster. Remember: practice, practice, practice!
By following these tips, you’ll be casting like a pro in no time!