Today I am going to teach you about a bait casting reel and it's strengths and weaknesses.
The first thing you need to know about a bait casting reel is what kind of rod to use with it. A quick trip to your local bait and tackle store will leave your head spinning with the sheer amount of rods available for purchase but this is a simple matter to get a grasp on.
Rods come in basically two varities. Variety number one is for bait casting and variety number two is for spin casting. What you need to know here is that the eyelets on a bait casting rod are significantly smaller than they are on a spin casting rod. The reason for this is that on a bait casting reel the line comes out straight rather than spinning off the barrel as it does on a spin cast reel. With that in mind you will want to select a rod with smaller eyelets for your bait caster.
If you're having trouble still deciding between brands I would suggest going with an Ugly Stik by Shakespeare. They are fairly priced and very durable and sensative.
Once you have your rod selected the next thing you will need to do is properly spool line onto your bait casting reel. Doing this is the first step towards making sure you don't get backlash when you cast causing your line to knot, tangle and twist inside your reel.
There are two methods for doing this which work well.
The first is to let your line pass through a bowl of water while spooling it onto your reel. This will help the line memory to relax and reset onto your reel as you are spooling it.
The second is to make sure that the line is coming off the spool you bought and going back onto your reel the same way it was wound at the factory. This can be done easily by making sure that the line is coming off the top of your factory spool and winding under the spool on your bait casting reel.
Either of these methods will work just fine. I prefer the second because it makes use of the existing line memory.
Now that we have your reel spooled you are probably wondering how all of those cranks and knobs function.
The most easily noticed control on your reel is a star shaped crank that is located on the inside of the handle you use to reel with. This is your drag setting. This is nothing more than how easy it is to pull the line out of your reel without hitting the bail release that you use to cast. This can be useful on especially big fish if you are worried about your line snapping. You can easily loosen the drag a little and wear the fish down some before you clamp down on it and reel him closer.
Next just behind the drag you will notice a small knob on the body of your reel. This is your spool cap. It adjusts the tension of your barrel which affects how easily the line comes out of your reel with the bail release depressed.
The best way to set this with little frustration is to tie on a 2 oz bank sinker to the end of your line and hold your rod parallel to the ground. Turn the knob to its tighest setting and press the bail release with your thumb. The sinker won't move which is not a good thing but from here you want to slowly loosen the spool cap until the sinker will fall slowly to the ground but not pull more line out of your spool once it is on the ground.
If your line does continue to spool out when the sinker is on the ground you will notice that it starts to unspool and create what is affectionately referred to as a rats nest or a birds nest. Regardless of what you call it, you don't want it to happen which is why it is important to make sure this is set correctly before you go fishing.
The final control on your reel is a dial on the left side of the reel body. This is a magnetic anti-backlash system which is designed to give those with a little less thumb control a more forgiving cast. This setting is really going to depend upon your skill with a bait casting reel and the amount of thumb control you have.
Which brings us to the final control on your reel and that is the spool release. This button is the same as the reels most of us are familliar with which have a push button depressed by the thumb. The spool release works exactly the same on a baitcast reel, however, it is up to you to hold the line with your thumb on the spool to keep it from coming out while you are casting.
Casting your bait cast reel will take practice. You want to release the line when it is at about a 45 degree angle with the surface of the water to allow for maximum distance if that is what you are after.
Another advantage of baitcasting is the ability to be much more precise with your casts. Though this depends largely on practice and thumb control but with time and paitence it will give you the ability to cast next to structure or weeds which are often favored by ambush predators like crappie and small mouth bass.
The last thing to keep in mind is that bait casting reels are for just that. Casting bait and they are ill suited for lighter tackle such as lures which can cause a lack in line tension and create some particularly nasty backlash.
I hope this has helped you get a little better understanding of bait cast reels. Please feel free to comment any corrections or additions you would like to see to this.