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Baitcasting Reel Techniques

Striper Strategies

Reels and reel maintenance

Baitcasting Striper fishermen

Hold the rod and reel tilted so that the handles are higher than the spool of the reel.
(Left handers should have the handles facing down) The reel should be cocked to one side of top dead center
The grip should be similar to holding a tennis racket. The "V" developed between the thumb and the index finger should be virtually at top dead center. The grip should be relaxed.
You will find that in holding the rod as described in the index finger is all that is required to stop the rod falling to the floor. The weight, or balance of the rod will cause the butt to push up into the palm of the hand. Actually it will be pushing up into the palm area beneath the thumb known as "the mount"
The area between the side of your thumb and the flat of your thumb should rest across the line on the spool. In other words, if you consider the rod to be pointing North, your thumb should be pointing more North North West than North.
Don't hold the reel in the upright position. This forces the thumb to lie straight north south, and this in turn cause a whole host of problems which are sure to result in over-runs (birdnests).

Upright Problems

The first of these problems is that you have to grip the rod too firmly, and use all your fingers. If you don't, the tip of the rod will fall away to the ground.
Secondly, you will find that as you bring the rod back to cast your wrist will lock. This, in turn, will force you to use more arm action, destroying the natural action and resulting in less distance, less accuracy and the expenditure of more energy.
Thirdly, on the forward thrust, your thumb will want to lift off the line on the spool. This will occur as a direct result of the mount of your palm and your fingers fighting to grip the rod, to stop it leaving your hand. Once your thumb cocks up in the air as a result of this wrong grip, you can guarantee a back-lash. Your thumb will never get back down on the spool quickly enough to stop it.
By rotating the reel to the side,you no longer have to hold the rod with that vice like grip. You can now relax your grip, bring your fingers into the cast, and it becomes all wrist action, with a completely relaxed forearm.
The forearm in fact becomes an extension of the rod's length, pivoting at the elbow, while your upper arm remains relatively motionless.

Before you attempt to practice you should make sure your spool contains enough line. The line should fill up to the bottom of the chamber on the top edge of the spool. A full spool does not have to revolve so quickly as the line peels off on the cast. If the spool is only half full you are going to need more force to overcome greater rotational inertia in getting the spool going. This is sure to result in problems.
You should treat yourself to a set of casting plugs. They are not expensive and will make practice in the back yard that much more enjoyable.
Choose the biggest plug, as this is the best to get the feel with when you are first starting out.
You should sit down, holding the rod and reel in the correct position, and with the rod point in the air. You then allow the plug to drop to the floor, feathering the line as it drops, but only stopping the spool as the plug reaches the floor.
By continually doing this exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, you teach your thumb the process of controlling the spool.
As the line drops to the floor you should be able to feel the rotating spool, tickling your thumb as it spins. Your 20 minutes practice teaches your thumb to feather the line on the way out to the target, to stop the lure or bait when it reaches its target, and not to point North.
Twenty minutes is not much when you consider the practice required for the golf swing! If you're prepared to do this the advice is well worth heeding.
Having driven the family mad with your 20 minute feathering exercise, you should then be ready to take on the dog in the back yard.
Once outside, flex the rod back and forth whilst holding the spool with your thumb. This is not a 20 minute exercise - just flex the rod back and forth to get the feel of the rod loading and unloading. It is a continuous backwards and forwardmotion taking the rod well back, but don't stop the rod in the back position


Baitcasters and backlashes

Tips :

  1. "The reel should be vertical, with the handle facing up, at the end of the cast".
  2. Heavy line on the reel is easier for a beginner to practice with.
  3. When spooling the baitcaster, you want the line to go on the reel in same direction it was wound on the spool. Reason being, the line has a "memory.
  4. You need to work on when to release your thumb from the spool during the cast, and when to place your thumb back on the spool. These are the two things you need to learn, and having the tension knob set tight will reduce the number and severity of birdsnests you get while you are waiting for your thumb to get with the program
  5. When trying to work out a backlash most people just start pulling line off the spool and it will get stuck every time. Rather next time try tightening your drag up and hold your thumb firmly on the spool and wind the reel a few times. This will tighten the line from the inside out. Next carefully pull the line off the spool until it snags and then once more hold your thumb or thumbnail on the spool and give it a few turns. This will help keep the line from digging in on it's self



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