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"Tuning" a baitcasting reel

Old 10-08-2010, 06:18 AM
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Default "Tuning" a baitcasting reel

I think I could cast a baitcaster better when I was 12 than I can at 50. ;? I have a new Shimano Curado that I used for the first time last weekend. I probably backlashed it on 80% of the casts. Yes, it was windy but damn. I tried differents spool tensions but never found the "magic" spot. I never fooled with the anti-backlash (yeah right) settings under the left cover. I seemed to have better luck when I let 'er rip than when I was trying to cast only 20 feet or so.

So, how do you guys go about getting the settings right? I always thought the spool tension needed to be just a hair tighter than a freefall, so that when I push the release button the line comes off in a controlled descent. Anyway, I think maybe I just don't know as much as I thought I did, and would appreciate some advice from some guys that know and use baitcasters.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:01 AM
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For me, the wrong rod adds to my baitcaster woes...

I'm sure I'm the guy they designed the newer magnetic anti-backlash systems for.

So, with that said, not sure that I can provide a method to cast far, backlash free.

First of all, I don't like to cast braid long distances. I always did better with mono. I assume you are surf fishing and trying to get out there a ways, so your rods are long and whippy. For me that's good. Also, I really liked using a lighter test line. And constant thumb pressure on the free spool was needed. I found myself stepping into my throw, instead of just slinging it from over my shoulder. My last trip to the east coast to fish for bluefish went fairly well using these techniques...
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:24 AM
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Default Everyone is different

Usually, I adjust the spool tension on my baitcast reels just tight enough to where it slowly feeds line with the weight of my lure/rig. If it's really windy, and I'm casting into it, I might tighten it up a little to where the weight of the lure/rig will not pull line from the spool.

Primarily, I just use the pressure of my thumb on the spool to adjust to the conditions (practice makes perfect here). Unlike the poster above I prefer braid over mono (especially in the case of surf fishing). Because of it's smaller diameter in comparison to mono, there is much less wind resistance, allowing for more distance with each cast. Once you master casting braid line you will never go back to mono-it's all in the thumb.
Old 10-08-2010, 07:24 AM
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I am using a medium action 7' St. Croix rod and was fishing from my kayak. The short casts were the ones really killing me. When I was casting for distance I did fine most of the time. But I was working a shoreline so there weren't many casts that I was trying to go long. I have 14# mono on the reel.
Old 10-08-2010, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SurfFishLife View Post
I am using a medium action 7' St. Croix rod and was fishing from my kayak. The short casts were the ones really killing me. When I was casting for distance I did fine most of the time. But I was working a shoreline so there weren't many casts that I was trying to go long. I have 14# mono on the reel.
Hmm, is the reel full of new line? Sometimes mono line memory can cause it to unwind on the spool. Sounds like you just need to spend some time casing and getting use to your reel and thumb control over the spool.
Old 10-08-2010, 10:03 AM
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Yes, it is brand new line. You are probably right about practice. I just need to fish more often.
Old 10-08-2010, 10:07 AM
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I tighten down all the settings and then loosen them slightly before each cast untill I find the sweet spot.
Old 10-08-2010, 10:34 AM
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Are you trying to use the same ( low ) spool tension for short and long casts. If so, a short cast can not have much rod tip velocity at the start of the cast (low pull on the reel) and because there is not much line out there is very little pull/resistance on the reel as the line hits the water. Maybe try a higher spool tension for short casts for now. Drop back to a lower tension when you go for distance. Finesse it later.

On the kayak side - are you casting across your body? I try to avoid casting from stern to bow because I do not have enough leverage while seated to generate good control or max rod tip speed. I am a righty so my best cast is with the rod starting back right and moving to front left. Next best is from right to left.
Old 10-08-2010, 03:04 PM
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Ditch the mono, and practice, practice, practice..
Old 10-08-2010, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pierless View Post
Are you trying to use the same ( low ) spool tension for short and long casts. If so, a short cast can not have much rod tip velocity at the start of the cast (low pull on the reel) and because there is not much line out there is very little pull/resistance on the reel as the line hits the water. Maybe try a higher spool tension for short casts for now. Drop back to a lower tension when you go for distance. Finesse it later.

On the kayak side - are you casting across your body? I try to avoid casting from stern to bow because I do not have enough leverage while seated to generate good control or max rod tip speed. I am a righty so my best cast is with the rod starting back right and moving to front left. Next best is from right to left.
There's not much consistency in how I cast in relation to the kayak. I drop anchor in a spot and the wind and currents change enough that I'm not usually pointing the same direction for long, and when I am fairly stationary I am rarely facing the direction I'd like. So I just do whatever I have to do to cast. With a spinning reel, I've even been known to cast backwards over my head.
Old 10-08-2010, 05:00 PM
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The Curado does not have a magnetic anti-backlash system. It relies on weights around the end of the shaft under the left side plate. You are correct in the spool tension using the knob on the right side of the reel. To start playing with the left side adjustments, unscrew the knob holding the left side plate in place and swing it out of the way so you can see the end of the spool and shaft. There will be 6 little plastic "weights" on shafts sticking out of the main shaft like spokes on a wheel. Slide these weights out along the shafts on which they sit. By doing this, it puts the weight further from the center of rotation, like a trapeze artist holding her arms out. This slows the rotation. If the weights are pushed in, closer to the main shaft, this speeds up the rotation, like the trapeze artist pulling her arms in to speed up her rotation.

Another trick I teach when instructing a beginner on baitcast techniques is to pull enough line off your reel for your longest cast, then put a piece of masking tape on the spool and reel the line back over the tape. If you do backlash (and you will), it will only go as deep as the tape.

Start to cast sidearm, not overhand. and cast "up-hill". That is, cast so that the line from the rod tip is going at a slight incline until it loses sufficient energy to let the lure fall into the water. I know overhand is more accurate, but get the thumb coordination with the spool down first. If you cast downhill, you will have a hard time judging when to stop the spool with your thumb
Old 10-08-2010, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jack hexter View Post
the curado does not have a magnetic anti-backlash system. It relies on weights around the end of the shaft under the left side plate. You are correct in the spool tension using the knob on the right side of the reel. To start playing with the left side adjustments, unscrew the knob holding the left side plate in place and swing it out of the way so you can see the end of the spool and shaft. There will be 6 little plastic "weights" on shafts sticking out of the main shaft like spokes on a wheel. Slide these weights out along the shafts on which they sit. By doing this, it puts the weight further from the center of rotation, like a trapeze artist holding her arms out. This slows the rotation. If the weights are pushed in, closer to the main shaft, this speeds up the rotation, like the trapeze artist pulling her arms in to speed up her rotation.

Another trick i teach when instructing a beginner on baitcast techniques is to pull enough line off your reel for your longest cast, then put a piece of masking tape on the spool and reel the line back over the tape. If you do backlash (and you will), it will only go as deep as the tape.

Start to cast sidearm, not overhand. And cast "up-hill". That is, cast so that the line from the rod tip is going at a slight incline until it loses sufficient energy to let the lure fall into the water. I know overhand is more accurate, but get the thumb coordination with the spool down first. If you cast downhill, you will have a hard time judging when to stop the spool with your thumb
beautiful advise...cast slightly upward like a low loft and let the lure control the cast more.
Do not cast like a spinning rod or you will always backlash.

I have never adjusted the weights, only the spool tension knob, and started out tighter and worked my way out.

Practice with heavier lures first to get a better feel for it, as it is more difficult with lighter lures.

I have 30# braid on my abu garcia revo inshore and just went largemouth/smallmouth bass fishing in maine today with it.

I casted bombers, spinnerbait, rattle raps and it worked well.

Go with braid even if only 20# as it's density will help you learn.
Old 10-09-2010, 03:14 PM
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OK, the weights on the left side make more sense to me now. And I have a plan: Cast uphill and sidearm. Thanks so much; this is exactly the type of advice I was looking for.
Old 10-09-2010, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SurfFishLife View Post
There's not much consistency in how I cast in relation to the kayak. I drop anchor in a spot and the wind and currents change enough that I'm not usually pointing the same direction for long, and when I am fairly stationary I am rarely facing the direction I'd like. So I just do whatever I have to do to cast. With a spinning reel, I've even been known to cast backwards over my head.

Hobie has what they call an anchor trolley system. There is a pulley at the bow and stern. A loop (of line) runs between the two pulleys and there is a clip on the loop. The anchor line attaches to the clip. The anchor line attaches to the clip so the trolley system lets you move the anchor's attachment point from the stern to the bow or anywhere in between. This system will improve your control over the kayak's position relative to the casting target.

Can you get something like this for your kayak?
Old 10-10-2010, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Pierless View Post
Hobie has what they call an anchor trolley system. There is a pulley at the bow and stern. A loop (of line) runs between the two pulleys and there is a clip on the loop. The anchor line attaches to the clip. The anchor line attaches to the clip so the trolley system lets you move the anchor's attachment point from the stern to the bow or anywhere in between. This system will improve your control over the kayak's position relative to the casting target.

Can you get something like this for your kayak?
Possibly...I've seen those but never thought about adding one to my yak. After last weekend I am definitely thinking about adding a rudder though. The wind was weathervaning my yak something fierce. Had to paddle on one side almost all the way back to the ramp. Luckily, it wasn't that far.
Old 10-13-2010, 02:55 PM
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"Another trick I teach when instructing a beginner on baitcast techniques is to pull enough line off your reel for your longest cast, then put a piece of masking tape on the spool and reel the line back over the tape. If you do backlash (and you will), it will only go as deep as the tape".

What a great tip. V useful in fishing situations too, especially when casting into a headwind.
Old 10-14-2010, 08:32 PM
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One last piece of advice. Your cast results will vary with the weight of the lure/bait you cast -- I adjust my spool tension for each lure. To do that:

1. Tie on the lure/bait.

2. Put the reel in freespool with the bait at the tip and the rod at a slight upward incline.

3. Now adjust the spool tension knob to the point where the bait/lure is just slowly lowering itself.

Now when you cast, take it easy -- don't try to set a distance record. The slight sidearm casting method Jake mentioned is excellent.

PB
Old 10-14-2010, 08:58 PM
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Lure weight is a major factor. I agree with Prop Blast.
Along with wind conditions, line size, line age, line type, rod length, tip speed, reel adjustments, reel maintenance, thumb experience, etc....
It all plays a part in getting or preventing "Professional Over Runs"

It like trying to find out what is wrong with a golf swing, there can be multiple factors.

Once you find the average casting distance, cast it out there, pull off 10-20 feet of line, put a 1" +/- piece of electrical tape on the remaining line on the spool. Wind the line in and resume casting. If you were to get another backlash, it will not go any deeper then where you put the tape. If you catch a big fish and she pulls drag out down to the tape, it will just pop off.
Old 10-14-2010, 09:00 PM
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Lure weight is a major factor. I agree with Prop Blast.
Along with wind conditions, line size, line age, line type, rod length, tip speed, reel adjustments, reel maintenance, thumb experience, etc....
It all plays a part in getting or preventing "Professional Over Runs"

It like trying to find out what is wrong with a golf swing, there can be multiple factors.

Once you find the average casting distance, cast it out there, pull off 10-20 feet of line, put a 1" +/- piece of electrical tape on the remaining line on the spool. Wind the line in and resume casting. If you were to get another backlash, it will not go any deeper then where you put the tape. If you catch a big fish and she pulls drag out down to the tape, it will just pop off.
Old 10-14-2010, 09:35 PM
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I use a pair of those Curados as my primary bass fishing rigs and absolutely love them. I get better performance out of mine with all the weights out and the drag tightened until a slight dip of the rod tip allows the lure to pull a little line. If I loosen the drag enough that the line automatically feeds out slowly, I will get a birdnest every once in a while and it works the same with lures from 1/8 - 1/2 oz. I cast each time with roughly the same force and either use my thumb to stop the cast or if it will be a series of short casts, add a little more drag to control the distance. Other than real close flipping, all casting is done with authority, no "soft" casts.

My Curados are LH on 6.5' St Croix rods using 10 and 12 lb mono.

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