How To Cast a Baitcaster – 2021 Complete Guide for All Skill Levels

| Last Updated April 14, 2021

Casting a baitcaster reel can be challenging if not frustrating task. Anglers of all skill levels often suffer from the dreaded backlash or "bird's nest."

However, you can do some things to mitigate backlashes and spend more time fishing and less time fixing your gear.

In this article, we'll go over how to cast a baitcaster.

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How to Cast a Baitcasting Reel

To cast a baitcaster, hold the rod in your dominant hand so your thumb rests comfortably on the reel's spool stop button. For this example, we'll be using a right-hand example.

1. Choose a desired target area to aim in. This will be our 12 o'clock position. 

2. Press the line stop button down and hold the reel spool with your thumb to prevent it from unspooling.

3. Bring the rod back to about the 5 o'clock position and swing the rod smoothly to the 12 o'clock position, releasing the pressure of your thumb on the reel spool around the 1 o'clock position. 

4. Right before the lure or bait contacts the water's surface, apply soft pressure to the spool with your thumb to prevent further unspooling when the lure finally touches down on the water.

How to Cast a Baitcaster For Beginners

To cast a baitcaster as a beginner setting up the reel before casting the lure is most critical.

1. First, set the centrifugal braking system, on the reel's left side, to max tightness. This means if you have the dial set to the minimum, you need to turn the dial to full. 

2. Next is the most crucial part of setting up your baitcaster. On the right side of the reel is a spool feeder dial. Tighten this knob as tight as you can, using only your fingers.

3. With the lure attached to the end of the line, loosen the spool feeder knob until the lure falls freely to the ground. 

4. The line shouldn't continue to unspool when the lure is completely resting on the ground. When changing lures, if there is a significant change in the lure's weight, it might be necessary to repeat this process.

5. Now follow the steps described in the above section of this article. Again, we have included a video to illustrate the steps previously described on how to cast a baitcaster.

How to Cast a Baitcaster With No Thumb

To cast without thumbs while using a baitcasting reel, again, it's all about setting up your reel properly before you cast.

1. When setting up your baitcaster for a thumbless cast. Using the spool feeder dial, tighten the tension as tight as possible, using just your fingers. 

2. With the lure attached to the end of the line, loosen the spool tension until the lure falls freely to the ground. The line spool should stop unspooling when the lure makes contact with the ground. Getting this set properly will defend against the dreaded backlash or "bird's nest." When changing lures, it might be necessary to repeat this process. Make several casts to determine the right spool tension settings for your setup. 

3. Setting up to cast a baitcaster without using your thumbs is a great technique to use in the early morning or twilight hours when it's difficult to see when the lure or bait is about to hit the water. Setting your baitcaster up this way beforehand will prevent backlashes. 

How To Cast A Baitcaster Far

To cast further, using a baitcaster perfecting your technique is critical.

Getting a smooth back to forward movement and releasing the line at the right moment all contribute to a longer cast.

  • Having your reel dialed to the perfect setting for the lure you have attached to your line is a factor as well. You want the lure or bait weight to pull the line freely from the reel spool without causing a backlash. 

  • The rod also plays a big part in the distance of a cast. Having a rod with good flexibility will help get better casts because it will gather a load of tension during the backcast and release that energy at the end of the front cast.
  • Timing is critical to maximizing this effectiveness.
  • Lastly, strength is a factor for further casts.

When casting a baitcaster, if all the previous components are properly dialed in and you're still not getting any farther out on your casts. You might have hit your limit as to how far you can cast. A 10-year-old will not be able to cast as far as a 30-year-old in most cases. 

How To Cast a Baitcaster With a Light Lure

  • To cast with light lures, the secret is in the rod. Having a medium rod with a fast action tip is key to cast a light lure well. Next again is setting that baitcaster reel just right, so the lure or bait's weight causes the spool to unfurl till the lure touches the ground or the water's surface. 

  • Next, you want to have about 2-feet of line hanging off the tip of the rod, in contrast to 6-inches with heavier lures. Having 2-feet helps load that rod with potential energy in the backcast and releases that energy at the end of the cast. 

  • Lastly, don't try to overpower the cast. Meaning, don't throw your arm out while casting to get more distance. Casting too hard will only cause more problems like a backlash. Be mindful of wind when casting lighter lures, as it will have a greater effect on distance and backlashes. We have included a video to demonstrate the steps listed above.


Casting a baitcaster doesn't have to be intimidating. The key is getting your reel set up properly before you begin and then playing with that setup till you get it perfect for you. When fishing, it's important to take advice from everyone, but only applying the advice that works best for you. 

Many great professional golfers and baseball players have funny-looking swings, but it works for them, and they're making millions. So if you develop a funny-looking cast, but it works for you, it isn't really funny looking, it's perfect. Till next time folks, tight lines!

People Also Ask

How Far Can You Cast a Baitcaster?

On average, 30-45 yards is about the max, depending on your setup. Some anglers like to cheat and attach their line to a drone with a release mechanism and fly them over their desired spot and drop them in. 

Can You Cast Light Lures With a Baitcaster?

You can use light lures when with a baitcaster, but having the medium-sized rod with a fast action tip is a must. Also, having your reel set for the lighter lure is vital for a successful cast.

Can You Finesse Fish With a Baitcaster?

Yes, you can finesse fish with a baitcaster. Again, it's about having the right rig setup. Meaning having the right rod and reel for the desired type of fishing.

Why Can't My Baitcaster Cast Far?

If you're having issues casting far with a baitcaster, the problem might be in your reel setup. When you have the lure attached, make sure the reel tension isn't too tight.

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.