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“Es­sen­tial Skills - Fish­ing 101” How to set the brakes on a bait­cast­ing reel – TJ Maglio

To both Wal­mart FLW Tour pros and week­end war­riors, one of the most frus­trat­ing re­al­i­ties of bass fish­ing is the back­lash, which oc­curs when the spool spins faster than the line is com­ing off, caus­ing it to over­run and tan­gle.

Zack Birge, 2015 Rookie of the Year, has some tips for set­ting up reels to min­i­mize back­lashes.

Birge’s Set-up Tips 1.

When you spool a reel, al­ways un­der-fill it by 1/8 inch. “By do­ing so, you can still get great dis­tance while al­low­ing some space for the line to set­tle, which makes it less likely to back­lash,” Birge says.


Set the mag­netic cast con­trol or cen­trifu­gal brakes to their high­est set­ting first — usu­ally 10 for mag­netic brakes. For reels with cen­trifu­gal brakes, that means the brakes should be ad­justed all the way out.


Set the spool ten­sion (the knob by the han­dle) just high enough so that the lure falls at a slow, con­trolled pace when you hit the thumb bar. “I want it to move to­ward the ground, but when it hits the ground the spool should stop with­out over­run­ning.”


Make a few casts. “Check to see how much dis­tance you’re get­ting and how it feels.”


Back off the spool ten­sion and brake one click at a time un­til you reach the sweet spot. “I’m look­ing for the best com­bi­na­tion of casta­bil­ity and spool con­trol. I don’t want to have to whip it all day, but I also don’t want to have to worry about a back­lash if I’m not 100 per­cent con­cen­trat­ing.”

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