How to Set Up a Baitcaster Reel? Beginners Guide

Have you just shifted from spinning reel to baitcasting reel? Then you must be having a lot of casting troubles and that’s completely normal. The only problem that almost every people deal with in baitcasting reels is the backlashes.

When the spool is whirling faster than the line is going out through the guides, this causes lines to tangled up in the spool and causing you to spend hours solving that up.

In order to experience easy and accurate fishing, every angler should move to baitcasting reel. But there is no way that you will be able to use baitcasting reel smoothly without facing any difficulties at the beginning.

It takes time, patient and skill to be experienced in baitcasting. If not anything, one must know how to balance the spool spinning and line in order to prevent backlashing. And you can avoid backlashes only when you set the reel right.

However, if you are a beginner and don’t know how to set up a baitcasting reel, then this very article is for you. I have shown every step as much easy as possible so that you get the real thing.

So? Let’s hit the business then?

Beginners Guide to Set Up a Baitcasting Reel

If you are new to fishing then there is no way that you should go for a baitcasting reel, spinning reels will be the best choice for you. Even professional anglers need to make a lot of practices before using a baitcasting reel.

I am not saying newbies can’t use baitcasting reel at all, what I am saying is, baitcasting is hard and to master that newbies have to practice for long periods.  However, this very guide will help you with setting up a baitcasting reel.

Line Choice

How smoothly you will be able to fish with a baitcasting reel mostly depends on your line pick. And according to my and other’s research, the ideal line for baitcasting reels is Monofilament line, hands down.

Fluorocarbon and braided line are just not the right things for the bait caster and I have a legit reason for that. Fluro lines are more unforgiving than the monofilament and when a backlash occurs fluorocarbon lines will get weaker and can break easily.

On the other hand, braided lines are smooth which can create the worst backlash and would cause you to cut off a large chunk of the line in order to make it stable again.

Monofilament lines are very forgiving and if any backlash occurs it won’t cause any damage to itself which will make your job easy and smooth.

Adjusting the tension knob

Adjusting the tension knob is a highly important thing to do not only for baitcasting but for any kind of fishing. If you are new, let me get you introduced to the tension knob first.

You will see a small dial placed on the side plate. Normally, tension knob is placed at the same side where the handle and the drag star is placed.

Turning the tension knob forward and backward will tighten or loosen the tension. Extremely tight tension means the line will go out very slowly and lose tension means the line will freely go out.

Fishing requires tension adjustment because, you don’t want your fish to take out as much line as they want and on the other hand, you also don’t want to end up breaking your hook.

So set a tension so that the lure drops very slowly and spool stops spinning when the lure hits the ground, otherwise you would see line overruns. This would be a perfect tension.

Set up the drag

Drag setting is too easy in baitcasting reels. You will see a star-shaped dial sandwiched between the reel body and handle. For tightening the drag, you have to turn the dial forward and to loosen turn the dial backward.

You should not adjust the drag to very tight and neither to lose. Adjust the drag at a moderate level, that would be ideal.


Setting up the brake in baitcasting reel is little tricky, it requires hundreds of casts to know how exactly you should set up the brake.

There are two types of brakes magnetic and centrifugal, both have different functions. Different manufacturers place brakes in a different position and the functioning of the brake also varies from brand to brand.

If you don’t have much experience on baitcasting, adding some brake will surely limit your casting distance but will save you from dealing will big line bird nest. Plus, adding brake will allow you to feel the reel.

And once you get a bit more experienced, you can loosen the brake and try to make some longer casts.

Some Additional Advice for Beginners


Using a baitcasting is super exciting and fun only when you know the right way. And knowing the right way requires a lot of practice. Once you set up the baitcasting reel, now it’s time do a lot of practices before hitting the water.

Choose an open ground where there are no bushes, trees or anything where the lure or line might stick. Otherwise, it will cost you to spend some more bucks.


I know you would face a lot of troubles to cast in keeping the brake at max but trust me it would be best for you. Once you get used it you can slowly lower the break from max but not quickly to the min.

And when you feel like you have gathered enough experience in baitcasting, then you might loosen the brake and try to cast for longer distances.


This tip will save from wasting a lot of line because of backlashing. Pull out 100 yards or so line and then stick tape to the spool and then start practicing casting with a baitcaster.

If any extreme backlashing occurs during the practice, you will only lose 100 yards of line, that saves your bucks.


By now you must have known how difficult baitcasting is for beginners. Just remember, every professional was a beginner once. Don’t be frustrated and just follow the rules and get started with the practice.

Only practice is what can make you experienced on baitcasting. However, I have shown how to set up a baitcaster reel and hope it would help you. If you have anything else to know just comment below, I’ll try to be back with the best possible solution.

Take look here for top-notch ultralight reels. And also have a look at the ultralight spinning rods and top walleye fishing rods. With that said I am wrapping this article and wishing you to have a great baitcasting experience ahead.

Also, if you have more time, you can watch this video.

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