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The advantages to using a baitcaster are plentiful once you get the hang of it. You have more line control and can be more accurate with a decent baitcasting reel. However, one of the disadvantages is how difficult it can be to cast a baitcaster with a light lure.
So, like many, I asked myself, how do you cast a baitcaster with a light lure? There are those out there who love their baitcaster so much that they will never switch to a spinning reel. Others may not be able to afford multiple reels. There had to be an effective way to use a light lure with a baitcaster though, so I set out to discover how.
What I discovered is that it’s going to take a lot of practice and patience. Using a baitcaster to throw light plastics and lures takes advanced skill as an angler. However, with the proper technique and the right equipment, you’ll be casting light lures with a baitcaster in no time.
Preparing Your Rod and Reel
Each baitcasting reel has a mechanism inside it that acts as a brake. The brake helps to control the distance and to prevent backlashes. You want to start by turning the brakes off completely. A warning: this can lead to some frustrating situations for anyone not used to using a baitcaster.
You are also going to need a specialized rig. You’ll need a high-quality reel, and a specialized rod to continue using a baitcaster with a light lure.
Best Rod to Use with a Baitcaster for Light Lures
A medium, to medium heavy-powered rod, will work best, with a fast action tip. The flexibility of the rod tip is going to be vital to casting light lures with your baitcasting reel. The rod will need to have a flexible bend, as well as a limber tip. The length of the rod should be at least 6 feet, 6 inches, and up to 7 feet, 6 inches.
The idea is to use the rod to cast the bait. What I mean by that is you want to let the rod do the work, and not put much effort into using the power from your arms or shoulders.
Use your wrist, and not your arm to throw a light lure on a baitcaster. You want to limit your arm movement because while it may sound counter-intuitive, you don’t want to be using a lot of force to cast. You’re going to be using the natural bend of the rod, and the gravity of the lure to fling your cast outwards.
To start, allow the lure to hang off the tip with an extra line. Try dropping about 30 inches of line out. This will help you use the bait, and the rod flex, to cast it further.
If you’ve ever been fly-fishing, your cast should look similar to the 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock action. The only difference here is that you’ll want to have your baitcaster right in front of your face. Hold the rod in front of you and move it from 1 o’clock to 11 o’clock and release. You are using the natural bend of the rod, along with the weight of the line to throw the lure.
If the up-and-down method in front of you isn’t working, try a smooth sideways cast. This cast is a bit more advanced though, and it can be easier to throw a light lure using the up-and-down method.
Best Budget Casting Rod
A reliable and cost-effective option is the Abu Garcia Vengeance. You can buy this at 6 feet, 9 inches in a medium-heavy model for under $45 at Amazon.
The Abu Garcia Vengeance features stainless steel guides inlaid with titanium oxide inserts. The guides on your rod are crucial and underappreciated by many. Having high-quality guides ensures that the line will flow smoothly from the spool. This is even more critical when casting light lures.
The Abu Garcia Vengeance also features a durable and lightweight 24-ton graphite shaft. Graphite is the top material for modern rods. Finally, it has high-density EVA handles for comfort and durability.
Best Casting Rod for the Money
If you want to make a more significant investment in your rod, check for a G. Loomis that fits your needs. G. Loomis makes some of the highest-quality rods in the world. The one that I recommend and comes in under $200 is the Gary Loomis Tactical Series Bass Casting Rod.
This is a medium-powered, fast-action rod that can handle line weights between 6 and 12 pounds. High modulus carbon fiber composes the GTS shaft, with a matte clear coat on top. The guides on this rod are proprietary to G.Loomis. The Tactical Series machined stainless steel guides are super-hard chrome anodized. Then they get put into what Gary Loomis calls a “chromium-impregnated stainless frame.” These guides are hard, slick, and bulletproof.
Best Reel to Use with a Baitcaster for Light Lures
Having the right kind of baitcasting reel is crucial for casting light lures. If you’re reading this article, you are a serious angler. You’re likely looking for a new technique to further your skills. So reading that you’ll need a good reel is almost insulting.
If you are a seasoned baitcaster, understanding how to use your thumb as a manual brake on the spool of your reel comes naturally. If you’ve turned your magnetic brakes completely off this is extra important.
If you feel the line starting to unspool this is an early sign of a backlash. Apply more pressure with your thumb to keep the line in check and prevent a nasty rat’s nest.
For casting light lures, your reel can be heavier than usual. Remember you are using the power of your rod to throw the bait.
You also do not need a fast retrieve speed so you can look for a lower gear ratio. This makes round baitcasting reels an excellent option, and the best of these is the Shimano Calcutta.
Best Round Baitcasting Reel
The Shimano Calcutta 200B has a gear ratio of 6.0:1 and weighs 10.1 ounces. It retrieves lines at 27 inches per rotation and can handle between 8-pound and 14-pound test lines.
Shimano is one of the most well-known and respected manufacturers in the business. When you buy a Shimano, you know you are receiving a high-quality product that should last for decades. The Calcutta represents everything great about Shimano. It features forged aluminum construction, anti-rust bearings, and a super stopper one-way roller bearing.
The super stopper is an anti-reverse one-way stainless-steel roller bearing. This allows the user to set the hook in an instant. When fishing with light lures on a baitcaster, a quick hook set is essential.
The Calcutta is also perfect for casting light lures due to a wide range of drag settings, thanks to its Dartainium Drag system.
Best Low-Profile Baitcasting Reels
If you prefer the low-profile design of modern baitcasting reels, and budget isn’t an issue, then I would highly recommend the Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme.
The Revo MG Xtreme features two additional spool bearings. Abu Garcia calls these “CeramiLight,” which gives improved casting performance.
The cheapest reel that I’d recommend is the Abu Garcia Revo X, which comes in at under $100 at Amazon. The Revo X has a 6.6:1 gear ratio and user reviews point to smooth handling, long casts, and a reliable braking and drag system. All three of these aspects make the Revo X an excellent buy at under $100.
An alternative to the Revo X at the same price point is the Shimano SLX. The SLX has a gear ratio of 6.3:1 and weighs 6.9 ounces. Line retrieve is 24.8 inches per turn, and it has a max drag force of 12 pounds.
Tips for Casting Light Lures with a Baitcaster
Here are some additional tips to help you cast light lures or weightless plastics with your trusty baitcaster:
- Turn your magnetic brake off, turn your drag down until the lure slowly pulls the line out of the spool, and adjust your brake back to halfway.
- Drop the lure with about 30 inches of line coming out the tip, allowing gravity to be your weight.
- Don’t do a quick whipping action with your rod like you would casting a heavier lure.
- Take a long, slow, and smooth cast, and release the lure a hair before you usually would. You want the rod to provide the power for casting your bait.
- Resist the urge to try and throw the lure hard, use your wrist to cast and not your shoulder or arms.
- Keep your arm tucked in and embrace a light, smooth lob cast.
- Best tip saved for last: Fish as much as possible. Practice will lead to perfection.
The Bottom Line on Baitcasting with Light Lures
The first thing you need is the correct technique and the right equipment. Without these, backlashes and plastics blowing in the wind are likely outcomes. However, once you pair up a proper rod and reel combination, you are simply a few casts away from perfecting this new technique.