How to Prevent Backlash on a Baitcaster

Baitcaster backlash during a cast can be a nightmare. If you want accurate casting, then a baitcasting reel is your best friend compared to a spinning reel. Unfortunately, learning to cast the baitcaster without backlash can be a real challenge when you’re a beginner. But, with the right guidance, set-up, and a few tips, you should easily get the hang of it.

This blog will show you how to prevent backlash on a baitcaster by following a few simple steps. I’ll also discuss a few more things related to that topic that will enrich your knowledge.

Why Do Baitcasters Backlash?

It can be frustrating to deal with the backlash when you’re new to baitcasters. So, what triggers backlash?

When your spool is still spinning, but your lure has reduced its speed either after or during a cast, you may experience backlash. And then you have a very tangled mess to deal with – no one wants this to happen.

The lure usually slows down before a backlash because of the resistance that it met in the air. Resistance is caused by multiple things, the most common of which is wind. But sometimes, the lures face resistance when they hit something sold during the cast.

When the lure starts to slow down or stops, it is no longer putting any effort to pull off the line; however, the spool is still turning. Then, the line keeps coming off and piles up, causing something that looks like a bird’s nest at the line guide.

The explanation mentioned above is the primary reason behind backlash, but it can occur due to several other factors, such as a roughly packed or sticky fishing line.

Tips to Avoid Backlash on Baitcasters

Let us now discuss a few tips that will help you avoid the backlash on the baitcasting reel in the first place –

1. Mastering the Spool Tension Knob and Braking System

If you know how a baitcasting reel works, you probably know that two components on a fishing reel are used to slow down the spool rotation. They are spool tension knob and brakes. Your thumb can also play a very important role. To stop backlash in a baitcasting reel during casting, you should master all these.

The Spool Tension Knob and Braking System are marked in a Baitcasting Reel
Those parts of a baitcasting reel are used to control spool rotation.
  • Spool tension knob

If the spool tension is not set properly and is either too low or too high, it would again cause a backlash. A spool tension knob is a small tool on a baitcaster used to slow down the spool rotation. It’s situated just beside the reel handle.

Early in the cast, set the spool tension knob tight. Then when the bait is just about to reach the ground, try to thumb the spool.
  • Brakes

The braking system of a baitcaster is responsible for controlling the spool rotation when the lure is traveling through the air. You need to use the brakes to ensure the reel spool does not release more lines than the lure is taking. Your baitcaster reel either has a centrifugal brake or a magnetic brake, or both.

At first, I would advise you to rely on your brake system's highest setting so that when you practice, there is less movement, and you gain more control.

As an adverse effect, your casting distance may suffer, though. With time, as you become more comfortable, you can try slowly reducing the tension.

  • The educated thumb

Your thumb comes into play when the bait starts to fall from the highest point of its journey towards the water.

In this stage, try to feather the spool with your thumb. So, start train your thumb today on backyard casting.

At the end of the day, there is nothing called the “right” setting, though. All are just best practices. You have to keep trying, and you will find the one with which you are the most comfortable.

Here is a video if you’re planning to cast baitcaster for the first time.

2. Ensure the wind is on your side

Always check the direction of the wind before you cast to ensure you are working with it rather than against it – If you cast with the wind on your side, it will help increase accuracy by giving an additional push to the bait. If you want to figure out whether the wind is genuinely on your side or not, you can do some test casts on the ground before committing to the real thing.

3. Never throw your rod so hard

You only need your wrist to make a good cast. There is no point in using all your muscle power as it might trigger backlashes. Allow your rod to do its job. You can start with an overhead cast if you’re a beginner. It’s the foundational casting technique. Then after mastering this technique, you can give a try to the sidearm casting.

4. Choose a suitable fishing rod

Your equipment plays a significant role in preventing backlash. If you are a newbie, you need more control over your fishing rod, making a shorter baitcasting rod preferable. Also, for proper casting without backlash, a medium-action rod will be the best purchase.

5. Choose a heavier lure

The choice of lure is also of great importance here. A lighter lure faces more resistance than a heavier lure, and thus, the former one faces more backlash. Your lure should be falling just at the right speed, neither too slow nor too fast. For that reason, many bass fishing experts recommend using heavier lures and lines, which is essential to generate the right force and momentum.

On a side note, don’t forget to look at the recommended lure weights for your rod. You should find them printed on the blank.

6. Choose a suitable fishing line

If a backlash occurs, you need to untangle it quickly, and for that, monofilament is the best compared to fluorocarbon or braided lines. The braided line is the most popular fishing line among baitcasting anglers, though.

Furthermore, there is an inherited problem with the monofilament line, which is called line memory. When you allow your line to sit on the spool for years, it starts to curl up, and the chances of backlash increase dramatically. You need to make sure that your fishing line is not suffering from this problem by changing them a couple of times a year. It would also help if you never compromise with the quality of your line when purchasing.

7. Be sure to load your spool properly

Even though it sounds obvious, still it’s a very common mistake that many beginners make. It would help if you loaded your spool properly. Otherwise, be ready to experience all those stuff like backlash, line twists, birds nesting, and the list will go on. I found a good guide on how to spool a baitcast reel. You can check it out.

8. Choose the right reel

You probably know there are two types of baitcast reels; low profile reel and round reel. The difference between round and low-profile baitcast reels makes it obvious that low-profile ones produce more backlash than their counterpart. It’s because they hold less line and usually have a lightweight spool, which triggers overrun.

Moreover, round reels are powerful. They are very good at casting heavier lures and baits, which is why many professional anglers use them regularly.

Another thing to keep in mind is the gear ratio of the reel. The gear ratio is what makes the reel a high speed or a low-speed one. As you can guess, there are some differences between high-speed reels and low-speed reels. Whatever type you choose, make sure you are going to comfortable with that.

9. Practice with short distances first

When you are a beginner or using a baitcaster for the first time, you need to get used to these new settings. So, don’t start casting long distances right away. Instead, start with the shorter cast, and with time, the longer distances will naturally become more manageable.

10. Keep Practicing

Baitcaster backlash during cast can be a frustrating problem, but there is nothing that you can’t solve with practice. First, try different tension and braking settings to find your comfort zone. Start with a beginner’s system, and then after you are confident enough, you can invest in an advanced casting reel.

Do all Baitcasters backlash?

All the baitcasters backlash more or less if you can’t handle them properly. For that reason, in recent years, reel makers start to manufacture the anti-backlash baitcast reel. These reels are less likely to produce a backlash. But still, you need some skills to get the most out of them.

However, these reels usually have a dual braking system and a powerful drag system. The ball bearings of fishing reels also have a significant impact on their performance. No surprise, all those reels come up with shielded good-quality ball bearings. Not to mention all those features help fishermen to prevent and fight the backlash.


So, just like anything else in the world, casting a baitcaster avoiding any backlash is all about practice. No expert is born that wah. Instead, they honed their skills with time. After consistent practice, there will come a day when the fishing pole will no longer seem like a separate entity but an extension of your body. Once that happens, casting will happen naturally, and you won’t even have to think twice before casting. We hope the tips mentioned in this blog help you to cast with even more accuracy and control on the next fishing trip.

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