Most fishermen start out by fishing with spincast or spinning reels, which are relatively easy to use and can function well in a variety of fishing situations. Once they gain more experience, some anglers want to use a reel that's a little more advanced and that offers more flexibility in terms of manual adjustment. While baitcast reels take time for anglers to get used to, they ultimately become the preferred reel of many fishermen.
Set the baitcast reel up with a baitcast rod. A baitcast rod is easily identified by looking at the handle. If there is a trigger-shaped piece of plastic below the handle, it's a baitcast rod. Attach the reel to the rod and hold it to make sure it is comfortable and feels good in your hands.
String fishing line onto the rod and reel. Thread the line through each guide from the rod tip all the way down to the reel and then insert the end of the line into the reel's line guide, which is a plastic or metal hole at the front of the reel. Wrap the end of the line around the spool of the reel twice, and then tie a knot so the line is tightly attached around the spool. Reel line onto the spool until the line is just below the rim of the spool, and cut the line so that 12 inches hangs off the tip of the rod.
Attach a lure to the end of the fishing line.
Adjust the drag on the baitcast reel by turning the star-shaped piece on the handle of the reel. Turning it clockwise tightens the drag; counterclockwise loosens the drag. The drag should be tight enough that a firm and steady pull is required before the drag will release line.
Set the reel's resistance mechanism. On most baitcast reels, the resistance is controlled by a dial located on the side of the reel opposite the handle. A setting of "0" means there will be little resistance, while a "10" means there will be the maximum amount of resistance. For long casts, or fishing with light lures, less resistance is better. However, the risk of backlash increases as resistance is decreased. Begin with the resistance set at the halfway point. As you become more confident in the real, decrease the resistance.
Hold the reel in your dominant hand and press on the thumb bar of the reel until it clicks. The spool will now turn freely, so it is important to use your thumb to apply pressure to the spool to stop it from spinning. Grab the handle of the reel with your opposite hand and bring the rod over your shoulder in a casting motion. To cast the lure into the water, bring the rod forward. As the rod tip passes in front of your shoulder, lift your thumb off the spool. Keep your thumb off the spool as the lure travels through the air. When the lure is about to hit the water, press down on the spool to stop it from spinning. Turn the reel handle clockwise to begin reeling your lure back.
- cast image by Rick Sargeant from Fotolia.com