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Baitcaster fishing reels are the choice for more experienced anglers who are willing to take the time to master the more involved release the rod requires. As opposed to a simple button-activated release, the baitcaster requires the angler to control the output of line as they cast, which is controlled through a series of dials and knobs on the reel.
Spool Control Mechanism
The spool control mechanism is a dial on the side of the rod assembly that controls the amount of force required for the line to lead out. To set the spool control to its ideal setting, the rig that will be used is placed on the line, and then the thumb bar is pressed to allow the line to be let out. With the proper setting, the rig should slowly begin to fall to the ground.
The drag is used to set a tension in the line for wearing out a fish once it is on the line, and this is adjusted by turning the star-shaped wheel. To test the drag, the line is pulled out on by hand. At the proper setting, the line will pull out smoothly with a gentle application of pressure, as opposed to a jerking motion caused by the line catching. It should also stop unraveling once you have stopped pulling.
The brakes of the rod are on the side of the assembly and can come in one of two forms. The more simple variety is a knob labeled from 1 to 9, which should start out set to 5 and be adjusted as desired. A more complex variety features a series of six pins that can be pressed out or in, with a default setting featuring three pins in and three pins out that can then be adjusted.
The thumb bar is the mechanism that allows the spool to unwind. In addition to helping with the setting of the spool control, the thumb bar is pressed down as part of the casting motion in order to allow the line to lead out and the rig to be propelled out over the water.
The spool is the actual line of the fishing rod, and marks one of the most easily apparent departures from a simpler reel (where the spool is controlled automatically). With a baitcaster, the interior spool is exposed to the fisherman, allowing them to manually stop the spool's unraveling by pressing down on the line as part of the cast.