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The American

Just How Much Is Full On A Baitcaster

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I'm spooling my baitcaster andI know there's a max line capacity as it's written on the box, but I have no way of measuring it. Is there a rule of thumb to tell when it's full? It's a PQ and i'm spooling it with 10# hybrid if that makes any difference.

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If the line rubs on the frame when you crank, its too full.

Ok, now for my serious answer. 1/8" from the spool lip.

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Most instructions from the reel manufacturers say to fill from 1/16 to 1/8 inch below the spool rim. This aids in helping to keep backlashes down for us less than expert casters. :(

However, I had a guy tell me when he cleaned and upgraded a few of my reels that I had all my reels filled way too low. His comments were that best casting distance is achieved with a full reel. He also stated that drag was better with a full reel. I have no way of knowing if the latter is anything more than a fantasy. I do fill my reels now to where the bevel is on the spool rim, and have no more problem than usual with backlashes. I am getting better distance, but not all of that can be traced to a full spool as I also lightened up my spool tension which obviously is going to improve distance.

This guy was (and is not) a r-e-e-l m-e-c-h-a-n-i-c. That is he doesn't do it on a regular basis for money. However, he is a baitcast reel fanatic with mostly all high end gear who has been at it for around 20 years. His opinions are just that, his opinions, but he has a heck of a lot more experience than I , so I took him at his word. I had to relearn to cast my reels, but feel that it was worth the effort. I am now getting better distance with equal or less effort.

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I pretty much fill mine up to the bevel on the spool and call it a day. Never had an issue doing it that way.

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To the bevel or 1/8" from the rim are both good rules of thumb. Under-filled spools will hinder casting as well as IPT. As for having a noticable affect on the drag, I'm skeptical.

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Casting distance, retrieve speed and drag force are all affected by how full the spool is.

When casting,a less than full spool will spin faster than a full spool, if the speed at which the lure is moving is the same. That makes your brakes apply more force, reducing distance.

A less than full spool lowers the effective gear ratio, lowering the IPT on the retrieve.

A full spool will cause the drag to slip with less force applied to the line than a partially full spool. I don't know if you can call this "better", but it is affected.

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A less than full spool must turn more to retrieve a set amount of line. The same holds true for line going out via the drag, which is why drag force increases as the spool shrinks. Of the three affects though, I doubt this one would be noticed in the normal course of fishing. If the spool is underfilled, it's underfilled when you start out and set the drag.

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As a sidenote, it's also easier to thumb the spool on casting gear if it's filled properly. I can definitely notice the difference if I don't fill a spool all the way, or if I'm getting low.

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I always fill mine to the top. makes my spool last a little longer. when it gets gnarly around the end of the line, I'll pull off 5 or 6 ft., snip it and re tie. you could say it's a neglibible amount i guess

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This is a bass forum, so 1/8 to all the way to the rim is correct.

If you are a competitive caster, using an ABU 5500 CS Mag Elite, chunking 200+ yards with 10' rods, you won't get the distance with a reel filled to the spool. You would backlash. 1/8 or less would allow for maximium spool spinning without backlash.

Good luck!

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