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Koz

First Day with a Baitcaster

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My son broke yet another reel this summer so we headed to Dick's to get him a replacement. While there I noticed a Lew's American Hero baitcaster on sale for $69 and was tempted. Then I saw that Dick's had a promotion to get $20 off when you spend $100 and they had a $10 off flash sale. I couldn't resits.

 

I set it up with some 20lb Spiderwire braid and my son and I headed off to Sun City Hilton Head to do some fishing for the afternoon. It was a little breezy out and within 15 casts I bird nested the reel so I went back to my spinning reel for a while. We decided to take my dad's golf cart and try some other lagoons and before we left I cut out the bird's nest on the baitcaster and was determined to give it another go.

 

We hit a few more lagoons but had no luck. The good news is that it was pretty easy to get the hang of the baitcaster. I kept reducing the brakes and within an hour or so I was close to free spool and could bomb some casts when needed. I got the occasional loop in the line but no bird's nests. I'm sure I'll have my fair share of those in the future.

 

The hardest part is getting used to the right hand retrieve. My cadence is really off trying to reel with my right hand even though that's my dominant hand. And holding the pole in my left hand seems odd as well. It just feels uncomfortable right now. This Lew's MH 6'6" rod is also a lot different than my 6'6" MH Ugly Stick. I liked the baitcaster, but everything felt "off". I hadn't had a bite yet and was wondering what it would be like to land a fish on this new setup. But as the sun went down I got my chance to find out.

 

I was throwing a Rat-L-Trap lipless crank and didn't even feel the bite. I was casting far out from the bank and the line got heavy. About halfway in I was dragging the fish on the surface. It turned out to be a crappie just under two pounds.

 

Throwing the Rat-L-Trap turned out to be a good idea because it helped me get a better feel for this new rod. The thump-thump-thump as I raised the bait felt a little more pronounced. It was also easier to feel when I hit the bottom as well as the slight "tick" when a fish bumped the bait. Then something slammed the bait and it felt pretty big.

 

As I'm trying to reel in a decent sized fish, trying to get used to holding the rod in my left hand, trying to get used to fighting a fish reeling in with my right hand, and trying to adjust the drag, the nearby 10 foot gator takes note of the action and starts cruising over. As it turns out this fish wanted to fight. He makes a run away from the shore but lucky for me away from the direction of the alligator. I finally started gaining some ground on him and he gave me a scare when I got him in close and he paralleled the bank in the direction of the gator but luckily the alligator had backed off and stopped 15 feet from shore.

 

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It wasn't as big as I initially thought while I was landing it but still tipped the scales at 4.5 pounds. All in all, it was a good day for my first day with a baitcaster. I threw a lot of different baits with it today and overall it felt pretty good although I wonder if I should have picked up a left hand retrieve instead. Right now it just feels weird holding the rod in the left and reeling with the right. I like the feel of the Lew's American Hero rod and it seems to offer a lot more sensitivity than my MH Ugly Stick. I have no doubt this will be my primary rod even though I love my Pfleuger President spinning reel. And suddenly I'm a two rod guy. Next thing you know I'll have eight!

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I'd give the lefty reel a shot. Based on what you said, I bet it will feel more natural to you.

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Nice Bass! Enjoyed the story. Thanks for sharing👍

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On 9/25/2017 at 9:25 AM, georgeyew said:

I'd give the lefty reel a shot. Based on what you said, I bet it will feel more natural to you.

No reason to suffer the discomfort of reeling with the wrong hand with all the choices available

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I've had it for a few weeks now and have become more accustomed to the RH retrieve. Casting and switching hands has become more intuitive as well.

 

One of the biggest differences is that the Lew's rod is much more sensitive than my Ugly Stick and that has been a good thing. I'm enjoying that and the light weight of the combo.

 

The fishing has been great as well. Last weekend I caught a 5.5 pounder and another 4.5 pounder.

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Now just upgrade that spinning to get the same feel. I have two ugly stick, they have been banished to fishing for cats and carp ha. Nice fish too congrats!

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Like some of the others have said, a lefty baitcaster might be in your future. Before buying a lefty though I would try and get comfortable with your current reel because you could just be new to the motion. I use right handed baitcasters but left handed spinning gear, with the different weight and motion you need to get accustomed with. Don't waste money on a left handed baitcaster before you give the righty a chance.

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I also use right handed baitcasters and reel left with spinning gear. But I've been doing it like that as long as I can remember. I work with a guy who's right handed and does both. It's just a personal preference and comfort deal. 

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Everything I have is left hand crank.......I can crank with either, but can set the hook and work bait better with Right

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You did a heck of a lot better than me .  My first was with an Ambassadeur 5000 on a   5.5  foot  fiberglass Lews Speed Stick .

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It's been about 3 weeks since my purchase and I've fished with my new baitcaster 5 times since then. Every now and then my cranking rhythm sputters for a second with the RH retrieve it's not a big deal.

 

If you're switching to a RH retrieve and are RH dominant for the first time here are some things I learned:

 

1. It may take a few outings to get your rhythm down when reeling in i.e. your retrieve may not feel as smooth as when cranking with the left hand

 

2. Working the rod tip/lure may take a little practice. For example, when walking a frog or other topwater. At first my weaker LH didn't have quite the "touch" I had after all those years of experience  holding the rod with my RH. At times it's still spotty, but I'm dialing it in again.

 

3. I haven't had a problem with hook sets, but I imagine for some that it happens to some holding the rod with their less dominant hand for the first time.

 

4. I still cast with my RH and then switch over, but that's probably not the optimal way when using lures like buzzbaits. Eventually I'll probably have to work on casting left handed. That ought to be super fun with a baitcaster - probably bird's nest city for a while!

 

My main takeaway from all of this is that I actually like the RH retrieve. Since I bought the baitcaster I've only thrown my spinning reel once or twice with some lighter lures - but only after I tried them first on the baitcaster. To sum it up - it's been great. I just hope I find some time to go fishing this weekend!

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I use a lefty baitcaster. Never got the hang of casting with my other hand

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I can't get used to reeling with my right hand either.  I only own left hand reel bait casters. I am right hand dominate also.

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