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Nepatizz

Question about thumb use when using a baitcaster?

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Hello! 

 

Just starting to use a baitcaster and have to get down some of the basics. I know that when you cast, you should hold your thumb on the line right before the lure hits the water, correct? My question is when do I take the thumb off? As soon as the lure hits the bottom? Or should I keep the thumb down even while the bait is on the bottom and I haven't taken any line in yet? In that case, would a hookset fail if the thumb was still holding the line while the lure is sitting on the bottom or does this not matter entirely? 

 

Thanks!

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Your thumb on the spool during the cast depends on how your reel is set up. If you have the mag force/brakes turned up high you should be able to get away with not having your thumb on the spool mid cast. The lower your mag force/brakes setting is the more thumb you’ll need. Your reel will tend to want to overrun in this case. Have your thumb on the spool when your lure hits the water to stop an overrun not matter how you have the magforce/breaks set. I wouldn’t have your thumb on the spool at all during the retrieve. You want it to be able to spin free during the retrieve. 

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I hate to say this because it reminds me of myself who at times tends to overthink and over analyze to the point of analysis paralysis. In addition, it isn’t winter any longer when thinking too is one way to pass the time. 

 

After the cast is made the first thing the thumb needs to do is protect against a possible overrun such that it might need to slow the spool down the spool by “feathering” the spool to slow its speed if and only if necessary. The less aerodynamic the lure the more you have to be mindful of this possibility and guard against it. Spinner and buzz baits when they get caught up in the wind can cause an overrun to start when a lure like a DT6 is less likely. 

 

A properly set reel to the lure in good conditions, will hardly ever need a thumb to do this but you should always be prepared. 

 

To answer your question you take the thumb off after you stop the spool completely. 

 

Since you overthink like I do, we need to look at the possible outcomes from this point:

 

1) Do I need to dish out line to allow a bait to sink? If yes then dish out the line with your hand not holding the rod and the thumb on your other hand putting only enough pressure to prevent the line on your spool for overrunning. After your bait reaches the depth you turn the handle to engage the reel. This also enables the drag. 

 

2) Is this a technique that I don’t need to have the lure sink like a crank bait? Then turn the crank to engage the reel. You may wish to allow the ripples caused by your lure to settle before starting your retrieve or not. Your choice. 

 

If by chance you get a hit during the fall, your thumb can act as your drag so that you can set the hook, but you had better start turning the handle ASAP and engage in the battle we crave ... 

 

Basically, you take it off the spool when it isn’t needed. 

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Great advice above, all good considerations. As said, stop the spool, then take your thumb off. If you want some extra line to let the bait fall naturally, grab it with your hand and pull some out, just not too fast so you don't backlash the reel. By taking out line after the bait hits the water, it will fall straight down, rather than towards you like a pendulum (since the line is taut it can't fall straight down, it falls in an arc). Generally though, feather the spool to prevent backlashes in wind or whatever (if necessary) and stop the spool right before the bait hits the water, then take your thumb off. Done. You don't need to keep your thumb on the spool once it is stopped.

 

To answer your question about hooksets, if you've engaged the reel (turned the handle and thumb bar is disengaged) then you do not need your thumb on the spool for hooksets. You CAN leave it on the spool if you want, like if you're using light drag, but your drag should be set tight enough that you can get a good hookset. At least that is my experience.

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From the time you release the spool engagement to the time you reengage it your thumb is either just about above the spool as line comes to monitor any loose line forming or adding slight pressure to stop the lure so it lands precisely where you want it.

Unless your are pulling additional line off the spool the spool should be engaged so you can get an instant hook set if needed.

Tom

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If youre letting it free fall and get a hit , dont forget to engage the reel before setting the hook .😖

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