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Casting a baitcaster

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Baitcasting newbie here; so bear with the silly questions.

My Citica 201E arrived today, and I am learning to cast it.

First I adjust the "cast control" knob on the handle side of the reel so that the lure barely falls under it own weight. Got upto that so far.

If the lure falls much faster, I get more casting distance AND more backlashes; is that correct?

Now, for casting, I need to press the clutch and thumb the spool, and let go of the thumb at the right moment? I guess it's a bit different from spincasting, where I would release the push-button to cast. Pressing the push-button did nothing, you release it to cast. I guess I'm more used to releasing something to actually cast :)

Finally, I need to adjust the variable brakes by opening the side-plate. More brakes = less backlashes AND less casting distance?

I guess part of the problem is I read about magnetic and centrifugal brakes, but there's no such term in the reel manual.

Thanks.

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You want your lure to smoothly come down, hit the ground and not pay anymore line out. That will kill backlashes a tiny bit. Adjust your brakes to somewhere in the middle. If you put all brakes on, you won't really be learning. You then press the spool release button, putting your thumb on the spool. Cast out with the reel facing the sky, then as you bring the rod forward before you're about to release the spool, turn the reel to the left side if you're right handed, this will help you in aiming, and will backlash less (i don't know how, but it does!). Point the rod where you want your lure to go and thumb the spool (not too much pressure, but the spool is in freespin, so if it hits the ground, the spool still  spins creating a backlash because the lines coming off the spool, but going nowhere). then when it is about to hit the water/ground, apply your thumb to the spool more to stop it.

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You're on the right track. The Citica has a centrifugal braking system. Access the brake through the right side case. Put 3 on and 3 off as the manual shows, alternating them. Unlike a spin cast reel all the thumbar does is release the spool. You must release the spool from your thumb. Generally you'll need to keep varying amounts of pressure on the spool with your thumb (feathering). Learning how much pressure to use for each circumstance is acquiring an "educated" thumb.

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I think learning how much pressure to apply to the spool and when is the trick to baitcasters. Everything else is on the equipment. Not having an educated thumb = operator error. Focus on your thumb after you get your reel straightened out.

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Good advice so far. Don't make the mistake of trying for phenomenal distance. Work on your casting method, distance will follow as you get better and incrementally back the brakes off.

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I've found using braided line helps also. I get much farther casts since i've switched to braid. Birdsnests are easier to pick out and the line seems to be more manageable and sits flatter, probably because theres memory hence no loops to make a mess. Good luck!

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Thanks for the tips, folks.

I don't have a backyard, so after work, I took the rod (a 7' compre)/reel to my local lake.

Set 3 brakes, and the spool tension so that spool stops when the lure stops. Got that dialed in pretty well. And then I started casting with a 0.5 oz spinnerbait.

With all due respect to all the members here, I'll say that it's not "that" difficult to cast a BC reel. Much easier than I figured it would be from reading some posts. Or maybe the Citica is a phenomenally easy reel, or maybe I have an educated thumb (I often feather the spool for pinpoint casts on my spinning rig). I didn't have one single backlash with the spool tension set a bit tight. Casting distance/ accuracy was nothing great, but okay.

Then I loosened the spool tension a bit, brakes still set to 3. I noticed two things.

#1. The spool was paying out more line in the middle of the cast than the lure was taking (balanced out by itself at the end of the cast)

#2. I got better distances. I could throw that spinnerbait almost as far as I throw a 5" senko. That's awesome.

Why is #1 happening? And should/ could I fix this?

Also, the Citica seemed to be a little less smooth on the retrieve than my spinning reels (a shimano and a browning citori). Is this normal?

P.S. I spooled on some 12# Suffix Siege. Great stuff. I could even feel the blades turning.

Edit: Bassclary, read your reply below. Just when I was getting proud of my educated thumb, lol. I am a bit scared to strip down the reel; I got it just today. Also I read somewhere the lower-end Shimanos are a bit un-smooth. It's barely noticeably as it is. Let's see.

The Siege is my favorite mono, too. Have it (6#) on one of my spinning rigs, the other has Samurai. The 12# is much more sensitive than the 6#, probable 'cos it's stiffer.

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#1 is happening because your thumb is not quite educated enough. You need to thumb the spool more in the middle if of the cast.

And some people take to using BC gear more than others, and a lot of people who try and use BC gear don't really know anything about it, and don't get advice from a helpful forum like this 8-). These people learn the hard way or they give up on it. I was one of the people who learnt the hard way. BC was a pain in the A**.

As you get better at thumbing, you can put the brakes to 2 on, 4 off, and back off the spool tension so bet maximum distance, while accuracy only gets better with practice because it involves your release on the spool.

Also Sufix Seige is probably the best mono in my eyes but the smoothness on retrieve is just the reel. Try cleaning and lubing and it should go away a little. But its mostly just the reel itself.

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deep,

Sounds like you're getting the hang of it. Now wait 'till you experience some wind or "sky" a cast, or both!   ;D

In time, you will loosen the cast control and back off the brakes as you gain more experience and confidence.

The best advice I was ever given in regards to casting a baitcaster was,

LESS IS MORE

which means that a smooth, effortless casting motion yields the longest, most accurate casts with the least backlashes  8-)

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Thanks for the tips, folks.

I don't have a backyard, so after work, I took the rod (a 7' compre)/reel to my local lake.

Set 3 brakes, and the spool tension so that spool stops when the lure stops. Got that dialed in pretty well. And then I started casting with a 0.5 oz spinnerbait.

With all due respect to all the members here, I'll say that it's not "that" difficult to cast a BC reel. Much easier than I figured it would be from reading some posts. Or maybe the Citica is a phenomenally easy reel, or maybe I have an educated thumb (I often feather the spool for pinpoint casts on my spinning rig). I didn't have one single backlash with the spool tension set a bit tight. Casting distance/ accuracy was nothing great, but okay.

Then I loosened the spool tension a bit, brakes still set to 3. I noticed two things.

#1. The spool was paying out more line in the middle of the cast than the lure was taking (balanced out by itself at the end of the cast)

#2. I got better distances. I could throw that spinnerbait almost as far as I throw a 5" senko. That's awesome.

Why is #1 happening? And should/ could I fix this?

Also, the Citica seemed to be a little less smooth on the retrieve than my spinning reels (a shimano and a browning citori). Is this normal?

P.S. I spooled on some 12# Suffix Siege. Great stuff. I could even feel the blades turning.

Edit: Bassclary, read your reply below. Just when I was getting proud of my educated thumb, lol. I am a bit scared to strip down the reel; I got it just today. Also I read somewhere the lower-end Shimanos are a bit un-smooth. It's barely noticeably as it is. Let's see.

The Siege is my favorite mono, too. Have it (6#) on one of my spinning rigs, the other has Samurai. The 12# is much more sensitive than the 6#, probable 'cos it's stiffer.

Just pop the side cover off, remove the spool and put a drop or two of reel oil in the bearings. Does wonders IMO. I wouldn't take the gear part apart until atleast a year IMO.

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deep,

Sounds like you're getting the hang of it. Now wait 'till you experience some wind or "sky" a cast, or both! ;D

In time, you will loosen the cast control and back off the brakes as you gain more experience and confidence.

The best advice I was ever given in regards to casting a baitcaster was,

LESS IS MORE

which means that a smooth, effortless casting motion yields the longest, most accurate casts with the least backlashes 8-)

This is 100% dead on advice.   :)

I got my first BC about 3 weeks ago and I thought I took to it pretty quickly (just like you).  I set my spool tension like you did with lure barely falling, I set 2 brakes on, 4 off, and I would adjust magnetic depending on weight of lure.

I felt pretty confident with myself after going out on the local pond and tossing it out with barely any wind.  Once I got out on my yak and dealt with some heavy winds, it was a different ballgame.  I had to adjust to the situation and naturally I didnt have the experience yet and ended up picking out some backlashes.

I think the key is not to get too confident and dont force long casts.  Smooth and steady is the only way to be for us newbies.

There will be a learning curve and eventually your gonna backlash and wonder what you did wrong.  I can almost guarantee that it will happen when your trying to "push it" and try to do more than what your prepared for.  But hey....you gotta learn somehow and if your good at learning from your mistakes, then your good to go.

Obviously, I am not an expert on the subject, but sometimes its easier to hear advice from another newbie who is basically going thru the same learning curve.

Good luck.   :)

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Hey kllrbee, I hear ya. You got that part about being too confident dead-on. Bad things generally happen when I get too confident; I get snagged and lose a lure trying to make that impossible cast, I lose a good fish trying to horse him a bit too much, and so on.

I'm just waiting for my first backlash. I'm not taking the set-up on my kayak anytime soon. I get the time to fish out of the yak only once a week, and I want to fish then, not concentrating on how to cast.

@Bassclary, I'll try that.

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Hey kllrbee, I hear ya. You got that part about being too confident dead-on. Bad things generally happen when I get too confident; I get snagged and lose a lure trying to make that impossible cast, I lose a good fish trying to horse him a bit too much, and so on.

I'm just waiting for my first backlash. I'm not taking the set-up on my kayak anytime soon. I get the time to fish out of the yak only once a week, and I want to fish then, not concentrating on how to cast.

@Bassclary, I'll try that.

You are less likely to "snap" cast in a yak. You'll do fine.

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Actually, I find its easier on the yak cuz I just pitch rather than having to make a longer cast like from the shore.

2 cents.

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Hey kllrbee, I hear ya. You got that part about being too confident dead-on. Bad things generally happen when I get too confident; I get snagged and lose a lure trying to make that impossible cast, I lose a good fish trying to horse him a bit too much, and so on.

I'm just waiting for my first backlash. I'm not taking the set-up on my kayak anytime soon. I get the time to fish out of the yak only once a week, and I want to fish then, not concentrating on how to cast.

@Bassclary, I'll try that.

You are less likely to "snap" cast in a yak. You'll do fine.

Huh?  There really isn't much difference casting from a kayak as there is from a boat, dock or shore.  I guess you'd actually have to fish from a fishing kayak to understand.  With the right kayak, you perform any cast.

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Hey kllrbee, I hear ya. You got that part about being too confident dead-on. Bad things generally happen when I get too confident; I get snagged and lose a lure trying to make that impossible cast, I lose a good fish trying to horse him a bit too much, and so on.

I'm just waiting for my first backlash. I'm not taking the set-up on my kayak anytime soon. I get the time to fish out of the yak only once a week, and I want to fish then, not concentrating on how to cast.

@Bassclary, I'll try that.

You are less likely to "snap" cast in a yak. You'll do fine.

Huh? There really isn't much difference casting from a kayak as there is from a boat, dock or shore. I guess you'd actually have to fish from a fishing kayak to understand. With the right kayak, you perform any cast.

Dont want to get too off topic from the OP's post.

I agree that any cast can be made from a kayak.

Dont know about B-dozer, but what I was trying to say is that I can get closer to my intended target with my yak just for the simple fact that I am on the water. So therefore, I dont have to make a long cast. Where if Im on the bank and want to get to a certain stump or target that might be a little out of my range, I might force it and try to really fling it out there. Thats where a backlash would occur in my situation.

Of course, thats my own fault for not knowing my limitations. 

Basically, Im just letting the OP know, from one newbie to another, dont be afraid to take the BC with you on the kayak.

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That is what I was trying to say. I mainly fish from my yak, and since you can move closer to your target you don't need to force your casts.

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Are you sure the reel isn't as smooth, or is it that it is just a little more labored? You have a more powerful gear ratio in your spinning/spincasting reels so it should require less effort to retrieve your baits.

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Are you sure the reel isn't as smooth, or is it that it is just a little more labored? You have a more powerful gear ratio in your spinning/spincasting reels so it should require less effort to retrieve your baits.

I haven't used a spincast in ages, but it felt like what I feel when I retrieve a 16+ crank with my Citori spinning.

Anyway, I don't think it's a problem with the reel; a 0.5 oz big spinnerbait has plenty of water resistance. The reel was very smooth when I threw the spinnerbait over grass and retrieved it. I'll try a rattletrap or something that produces less resistance and see. I'm not really worried about it. It's nothing very noticeable.

Just wondering if it's a characteristic of the lower-mid ranged Shimanos. The TT review of the Curado 5:1 said it was the not as smooth as some other crankin reels..

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That is what I was trying to say. I mainly fish from my yak, and since you can move closer to your target you don't need to force your casts.

Some baits, you still need to make a long cast.  Spooks and poppers, crankbaits, etc.

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That is what I was trying to say. I mainly fish from my yak, and since you can move closer to your target you don't need to force your casts.

Some baits, you still need to make a long cast. Spooks and poppers, crankbaits, etc.

Never had a problem with that. Maybe you're different. :)

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That is what I was trying to say. I mainly fish from my yak, and since you can move closer to your target you don't need to force your casts.

Some baits, you still need to make a long cast. Spooks and poppers, crankbaits, etc.

Never had a problem with that. Maybe you're different. :)

The only lure that needs a long cast would be a deep running crankbait.  Everything else could be a moderate cast. 

It doesnt really matter.  I think its more of a mental thing than anything else.  When Im on the yak, I dont "feel" like I have to make a super long cast.  When Im on the shore, I sometimes do and the cast becomes forced and not as smooth. 

I really dont want to start an argument here.  Im just trying to help out the OP and let him know some of the things that I am going thru with a baitcaster.

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That is what I was trying to say. I mainly fish from my yak, and since you can move closer to your target you don't need to force your casts.

Some baits, you still need to make a long cast. Spooks and poppers, crankbaits, etc.

Never had a problem with that. Maybe you're different. :)

The only lure that needs a long cast would be a deep running crankbait. Everything else could be a moderate cast.

It doesnt really matter. I think its more of a mental thing than anything else. When Im on the yak, I dont "feel" like I have to make a super long cast. When Im on the shore, I sometimes do and the cast becomes forced and not as smooth.

I really dont want to start an argument here. Im just trying to help out the OP and let him know some of the things that I am going thru with a baitcaster.

I agree, on all points. :-}

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That is what I was trying to say. I mainly fish from my yak, and since you can move closer to your target you don't need to force your casts.

Some baits, you still need to make a long cast. Spooks and poppers, crankbaits, etc.

Never had a problem with that. Maybe you're different. :)

The only lure that needs a long cast would be a deep running crankbait. Everything else could be a moderate cast.

It doesnt really matter. I think its more of a mental thing than anything else. When Im on the yak, I dont "feel" like I have to make a super long cast. When Im on the shore, I sometimes do and the cast becomes forced and not as smooth.

I really dont want to start an argument here. Im just trying to help out the OP and let him know some of the things that I am going thru with a baitcaster.

Yep.  Big swimbaits in clear water would be another "long cast lure." 

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Finally took out my baitcaster out on my 'yak. It was pretty windy. Had no to little problems casting with, into and across the wind. 2 brakes on, 4 off.

I also got the mother of all backlashes today. The rattle-trap got caught up with the other rod that was in a rod holder on a backcast. But other than that, all went quite smoothly.

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