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How to Cast a Baitcaster

  1. Before casting a baitcaster you need to properly adjust your reel to the lure. This will need to be done every time you change lures. Fortunately it is a very quick process after you have already fine tuned your brakes. To learn more about this, please read my fine turning your reel guide. You can test that reel is properly adjusted by holding your rod tip in front of you and pressing the spool release button. Your lure should fall at a steady, controlled speed and should not cause backlash when it hits the ground.
  2. With your reel set, it is time to grip the rod and prepare to cast. Your dominant hand should wrap around the rod handle and reel. Your thumb should be resting on both the spool release button and the spool its self. Your non dominant hand will rest near the bottom of the rod handle to help give you more control.
  3. With the proper grip you are ready to cast. Start by pressing the spool release button while keeping your thumb on the spool. This will prevent line from being release on your back back cast. When using a baitcaster you want a smooth back and forward cast. Avoid whipping it like you would on a spinning rod.
  4. On your forward cast as your rod tip approaches your target release your thumb from the spool. This will allow your lure to continue on its trajectory and use it’s weight to pull line out. While the lure is in the air keep a very light steady pressure on the spool with your thumb. If your lure looks like it is headed for the trees or further than your target apply more pressure with your thumb to slow it down. As your lure hits the water press your thumb down completely to stop the spool. Once the spool has stopped you can turn your handle to engage the anit-reverse and fish like you normally would.

Now that you know the basics of casting a baitcaster let’s go over the different types of cast that can be helpful to learn.

5 Baitcaster Casting Techniques You Need to Know

If you are serious about fishing then these 4 types of cast are very important to learn on a baitcaster. Learning different casting techniques will not only make fishing easier for you but it will also make it much safer when fishing with a partner.

Overhead Cast

An overhead cast is great when fishing open water with heavy lures because you can cast them a mile. The downside to an overhead cast is you lose some accuracy and the lure will splash much harder. To overhead cast a baitcaster:

  1. To preform an overhead cast start with the rod in front of you and the tip pointing up slightly more than parallel. If you can image a clock then your rod tip should be at the 10 o’clock position.
  2. Press the spool release and hold  the spool with your thumb.
  3. Bring the rod to the 2 o’clock position with a smooth continuous motion.
  4. At the 2 o’clock position switch into your forward cast.
  5. Accelerate as you bring the rod forward towards the 11 o’clock position
  6. Stop your casting motion slightly below the 11 o’clock position while you release the spool and point the rod towards your target.

Sidearm Roll Cast

A sidearm roll cast is my preferred general cast. It’s faster and more accurate than an overhead cast while causing less fatigue. Because of the angle of attack you also get a softer landing, and can cast underthings easier.

  1. To make a sidearm cast start with your rod tip to your side and parallel to the water.
  2. While bringing your cast back start lowering your rod tip.
  3. At the back of your cast start rolling your wrist as you transition to the forward cast.
  4. As you move forward bring the rod tip up until it is about 30 degrees above the water. Your cast should look like a rolling motion.

Skip Cast

The skip cast is perfect getting under low hanging cover like a tree or dock. When skipping you want to use a lure has a large flat surface area. Before making your cast you want to let your bait hang a little further down than you normally would, about 1-2ft. This will allow the bait to build up a little more momentum to skip it across the water.

  1. To skip a bait with a baitcaster the casting motion is similar to a sidearm roll cast.
  2. Keep your lure close to the water when casting. It can be helpful to do the roll cast motion and splash your lure on the water a couple times to get a feel for where the water is before attempting to cast.
  3. Start your forward cast low and finish high. Release the spool as soon are your lure starts its upwards trajectory.


A pitch is a short underhand cast that is ideal for precision accuracy and quite lure entry. To pitch with a baitcaster follow these easy steps:

  1. Start with enough line out so your lure is aligned with the reel.
  2. Rest the lure in your non dominate hand about 2 feet from the side of the reel
  3. Point your rod tip towards your target and rotate your wrist in. Your thumb and spool should now be facing your non dominate hand instead of the usual up.
  4. Once you have the bait and rod in the proper positioning let the bait fall as you lift the rod tip up. The pendulum motion will pitch the bait to your target.
  5. Release the spool and use your thumb to control the speed and distance.
  6. Once the bait hits the water engage the reel.


Flipping is very similar to a pitch but is for even shorter casts. When flipping you don’t have to reel in between casts. This allows you to make a lot more casts to very targeted areas in a short amount of time. Flipping with a baitcaster is simple with these few steps:

  1. Start with enough line out to reach your target.
  2. With your non dominate hand grab the line in between the reel and the rod first guide. Straighten your arm and bring it out to your side. This will shorten the length of line between the rod tip and bait.
  3. Point the rod tip towards your target and lift it up which will swing the bait towards you.
  4. Lower the rod tip to start your flip. As the rod tip lowers, the bait will begin swinging towards your target.
  5. When the bait swings past your rod tip start raising the tip and release the line in your non dominate hand.
  6. To recast simply grab the line again and repeat. No reeling in required.

Preventing the Dreaded Backlash

Baitcasters often scare many new anglers away due to the fear of backlash. Backlash or birds nests are annoying and do happen occasionally but there are ways to avoid it. Read our how to prevent backlash guide to learn more.

This guide is a part of our larger how-to cast guide.