What is Backlash? When using a baitcasting reel one problem many young and even old fishermen run into is the occurrence of backlash. In order to explain what backlash is allow me to set a scene. Imagine on your first day of a fishing trip you are over excited to get that first cast out and into the water. All the sounds and fresh smells have your blood swelling through your system and your adrenaline surging. With all this extra adrenaline you cast your line as hard as your body will physically let you. As your lure soars oh so gracefully out into the air, a quiet and soothing gust of wind blows in on your face. The same gust of air that takes the sail right out of the lure you just cast. As your lure slows down and hits the water your line is still flying at the speed of your adrenaline. With the lure slowing and the line still spinning there is nowhere for the line to go. This continued motion is what creates the obscene mess that backlash has to offer. Often times it is referred to as a “bird’s nest” due to the mess it leaves behind on the spool. This mess is what often times ruins a day of fishing due to the crazy amount of time it takes to “clean up” and untangle the damage that has been done. Although this fishing trip ruiner could just as easily have been avoided by using a couple simple preventative actions such as these.
- Avoid casting directly into the wind- As pictured in the above section one should avoid casting a line directly into the wind. With increased wind speeds the lure that is cast will tend to slow down in the wind and the line will not. This combination will oftentimes lead to a messy spool. Instead, try to cast with the wind so that the lure and line travel at the same speed until the lure makes contact with the water
- Use the right amount and combination of brake- When first starting out it is much easier and more forgiving to turn up the braking systems. Although it will warrant shorter casts it makes learning a lot easier and more efficient. As you become used to the way the baitcaster casts gradually loosen the brakes to a comfortable point. These actions will greatly reduce the amount of backlash incurred.
- Use the right lure- By this, I mean using the right weight of lure for the setup you have. It ties in with the right amount and combination of brakes. When just starting out often times it is easiest to use heavy lures such as crank baits or larger swimbaits. This will help prevent over spinning of the spool and lower the risk of backlash.
- Use the right line- Everything we do in fishing starts with selecting the right line and is just as important to reducing the damaging effects of backlash. Although both types of fishing line, braided and monofilament, are able to be used on a baitcaster it is much easier to untangle monofilament than it is to untangle a braided bird’s nest. Although this is not necessarily a tip for prevention it will be helpful for a beginner learning how to cast a baitcaster. Since it is much less expensive and time consuming to change and replace monofilament line than braided line.
- Practice makes perfect- When initially starting to use a baitcasting reel it is often times easy to find yourself overcasting your ability. In order to solve this, a little bit of practicing and gentle adjustments of the spool tension control are necessary. Initially, it may be necessary to tighten the spool tension control a little tighter than the typical “letting the lure drop slowly to the ground” method. This will help to prevent overrun and backlash. Although make sure to continue to loosen your spool as you gain experience because overuse of higher tensions will wear out the tension the spool will provide in the long run.
Unfortunately, even with these preventative actions backlash is still an occurrence that comes up while fishing. When it does happen one of the steadfast methods for untangling it is to apply thumb pressure to the spool and working it out with the reel. Here is a video explaining how to do exactly that:
If you have any stories of yourself or friends dealing with backlash issues please leave a comment below!!