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What should I look for in a Baitcaster?

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I have never used a baitcaster but have always been interested in trying. I don't want to spend a lot of money on something I am not sure I will like ( or be able to use with my coordination ). Since I really don't know anything about them what are some things I should look for in one? I see Canadian Tire with clearance ones now and then for $60 and up for a reel/rod combo.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/ugly-stik-gx2-medium-heavy-2-piece-baitcast-combo-6-5-ft-0775317p.html#srp

http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/quantum-solo-medium-2-piece-baitcast-combo-6-ft-6-in-0775328p.html#srp

Are these nothing but crap that I  should stay away from or would they be something that's of to pick up and see if I like and can use a baitcaster?

Another question I have is how much better is a baitcaster vs my Zebco Omega reel?  I can cast and pitch very well with my Omega and it has a great drag system, and for a spincast reel it was quite expensive ( over $100 ) so I am not sure just how much better a baitcaster would be. 

I fish Walleye, pike and bass as well as pan fish ( perch/crappie ) .

So right now I have a spincast and a spinning reel/reels  and I like them and they work for me so not sure if moving to a baitcaster would be worth it.

Sorry for all the questions, just trying to make the best informed decision I can and want to get as much knowledge as I can.

Thanks,

Eric

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Baitcasters are much much better for cranking and retrieving style baits.

 

there is no point in buying one though if you really feel like you are going to be uncofortable with it. Also if you are actually self declared “totally uncoordinated” then don’t bother. My dad tried and it’s just not for him either.

 

also, experience tells me that higher end baitcasters are indeed easier to use and more forgiving/sensitive. Therefore a super cheap caster is gonna be a pain in the butt to deal with.

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I agree with Akrisoner.  They are a different beast and not for everyone.

But if you want to give it a try, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.  I follow a couple YouTube channels that do reel reviews and if wanting to try a very well regarded, low cost baitcaster, consider the Piscifun Torrent:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0719GVW56/?coliid=I2IIW5A3L2OGT6&colid=LBQQL8ITDL73&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Or a common brand name used ... they can be had pretty cheap sometimes.  But that Piscifun has gotten a lot of positive feedback for being non-mainstream.

Put 50lb braid on it and match it to a medium heavy action rod (maybe a 7' to 7'6") so that you have a great crankbait/jigging/spinnerbait/frogging/chatterbait rod.  Keep the lighter spinning for lighter baits such as tubes, worms, skipping under docks, etc.

 

Edited by TheKawarthaAngler

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i love my round millionaire classic from diawa,its almost impossible to birds nest...its my favorite reel,its great for trolling to

 

i have a bass pro pro qualifier,paid over $100,its been used 4-5 times...you can have it for $30..its a well made,solid reel

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There’s a slight learning curve to it but it’s not rocket science. Once you get the feel it’s easy. Just needs to be set properly is the main thing. Lots of good reels for $100 at basspro. 

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There are no questions on a fishing forum you should be sorry about. That is what they are for.

Yes, a bait cast reel and a Spin cast are different beast. You should get more control and better drag from a bait caster any day of the week. for what you are looking for, a bait caster would help you with Bass and Pike. You can do pretty much anything you need to with a spinning rod for Walleye and pinfish.

IMO, Stay away from those combo's at CTC. and jump all over the offer above from Darkwater.

I do not know enough to make an educated assessment of Piscifun and Kastking reels but at least the kastking reels seem to be getting alright reviews. I personally fish Shimano but I also do not have a bait caster under $200 so can't help you much there.

My recommendations to anyone trying to start are:

1. Spend as much as you can on your first one as the better the quality the reel, the better experience you will have. (This rolls into item number 2)

2. Find something that has a dual braking system. I believe the Pro Qualifier has centrifugal and  magnetic brakes. This is an excellent setup. set the centrifugal brakes to 2 and then make adjustments on the magnetic brakes.

3. understand how to set this thing up. you have a cast control cap to adjust side to side play in the spool, brakes to control the speed of the spool and a drag start that needs to be adjusted.

4. Find someone to show you how to makes these adjustments. It isn't terribly hard but it helps with the learning curve.

5. USE CHEA{ LINE! You're going to ruin some line when you first start. I like Berkley Big game in 12-15lb test. You can get a 900yard spool for like $10.00 and it'll last you forever. The larger line diameter will also help with digging out birds nests.

Good luck!

 

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Find a used Shimano Curado or Citica that's a few years old and go with that.   Stay away from the Chinese no name garbage. (KastKing, etc)

Spool it with some 15-20lb mono and have at it.   Crank down the tension knob so your bait barely can pull the line out under freespool and start casting away.   You'll have a lot of birds nets but that's all apart of learning.   Once you figure it out, you'll find that it's a really fun way to fish, pin point accuracy and really good bait control.  

 

Edited by BillM

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If you know someone that has a baitcasting reel see if you can get them to let you use it and give you some instructions before you make the purchase.

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Definitely don't cheap out or you will have a bad experience. Get one with a good drag and anti backlash system.  The Pfluegers are inexpensive, yet I have had really good luck with them for bass and pike set ups.  I use a larger reel for muskie.  Finding good used ones is definitely an option I would check out, I have bought a number of used bait caster with good luck.

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As mentioned above get a quality reel. A used Shimano is a great was to go. The advantages over a spincast would be better drag, more power, WAY more comfortable to fish with, more accurate and longer casting.

Put 50lb braid on it (easier to get out backlashes) and have some fun. The more braking adjustments the reel has the easier it is to tune in... imo. It will take some getting used to but its worth it. 

 

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I picked up a BPS pro qualifier reel for my first bait caster about 10 years ago.. spooled it up with 50# power pro and practiced in the backyard. For the money, it's a great reel and you wont find a better one for $100 (unless used of course) I still use it till this day as a beater even though I have $300+ reels. Check it out.

https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-pro-qualifier-2-baitcast-reel

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I agree with what's been said.  It's a worthwhile endeavor and you'd be better off to pick up a quality used reel.  You can't really go wrong with darkwater's offer.  You could also post a wanted ad in the classified section.  Casting light baits into the wind with a line drive cast is probably the the most difficult, so do the opposite of that until you get the timing down.  Heavier baits with the wind at your back and higher arching casts will end up in less backlashes while you're learning. 

 

Also side arm casting reduces the chances of "spiking" your first cast.  

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On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 10:09 AM, darkwater said:

i love my round millionaire classic from diawa,its almost impossible to birds nest...its my favorite reel,its great for trolling to

 

i have a bass pro pro qualifier,paid over $100,its been used 4-5 times...you can have it for $30..its a well made,solid reel

Pm, sent Darkwater.

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On 4/26/2018 at 5:25 PM, boombap said:

I picked up a BPS pro qualifier reel for my first bait caster about 10 years ago.. spooled it up with 50# power pro and practiced in the backyard. For the money, it's a great reel and you wont find a better one for $100 (unless used of course) I still use it till this day as a beater even though I have $300+ reels. Check it out.

https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-pro-qualifier-2-baitcast-reel

I still have my 2. Pretty much bough back 10+ years ago. Still going strong. I dont own $300 reels. Ok, I have one, but it,s a float reel. 

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Don't go too low on baitcasters because it will just frustrate you.  Everyone has given you good advice, if you can pick up that BPS PQ for $30, you won't regret it!  They are solid reels and it would be a heck of a lot easier to learn on than cheapo big box store combo/reels.  I did that with a Quantum and it turned me off of baitcasters for awhile, until I bought a Shimano and a PQ.  Now all I do is mostly use BCs.  Also, I'd recommend you putting tape about a casting distance + 10 yard so you don't have to "respool" all the way in case of severe birdsnest.  Although braid is awesome as main line, I would recommend buying mono to start off with so it doesn't hurt your wallet when you do birdsnest.  Buy Berkley Big Game, in 12 lb the larger spool, I don't recall the amount but it's around 1k yards.

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On ‎2018‎-‎04‎-‎26 at 10:38 AM, BillM said:

Find a used Shimano Curado or Citica that's a few years old and go with that.   Stay away from the Chinese no name garbage. (KastKing, etc)

Spool it with some 15-20lb mono and have at it.   Crank down the tension knob so your bait barely can pull the line out under freespool and start casting away.   You'll have a lot of birds nets but that's all apart of learning.   Once you figure it out, you'll find that it's a really fun way to fish, pin point accuracy and really good bait control.  

 

I struggled with a lower end Shimano for years to the point I only used it to troll. I tried and tried, sometimes casting out back in the snow. Then I discovered that you just can't cheap out on a Bait Caster. The money I spent re spooling because of carbunklements I could have bought the most expensive Shimano out there. I use a Curado now that I bought used. I have not had a bad carbuncklement the 4 years I have had it.

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Dad was a tournament caster in the late 40's, I learned on his worn out direct drive Inglis Shakespeares and Langley's, no free spool, no centrifugal brake or magnetic brakes, only a thumb. Picked strawberries at 5 cents a quart to buy my own reel in 1964, still got it , a Shakespeare Sportcast, think it was 15 bucks .  

Shakespeare-1973A-Sportcast-Direct-Drive-Model-EH-Casting.jpg

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26 minutes ago, dave524 said:

Dad was a tournament caster in the late 40's, I learned on his worn out direct drive Inglis Shakespeares and Langley's, no free spool, no centrifugal brake or magnetic brakes, only a thumb. Picked strawberries at 5 cents a quart to buy my own reel in 1964, still got it , a Shakespeare Sportcast, think it was 15 bucks .  

Shakespeare-1973A-Sportcast-Direct-Drive-Model-EH-Casting.jpg

There is a blast from the past! Pretty sure I still have an old Langley in my barn.

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