Most of the newest baitcasters and all spinning reels have an anti-reverse. For lakes that have toothy critters, back reeling allows you to control the surge far better than most drags and I feel, allows you to fake a fish into believing it's won it's freedom every time
it surges to make a leap.
Some anglers like the constant pressure that their equipment maintains with rod tip position. Unfortunately there are too many friction-points built into rod-and-reel systems, from the internal drag plates to outer reel parts to the rod guides. Most people never open up their reels to clean and oil all internal friction areas or even loosen their drag after every outing. This usually results in unexpected changes in actual
drag-poundage. It is recommended that one should set the drag to 3/4's of the line's pound test. Unless you've done a load-test with equipment, you don't know if it's set too tight or too loose. This applies especially to mono that has been nicked or abraided or that has a loosened knot or a defect. For example, if the actual test of a 14# lline has been reduced to 6lb test by a small cut and you've set the drag to 10#s (or 75%), the drag is now over 100% of the line test. Crying over that lost, winning fish, still won't get it into the livewell after the line snapped from 5 yards out.
Braid is great stuff, but it causes the most friction of any line coming off the spool and passing through guides. It adds drag, but an indeterminate amount. If your using 30# test, most likely a good braid will not be much reduced in test by abraision or even toothy critters. But you never know!
Backreeling is like insurance against the unexpected factors mentioned above. It applies to freshwater fishing using lighter tackle versus that of saltwater fishing and fighting brutes over 20 pounds. It does not apply to horsing fish out of heavy cover on heavy line. It is an open water technique to artificially
reduce the pound test force to less than 25% on initial surges
, coupled with bowing to the fish
(following the direction of a surging fish, down or to the side, with rod tip position). It does not apply to panfishing unless your using 4 lb test through the ice.
What follows works for me:
1. A fish strikes but stays down and won't allow you to see it's size. [what seem's like a cookie cutter bass could be a plus-6.]
Don't assume anything until you've seen it's head or body! The longer the fight, the greater the assumption that this could be a hog!
2. If that assumption is made, but while the fish is still a distance from the boat
, flip off the anti-reverse. (The drag can always stay at 90-100% for the hookset, all of the time.)
3. Backreel and bow to the fish
when it makes it's most powerful runs, keeping contact-pressure constant. The less and more controlled the contact-pressure, the less panic-surges or their duration.
4. If you have someone to net the fish, no need to flip the anti-reverse on. But, if your're very sure that, by keeping the head out of water the fish has lost it's fight, flip it back on, reach for the net, and scoop the fish up from the tail. (A run-away bail makes for a big mess!)
Modern techniques require less line diameter (crankbaits especially), as well a ultralight. Braid is great in this area but may not be desirable over flurocarbon or good mono, when a little stretch is needed. Any line can benefit from backreeling and hogs
have a way of slopping
you in the face when you least expect it!