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Author Topic: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help  (Read 517 times)

UncleJimmy

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Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« on: August 12, 2019, 03:42:34 PM »

New guy here and I basically just joined this community to find real honest reviews and opinions on what my first baitcaster should be.  Also to talk about fishing, of course!

Always been a spinning reel guy, but decided I need to up my game and try new techniques so a few weeks ago I started reading reviews and researching what to buy for my very FIRST Baitcaster.  Easy right?  Oh look here's this company called KastKing who makes about 20,000 different baitcaster models all with zillions of 5 star reviews on Amazon even though they are a third of the price of brands I trust and know to be quality like Daiwa and Pfleuger.  Too good to be true?  I don't know, people say those are paid reviews and all the videos on YouTube glowing about these reals look like they're paid sponsors.

After researching all of this back and forth and driving my poor wife, who could not care less, clinically insane I am now pretty much resigned to the fact that I'll need to spend $100 for a Shimano SLX because anything less than $100 has this or that drawback, or is great for pro's but backlashes for new guys etc etc.

I've never in my life had such a hard decision buying a reel before.  By comparison spincasters are child's play.  So I put it to you, the highest ranked community in my Google search, what is the absolute "must have" first baitcaster for a guy in my shoes on kind a budget.  I'm almost willing to trust anyone at this point!

Thanks and greetings and forgive the theatrics, all good fun.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 02:28:37 PM by UncleJimmy »
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LgMouthGambler

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 04:01:23 PM »

Just get the SLX and have some fun.
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Bud Kennedy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 04:04:57 PM »

Your instincts are right on.  Making a quality decision on a baitcaster is important and is driven at this point by your current baitcaster skills and the type of water you are fishing and the types of baits you expect to be using.

The Shimano SLX is a known good product and so is the Daiwa Fuego.  There are certainly better reels but these would be good choices for your budget considerations.  I am sure others will be along later to offer their opinions of a good quality product to begin your baitcaster experience.

I use Daiwa SVTW103 reels and have been more than pleased as they have completely offset my lack of casting skills and ending my history as the backlash king of the lake.  This obviously a bit more money than the Fuego but can be found online for as low as $130.00  This reel works for me but it might not be the right reel for you.  Good luck in your Search.  If you could provide some additional information as I suggest you will find that the responses may be more in line with your needs.
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Smallie_Stalker

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 04:09:38 PM »

First, welcome to the Ultimate Bass family! ~beer~

If you are posting from a computer you can see in my signature that I am supported by Abu Garcia. So you would think that would be my recommendation, right?

Well I'll tell you what. Within the past week I decided to give Daiwa reels another try and I purchased a Daiwa Fuego CT from Amazon. They have them on sale for less than $80 bucks and this is a fantastic reel for the money. It's built on an aluminum frame, casts and retrieves smooth and just feels solid.

This would be my recommendation, but to be fair I haven't tried the Shmaon SLX so I can't compare the two.

Whatever you decide after more folks weigh in here please keep us posted and share your opinions with us.  :)

Oh, and while I have you here, If you would like to win some free gear from some of the great companies that sponsor our site be sure and put your name in for the New Member’s Contest. We also have Weekly Contests so be sure and get in on those too each week as they become available..

We love pictures around here. Please feel free to post some pics of your catches anytime in our Catch of the Day board.

We’re looking forward to seeing you around the boards and to learning from what you share with us.

In the meantime, if you need any help with anything at all please don't hesitate to contact me or any other staff member.

Once again, Welcome!

><> Smallie_Stalker  <><
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gtrpickr

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 04:55:17 PM »

Welcome to UB
as mentioned above the Daiwa Fuego CT and the SLX are both solid choices for your first baitcaster. Just pick one up and start practicing and if you need help there is always someone here willing to give advice.
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UncleJimmy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 06:15:35 PM »

Wow thanks guys! Yeah the Fuego and SLX keep coming up in my research too so it's good to know I'm not way off. Curious about the Pleuger President Xt baitcaster but nobody is talking about them all that much for some reason. I have a President spinning reel and it's a tank.

I mainly bass fish out of a large family pond and I built fish attractors with some stacked logs. I don't want to be limited to just frogging or throwing heavy jigs. I've recently discovered the joys of the wacky-rigged Senko for these hot Carolina days so being able to throw lighter plastics would appeal to me on whatever baitcaster I pick.

I don't get access to a boat much so shore fishing is a must right now. Cast distance matters.

I really appreciate this advice and warm greetings. On phone so can't quote you guys well right now but trust me it's appreciated.
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zippyduck

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 06:31:39 PM »

I am going to be no different from the rest of them. I am a die hard Daiwa guy but in this case the SLX may be the better choice. After having it in my hand it is top quality for the price.
The Fuego is a very close second to it.

But if you want to wait for a sale or search for one. The Daiwa Tatula svtw is the best starter reel but will be a few dollars more. It can be had for around $130 on sale.

Keep asking questions and we will help you through this decision.
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UncleJimmy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 07:07:24 AM »

I'm kind of torn now between the SLX and the Casitus.  Casitus has the internal and external "infinity" braking adjustment and some say it casts a bit better because of it.  Looks like with the SLX you have to take the cover off every time you want to adjust.

Does anyone here have personal experience with the Shimano Casitus?

Daiwa Fuego CT still compelling as well.  There's just a lot of Shimano options for ~$100 it seems like and they all have a great reputation so trying to work through the options....

Thanks again blown away by the replies and kindness.  I sure joined the right community!

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LgMouthGambler

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 07:08:23 AM »

Casitas is not a metal framed reel, so stay away from that. If you want the ecternal brake control, look for the SLX XT.
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UncleJimmy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 07:22:23 AM »

Oh right I have heard that about these, thank you.  Some say if the frame isn't metal it can deform and start rubbing the spool???  Not something I ever had to worry about before with my old trusty spinning reels.



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Flat Rock

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 08:02:22 AM »

Hello and welcome to the site...   

A friend suggested a LEWS Speed Spool  $99.  It was a god send..!  I liked it so much I went out and purchased the LEWS Tournament MB and thought I went to heaven. 

All I'm saying is don't over look a LEWS..    My favorite baitcasting is a Lews Speed Spool with a 7' Alba Garcia Med Modified rod.  Just under $200 for both rod and reel.  If I had to do it over again I would have purchased the Lews Tournament MB as it has a better centrifugal braking system. 

One other thing, being a reformed spinning reel fisherman, my right hand is dominate and I use my left for cranking.   A lot of guys cast with their right then switch hands to reel.  2 things can happen... 1 drop their rod while switching hands, 2 miss a strike.   Don't over look the left hand reel...  I did try a friends RH BC and it was the most uncomfortable setup I ever fished with.  So if you are used to cast with your right and cranking with your left..  don't be afraid to buy a LH reel.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 08:08:11 AM by Flat Rock »
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3crows

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 08:28:44 AM »

I come and go from forums, so howdy folks.

I just got a SLX XT and a SLX DC to augment my fleet. Got an XG in both. I can recommend either but a great reel the DC is, very easy to cast. I have a bunch of Shimano reels, so sort of a fanboy of Shimano. Yes, the new XT cast further than the standard SLX which is a super good reel itself especially at just under $100.
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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 08:57:11 AM »

UncleJimmy and to Ultimate Bass and we are glad to have you here with us and good to see your making yourself right at  :)hsh: I'm not a reel guy and don't know one reel from another  :-\ so I won't chime in on this one  lo lo We have several members around here who know as you can tell and Matt (LMG) can take three reels apart side by side and clean and bling them out without getting the parts mixed together. Me on the other have have never taken one apart and would even try.  :surrender:
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Bankbeater56

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2019, 12:18:19 PM »

Hi Uncle Jimmy,
Never owned a Shimano reel but have owned 3 KastKing and a few Daiwa’s. In my opinion go with the Shimano or the Daiwa. I currently own a Daiwa  Tatula Ct, a CT Type R, and a Tatula SV TW that I just bought. Both the CT and the Type R can be had on EBay for less than 120.00. Both are OUTSTANDING reels! Braking system is so easy to use, helped me become a better caster with MUCH FEWER BACKLASHES! I can now go out for a day and not worry as to wether I will be picking out birds nests all day
I also am relegated to bank fishing and above said reels are serving me very well.
By the way, I’m right handed but use a left hand retrieve. I want my dominant hand controlling the rod.
Tight lines!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Jacobguy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2019, 03:25:36 PM »

Just got my first baitcaster a few weeks ago it the the daiwa fuego ct and I LOVE it nice and smooth easy to use, but the spool tension knob is hard to turn at times. Good luck!

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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1ReelFanatik

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2019, 08:38:01 PM »

Although I have Shimanos and Daiwas, I don't have an SLX or Fuego CT.  I will say both get great reviews.  Some of the reviewers I even trust.   lo

I don't have the Pflueger President either.  Pflueger spinning reels are often suggested as great options while no one talks about their baitcast reels.  Back in 2005 Tackletour gave the President baitcast reel a Best Value Award.  Personally I would step up to the Supreme XT.  Actually I did.  :)  An Online friend who used to tournament fish tried one.  He liked it so well he bought a second.  He has always given me good advice so I had to have one.  I've only been out once with mine so I can't really comment on it other than to say I had no trouble setting it up.  People that actually own and use a Supreme XT praise it.  Most others put it (or any other Pflueger baitcast reel) down because it is a Pflueger.

I have Pluegers at both ends of their price range.  Three of the older Patriarch XTs and 2 older Trions...well only one now as I gave one away.  These are the aluminum frame Trions.  It isn't pretty or light, but who cares.  It is a casting machine mounted on a 6'10" HF.

So....if you don't mind paddling upstream, try a Supreme XT.  If you want to float downstream with everyone else, get the SLX or Fuego.   ~roflmao
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DonM

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2019, 08:55:40 PM »

This isn't going to be popular, but for low and mid priced reels, I have had great success with some of the Bass Pro line, when you compare price to features.
You can catch Pro Qualifiers on sale periodically for $50.
The Johnny Morris Platinum Signature is my favorite reel.  Got it on sale for $150., normally $199.  I also have a Carbonlite I like a lot.
I also have some pretty good Shimanos and Lews, but I like the JM better.
And, the service from them, though rarely needed, has been great.
I must add, I don't fish tournaments anymore, but still fish a lot. 
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Flat Rock

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2019, 08:41:22 AM »

You know I respect peoples decision to use what they want, but I don't get the blind mass following on reels when the specs clearly show it to be inferior.  I thought maybe I was missing something, so I checked out the  Shimanos SLX and the Daiwas Fuego CT.

The Shimano seems to be the worse with Ball Bearings 3+1 and Max Drag 12 Lbs.

The Diawa not too much better, however the magforce feature has me curious, however the bearings 5 + 1  and the max drag is 13.2 lbs.

The Lews Speed Spool Ball Bearings 9+1 and Max Drag 15 Lbs.

Clearly the LEWS has better specs... I've never taken any of these reels apart or worked on them, but what am I missing here...?   All 3 reels are relatively the same price, so cost isn't a factor.  So how his a Shimano a better choice over a Lews ?   Any one care to explain what I'm missing here ?

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UncleJimmy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2019, 08:59:45 AM »

Clearly the LEWS has better specs... I've never taken any of these reels apart or worked on them, but what am I missing here...?   All 3 reels are relatively the same price, so cost isn't a factor.  So how his a Shimano a better choice over a Lews ?   Any one care to explain what I'm missing here ?


Since I've never owned a baitcaster before my focus is on the braking/casting systems over ball-bearing counts.   The Lews might be great for someone with a 'practiced thumb' , but for me, those ball bearings and drag isn't going to help me prevent overruns or bird-nests since I'm a beginner with these things.

What keeps coming up in my research about the Daiwas and Shimano's is ease of use, and the ability to cast lighter lures without overuns.  Which appeal to me big time as I'm looking at cast-ability first then overall quality second.  Some of these models you can apparently complete casts with NO thumb use at all.  It just seems like these brands put a LOT of thought into the design of their braking/casting systems.   Like this Daiwa "TWS" thing I'm reading so much about.

I appreciate everyone's advice of course.  If Lews really does make a model for around $100 that's great for total newbies like me, I will certainly look at it! 
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LgMouthGambler

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2019, 09:00:54 AM »

Number of bearings is not necessarily better "specs". It does look good on paper. Tolerances and bearing placement/quality will trump "paper specs". Lews, Abu, BPS, Pfluegar, Quantum, Okuma (Bass reels), KK, and most other reels are basically OEM reels. Meaning they are made out of Doyo or Banax which are Korean and Chinese companies that build reels with options, and buyers (brand names) can choose these options per reel, and have their logo on it. Shimano and Daiwa make their own reels for the most part. Sure, some internal parts are massed produced, but that is within reason. But, Shimano and Daiwa are going to have better quality and tolerances in the overall build. Sure, that 11 bearing reel will be smooth at first, but for how long?

Now, that being said, Lews does have one of the best, if not the best, customer service in the industry. I know, because I use them constantly with all the Lews users reel I service.
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LgMouthGambler

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2019, 09:06:30 AM »

Clearly the LEWS has better specs... I've never taken any of these reels apart or worked on them, but what am I missing here...?   All 3 reels are relatively the same price, so cost isn't a factor.  So how his a Shimano a better choice over a Lews ?   Any one care to explain what I'm missing here ?


Since I've never owned a baitcaster before my focus is on the braking/casting systems over ball-bearing counts.   The Lews might be great for someone with a 'practiced thumb' , but for me, those ball bearings and drag isn't going to help me prevent overruns or bird-nests since I'm a beginner with these things.

What keeps coming up in my research about the Daiwas and Shimano's is ease of use, and the ability to cast lighter lures without overuns.  Which appeal to me big time as I'm looking at cast-ability first then overall quality second.  Some of these models you can apparently complete casts with NO thumb use at all.  It just seems like these brands put a LOT of thought into the design of their braking/casting systems.   Like this Daiwa "TWS" thing I'm reading so much about.

I appreciate everyone's advice of course.  If Lews really does make a model for around $100 that's great for total newbies like me, I will certainly look at it!

You can cast any reel with "no thumb" with proper reel setup. You can make a reel do anything you want it to do. You just have to find the braking system that suites your "style" best. It may take some "trial and error" to find that reel. Trust me, I know, I "trial and error" reels all the time.  lo
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D.W. Verts

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2019, 09:45:53 AM »

And boy, am I the wrong guy to weigh in on this subject. But I've been bass fishin' since 1977 ans have never spent more than $60 on a reel. I use, and still use, a lot of the old "round" Ambassaduers (4600 C's) and other than normal wear and tear on level-wind parts, mostly the pawl, I never have had major issues with the older reels. The newer ones (non-Swedish made) have had some stupid stuff happen, tho' rarely.

There are definitely better casting reels made today. And lighter ones too (oh my).

So, for the heck of it, I bought some of the KastKings a couple of years ago, and they have been fine. Just sayin'. I also have one of the Lew's Wally World $60 reels and it throws like it's trying to reach the next county. And then there's the Abu Garcia Pro Max I got while buying my daughter a new reel, and they were out of the Silver Max, therefore giving me the Pro Max at the same price ($40). It Rock and Rolls.

So. I believe that almost ANY reel will give you good enough service. If it's an ego thing then of course you'll have to have the Diawa or Shimano. I myself don't believe in ego. Of course I also don't believe that you have to have a specific rod/reel combo for every damn technique that comes down the pike. 'Cuz I'm old and cranky and have caught thousands and thousands of bass and won thousands and thousands of dollars doin' it my old, broke-down way. For sure.

Getting shook up over a reel is a waste of time. Go to Wal Mart, spend $50-$60 and get something to learn on. Hopefully you'll develop a passion that will lead to years of feedin' the Bait Monkey, and as you learn you can modify your equipment to fit your needs.

This sport is way too simple for folks to make it so complicated. Jeesh. Good luck.

Dale
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Flat Rock

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2019, 10:26:18 AM »



Since I've never owned a baitcaster before my focus is on the braking/casting systems over ball-bearing counts.   The Lews might be great for someone with a 'practiced thumb' , but for me, those ball bearings and drag isn't going to help me prevent overruns or bird-nests since I'm a beginner with these things.

What keeps coming up in my research about the Daiwas and Shimano's is ease of use, and the ability to cast lighter lures without overuns.  Which appeal to me big time as I'm looking at cast-ability first then overall quality second.  Some of these models you can apparently complete casts with NO thumb use at all.  It just seems like these brands put a LOT of thought into the design of their braking/casting systems.   Like this Daiwa "TWS" thing I'm reading so much about.

I appreciate everyone's advice of course.  If Lews really does make a model for around $100 that's great for total newbies like me, I will certainly look at it!

I have been a open face spinner guy all my life..  I have only been using a baitcaster this yr.  In other words I was in your shoes not long ago.  I get what you are saying and trust me when I say thumb use only comes in play when I remember   ::) ;D   

With all the reels on the market, I can't for the life of me figure out why only a few people will acknowledge a Lews when its clearly a reasonable choice for someone like you and me getting into BC's.   Of course as I learn more about these reels I'm finding that you get what you pay for....   and a $150 reel will be easier to use than a $30 knock off.  Been there done that and won't go back. 


Number of bearings is not necessarily better "specs". It does look good on paper. Tolerances and bearing placement/quality will trump "paper specs". Lews, Abu, BPS, Pfluegar, Quantum, Okuma (Bass reels), KK, and most other reels are basically OEM reels. Meaning they are made out of Doyo or Banax which are Korean and Chinese companies that build reels with options, and buyers (brand names) can choose these options per reel, and have their logo on it. Shimano and Daiwa make their own reels for the most part. Sure, some internal parts are massed produced, but that is within reason. But, Shimano and Daiwa are going to have better quality and tolerances in the overall build. Sure, that 11 bearing reel will be smooth at first, but for how long?

Now, that being said, Lews does have one of the best, if not the best, customer service in the industry. I know, because I use them constantly with all the Lews users reel I service.

Thank you for your input, it makes sense.   I would imagine since I'm just a weekend fisherman, with the proper care, a Lews should last.   I mean its not like I fish 12 hrs a day 300 days a yr.  I mean even a $500 reel wouldn't last. 

I have a Diawa ultra light spinning reel that I've owned for 30+ yrs, never have done anything to it and it still works great...  So I know Diawa makes a good product. There is a couple features I found on the Diawa that has peaked my interest.. So I will be giving them a better look. 
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1ReelFanatik

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2019, 12:13:20 PM »

As a first time baitcast reel user, I would suggest taking advantage of that Tat SV for $130.  It will drastically shorten your learning curve.

A few things to be aware of.  Use a weight in the middle to upper range of the rod's lure rating.  Smooth is the name of the game.  Casting with a baitcast rod vs a spinning rod requires relearning the release point.  I started by using a side arm cast.  At first my lures were going at least 30 degrees to the left.  I cast right handed.  I grew up using a spinning rod.  Oops.  You use a spincast reel.  Don't know its release point compared to a baitcast reel.

A way to help avoid casting too far left (for a right hand caster) is to use a roll cast.  Lures will go straighter (forward) as long as you keep the rod to the side.  You will have less backlashes because you are keeping the rod tip loaded throughout the cast.  Roll casts help eliminate the sudden stop on the back cast and reversal for the forward cast because the rod motion doesn't stop.  Baitcast spools hate sudden stops and starts.

Start with easy casts.  Don't try for the other side of the lake.     :)

It will be unusual if you don't love baitcast reels compared to a spincast reel.  Reels will be lighter and better balanced on the rod.  Weight doesn't really bother me, but I have to admit using a rod/reel combo that weighs less than 10 oz. is the cat's meow.
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UncleJimmy

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Re: Researching my first baitcaster. Frustrated please help
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2019, 02:40:47 PM »

I grew up using a spinning rod.  Oops.  You use a spincast reel.  Don't know its release point compared to a baitcast reel.


I feel like a dummy!  I've fixed my post.  I meant spinning reels (open faced).  I haven't used a spincast since I was a kid with a Zebco! lol.

Anyway I really appreciate everyone's input and advice.  I decided to go with the Daiwa Fuego CT because for the money I don't think I can find one better and it seems easy enough to use.  In the proper Left-handed reeling too so that's going to feel awkward for a bit as I'm one of those who switches hands after I cast usually. 

My best spinning reel is a Daiwa and it's a brand I've always known to be quality.  Although I'm sure I'll be trying many others over the years if this works out like I hope.

Can't wait to pull some big bass out of the muck with my new baitcaster!
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