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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok,

I got back into fishing after a 10 year hiatus. My youngest daughter needed something to do, and she wanted to try fishing. Well, so glad she inherited some thing from me! She's into it like I am. With that happening, that gave me excuses to go to the tackle shop and grab stuff for her. Also, teaching her how to do things has helped me improve on a lot of the basics. Didn't realize how rusty I was, but with everything, teaching someone else the "basics" sharpens up your skills.

I've always been curious about baitcast reels. I've never had the courage to pull the trigger on one because of all the horror stories I've read over backlash. But curiosity got the best of me, and I got the cheapest setup I could put together for what I'm going to do with it. I ended up with an Abu Garcia Silver Max (left handed retrieve!! Woo Hoo!), and a Lews Carbon Fire 7ft. M MF casting rod, running 20# braided, and an 8# FC leader. Everything cost me under 100$ as I got both items on sale, and had some points on my Dicks Scorecard.

Just wanted to say that after extensive research, all the youtube videos out there, and all the articles I've browsed, including in this forum, I've been able to get my baitcast reel adjusted to my 1/8 oz lures and rigs in a matter of a few minutes. Adjusting for heavier tackle isn't too big of a deal if I just have to adjust brake. I even experimented and saw how a birds nest happens and how to fix it if possible. So far so good and I'm loving the reel, even though I haven't fished it yet! I'm just stoked that I got my brakes adjusted and there wasn't a lot of rocket science to it. I like the feel of the rod and reel a lot, but we'll see how it all works out on the lake this weekend.

Sucks too because I just got my spinning gear dialed in and love it as well. I know, I can use both poles depending on what I'm doing and certain applications. But I know a guy who fishes with his baitcaster all the time, from 1/16th crappie jigs to his big bass 3/8th's and larger. He used to carry his spinner with him when he wanted to switch to ultra light, but he just figured out how to do it with his baitcaster; that being said he did tell me they're not all created equal, but his works well with 1/16th, and he said I should be fine.

I rarely go below 1/8th, only if I'm jigging crappies with my youngest, who likes to use the little 1/16th items in our tackle. So we'll see how things go when I get time to do the first field test.
 

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I bought the same baitcaster for my first one, and funny enough I own 2 of those Carbonfire rods. The baitcaster takes a little getting used to, as you've figured out, but it's sooooo worth it. Especially from a kayak or a canoe, it's so helpful to be able to use one hand on the baitcaster, one hand on the paddle.
Yep, once you get the spool tension and brake adjusted, you are pretty much good to go. You WILL backlash at some point. Everyone does. And you'll probably get one so bad that you'll have to put the rod away and deal with it at home. ;) But still, IMHO, the control you have, and the casting accuracy over a spinning reel is worth it.
The question now is, when are you buying your next one??
 

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Like with anything, different tools work better for different jobs. There is not one size fits all nor one type of gear for all applications. Some just work better or are easier to use than others for a specific task. But it's always good to expand your skillset and have different options at your disposal. And yes, bait casters have improved immensely since the 1970's when I first started using them.
As far as "cheap" gear? Well I guess you get what you pay for but at the same time you don't have to sink $200 into a reel to get something that's perfectly fine. I personally have a number of "cheap" rod/reel combos which many would turn their nose up at. I have flyrods costing several hundred dollars, and some cheap rods. Some moderately priced reels and some cheap ones. They all catch fish. A good fisherman with cheap gear will out fish a poor fisherman everytime. Get what you want and expand your gear and the budget as you learn what you really like. More importantly, spend time on the water learning or relearning HOW to catch fish. Keep your daughter involved and have fun! That will be some of her sweetest memories long after you're gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The question now is, when are you buying your next one??
Haha!! Probably not for awhile. Once I get used to the baitcast reel manufacturers, I may invest into something with a couple more bearings. Other than that I think the SilverMax will work nicely for a while. I may get a couple of new casting poles as I my St. Croix Triumph has been good to me, so might grab one of those Cabela's split handle Premier rods eventually. Trying to get me and the little one our own canoe or jon boat.

Like with anything, different tools work better for different jobs. There is not one size fits all nor one type of gear for all applications. Some just work better or are easier to use than others for a specific task. But it's always good to expand your skillset and have different options at your disposal. And yes, bait casters have improved immensely since the 1970's when I first started using them.
As far as "cheap" gear? Well I guess you get what you pay for but at the same time you don't have to sink $200 into a reel to get something that's perfectly fine. I personally have a number of "cheap" rod/reel combos which many would turn their nose up at. I have flyrods costing several hundred dollars, and some cheap rods. Some moderately priced reels and some cheap ones. They all catch fish. A good fisherman with cheap gear will out fish a poor fisherman everytime. Get what you want and expand your gear and the budget as you learn what you really like. More importantly, spend time on the water learning or relearning HOW to catch fish. Keep your daughter involved and have fun! That will be some of her sweetest memories long after you're gone.
Totally feel you on the cheap gear. I feel like I caught more fish with my starter rods than I have with my current setup, but I'm more intentional in what I want to try to catch now. Plus I like everyone I really like tinkering with tackle when I'm not fishing, and of course the curiosity grows lol. I don't go for broke on the reels and stay in the 50-80$ range. Rods, I'll splurge on if I see something I like, but don't like going over 150$. And amen to keeping my daughter involved! It was actually her that got me back into fishing, and so glad she did. Basically, Emerald Pointe closed for the season, and when I asked what are we going to do now on the weekends, she replied "well, I never learned to fish last summer so..."; we went to Academy and bought her a zebco starter kit that day. Teaching her helps me fish better, and we both love going to the tackle shops and looking at everything. While we don't catch a ton of fish and have yet to venture past the local lakes within 15 minutes of us, we have a great time trying, learning and just enjoying things.

Anyway, she curious about baitcasters now too lol, but I told her to spend at least 6-9 months on her spinning setup. Excited to play around with setup at the lake this weekend. Love all the adjustments you can make with the brakes and spool tension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK!

So just got back from City Lake Park and tried my new baitcaster there. Love that lake and hate it all at the same time. I don't catch much in there, but I'm also still learning the lake, as I just started renting a boat to fish there. Thats a whole other post though!

At any rate, worked with that baitcaster on the lake, after practicing with it in my backyard. I got about 50 casts in offshore and was fairly comfortable with it. Just before going out I decided to change up my lure from 1/8oz to 1/4oz weight. Quick adjustment of the spool tension and I was good for the most part. Overall, I love it. Thank goodness for youtube and the many videos that showed me how to cast, adjust things, and deal with a birds nest.

As much practice as I got in on dryland, yes... as you both told me I would bird nest either way lol. I see what causes it and what I was doing to cause it, or what was not adjusted properly. Today was not about catching fish so much, as it was getting used to this setup. As the day rolled on, I started to birds nest less and less, and got better about feathering the spool. I can see where I can get the bait to land softer. As much as I did birds nest, I didn't get one so bad that it ruined the day. I had one that was pretty bad that I thought I'd have to pull my spinning setup out (brought it just in case lol!), but after 15 -20 mins I was able to get it unraveled and smoothed out.

Absolutely love how the whole setup feels. Its lightweight, and I never got fatigued. I started to get better at overhand and the rolling sidearm casts, and prefer the sidearm because of how it feels. Also love how I can float the lure horizontally and land it lightly. Overall, loving the setup and I can see myself fishing with it for a long time. I'll keep my spinner with me just in case, but for now I'll roll with the baitcast and see what I can do with it.

My daughter had a good time watching me fish with it lol. She was doing her thing but got distracted by watching and learning how to use a baitcaster. She's only 9, but understands how the spool tensioner and magnetic brakes work now. It was windy as heck out there today, we didn't catch anything, but had a good time just fishing. I'm officially sold on baitcasters now, but also understand they fit into the big picture.
 
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