What Are The Parts Of A Baitcaster Reel And What Do They Do?

The baitcasting reel originated from the Kentucky reels of the early nineteenth century, which were bought by inventor William Shakespeare Jr. from another inventor, Walter Marhoff.

Baitcasting reels are popular among many fishermen because they have better casting accuracy and distance than other fishing reels, especially spinning reels.

What Are The Parts Of A Baitcaster Reel And What Do They Do

In addition to superior casting performance, bait casters are typically lighter than equivalent spinning reel sizes in terms of line capacity.

So, if you want to take advantage of the outstanding benefits supplied by baitcasters, the first thing you need to do is learn about the baitcaster pieces and what they accomplish.

In this guide, we will show you the most crucial baitcasting reel parts and explain how they work. 

How Does a Baitcaster Reel Work?

Baitcasting reels vary from spinning reels and spincasting reels in the orientation of their spools.

The two spin types of spool line from the end of a vertical spool that is parallel to the rod. A baitcaster spools out the line at an angle to the rod.

This implies that the line is cranked back onto the spool from a spinning spool on the cast, much like a winch.

This action provides for more casting control and a variable speed retrieval, which is useful for hunting top-striking species like largemouth bass.

A baitcasting reel’s spool can be deeper, with a smaller central spindle, allowing for more line capacity.

The spool’s horizontal arrangement provides for increased drag setting flexibility, magnetic and mechanical line tensioning, and the option to employ the star drag spindle in the middle of a retrieve.

Using a baitcaster necessitates the acquisition of a few new talents. They’re a little more sophisticated than a spinning reel, and there are a few more settings to learn.

In truth, a baitcasting reel is a pretty basic device. When you want to cast, you must press the thumb bar when the rod reaches the required angle, with the precise angle you choose to throw the line at depending on the casting distance you intend to achieve.

To enable the line to come off the spool, you must hold down the thumb bar for the entirety of the cast.

When the throw is finished, release the thumb bar and reel in the line by using the handle. use the handle to reel in the bait and hopefully a fish.

Of course, you’ll need to learn how to adjust the brakes, drag, tension, and cast control knob to suit your fishing technique.

Round Baitcaster and the Low-Profile Baitcaster

Round baitcasters have a larger circular spool that protrudes more from the rod. They are also often heavier. The circular spool provides a larger line capacity, which is ideal for long-distance casting applications (such as surf fishing, for example).

It also performs well with heavier pound test lines, which is beneficial when capturing larger fish (such as catfish, for example).

Low-profile baitcasters, on the other hand, are designed for optimal comfort and lightness of weight. They have a tiny spool that sits right on top of the rod’s handle and are substantially lighter than previous variants.

Because of this, they are ideal for lengthy periods of casting, which is why they are so popular for bass fishing.

Reel Foot

The foot, which connects the reel to the rod, is found on the majority of fishing reels. The foot, which is designed rectangular to fit the frame of the rod holder, must be sturdy, securely fastened, and durable enough to bear the strain and torque of casting and reeling it back. 

The positioning of the foot on this reel is one thing you’ll easily notice. The reel, which is attached to the top of the rod should also line up with the rod’s guides which are the metal rings that the line passes through to the tip.

This positioning ensures that the line leads straight from the beginning guides and into the water, resulting in a smoother throw. 

A baitcaster’s reel foot is also connected to the reel seat. This is the section of the rod that holds the reel and normally includes a threaded keeper that is slid down by hand to secure the detachable reel. It is vital that these two components line properly in order for neither portion to separate.

With the foot, you should always make sure that the nut on the back of the socket is nice and tight before you make that first cast into the water.

Drag Control

The drag control is another button or knob that is often starfish-shaped on a baitcasting reel and is typically located on the right side of the reel near the friction control buttons. Playing with this parameter is another efficient means of managing blowback and lowering the amount of time you spend mending tangled lines.

If your drag system is set too loose, fish will be able to quickly take line off your reel, which will be an issue if you’re attempting to lead them away from cover.

A powerful fish, on the other hand, may snap the line if the drag is set too tight. As a result, it’s critical to understand how to operate the star drag knob to modify the drag pressure as needed.


The brakes are a distinct feature of the baitcasting reel that assist in controlling backlash, which is the word used when the line tangles. Backlash is a problem of the baitcasting reel setup that discourages beginners from using it.

Reel brakes are situated on the reel’s side. This placement has the benefit of being directly accessible to the angler’s hand, allowing for rapid and timely readjustments. This allows for easy adjustment of the initial spool speed as well as control of the rate of deceleration which, if too fast, can generate untidy line tangles near the water’s edge.

Some bait casters, particularly older versions, have only one type of stopping system, whilst others have both centrifugal and magnetic brakes.

We recommend looking for a baitcaster that has both a centrifugal and a magnetic brake that can be set externally through a dial on the side of the reel frame. This will provide you with the most braking impact as well as the most flexibility in changing the braking system, which will greatly assist you in avoiding backlash during your casting.

Cast Control Knobs

Cast control knobs, like reel brakes, are critical in maintaining a smooth cast with no backlash. Cast control knob designs vary depending on the manufacturer but can range from a single knob to numerous.

They are usually situated near the reel handle itself. This knob is sometimes referred to as the spool tension knob.

Cast control knobs, which are often tuned for certain lures, may be turned by the fingers to increase or reduce speed. These knobs are made of metal and colored to match the reel body.

They are also removable for different sizes or patterns dependent on the angler’s preferences. They, like the braking system, may be removed by turning the knob until it is totally loosened.

What Are The Parts Of A Baitcaster Reel And What Do They Do


The baitcaster reel handle varies from the spinning reel handle in that it has two knobs instead of one. The handle is typically relatively large in relation to the size of the body of the reel, and the knobs are constructed of hard plastic or ergonomic EVA foam. 

Overall, baitcasters are designed for excellent ergonomic handling and ease of usage, especially low-profile baitcasters. These lightweight reels sit on top of the rod handle, and the large reel grip with strong knobs is a joy to grasp when fishing.

Line Guide

By moving back and forth from one end of the spool to the other as you move the handle, the line guide ensures that the line is evenly spooled onto the baitcaster spool. Remember to go through the line guide before going through the guides on your baitcasting rod.

The line guide is the first portion of the line that the line travels through on its route to the last eyelet of the rod. It is critical that the line guide performs well and is properly manufactured as part of the reel body.

The line guide is a movable component of a baitcasting reel that sits in front of the spool and slides forward and back when the line is fed on or off the reel.

Thumb Bar

When casting your lure, the thumb bar is utilized to release the line. When you press the thumb bar down, the gears on the spool are disengaged, allowing the reel to spin freely.

During the casting process, you must touch the thumb bar precisely when you wish to release the line. The excellent thing about this is that it places your thumb close to the spool, which comes in helpful when manually slowing down spool rotation during the throw.


The spool is one of the most crucial pieces of a reel since it is where the fishing line is housed and stored. Unlike a spinning reel spool, the baitcasting spool spins rather than going up and down. Because of this construction, baitcasting spools can withstand the higher strain, making them ideal for heavier set-ups or pursuing larger fish.

A baitcaster’s spool design is frequently what makes it popular among professional anglers who like lures like jigs that sit deep in the water and are banged against the bottom. Because both line and lure are more likely to come into touch with underwater impediments, this method of fishing needs more strong and more durable equipment.

Despite this benefit, spooling a baitcasting reel can be a bit tricky, especially for a beginner. The first step should be to ensure that the surface of the spool is smooth, clean, and devoid of any extraneous substance. The line may then be fed onto the spool with slight strain using your index and thumb.

One of the most critical things you can do while setting up your rod and reel is to spool the line. Lines that have been wrongly spooled or spooled with inadequate pressure can swiftly loop off the reel, tangle, and break.

Spool Tensioner

Spool tensioners keep the spool securely attached to the reel body while allowing the line to flow freely on and off it.

The tensioner, which is normally placed on the bottom of the reel’s body, is often confused with the cast control but is typically smaller. It is preferable to test adjustability using a lead sinker linked to the line outside the water.

That way, you may obtain a sense of the tension’s sensitivity and tune it to something close to your liking in preparation for your first throw.

This strategy is especially ideal for novices who are new to baitcasting reels and wish to prevent backlash. Allowing the sinker to drop and touch the ground without any line running off the reel can assist in resolving this issue.


The baitclicker is another function that baitcasting reels share with spinning reels. This is a switch on the left side of a reel that makes a clicking noise when the line tension is increased.

Its purpose is similar to that of an alarm, alerting an angler to a fish biting on the lure, but it can also indicate when the lure has been bumped or hooked up on an impediment.

Bass fishermen who prefer to fish with many rods will like this feature since the alarm sound allows them to focus on another rod while being confident that they will not miss a possible catch.

Baitcasting rods, while comparable in design and function to most other fishing reels, provide a stunning amount of control for fishermen wishing to step up their game and go more seriously than their spinning reel roots.


Flipping the reel over and gazing above the spool will reveal the pawl, a lengthy gear that spans the length of the reel.

The pawl is situated just beneath the line guide. The pawl, like the line guide, is a movable portion of a baitcasting reel that is responsible for moving the line back and forth to ensure uniform distribution of the line on the spool. Breaking this portion of a baitcaster reel is a major cause of monster knots and reel damage.


Baitcasters may appear scary at first when compared to other fishing reels, but after you grasp how the most crucial aspects of a baitcasting reel function, you’ll be able to pick the ideal reel for your needs and will likely join the wide community of anglers who have fallen in love with baitcasting reels.

Once you understand how a baitcaster works, one of the best ways to determine its quality is to examine the performance of its pieces. The specific features you’ll want to look for in a baitcaster will depend on the application.

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Tommy Bull
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