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Conventional Reel Help

justinmsjustinms West Palm BeachPosts: 12 Deckhand
hey guys im fairly new to using a conventional lever drag reel. when casting I still have trouble with it backlashing. I know I am supposed to put my thumb on the spool still it manages to backlash (was able to fix it last time it did.) I use an avet mxl g2.

problem I have is if I put my thumb on the spool any harder i will get little to no distance. tips or feedback?

Replies

  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,506 Moderator
    Lever drags are not meant to be cast.  Get a different reel
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 873 Officer
    justinms said:
    hey guys im fairly new to using a conventional lever drag reel. when casting I still have trouble with it backlashing. I know I am supposed to put my thumb on the spool still it manages to backlash (was able to fix it last time it did.) I use an avet mxl g2.

    problem I have is if I put my thumb on the spool any harder i will get little to no distance. tips or feedback?
    Not really much to add conchydong pretty much sums it up.  Also once your bait hits the water stop the spool to prevent backlash.  Another advantage of that is also it makes your bait land softer if you’re casting to fish you can see feeding and won’t spook them as much plus help keep your bait alive a little longer.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,687 Captain
    Here’s the advice I give beginners working with plug reels for the first time... After rigging up with whatever lure or weight you choose (keep it within the weight range your rod shows...).  hold it horizontal with your thumb on the spool, take it out of gear and just allow it to drop.... then gradually tighten the end cap until the line comes off the reel as slowly as possible.  Now you’re ready for that first cast.  Only loosen that end cap very slightly once you’re able to cast without backlashing...

    As already noted a lever drag reel really isn’t meant for casting at all...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,506 Moderator
    If you must cast a lever drag, or any conventional reel for that matter, here's 2 things I teach one just learning. 
    First, pull out the amount of lie you think will be your furthest cast.  Then take some blue masking tape and put it on the line remaining on the spool and wind the line you pulled off back on top of the tape.  Now, when you do backlash it, and you will, the backlash will only be as deep as the tape.

    Second, cast uphill.  What I mean by this is to cast sidearm and have your lure travel up, so the line is angled up from the rod tip ad the lure looses the energy from the cast and just falls in the water.  It's not the most accurate but it will get the lure out with less backlashes than an overhand cast where a lot of time, a beginner will cast down at the water and suddenly and unexpectedly hitting the water causes professional overrun
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 12,286 AG
    Lever drags are not meant to be cast.  Get a different reel
    Jack, if you ever go Tuna fishing on a San Diego Long Range boat, you will need to learn to cast a lever drag with a Sardine for bait. I agree they weren't built ideally for casting but that doesn't mean you cannot cast them. 

    Scott

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 4,050 Captain
    edited April 2021 #8
    Having learned how to saltwater fish on the left coast in the years before braid fishing line, It was customary to start out with a spinning reel.  As one progressed, They switched over to a conventional reel.  Once a conventional reel was learned, anglers never went back to spinning because with equal line ratings, a conventional reel is superior for handling larger fish. 
    As a kid, I would tie a light piece of wood on my Penn squidder outfit and practice fly-line casting my fake anchovy in the backyard.    On the party boats, the best anglers used strictly conventional reels.  If an angler brought a spinning reel with them, it was a sign of inexperience.  They had not learned the skill of casting and retrieving a conventional.  It's like riding a bike, once learned, one does not even think about it, they just do it.   
    Moving to the East Coast, it was a shock to see many professional fishing guides that never took the time to learn the skill of using a conventional reel for casting.  With micro braid lines, the difference in performance between handling a fish on a conventional and a spinning reel is less significant, and because of the risks of line damage, while casting braid on conventionals, it sometimes makes more sense to use spinning reels today.  Regardless, it's still a notable difference in the fishing cultures between Southern California and South Florida.

    California-built Accurate and Avet smaller-sized lever drag reels are made with an open-top design for ease of casting.   If they put a support bar across the top of the reel, they could make an overall lighter reel, but it would interfere with castability.  Japanese reel makers targeting the same market have similar style reels.  Some companies have recently come out with star drag equivalents to their lever drag line-ups.  A star drag reel does not have drag washers on the spool, thus the lighter spool might be slightly easier to cast.   Being able to cast a live bait farther on an anchored boat chumming live bait can sometimes make the difference between constantly being hooked up and watching others fight fish.   If one were planning to fish a long-range sportfishing trip out of San Diego, I would recommend taking the time to learn to cast weights representative of the baits they might be fishing.  None of the boats recommend bringing spinning gear, and many recommend lever drag reels over star because of the better longevity of the drag system.  More than once I have seen crew have to cast hook and hand tuna for the passengers to reel in because the anglers were not skilled in casting their 3/0 to 6/0 sized conventional reels.   

    Sorry for getting off-topic, I agree with Conchydong's recommendations.  Put some cheap monofilament line on the reel while practicing.  For conventionals with braid, the mono top shot should be slightly longer than your longest cast.  



  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,687 Captain
    edited April 2021 #9
    All those years ago when I first came to Florida (it will 50 years in August...) I started out on fishing piers - and like most beginners it was spinning gear in a surf casting setup... Once I started building my own rods, conventional gear soon followed.  I started with a Penn Squidder then moved to a Jigmaster soon enough... I still have that Jigmaster, but it’s been highly modified, has a full Newell kit, etc.  If I came back to fishing piers it would be my first choice....  
    As far as fishing rigs go - so much depends on where and how you’re fishing as well as your target and whether you’re on foot or fishing from a boat...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • GarysmoGarysmo Ft. Pierce, FloridaPosts: 1,607 Captain
    Jack's suggestion for the side-arm or up hill is a good suggestion.   I learned with a small reel while bass fishing and it helped me alot.    And yeah.....you are going to backlash,
    Everyone does when learning
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