Spool tension knob

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For starters, baitcasters come in both right- and left-handed models. So instead of referring to the right or left of a reel, we’ll be referring to the handle-side of the reel or the side of the reel opposite of the handle. On the handle-side of a reel, you’ll find a spool tension knob that’s circular and raised, about as big around as a dime.

This knob controls how much force is needed to start the spool spinning. Most reels come with all three controls we’re going to talk about today backed all the way off. The best way to start is to tighten all three of these controls all the way down and this includes the spool tension knob.

Now to set the spool tension for your first cast, tie something on like a 1/2-ounce jig and while holding the rod tip straight out in front of you with about a foot of line between the bait and your rod tip, start backing off of the spool tension knob by rolling it towards your body slowly until the bait begins to fall.

You’ll know you’ve gone a little too far if the bait shoots to the ground and your spool backlashes a bit. If that happens, just tighten the knob back up a little by rolling it forward. Now this setting is ready for your first cast, but we still need to set the other two controls first.