Steve ChaconasCaptain Steve brings 25 years of bass fishing experience on the Potomac River to columns featured in the BoatUS Trailering Magazine, Sportsman's Magazine, Woods & Waters, and The Old Town Crier. He has also written for the Free Lance Star newspaper, The Mount Vernon Gazette, The Mount Vernon Voice, The American Sportfishing Association and many others. Steve also hosted the National Bass Fishing Radio Show. Capt. Steve is also the BoatUS.com online fishing expert. A U.S. Coast Guard Captain, licensed by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Steve has the opportunity to fish with anglers of all skill levels, including some of the biggest names in pro bass fishing. He is one of the top bass fishing guides in the country. Steve's been featured in local and national newspapers, magazines and on TV and radio: BASSMASTERS, BASS TIMES, BASSIN' Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Los Angeles Times, ESPN and others. He's been: emcee of the St. Jude Children's Hospital Tournament the past 11 years, a member of Boat US Speakers Bureau, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and a member of the American Sportfishing Association. Steve has been awarded an Excellence in Craft award from SEOPA and was the recipient of the Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce 2002 and 2003 Home-Based Business of the Year Award. Prior to fishing, Steve's careers included teaching high school algebra and sales of cars, computers and surgical products. He also hosted the longest running all-financial morning radio show in the country and is considered to be "The Father of Business Radio".
Hi! I am Captain Steve Chaconas with National Bass Guide Service. We have an exciting day planned for you today; we are going to teach you how to use a baitcasting rod and reel. Baitcasters offer a big advantage over spinning gear, because you can use heavier line, heavier levers, and go where the big ones are; but they can be a lot complicated if you dont have them tuned just right, if you dont know what you are doing, they can backlash, causing you problems. But I am going to take you step by step through casting, pitching, and we are going to show you where you use them and how to use them. That is coming up; so, come on, lets go fishing. We are going to talk about casting and working with baitcasting reels but before we do, you really need to know about the anatomy of one. One of the neatest things about baitcasting reels is that they are designed to fit in the palm in your hand; this can give you some leverage and also give you the ability to work baits a little bit easier. So a lot of guys prefer this on the pro tours. In addition, the line that we can handle with it is much thicker. This line is 17 pound test, it can get pretty heavy on a baitcasting reel, where you cant do that with spinning gear without going to a much, much bigger reel. In addition to that, a lot of the rods that come with baitcasting reels can be heavier; that allows you to throw heavier baits like big spinner baits, big jigs, heavy-duty stuff, even longer rods than you can normally get with spinning reels. So right off the bat, physically, they have a big advantage. Now, how do they work? Taking a look at some of the parts, the first and most important is the spool release; when you push your thumb on this, it releases the spool and the spool will revolve. You turn the handle and it engages; but again, pushing that button lets that spool revolve. The next thing is your drag; your drag this little star. You could turn forwards or backwards, applying less or backing off on the drag that you have. But the other two key parts that you need to pay attention to, are the spool adjustment cap, which is the spool right here behind the handle. Get a good look at it right here; by turning it and tightening it, it puts pressure on the spool, and it can make it slow down, so you dont backlash as often. The other key is being able to set the centrifugal brakes; by setting the centrifugal brakes, you remove the cover and it usually on each reel it is a little bit different; on this one it unscrews. These are the centrifugal brakes; they slide out when the brakes are activated, when the spool is spinning. The faster the spool spins, the more pressure is exerted on these brakes, and the brakes come in contact with this drum on the inside rakes right here, and that will slow your spool down. I only have two of these brakes engaged; you can turn them on or turn them off by pulling them towards you and snapping them into place, or you could pull them out and snap them out, and now they are ready to go. You could add as many as six brakes; when you are learning, you might want to start off with three or four. That is the anatomy of a baitcasting reel. Coming up next, we will talk about how to cast and how to pitch these wonderful reels.