There’s more to getting ready for the fishing season than respelling your reels and organizing your tackle box. Hone your skills and sharpen your knowledge with Todd Kuhn’s fishing tip video tutorial.

Baitcasting Reels: A Simple Guide to Casting Controls

If you’re new to fishing with baitcasters, a big part of the learning curve is setting the casting controls properly. Set them too tight and you won’t be able to get any distance, set them too loose and you’ll blacklash the reel.

To get it right, you need to first understand the different casting control systems. Here, Todd Kuhn explains the basics.

When to Use an Underhand Cast

When you’re fishing close to the bank and fish are shallow, you can’t wildly wave overhand casts. Fish are hardwired to watch out for predators from above, so most movement over their heads will spook them.

This is when the underhand cast comes in handy. The idea is to toss your bait at a low angle and make it hit the water softly. This will keep fish from spooking and get you more bites.

Fishing Tips: How to Improve Your Hookset

When you’ve been working hard for a strike and then finally feel a fish hit, your instincts will probably cause you to reel in slack and yank back hard on the rod. But by doing so, you’re dragging the fish instead of effectively setting the hook.

So, leave a little slack in the line before you set the hook. This will accelerate your hook faster and drive the hook home better.

How to Check a Fishing Rod’s Action

Most of us think we know what a good fishing rod should feel like, but shaking one at arm’s length at the tackle shop tells us nothing about the action. A rod’s action can really only be felt when the blank is under load.

To check the action of a rod, place the tip on carpeted flooring (to avoid damaging it) and gently flex the rod from the tip. This will give you a good sense of how the rod will perform when the blank loads during the back cast, when you set a hook, or when you’re simply pulling baits through the water. Observe how the tip reacts to this loading and look for a uniform bend along the blank.

Spinning Reels vs Baitcasting Reels

Some bass guys wouldn’t dream of touching a spinning reel, and there are plenty of walleye anglers who totally lost when it comes to baitcasters. But there’s more than cultural differences at work here.

The different style reels have different applications. Todd Kuhn describes the mechanical anatomy of each, so you know which type of reel to grab before you hit the water.