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How to: Cast a Bait Finesse Combo… the "Right" Way

by Tom Melton 21 May 2024

Bait Finesse fishing is a great way to have fun… it's that simple. I have asked a lot of anglers I see that are using bait finesse fishing gear and I ask the same question. "Why are you using bait finesse gear meaning a small baitcaster meant for light lines and lures?" Almost nine times out of 10, the answer is the same. "I really like using baitcasting gear and don’t really like using spinning gear." This is not only a valid answer, but a really good one. Face it, spinning reels have their issues at times, and most of which baitcasters do not. However, there is a huge difference between typical baitcasting gear and bait finesse fishing reels especially. The rods are similar, but the reels are greatly different. Let's cover the factors I feel will have you slinging light lures like a pro.

Going Shallow

Do you know how to cast a baitcasting reel? Do you know what makes a baitcasting reel cast as far as they do? Sure, you could spool up a baitcasting finesse fishing reel with 10 pound braid and as long as you have the reel set, and a well-managed thumb, you could cast pretty far. Knowing what you need to do, and how to set it up will enhance that experience even further.

A bait finesse fishing reel needs to have a shallow spool. The equation is quite simple. To cast any baitcasting reel far, and to avoid as many backlashes as possible, your spool speed must be the same or close to the same speed your lure you are throwing heads towards the water. The simple solution to throwing small, very low weight lures (1/16, 1/8, etc.), a shallow spool will speed up on the initial swing a heck of lot faster than a spool that is much deeper. Hence, this is why most, if not all bait finesses reels are shallow spools.

A shallow spool design will allow the spool to get spinning a lot quicker, making casting a breeze.

Make it a Match

Before you can begin using a finesse baitcasting reel, you absolutely have to have the correct fishing rod paired to it. Of course, any light or ultra-light fishing rod could work, but they will usually lose something in the way of distance, fight or comfortability.

KastKing has a specific lineup of finesse rods made for this application. These rods, for the most part are a fast or ultra-fast taper rod, which means the rod is somewhat on the stiffer side, with the bulk of its bend very close to the tip. This enables small lures to utilize the “whip” of the rod, and offer good hooksets with the backbone. It also aids in bite detection. Most bait finesse fishing rods will be on the shorter side. Shorter rods load up quicker than longer rods, and with the sling-shot effect, “shoot” the line and lure off the reel.

Smallmouth bass, especially in the early season, are great targets for finesse style fishing.

Spool it Up

Before we can even think about casting a super light lure with a bait finesse rod and reel, you need to know what line to use. For the most part, you will be using a braid of your choice, and either a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader.

With bait finesse fishing reels offering very shallow spools, braided line is the way to go. When I spool up, I either go really light with 6 pound test KastKing Super Power or 10-pound test Hammer Braid Alpha 9. On the leader end I will mostly use fluorocarbon in 6 to 10-pound test. I will also use monofilament if I am throwing topwater poppers like a small Hula Popper as the mono floats.

One of the most critical factors when bait finesse fishing will be your line. Small diameter braid combined with a fluorocarbon leader will go a long way in achieving casting distance with light lures.

Okay, let’s Cast Away

You have the rod and reel, and you are spooled up and ready to go. Your favorite micro lure is on the line…now what? To cast light lures on bait finesse gear you have to remember one very important aspect – you are not going to cast that far. You can however control the cast and with practice pinpoint the cast to an exact location.

The Kestrel is made for throwing small lures, and perfect for finesse bass fishing

One of the keys is lure location on the end of the rod. I like to have the lure 15 to 20 inches below the tip. This amount adds to the sling-shot effect as the rod whips through the cast. There is a good video on you tube of a Japanese angler. His technique is awesome, but more importantly, take a look at how the rod whips to gain momentum on the cast. It can be found at this video.

Bait finesse fishing is a lot of fun. The rewards can be endless. It will add a new dimension to your fishing game and have you catching bass like never before while using 1/32, 1/8 and other small lures and jigs. Grab yourself a KastKing rod and reel and hit the water… I guarantee, you will have fun.


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