Baitcasting Reel Parts – Everything about a Baitcaster 

Nowadays, Baitcasting reel is incorporated with many advanced technologies which makes them high-end but on the other hand, turns them really hard for the new anglers to use them. Thus, knowing the baitcasting reel parts is a must and that too in the right way that it is clear to understand. In addition, it must be easy to remember as well so you are not forgetting the function in the middle of the casting process. 

Baitcasting Reel Parts

Besides, baitcasting reels have two variants as round and low-profile and the one we are covering here is the low-profile. The reason being, round reels have simplified construction with just a few components. However, low-profile baitcasting reels have more features as well as many components such as line guide, spool tensioner, drag adjustments knob, and so on. Although, there’s one rule you can do to nail it all; just remember the places and names of each of the components along with the function and this is what you are getting from this article. So keep your eyes open and your mind active to get started. 

Here’s the baitcasting reel parts diagram:

Baitcaster diagram

Parts Of A Baitcaster:

Well, there are a number of components on a baitcaster reel. Additionally, there are many manufacturers like Shimano, Penn, Daiwa, etc that builts the baitcasting reels in many ways. However, the components are all the same with unique technologies. And that being said, here are all the basic parts that you’ll need to know to understand and use any type of baitcasting reel. 


Spools will be probably the first thing you will notice in the baitcasting reel. Spools are located in the center of the reel and are wide open at the front and ios one of the most important baitcaster parts. It is where you will reel and store the line.

baitcaster spool

The best thing about the baitcasting spool is that you don’t need to set the spool up and down, meaning that, the spool will rotate itself. The benefit of automatic rotation is that the line will spool itself and also, retrieving will be done automatically. 

However, spooling the line is a bit difficult in casting reels. As a warning, you must know that if you fail a little bit in applying the right pressure, the reel will give you nothing but hundreds of backlashes! 


The handles on bait caster reels are usually bigger and they are either on the left or right side of the reel depending on what hand orientation you use. There are also two knobs instead of one on the handle to have maximum control on the reel. 

Baitcater handle and EVA knobs

The common baitcasting reel even under 50$ has handles knobs that are EVA knobs with swear-resisting and anti-fatigue features. Also, there are golf grips that are typically used as baitcast reel grips in many of the reels which are known to be comfortable as well. 

Thumb Bar:

The Thumb bar is located just above the spool. With the thumb bar, you can release the line but you have to be careful with it. Also, you can control the spool rotation with it manually using the thumb bar. 

Baitcaster thumb bar

In a baitcasting reel, however, the use of a thumb bar is considered one of the most critical tasks to do. For us, it is more of an art to doing so since it is where smooth line flow, non-backlashed cast, and successful retrieve depend so you must press the bar exactly at the moment when you want the line to be released. Besides, you can also call it a spool release button. 

Control Knob:

You can find the control knob in most of the high-end reels. These are located beside the handles and they can vary in number i.e you can have more than one control knob depending on the manufacturer. Well, they are used to control the casting speed and maintain the smooth line flow. Also, they are removable so you can disengage them anytime and you can most likely find them in beginner’s baitcaster.


There are two types of brakes in a baitcasting reel. One is magnetic and the other one is centrifugal. Whereas, on the outside, you’ll just see the adjustment knob having numbers written to it. However, in order to understand the numbers and their function, you must know exactly the two types first.

baitcaster braking system

Let us start with the magnetic ones first, it’s less complicated and easy to set up. Magnetic baitcaster brakes are located on the side plate of the reel, just opposite the handle. They are built externally and thus, you can adjust them with the adjusting knob. Whereas, in centrifugal brakes, you can get access to centrifugal brakes by removing the side plates. 

Additionally, in some reels, the brakes are from 1-10 while some offer 1-6. In centrifugal brakes, it’s normal to get 1-6 dials. Well, that was all about the structure, but what does the brake do on a baitcaster? 

Precisely, brakes have a function to maintain the speed of the spool in alignment with the lure weight to minimize all the chances of backlashes. Additionally, brakes also affect the casting distance i.e the more brakes you activate, the lesser will be the distance. However, more brakes will also allow you to have more accuracy in your cast and that’s rightly why it is suggested to use more brakes when just getting started with a baitcaster reel. 


Between the handles and the reel, you will see star-shaped knobs and that’s exactly what is called drags. These are designed to manage the power of the reel when retrieving. Also, they are adjustable so you can set the pressure as much as you want. 

Baitcaster Star Drag

However, you must know how to adjust the drag on the baitcaster in order to run the reel properly. Well, the drag adjustments must be set in accord with the weight and stamina of the fish you are retrieving. If you are after a fighting fish, set the drags in balance since too much will lead to line breakage, and too little will allow the fish to pull the line back. 

Line Guide:

A line guide is a small baitcasting reel part built beside the spool that makes certain the line has been spooled evenly. After spooling, the line flows from the line guide throughout the entire fishing activity e.g whether you are casting or retrieving. The line guide also serves the purpose of maintaining the correct friction and also protecting the line from getting broken. 

Through the line guide, the line gets to connect through the first eyelid of the rod and then gradually the last eyelid. 


Some of the reels are built with the Baitclicker that is an alarm on the baitcasting reel. The purpose of the bait clicker is to ring when the drags are too loose and the line is pulled off from the reel. Likewise, with it, you can keep the line flow perfectly managed. 

Reel Foot:

Downside the reel, there’s reel foot with which you can make the reel sit on the top of the baitcasting rod. It helps the reel fit perfectly on the rod. Reel foot are generally smaller making them compact enough to adjust on any kind of rod. 

Spool Tensioner:

This is the knob you are going to use at the end of the cast. Though a Spool tensioner or spool tension knob is located next to the drags and they perform the same function as the brakes. However, they are more about adjusting the spool rotation speed in accordance with the lure. 

However, you must never start with adjusting the baitcaster reel by adjusting the spool tension first, whenever casting. The true sequence is, adjusting the brakes, then cast control knob, and then when you are finishing it, adjust the tension but keep in mind the size of the lure. 

Further Features Of A Baitcasting Reel: 

Reel Type: Low-Profile Vs Round Baitcasting Reel

You’ll be familiar with “various types of reels” but you’ll be surprised to know that are variations in baitcasting reels even and that’s “low-profile” and “round baitcasting reel”. 

Round reels are traditional styled baitcasting reels. They are also called conventional or trolling reels since they are mostly used for surf fishing or trolling. Round reels are also heavy since they have larger spools for more line capacity.  Additionally, these are bigger in size and less complicated than the baitcasting reel. However, it requires professional angling to use these reels. 

In contrast, low-profile reels have more features than a “round reel” and also they are a more advanced form of a baitcasting reel. They have an efficient braking system, compact design, portable and convenient to use, once you have mastered the art of eliminating backlash. 

Left-Handed Or Right-Handed:

Low-profile reels also have two models as left-handed and right-handed. Interestingly, here’s where most of the people get confused since you can’t use the right-hand-oriented reel while being a right-handed person. And let us explain why is that so;

The retrieving and cranking is on the opposite side of where the handles are thus you’ll need to change the hands if you get the reel of the same hand orientation as your dominant hand. Resultantly, you will have to switch the hands after each cast for retrieving. 

Gear Ratio:

Inside of the reels are the gears and you’ll know the function of the gears most generally as “the gear ratios”. Although, Baitcasting reels have higher gear ratios which is one of the advantages they have over spinning reels. However, as for the definition, gear ratios are the rotation of the spool every time you turn the handle. There are two sets of numbers to express them i.e 5.1:1, 4.3:1, etc and it means the spool turns 5.1 times for every handle turn. 


One of the reasons for the reel to not cast farther is because it has the brakes all activated. It also happens due to poor thumb control and obviously, when the spool is moving too fast.

There are spool tension knobs, a control knob, and the drag knob in a bait caster as we have already explained above. With a spool tension knob, you can adjust the tension and speed, control knob allows for line flowing management while the drag knob is built for drag adjustments. 

Magnets are part of the magnetic braking system. Those reels that possess a magnetic braking system have the brakes to control the spool speed and eliminate backlash. 

A flipping switch is designed for back-reeling the line in. you can just release the thumb bar in order to use it. Also, you can remove it if you are quite not satisfied with the function of a flipping switch. 

Final statement: 

Without any doubt, we can agree that casting with a baitcaster reel is a bit hard but trust me that is just the initial stage. Once you properly learn the baitcasting reel parts, there’s no chance of you staying fishing with your spinning reels. And now, as we just ended explaining all that parts with the functions of each in detail, we can’t guarantee zero obsession with a baitcasting reel. 

So the next time, you are fishing with a baitcasting reel, make sure you keep the functions of each of the components in your mind and use it correctly.

Clinton Shannon

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