How To Set Magnetic Brake On Baitcaster | Step-by-Step

Do you find it difficult to know whether your reel is perfectly adjusted or not? That’s most likely happen because you might not have enough knowledge of your baitcaster components and that’s legitimately alright since there’s true complexity in the reel.

How To Set Magnetic Brake On Baitcaster

Among various components, brakes are the most crucial part of the reel on which the overall performance of the reel depends on. Therefore, understanding how to set the magnetic brake on the baitcaster is a must.

Although, in some reels, the brakes are built inside that many people don’t even know that the brake exists only because they are unsure where are they situated. see full baitcaster set up for complete baitcasting guide.

However, in the upcoming sections, we have explained how to set the magnetic brake on the baitcaster along with a detailed explanation of their functions linked with other parts of the reel. 

The basics: 

Before learning how to set the magnetic brake on the baitcaster, you must know and understand the structure of the reel and several other baitcaster adjustments. Baitcaster reel consists of a spool, a free spool basically, that allows the line to travel. 

Then there are drags behind the handle, that have to be adjusted by setting up the amount of drag required for one cast. 

There’s a tension knob at the side of the handle that controls the spinning and rotation of the spool and is closely related to the magnetic system. 

Finally, there are brakes that maintain the speed of the spool. In spite of that, there are several functions and key characteristics of the baitcaster brake system that need to be understood first in order to correctly adjust baitcaster brakes. 

The Function of the Braking System: 

The basic function of a braking system is to control the spool rotation and stabilize the speed of the spool in accord with the lure so that no backlash would form. 

However, with the spool control, it affects the distance as well. The more brakes you have on your reel, the less the distance will be for casting. 

Furthermore, here’s a suggestion, go with more brakes if you have just started fishing, and then when you’re used to managing the speed and the line, you can go with lesser brakings and cast longer. 

Types of Brake: 

There are two types of braking systems centrifugal and magnetic. 

Centrifugal braking systems are automatically adjusted and only works during the initial process. These brakes control and balance the speed of the spool with the cast. 

However, gravity has an impact on the centrifugal braking system, and it makes the brake extend from the center towards the side panel of the reel. Though, the only drawback with the centrifugal braking system is, you have to access the side panel to adjust them. 

The other one is the Magnetic Braking System which is easier to understand and adjust. The best thing about the magnetic brake system is its external setup. There’s a dial or button outside the reel, on the opposite side of the handle. 

apart from that, Shimano reels have one of the most effective and easy to adjust braking systems. Assuming you might need one, so here are the best Shimano baitcasters for you to look at.

Like, centrifugal brake baitcaster they also function only during the first part of the cast. However, there are certain rules in the magnetic braking system and that deciphered as 

the closure the magnetic brakes are to the spool, the effective it will be to slow and balance down the speed of spool with the lure and vice versa”. 

However, the magnetic system works as secondary to the centrifugal braking system. In addition, one needs to understand the dial or how the button works in order to get the magnetic brakes to work. 

Understanding the Dial: 

Understanding the Dial
Break the barriers of basics.

There are simple tactics that involve the understanding of the magnetic baitcaster brake. The dial usually has 0-10 numbers in which 1 means the lowest and 10 means the highest but the physics applied here is inverse.

If you set the dial to 1, it means the spool speed will be the highest since the magnets are far away from it while the 10 means the magnets will be the closest to the spool resulting in the resistance so that speed will be the lowest.  

Here’s to keep one thing in mind that the chances of backlashes are higher with lower braking settings yet it allows for the farther cast as well. So here’s a tip, do some practice in the backyard before going for larger lines. 

Difference Between Spool Tension and Brakes:

There’s a lot of misconception between the spool tension and the brake systems. Though both do the same work of balancing the spool work yet they vary so much in functionality. 

Considering that, many people tend to get confused with it and only set either of them, and this is the reason they end up being disappointed with baitcasters. 

Spool tension is set through the tension knob and it controls the “spinning” of the reel and it has to turn counterclockwise or the left to reduce the tension just after you have depressed the thumb bar. 

Unlike the braking system, the actual work of the spool knob comes at the end of the cast.

Magnetic brakes, however, fine-tune the spool tension and stabilize the “speed” and rotation of the spool in accord with the weight of the lure and the wind condition. 

While the most important thing to keep in mind, NEVER ADJUST THE SPOOL TENSION TOO MUCH otherwise you’ll damage your reel. 

For more information, consider reading how to spool a baitcaster for a more detailed guide on spooling.

How to Adjust Baitcaster Magnetic Dial: 

Considering the above section, you would have understood how do magnetic brakes work. Now,  let’s move on to how to adjust baitcaster. However, for your ease here’s a step-by-step instruction for adjusting a baitcasting reel properly. 

  1. For the centrifugal braking system, pull out the side plate and adjust the brakes by turning out the brakes e.g you can turn 3 of the 6 or as you like to it depending on the weight of the lure plus the distance. 
  2. For the magnetic braking system, turn the dial and set the numbers according to the resistance you want. A similar process will be followed if there are buttons instead of a dial. 
  3. Keep your thumb ready over the spool in case you notice or sense a backlash and remember to relax the brakes once you have hit the lure to the water. 


Once you have understood and acknowledged the functions and adjustments of the bait caster reel, you can take your fishing game to next level real soon. 

Well, here’s a quick rewind for how to set magnetic brake on baitcaster easily. First of all, learn the placements of different components e.g drag, tension knob, and find out their relative link with the braking system. 

Get to know what braking system your reel is incorporated with and then set it up in accordance with the speed and weight of the lure. 

After all the adjustment, we are leaving how to cast a baitcaster because that’s what you’re going to need next.

That’s all folks! Hope you have understood it well enough.

Clinton Shannon

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