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April 2019

Denny Brauer on How to Avoid Baitcaster Backlash 

A lot of people will not use baitcast equipment. Why? They’re scared of the dreaded backlash. It can happen anytime, especially throwing into the wind.

But backlash can be avoided if you get yourself some good equipment and can set it up correctly.


The brakes in a Lew’s baitcaster are magnetic, centrifugal, or a mix of both, and can be controlled via an external dial and/or internal adjustment of the braking pins. To begin adjusting your baitcaster, start with your braking power set to halfway.

Externally Adjustable Brakes

Many Lew’s reels have externally adjustable brakes, meaning you can control the braking power via an external dial. Simply turn the dial on the palming sideplate of your reel to a middle setting.

Internal Brakes

Lew’s reels with this type of braking system already have half the pins engaged out of the box. To further adjust the braking, remove the sideplate and use your fingernail to push the internal pins away from the center to engage them, or push them towards the center to disengage them. We suggest keeping alternating pins engaged. 

Lew's braking systems:


The spool tension knob controls how easily your spool spins. Avoiding backlash largely depends on ensuring your spool and your line spin at the same rate, controlled via the spool tension knob. Backlash occurs when the spool spins faster than the line coming through the guide.

How to Adjust Your Reel

With line and a bait loaded on your set-up, hold your rod straight out in front of you and start adjusting the tension knob on your reel. Start with the highest setting, then select progressively looser tension settings until your lure hits the ground, and the spool does not complete more than one full rotation upon contact. If the spool does not continue to spin, the knob is too tight.

This approach reduces the likelihood of backlash and enables you to skip your lure and make a flawless pitch with minimal worry.

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