Avoid Baitcaster Birds Nest with These 7 Tips

Baitcaster Birds Nest Tips

Baitcasters are a classic among anglers, especially more experienced ones. They have numerous advantages, but as you all know, everything has a downside too.

Baitcasters are prone to annoying birds nest, especially if you are a beginner and don’t know how to handle them.

But don’t worry, baitcaster birds nest can be avoided if you follow some simple tips and rules that include considering wind direction, using right fishing lines, and some other simple solutions. I will list all of those below!

Unfortunately, birds nests are the main reason why some anglers give up from using these excellent reels.

You should also know the basics about setting the reel to get the most of it. Knowing why backlashes and birds nest occur leads to its prevention.

So, if you are one of those anglers who has troubles with baitcasters, or if you want to improve your existing techniques, check out these 7 simple tips!



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What Exactly is a Baitcaster Birds Nest?

Baitcaster birds nest are an annoying occurrence that can happen when casting. To understand it, I will start with simple reel dynamics.

Baitcasters have a spool that rotates when you cast, and the line unwraps from a spinning spool. Spinning reels on the other hand, have fixed spools and the line “peals off” without the spool movement.

Advantage of rotating spool is less friction and distant casting with a lot of precision. Downside is of course the birds nest. It occurs due to so called overrun.

Overrun means that the spool is rotating faster than the line comes off. This is the reason why baitcasters have braking systems that help in prevention.

When you cast, the spool rotates, and the line goes off. If the rest of the line doesn’t travel through the air upon casting at the same speed, you will encounter a huge tangle near the reel and that is called the birds nest.

It happens because the loose line starts rotating around the spool instead of unwrapping and going away.

It can happen at any point of the cast; however, it is more frequent at the beginning and end stage of it. Most often, these problems can be avoided by proper reel use.

How to Avoid Baitcaster Birds Nest? [With These Tips]

Baitcaster reel birds nest are annoying, but they can be avoided.

Of course, sometimes they are inevitable, and even the most experienced anglers encounter them, however their occurrence can be minimal if you do it right!

TIP #1: Cast Downwind

The first tip about how to avoid baitcaster birds nest is the weather! Although you can’t control the weather, more precisely the wind, you can control your position in relation to wind direction.

You should always cast downwind. If you decided to cast upwind, you are risking a birds nest. Wind blowing towards you will slow down the flying line upon casting. But your spool will still rotate fast and unroll more line. That will cause this extra line length to wrap around the spool instead of flying off.

Same problem can occur upon crosswind casting. As a beginner, pay attention to the wind direction and find adequate spot for fishing in accordance with that.

TIP #2: Choose the right line and lure

Very light lines and lures may cause birds nests. Ultra-light setup is better suited for spinning reels and every experienced angler will tell you so. Light lures and lines do not have enough momentum upon casting to fly away fast. They will go slow, even the minimal wind will slow them down, and the spool will keep on rotating. Again, you will end up with extra line tangled around.

Yes, it is possible to use baitcasters for very light setup, but not before you master the craft. Otherwise, it leads to frustration and a bad fishing experience.

In addition to this, start with mono lines. They are more forgiving and easier to untangle.

Baitcaster Birds Nest Tips - Line and Lure

TIP #3: Set up the reel

Baitcasters have various features that can be adjusted and those are there with a reason. I’m talking about brakes and spool tension.

Spool tension should be adjusted every time you change your lure. Set it up in a way that when you let the lure drop, it goes down slowly but continuously. Of course, reel design and price range play a role here too. The better the reel, the more prices you will be in adjustment.

As a beginner, set up the brakes on a high braking strength. It will significantly reduce your casting distance, but it is great for learning. When you figure it out, you can reduce it.

This is especially important for birds nests that occur at the end of your cats. Lure will hit the water and slow down fast. Line will follow. If your spool keeps on rotating fast, you will have a mess.

TIP #4: Carefully spool your reel

Among these baitcaster birds nest tips I have one more related to lines. Many beginners tend to overfill the spool because they hope for some excellent fishing that will require hundreds of yards of line. Usually, this will not happen. But what will happen is a massive tangle.

Overfilled spool can cause backlashes too, although it is not as common as some other reasons. Fill the reel in a way that it is describes by the manufacturer. Overfilled spool can lead to uneven line lay and as a result uneven line release upon casting. When you combine that with a bit of wind or wrongly adjuster reel, there is an increased chance of birds nest formation.

TIP #5: Use your Thumb

This is one of the reasons why beginners have troubles with these reels and birds nest. You should learn how to control it with your thumb to slow down the spool. There are numerous videos online about it, so I won’t write a step by step guide because a picture if worth a thousand words.

Use your thumb in a way that you apply light pressure to the spool and slow it down during the cast if you see that the line is slowing down, but the spool doesn’t. This is also very important at the end of the cast just before the lure hits the water. Use your thumb to stop the rotation.

When you master this, you will be able to go back to the top #3 and loosen up the brake.

Baitcaster Birds Nest Tips - Thumb

TIP #6: Use the right equipment

When you pair your baitcaster with a rod, make sure that you make a simple setup. If you are having troubles with your reel, you don’t want rod problems too.

Use shorter rods that are easier to handle so that you can focus on the reel. Medium action is the best for practice.

When you are learning, you are aiming for shorter casts to get used to the baitcaster. This means that you don’t need some spectacular rod that has a lot of potential. If you don’t know how to use the reel properly, you won’t be able to use all of the rod potential.

When you learn the basics, you can upgrade your equipment for better fishing experience.

TIP #7: Practice


How to Fix a Birds Nest on a Baitcaster?

Fixing baitcaster birds nest can be a nightmare, especially if you are using braided lines and encounter a huge tangle. I have to tell you straight away that some nests are impossible to untangle.

But, there are many birds nest that can be fixed. Here is a short guide:

1. Stop panicking and don’t pull the line!
2. Now when you got control over your emotions, take a look at the spool and identify a loop that formed around the line.
3. Take the loop and slowly pull it out, around 5 inches.
4. Take the main line in front of the reel and try pulling it.
5. If it doesn’t work, search for another loop. More than one can form, and you have to identify which one is causing the biggest problem.
6. Repeat all of the above with a second loop.

This should loosen up the nest and untangle it. It is important not to pull strongly as it can happen that you tighten the nest even more.

If it doesn’t work, improvise. If you can’t do anything, you will have to cut the line.

Baitcaster Birds Nest Tips - How to Fix


Baitcaster birds nest is a frustrating experience but luckily it can be avoided at almost all times by simply following the tips stated above.

If you experience backlashes, try to identify a problem. Check the wind direction, reel setting, your line and lure, and see what deviates from recommended practice.

When you identify a problem, simply follow the tips to get the easiest solution that will improve your experience!

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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