Baitcaster Keeps Birdnesting? Here’s What To Do!

You can’t catch fish without bait, which is why most fishermen employ the use of a baitcaster. However, when you use a device, an unfortunate side effect may be the formation of birdnesting, which is when your line becomes tangled.

The good news is that there are a few simple tricks to use to stop your baitcaster from birdnesting.

How to stop your baitcaster from birdnesting? When it comes to your baitcaster birdnesting, prevention is key. Start by learning how to slow down your line so that it keeps pace with your weighted lure. This can be done with a braking system, tension control, or even your thumb.

Then, practice, practice, practice. Once you have mastered these techniques, it’s all about becoming in tune with your fishing rod. Pay attention to any clicking sounds and always check that your line isn’t wound too tight or too loose. The more familiar you are with your fishing rod, the better you are able to maintain it and prevent birdnesting to happen.

What is baitcaster backlash?

The term baitcaster backlash can be a bit confusing at first glance. It happens when a lure is attached to the line and after the fishing rod propels it into the water, the lure slows down.

However, the trouble arises when the line that the lure is attached to does not slow down. The result is backlash which usually arises in the form of a jangled mess of line.

This mess is referred to as birdnesting, or sometimes just nesting because the mess of line looks like a bird’s nest.

How to get rid of backlash

If you have just begun your fishing hobby, chances are you’ve come across the annoyance of backlash. You might even consider discontinuing your new hobby. Don’t quit just yet, as there are ways to get rid of backlash.

First, learn how to properly use a baitcaster. This is done by slowing the spool rotation once you cast your rod. Essentially, the amount of line needed to propel your lure should be the same amount that releases. If more line unspools, that’s when backlash happens.

You can slow your spool rotation by using thumb pressure on your line, altering the spool tension, or by using a braking system.

When you use thumb pressure, simply press down on the spool while casting. Some people prefer to use gloves during this maneuver as the line can move fast and actually burn your hand.

For spool tension, locate the tension knob on the side of the reel handle. Tie your lure to the line and then release the clutch of the baitcaster to set the tension.

To alter the braking system, adjust the centrifugal brakes. You can access them by the side plate of the baitcaster. While your casting distance will decrease, this will stop backlash from happening.

How does birdnesting form?

The tangled-up mess of line is called birdnesting and it is both unsightly and annoying. Sometimes the line can really jam and you need a lot of patience to get it unstuck, which can disrupt your tranquil fishing experience.  

How do I stop my baitcaster from nesting?

How do I stop my baitcaster from nesting

Here are a few helpful tips to prevent creating a fishing line birdnest

Tip 1

One of the simplest ways to stop your baitcaster from nesting is to use your thumb to slow the line. However, this actually takes quite a bit of practice.

Start by wearing a glove so that you don’t tear open your finger right away. As you get used to the amount of pressure that is necessary, you can use your bare thumb to slow the line.

Tip 2

Practice is key when learning how to slow down your reel so don’t be afraid to practice while at home. In fact, if it has been a while since your last fishing trip, it’s better to practice in your backyard before you head out so that you don’t have to waste valuable time the next morning.

Tip 3

This tip involves a bit of an investment but for those who are becoming avid fishermen, it is well worth it. Lures are weighted differently and each weight means having to adjust your baitcaster settings.

Too many settings mean more room for error. If you are able to, purchase different rod reel and baitcaster combos, one for each type of weighted lure. This way, you can simply swap out the entire device rather than fiddle around with delicate settings.

Tip 4

One important method of prevention comes when you actually place new line in your spinning reel. The spool should lay flat. Then, wind several feet of line before opening the bail.

Test it out to make sure the line doesn’t suddenly uncoil. If it does, try again.

Tip 5

You may think that the more line on a spool, the less work you’ll have to do. However, when the reel has too much line, this is when birdnesting happens most often.

The closer the line is to the spool lip, the more issues can arise.

Tip 6

Trust your gut. When you’re casting, if the motion isn’t completely smooth, stop and look at your baitcaster. Pay attention to jolts or clicking sounds.

Another motion that is a red flag is if the drag is a bit loose. If there isn’t enough tension, the line can easily bunch up.

Tip 7

One final reason for a birdnest to form is if you have a kink in your line. These tiny bends can happen at any time when you are casting your fishing rod.

While you may want to consider purchasing a superior line, if you do come across a kink, simply pinch it really hard and use your fingers to roll it. Then, it will loosen and become flat again.


When you’re out on the water fishing, you want the experience to be tranquil, meditative, and dare we say, easy. Birdnesting is the opposite of this.

When setting up your baitcaster, make sure the reel isn’t too tight, watch out for any unfamiliar noises or movements, and practice motions that will help the line match the speed of the lure.

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