Can You Use A Baitcaster For Trout Fishing?

Baitcasters are commonly associated with heavyweight lines and large fishes. They are not the immediate choice for situations that require more finesse. Hence, spinning reels are often preferred for trout fishing.

But the baitcaster provides you utility not replicated by other gears. So, can you use one for capturing trout as well? 

You can use a baitcasting setup for trout fishing or angling. They can give you greater casting distance and improved accuracy. And with modern technology, many baitcasters operate perfectly with a lightweight bait and fishing line. So, this gear can be just as successful as other gear. 

We want to share the method of capturing trout using a baitcaster and describe the benefits you will gain from it. We will discuss the basic rules of setting up this type of rig specifically for trout.

Plus, if you stick around till the end, you will get some premium suggestions on the best baitcaster gear available on the market. 

Baitcaster Setup for Trout Fishing 

Based on specific situations and preferences, the equipment you will be utilizing varies. However, you will know better than most what setup is suited for you. This section is here simply to give some helpful insight into the whole process. 

So, below are some of the things to consider when selecting your equipment: 

  • Fishing Line
  • Lure 
  • Rod Profile 
  • Gear Ratio  
  • Reel Drag 

Normally, a lightweight line is optimum for trout. Now, many people assume baitcasting gear only works with heavier varieties of lines. So, they hesitate to use one for finer fishes like trout or bass. 

Yes, they can handle heavyweight lines but can work perfectly fine with lighter ones as well. But baitcasters are perfectly usable with a lightweight and thin line. For trout, a 10 lbs. or lighter line will accomplish the task nicely. 

As for the material, it is better to select monofilament. Trout tends to take a little time before moving for the full bite. So, the extra stretching capacity of mono will grant you an edge. But you can still cast with a braid if you want. 

Picking the precise bait or lure is very important. For smaller species like rainbow or brown trout, go with a lightweight lure. Powerbait or salmon egg will do nicely.

If you are targeting lake trout, you need to add more weight. Heavy lures like crankbait or spinnerbait are what most people use. Try not to go lower than ¼ oz for the lake and 1/8 oz for streams. 

When considering a rod’s profile, comfort is key. It can swiftly become tiresome if you wield bulky equipment. So, make certain the handle is nice and easy to maneuver. Also, select a rod that is below 10 oz. This will increase your comfort. 

Shorter rods are your target. The pole should not be longer than 7 feet. Ideally, it is much smaller than this. Because you will not need the big casting distance of a very long pole. The reel will supply enough distance and strength to seize a trout. 

The rod power relies entirely on the area you are scouring. If you fish in rivers or streams, looking for a small-sized target, you can select a medium-light rod. Trout in the lakes require a more powerful rod. So, I recommend picking a medium-heavy baitcaster that gives a moderate bend.  

Gear-ratio of a reel is the number of spool rotations per handle rotation. So, turning a 5:1 gear, every time you rotate the handle, the spool will rotate five times. This determines the duration of time the lure is going to stay in the water. 

Spinner-bait or crankbait usually operates with a 5:1 ratio. People apply this when they want a slow retrieval time. But if you are constantly casting and then reeling in, then a higher gear ratio is optimal. We recommend a 7:1 or 9:1 ratio for rapid casting. 

The amount of reel drag you need varies based on the scale and nature of the fish. If they are large and feisty, they will require more drag. Usually, trout are not very aggressive or feisty. They will take their time before going for the bite. Also, the majority of trout possess a soft mouth. So, drag needs to be kept between low to moderate. 

Feel free to try out different settings to find out what performs best for the climate you are in. Trial and error is the best way to get better at angling. 

How to Use a Baitcaster for Trout Fishing 

Start by properly setting up the gear. Make sure you implement the right setting for the tension knob and the brake. These two mechanisms will decrease the risk of a backlash from happening. So, remember to double-check the brakes before you make a cast. 

Since you do not need to cover a massive distance, a moderate amount of spool is fine. Adjust the drag if needed. If the drag is too strong you may end up tearing the line.

If it is too weak, the fish may escape. Usually, the drag should be minimal for trout because the larger number of trout are not heavy or feisty enough to warrant a bigger resistance. 

There are some notable differences between angling in rivers and angling in lakes. Obviously, there are numerous techniques you can implement. These are a few of the techniques that have served me well in the past. 

Let’s begin with angling in lakes or ponds. Here, the movement of your bait will rely on the way you retrieve it. If you are launching a spinnerbait or a fly, you need to retrieve it back much quicker. Let the lure or bait sink for a minute. Then start to draw it back in and repeat.  

If it seems like the trout are swimming close to the surface of the water, try deploying a bobber. The bobber will suspend the bait just below the surface level.

If they seem to be swimming in deeper water, add a small, lead weight. The extra weight will pull down the bait much deeper and make it more visible to the trout. 

In the case of rivers, the moving current will determine your lure’s movement. Launch the spinner a little upriver and let it drop. The spinner will start moving down the river with the current.

At this time, keep the line above the water as much as possible. Then start a moderate retrieve when the spinner swings towards the coast.  

The Benefits of Using a Baitcaster for Trout 

Baitcasters have some unique features that are greatly favorable in specific scenarios. The first noticeable quality is the superior level of control and accuracy. This is because when you cast, the line is launched dead straight. 

This is particularly advantageous for capturing trout. These fishes often stay in still water or areas where the current is less rapid. So, they usually congregate in a specific spot.

By using a baitcaster, you can hit that specific spot repeatedly with terrific precision. The improved accuracy will let you land the bait in tough places such as near a big rock or over vegetation. 

Furthermore, it allows you to cast faster and more frequently with this gear. The bigger casting length is not too relevant. Because you will probably not need to make a long cast. But it is very useful when you are situated further away from the shoreline. 

This rod is far less bulky than other varieties. This will be a factor in not getting fatigued too soon. You will likely end up making plenty of casts. You will discover this setup much more hospitable for your body. 

Modern baitcasting reels possess customizable gear ratios. So, it is possible to change the ratio according to the size of your target. The smooth retracting capability is another bonus.  

The Drawbacks of Using a Baitcaster  

The baitcaster has a few problems that are not present in other angling gears. The most prominent is the potential for a backlash. Even veteran anglers face this issue from time to time. So, the experience can become frustrating. 

Now, the recent baitcasting reels are produced with anti-backlash technology. Meaning there are certain mechanisms installed that decrease the risk of a backlash. However, you still need to handle these systems properly and learn how to set them up. 

Additionally, this equipment has a higher learning curve. You will require plenty of patience and practice before you become accustomed to it. At the same time, we assure you that the reward will justify the hard work. 

This setup is going to be more expensive than other setups. So, if you are operating on a limited budget, this may not be suited for you. 

Where to Look for Trout  

Trout are commonly found in clean, cool water with ample aquatic lifeforms for feeding. Their habitat is usually divided into two categories: 

  1. Lakes and Ponds 
  2. Streams and Rivers 

Ponds or lakes are a source of static water. Trout are usually found scouring the area for food while also staying close to regions that provide better protection from predators.

In summer, they will stay much deeper in colder water. In spring, trout become more active and swim much closer to the surface. They are commonly found alongside vegetation or around rocks or logs. 

Angling in the river is different since the water is constantly moving. Trout will not stay in spots where the tide is very strong.

Because they want to conserve energy. So, they wait in slower-moving spots where it is more comfortable. They steadily wait for the tide to usher in prey and then they pounce.  

We suggest targeting large rocks or places where trout can take cover. Find spots where the tide is less rapid and you may hit the jackpot.

Once again, trout remain much lower in the summertime. So, cast your line accordingly. 

What Is the Best Time for Trout Fishing? 

Spring or fall is the perfect season for hunting trout. The water is much colder and food is more abundant. So, the trout become mobile and are constantly on the move.

They also remain closer to the top level of the water looking for insects or other critters. So, you will spot them easily and very early. 

Best Rod for Trout Fishing 

The perfect trout-catching rod should possess a few noticeable features. The length should be between 6-7 feet. Less weight means more comfort. So, pick a rod that weighs below 10 oz.

The power and action depend mainly on the scale of your target. But in general, a medium power rod with fast action is suitable for trout. 

Trout bites are softer and they nibble a lot before taking a strong bite. So, they require a pole that is sensitive to soft bites and has moderate to fast action. 

Having said all this, we will now explore some top-grade products that fit the description. If you are serious about capturing trout using a baitcaster setup, then try giving one of these rods a try: 

1. DAIWA Tatula XT

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The DAIWA Tatula series features a solid line of rods for finesse angling. They are made from graphite blanks with carbon fiber braiding.

This makes them super light and comfortable, making them ideal for a long day of casting. The tip is highly sensitive which is ideal for finesse techniques.  

The Tatula XT is slightly on the expensive side. But, if you can afford it, the XT will more than make up with its quality. 

2. Ugly Stik GX2

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The Ugly Stiks are constructed with graphite and fiberglass. This gives them a lightweight yet sturdy profile. I especially like the tip of this rod. It is very sensitive but not fragile. So, you can feel those tiny trout nibbles and spot them quickly. Plus, they can operate with a wide variety of baits. 

3. KastKing Speed Demon

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If you want to cast very quickly and for an extended duration of time, then this rod is ideal for you. Built with “carbon nanotube” technology, the Speed Demons are tough, light, and sensitive.

The WINN handle and butt is a terrific edition. Because this adds a great deal of comfort and durability, so, you can cast away all day long without fatigue. 

4. St. Croix Rods Legends

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These rods are very fun to operate because they are super comfortable. It has a slim but tough profile that is tailored for finesse fishing. T

hey will provide you with an exceptionally smooth action and retrieval. Ideal for repeated casting. Plus, you will receive a nifty 5-year warranty. 

Best Reels for Trout Fishing 

Baitcasting reels built with a bait finesse system or BFS are the ideal choice for capturing trout. These reels are made specifically for finesse fishing techniques.

The alternative would be a reel that is compatible with lighter lines and very comfortable to operate. We will list reels from both of these categories. 

1. Shimano Scorpion BFS

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The Shimano scorpion is compact, durable, and pleasant to operate. It is about 10 ounces and has a drag of 7.7 pounds. The Scorpion is highly compatible with finesse fishing requirements. This product is sure to deliver a very pleasant experience. 

2. DAIWA Fuego CT

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This reel is efficient and low-profile. It will deliver consistent performance throughout the day with high comfort. It has an aluminum frame for increased durability.

The Magforce Z brakes grant the ability to use thinner and lighter lines. The anti-backlash design of this model is also fantastic. At under $100, this is easily the most budget-friendly option on the list. 

3. Shimano Aldebaran MGL

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Now we present the lightest option in this selection. This reel is only 4.8 oz yet is highly durable to boot. It has a maximum drag of 10 pounds, making them ideal for smaller trout.

It possesses a retrieval speed of 29 inches/turn, which makes for super-fast casting. Additionally, this product is small, compact, and fits comfortably in your palm. The one downside is that it is really expensive. 

4. Abu Garcia Revo Inshore

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The Revo Inshore was constructed by applying the bait finesse system. It boasts a light profile, weighing about 7.7 oz.

It provides 20 pounds of drag with its carbon matrix drag system. So, I suggest you deploy this when targeting the larger variety of trout. Moreover, they come with Abu Garcia’s trademark anti-backlash and smooth gear mechanism. 

Ultimately, you should choose the fishing gear that you feel comfortable using. There are tricks to succeed with whatever gear you are applying.

So, if baitcasters are your style, you can use them for finesse fishing and be successful. Just remember to thoroughly deliberate your situation and then buy your tools.