I had fun at the Classic and think I learned a lot. Watching Steve Kennedy trying to figure out patterns based on what he had learned during previous days of practice was instructional. He thought he had three patterns going where he could catch a limit of three-pound bass each day, and he caught a bass weighing more than three pounds each on each pattern while I watched. Based on the results, they didn’t work out as hoped.
Thursday night Academy Sports and Outdoors hosted media for dinner and a presentation of their fishing products and gave us a few samples. Most interesting to me was their new “Mentor” bait casting reel. Fishermen learning to cast with a bait caster have a lot of problems with backlashes, when the spool turns too fast at the end of the cast and creates a “birds nest” of looped line on the reel.
Their new reel is supposed to help with this problem. All bait casting reels have adjustable internal brakes to help prevent backlashes, but the tighter you set them the shorter your cast. Experienced fishermen are able to use their thumb to control reel speed, most of the time.
The new reel has the usual internal brakes that help, but has a second set of them gives you more control. The second set helps a lot and, as you learn to use your thumb, you can release the second set completely. Then as you get better you can back off the other set, too, and get longer and longer casts.
Academy Outdoors has been a big supporter of youth fishing and this reel should be excellent for the beginner.