Casting with Multipliers
Many anglers steer well clear of multipliers for shore fishing. Years of fears of burnt thumbs, birds nests with resulting lost line and terminal tackle. It’s no surprise many choose a fixed spool. However modern multipliers are not the snag pits of old. Sophisticated braking systems make them almost fool proof and the enjoyment from using one far surpasses a fixed spool.
The majority of shore fishing from clean beaches requires mainline in the 15 – 18lb B/S range so ‘baitcasting’ size multipliers like the Millionaire 7HT offer all the durability and performance you will ever need. These reels can be controlled to give almost problem free casting and reliability but you still need to follow a few rules to get the best out of them.
Initially load the line just below the spool lip and set the braking level at the maximum. Try a few practice casts to gain confidence but if you have problems it is likely your casting technique is seriously at fault. Casting lessons would be a big help in that situation, because even if you changed to a fixed spool your distance would never reach anything like its full potential. In turn, your catch rate would ultimately suffer as well. Assuming no initial problems, gradually reduce the braking level in small steps until the line ‘fluffs’ during the cast. That is a stage when loose coils rise off the spool and nearly tangle. You will feel the flying sinker hold back and even hear a light ‘crackle’ sound as the line momentarily tangles then frees. Unfortunately you may even crack off but better during a test run than when fishing and you now know your lowest braking level.
Set the braking level at least one above this point, maybe even two levels. Remember in fishing situations terminal tackle, wind direction and venue will all affect your ability to cast perfectly. Compromises often have to be made when casting in a fishing situation. You are looking for reliability, it’s not a tournament! Loosing a few yards through higher braking levels is always preferable to a massive birds nest on a cold winters night. As a guide I use two small brake blocks on the standard 7HT and setting 4 on the magnetic 7HT.
While fishing, try to lay the line as evenly as you can across the full spool width. Sudden variations in the spool diameter, caused by humps and dips in the line level, will cause equally sudden changes in spool speed. As good as modern braking systems are they are not invincible and you need to do your bit to help them. Landing a big fish at night can make this difficult and of course landing the fish is priority. However curb the excitement to re-cast immediately at full power and simply ‘lob’ the sinker out with a bit of thumb pressure. This will clear the top 50 yards or so of line then you can lay it back evenly before re-baiting and casting out properly. Another tip is to position the leader knot and most of the leader close to the side of the spool. Looking down on the reel this would normally be the left side for a ‘high’ reel position and right side for a ‘low’ reel position. That is for a right handed caster of course. This ensures the leader knot comes off the spool without grazing your thumb and the nice flat main line aids spool grip.
Gripping the spool can also be a problem with wet line so using a short section of a rubber or pvc glove can help. Cut a short section from the finger of the glove and fit it on your thumb between the base and first joint. I use ‘Glovlies’ domestic gloves which are pvc. They seem just right but you will have to search for some as not all supermarkets and hardware shops stock them. However one pair will give enough pieces to last years. Another option is a short piece cut from a cycle inner tube.
Although bait casting multipliers, such as the 7HT series, are robust be sure to ‘pump’ in heavy loads. Nylon line has a lot of stretch and large numbers of coils will try to contract on the spool. This puts enormous strain on a light weight alloy spool, possibly causing distortion or even complete buckling of the end plates. It’s not a winch so lower the rod tip as you retrieve, stop reeling then lift the rod tip again to get the load moving towards you before repeating the process again. Unfortunately large volumes of weed can be encountered while shore fishing and coupled with a strong tide run it creates a heavy load. Spools that are out of balance or distorted will run roughly and noisily during casting.
Should you be lucky enough to hook a large fish, a multiplier offers good control with a smooth clutch. Under normal conditions I tighten the clutch to avoid line coming off the spool when breaking the sinker out to retrieve or if it becomes stuck. Hooking a big fish at range is seldom a problem initially as there is plenty of line out to absorb the initial fight. Perhaps an exception would be Smoothound or Tope. Both are capable of powerful runs when first hooked so I would set the clutch to give line almost immediately. With fish like Cod the fight is less likely to see long runs made but the danger time is when the fish reaches the surf. Fish panic when they reach shallow water and sense the surf. Then they really know something is up a try to beat a hasty retreat! Also the undertow from the surf will suddenly pull the fish back causing excess pressure. In the last 20 yards or so I reduce clutch setting to give line if this happens and then use a combination of clutch setting and thumb pressure to bring the fish through the surf. Never rush this final stage as it’s the fish that has a problem not you! Too many ‘big one that got away’ stories happen in the late stages of a fight when anglers try to hussle fish ashore too quickly.
Multipliers are extremely satisfying to use and give fantastic performance. If you follow these few tips you will ensure that you enjoy the best the reel can give.