Shimano The Only Real bait runner reels

Shimano is the recognised owner of the registered tradename Baitrunner. Many other manufacturers have now copied the concept of the bait runner reels, but none have quite achieved the same success. These variations should really be decribed as free spool reels and not as bait runner reels.

The bait runner reel permits the angler to set up his rod such that when a fish takes the bait , it is able to take line with very little resistance from the reel. It removes the danger of the bait being taken by a large fish and pulling the rod off of the rod rests. The angler can instantly re-engage the normal clutch mechanism so that he can strike and proceed to play the fish normally.

On a normal fixed spool reel there is an adjustable clutch with either rear or front adjustment that permits the angler to adjust the required tension prior to the line being released from the reel while the bail arm is still engaged. This prevents the line from breaking when playing large fighting fish. Even the cheap Shimano reels are a great improvement on the standard technology.

With the bait runner reel a second clutch permits the free release of line with the bail arm engaged. A small lever engages and disengages this additional clutch, and it can also be disengaged by a small turn of the reel handle.
This means that the fish can take the bait and then run with it feeling very little drag, hence the name Bait-Runner.

In operation having put the rod in the rests with the alarm set as normal. The baitrunner clutch is then set, allowing the line to run either totally freely or with tension set by the baitrunner clutch control. Thus line may be freely taken as the fish moves off feeling very little line tension, and there is no danger of the line tension pulling the rod into the water. When ready, the angler takes the rod from the rests and re-engages the normal preset clutch tension by either flipping the baitrunner lever, or turning the reel handle . He is then able to strike and play the fish as normal.

The tensions of the standard and baitrunner clutches can be set independently as required by the fishing conditions.

When first using the Shimano baitrunners it would be advisable to not set it in a completely freeline  mode, but to always have a little resistance set on the baitrunner clutch. When set completely freeline it is likely that the new user will forget to re-engage before striking. This can result in a real birdsnest tangle if there is no clutch tension set.

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