Bait casting is a technique for fishing with either artificial lures or natural bait. The bait-casting reel has a revolving spool, a free spool mechanism to uncouple the spool from other reel parts, a level-wind mechanism to distribute the line evenly on the spool, and a drag (magnetic on some new reels) to slow the line when a fish is on it. Some inexpensive reels lack one or more of these features. The rod has a trigger for the index finger.
With the rod rigged and a lure or practice plug on the line (see Fishing tackle), tighten the cast-control knob by turning it clockwise. Next, hold the rod with your thumb against the spool. With your free hand, depress the free spool and loosen the cast-control knob by turning it counterclockwise until the lure falls slowly when you take your thumb off the spool. The tighter the setting, the shorter your cast will be.
Cast with your right foot slightly ahead and right shoulder facing the target (left foot and left shoulder for left-handed caster). Grip the rod firmly but lightly, focus on the target, and line up the rod with the tip pointing at an imaginary point just above the spot you want to reach. Press the free spool. Then, in a continuous motion, raise the rod to the vertical and, without pause, start it forward, snapping your wrist toward that imaginary point above the target. About halfway between vertical and stop positions, release your thumb but rest it lightly on the spool to prevent backlash. Stop your arm gently if you’re using natural bait. Before the lure hits the water, press your thumb against the spool to stop its rotation. A half-turn of the handle releases the free spool.