Baitcast Backlash: How to Remove a Birdsnest from a Baitcaster

If you’re new to fishing with a baitcaster, you are going to experience a backlash, resulting is a huge nasty birdsnest. Don’t worry; they happen to all of us, and anyone who tells you differently probably doesn’t do a whole lot of fishing.

Even if you have everything set just right, they happen!

What exactly is a birdnest and how can you prevent them?

The most common cause of a backlash is having your settings out of whack. When fishing with a baitcaster, you need to set your spool tension and the brakes on your reel just right in order to prevent a backlash. If the spool tension is too loose, or the break isn’t set tight enough, the spool is going to spin out of control causing the line in your real to almost explode into that huge mess we anglers refer to as a “birdsnest”.

To prevent these backlashes, you need to make sure your settings are correct for the lure you’re using and you need to learn how to use your thumb to control how fast the line comes of the spool. That being said, this article is not about setting up your reel, but instead getting rid of the birdsnest once they happen.

Removing a Birdsnest from you Baitcaster Reel

How to get rid of a Birdsnest in a Baitcaster after a Backlash

A lot of people recommend reeling slowly while pressing on the tangled line; while this sometimes works, I’ve found it can actually make the problem a lot worse.

The first thing you want to do is relax! We’ve all wanted to freak out and just chuck the damn rod into the water; but if you relax, I promise you can get these things out relatively easily.

What you want to do is look for the loop that is looped around the main line.

The loop in the fishing line after a backlash/birdsnest

Don’t pull on the line coming out of the spool, but instead pull the loop that has wrapped around the line. Pull that loop out about 6 inches or so, or until it stops; then grab the main line above the spool and give it pull. 99% of the time this is going to clear the backlash. If it doesn’t, repeat the process. Sometimes a couple of loops may have worked their way around the line.

Here’s my video on how to Remove a Birdsnest.

Bonus Tip: Head on over to your local sewing shop and buy knitting needle for your tackle box. The knitting needle is a great way to grab those loops if you have larger fingers!

About Robert Richardson 11 Articles
Robert Richardson is the founder and editor of and He is an Outdoorsman, a Survivalist, an extreme angler and hunter, and the author of The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide.

1 Comment

  1. Great advice! You must constantly hire a fishing manual when fishing in a place this is unusual to you. To go it on my own approach you’ll be probable to miss among the quality fishing holes and won’t have as many fish biting.

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