Stan Fagerstrom

Stan Fagerstrom is a member of both the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as well as the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Stan is also known internationally for his casting skills. Stan welcomes your e-mail comments at [email protected]

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January 06, 2012

Closed Face Spinning Reels for Kids Part 2

by Stan Fagerstrom

The closed face spinning reel can be an effective fishing tool for the relatively few who learn how to use it properly.

As far as I'm concerned, no other reels even come close to providing a little boy or girl a relatively easy way to get into fishing. Show them how to handle the pushbutton reel properly in the very beginning and you'll get away from the misery so often and so unnecessarily associated with teaching kids how to cast.

You can bet the closed face spinning reel you can see on her rod helped this young lady catch that nice catfish she's holding.

I base those comments based on decades of personal experience.
I've been teaching youngsters over a sizeable chunk of the world how to use a closed face spinning reel almost since these reels first came to market.

Getting distance with one of these reels is no problem. Almost any kid can learn to throw a practice weight halfway down the block in short order. Trouble is those same kids usually wind up with their line draped over a telephone pole or with the casting weight hung up in the nearest cottonwood tree.

There's a way around this problem. Give casting exhibitions at some of the world's largest outdoor shows (and I have) and you better be darn sure you can hit your targets and entertain your audiences. At least you better have that ability if you expect to get asked to return.

If it's a youngster you're teaching how to use a closed face spinning reel, be sure you get a reel small enough for them to handle. The Daiwa Goldcast GC80 shown here is a great one for this purpose

Because I was already doing some exhibition casting when closed face spinning reels first came to market, the Zebco people gave me one of their first Zebco 333 spinning reels to try out. It soon became abundantly clear that getting distance with this new style reel was no sweat. Consistently hitting my targets was another matter. Attempting to get the job done by using the reel's thumb control button just didn't work.

I tried a number of different approaches before I came up with a technique that did. I still didn't have the pinpoint accuracy I got with a level wind reel or the open faced spinning reel. But what I did have was entirely adequate. I hope you'll study the next few paragraphs carefully. Get a good handle on how to use the closed face in the fashion I'm about to detail before you attempt to teach it to your youngsters.

Here's how it goes: Have your boy or girl place the closed face spinning reel in the palm of their left hand. Have them extend their left forefinger to trap the line securely where it comes out of the center of the reel's enclosed spool.

Once they have the line trapped securely against the hole in the center of the reel's spool, have them depress the reel's thumb control button and hold it down. When they are ready for their practice weight to fly out, release pressure with both the left forefinger and the right thumb at exactly the same time.

When you're ready for the lure to fly out, let go of the left forefinger and the thumb control button at the same instant. All the time the lure is in the air be sure the line flows is flowing over your left forefinger as it comes off the spool. All you need do to drop the lure right where you want it is to increase upward pressure on the line with the left forefinger.

Now comes the key to accuracy with the closed face reel. All the time the casting weight is in the air, the line should be allowed to flow off the spool over the left forefinger. All in the world your youngsters need do to drop the lure smack on target is increase upward pressure on the line with that left forefinger.

It's downward pressure from the right thumb that lets an expert with a level wind reel put his lure on target time after time. You can use upward pressure from the left forefinger to do nearly the same thing with a closed face spinning reel.

Be sure you get one of the smaller reels I've already named for your youngsters. They will fit nicely into the palm of even a small hand. It's surprising how quickly even little guys and gals, provided they have the right kind of instruction, can learn to get a practice casting weight out where it belongs with these little reels and lightweight matching rods.

I began this column by saying the closed face reel can be an effective angling tool for someone who really learns how to use it. I see disbelief in their eyes sometimes when I tell someone what I witnessed at one of the many Bassmasters Classics in which I participated.

You have to be a great angler to even get into this World Series of Bass Fishing. You don't buy your way in. You get there by scoring sufficiently in previous elimination contests. Classic contenders are accompanied by an observer.

I got into the boat at one Classic with a contender from Tennessee. He was a man who was to qualify for the Classic two different times. The day I shared the boat with him he had five casting rods in the boat---and every last one of those rods held a closed face spinning reel! Now do you see why I made that comment about these reels being an effective fishing tool?

I'll have a few final thoughts to share where kids and the closed face spinning reel are concerned. I'll do that in my next column beginning

- To Be Continued-