Everyone is looking to fill their boats with bigger catfish and we all want the best rods and reels and other gear to help us catch big catfish. It’s kind of like a golfer finding the best driver to help drive the ball further or a basketball player finding the best shoes to help them perform better.
That’s how I look at bait clicker reels. They can help you catch more catfish in some situations. I’ve fished with spinning reels with bait clickers and bait casting reels with bait clickers and they do have benefits over regular fishing reels. The technology used in bait clicker reels helps identify when a catfish has taken the bait.
What is a bait clicker reel?
A bait clicker is a device installed in a fishing reel that acts as an alarm to alert the fisherman that a fish is on the line. Zebco was one of the first fishing reel manufacturers to utilize the technology.
Some of their early 404 and 808 reels were equipped with a bait clicker and their Rhino reels and the Zebco 33’s also featured a bait clicker on their spincast reels. Okuma has developed an advanced line of reels that features a technology called “The Baitfeed System”.
These types of reels are awesome when catfishing with live bait like minnows or goldfish. The bait can run freely without opening the bail. The reel has a separate drag from the main drag that allows the bait to swim around. The reels also can be used without live bait. They basically allow the catfish to swim with the bait.
When you’re ready to set the hook, you simply disengage the baitfeed system drag and the main drag automatically takes over. I have owned Okuma spinning reels with the baitfeed system and they are awesome.
How does a bait clicker work
A bait clicker works by simply engaging a lever or button. On most reels, the clicker bait button is on the left side of the reel. You simply slide or click the button and it will engage the bait clicker. You can test it by pulling some line out. You should hear a clicking noise or some other audible noise to alert you that a catfish is on the line.
When to use a bait clicker reel
They work best for me in conditions where you can’t always see the line or it’s difficult to see the line. I love using bait clicker reels at night. When you’re night fishing for catfish on the bottom, it’s hard to tell if you’ve hooked a catfish and they’ve taken your bait. This can become frustrating if you’re missing the opportunity to set the hook because you’re late getting to the rod.
That’s why I also use circle hooks with the bait clickers when fishing at night. Bait clicking reels are also great for harsh weather conditions. When it’s windy outside or when you’re catfishing in the rain, they activate when a catfish has taken the bait.
That’s often difficult to do when it’s very windy outside unless you hook a trophy or monster cat that snatches the bait and almost takes the pole with it.
I mainly find them handy when I’m catfishing with several rods. How many times have you gone catfishing and bait the first hook with chicken livers and miss the bite because you were baiting the second hook with your favorite homemade bait?
After all of the lines are out, you wait patiently to get a bite on the chicken livers, but the hook is empty because you didn’t see or hear the catfish take the bait. That’s why I like using bait clickers.
They also work well for me because I don’t always like to keep my lines tight. I like to leave my lines loose or let the fish swim away with the bait before they realize that something is going on and drop the bait. If you let them run with the bait and line and have a circle hook, chances are that you’re going to catch the catfish.
When not to use a bait clicker reel
If you’re fishing on top of the water and can see the bobber or float, there is really no need for a bait clicker. If you like fishing with tight lines and you keep your drag locked down, you also won’t have a need for one. But, if you like taking a nap on the bank or in the boat or you like walking around and doing a little bass fishing, you might think about getting a bait clicker reel.