I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

• Shimano Callisto Adjustments

I pay close attention to what people search for and how they arrive at my blog. Although instructions on adjusting baitcasters are readily available on the net, it might be helpful to have reel-specific instructions. It seems those who own a Shimano Callisto want help and perform searches specific to that reel.

Let's begin.

Once you spool up your baitcaster with line, you are ready to get down to business. Learning to use a baitcaster takes some time, so don't worry if you get frustrated at first. We all go through that.

Let's get to know your reel. On the Shimano Callisto, you have two main controls which dictate casting performance. The first is the cast control knob located on the right hand side of the reel next to the handle. The second is a magnetic spool control on the opposite side.
Let's make sure we are both on the same page. Tighten both of those settings. Turn the cast control knob towards the front of the reel (clockwise) until it's snug. Set the magnetic spool control to 10. This is the maximum brake setting. Shimano's included instructions recommend setting the magnetic spool control at the mid-point. Once other adjustments have been made, the magnetic spool control can then be adjusted. For most purposes, my two reels rarely require less than a magnetic setting of six.

How do these two systems work? They control how fast and free the spool moves. Think of them as casting brakes. Cast control systems apply friction. Magnetic braking systems apply a magnetic force against a moving spool and adjustments change the distance between the spool and the magnets. If you happen to have the included instructions for your Shimano Callisto, there is an excellent diagram on one side showing which adjustment needs to be made based on when and where a backlash occurs. However, the instructions can be a little confusing for the beginner.
I will briefly explain this diagram. If you notice backlashes occurring at the beginning of your cast, adjust the VBS controls (magnetic spool control). If backlashes seem to occur at the end of a cast, adjust the friction setting (cast control knob). With practice, you will be able to tell which adjustment needs fine tuning. You may find that doing the exact opposite will optimize casting, especially with this particular reel. Play around with the controls and see what works for you. The braking system for the Callisto is somewhat different from the VBS brakes on other Shimano baitcasters, like the Curado, which employs a centrifugal braking mechanism via a series of collars set in an on or off position.

Every time you change lures, consider that you might need to adjust these settings before making a cast. If you have read my review of the Shimano Callisto, you might recall that I felt no two Callisto reels were made alike. Both of my reels end up requiring different settings. Hey, it's a $40 reel. You can't expect perfection.

The general method to adjust for lure weight is relatively simple. Tie on your lure of choice. Take up line to bring the lure up so that it hangs a few inches from the rod tip. Hold the rod at a 45 degree angle in the air in front of you. Tighten the cast control knob. Push down on the Quickfire thumb bar to disengage the spool. Slowly turn the cast control knob to decrease the friction on the spool. As you decrease the friction, the weight of the lure will eventually overcome the amount of friction and it will begin to fall. Let the lure slowly fall to the ground. Watch the spool as the lure hits the ground. The spool should only turn about one revolution. If it does not turn, you are still set a little too tight. If it turns too much and line keeps coming off, tighten the cast control a little. When you find a happy medium, the reel is adjusted to the weight of the lure. Again, you can tinker with this setting a little more. You shouldn't turn the cast control knob so much that the lure plummets to the ground. Once you figure out how these two settings work, most adjustments will be very minute. A very slight turn of the cast control knob can make a huge difference.

The Shimano Callisto uses a star drag. Drag dictates how much give the reel provides when engaged. When a fish pulls against your own force, the drag is what keeps the line from slipping. When the drag is set too loose, the fish gets to be the boss and will probably escape. When the drag is set too tight, there is a chance that the line could break. A good drag setting also ensures a solid hookset. There are ways to properly adjust the drag, but I tend to tighten it down until I am unable to pull line off myself with a firm tug. A little bit of give can be good though.

1. Shimano Inc. "Magnetic/Friction Adjustment." Shimano Callisto Instruction Guide. 2006.
2. Shimano Inc. Image: Cast Control Knob. Shimano Callisto Instruction Guide. 2006.

Related Posts:
Shimano Callisto Review
Taking apart the Shimano Callisto


ismail said...

i read that a thicker line diameter reduces backlashing. What thickness do you recomend for the Shimano Callisto

BassFishingDem said...

I have had the exact opposite experience with just about every line I have used regardless of the reel or brand of line. Thicker line has always been more difficult for me to manage. If you really want to reduce backlashes, practice is going to be your best option. Learn to thumb the line. Spritz a little line conditioner on. Not sure if they have that product in Johannesburg. Don't overfill the spool. Don't get foolhardy with the braking system. Backlashes often have more to do with the angler than the reel my friend.

That being said, to answer your question, there is no one best answer. It will depend on the application and the situation. If you read my review on the Shimano Callisto, you might have noticed I discussed overfilling the spool. When I stopped putting more line than I needed, I could manage casting with this particular reel a little better. If you really want a diameter to work with for bass fishing, most of my line right now has a diameter of 0.014 inches or less.

In my review, I also pointed out how it seemed like no two Callisto baitcasters were made alike. The two I have require completely different brake settings for the same line or lure.