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Technique Article (Bait Finesse System - BFS)


An Introduction to the Bait Finesse System (BFS) and Recommended Tackle


Date: 3/31/22
Tackle Type: Bait Finesse System (BFS)
Manufacturer: Various
Reviewer: Hobie-Wan Kenobi

Introduction: Bait Finesse may be new technique to many US anglers but the practice of using finesse baitcasting equipment has been a popular technique overseas for years and continues to gain momentum here in America as more anglers are discovering just how effective and enjoyable the technique can be. Bait Finesse System (BFS) is using baitcasting reels and rods to cast light lures usually needed for a spinning reel.


What exactly is Bait Finesse System (BFS)? Let's take a deeper dive into this technique


Although the term “light” is subjective, it generally is defined as 3.5gr (1/8oz) or less. There has been a fast growth of BFS over the past few years. Shimano releasing the Curado BFS for the North American market and specialized shops such as Bait Finesse Empire is making BFS readily available for everyone.


Examples of reels that are either capable of BFS. Some new reels like the Shimano Curado BFS are now designed specifically for this technique

History: I will preface this section by saying the true history of BFS is cloudy and has not been effectively traced. With that out of the way, here is my take on the history of BFS.


The roots of BFS stem from Japan where enthusiast level bass anglers needed a tool to coax pressured fish into biting yet, have the power and control to pull them from their abrasive hiding spots. The clear water and high pressure from anglers make the fish very weary to any presence of anglers.


These same fish will also tuck very tight into submerged brush piles to hide. Using midweight fluorocarbon such as 7-9lb is difficult to manage on spinning reels and the difficulty to control the lure’s splash when it hits the water is why anglers decided a baitcasting reel is right tool for the job.


BFS can be an effective technique for many species, including bass

In order for a baitcasting reel to cast lighter lures, we have to look into what makes a BFS reel different than a regular baitcasting reel. The reason why regular baitcasting reels have difficulty casting light lures comes down to one word, inertia. Inertia is an object’s (this case a spool) tendency to stay still or stay in motion. The heavier the spool, the more force it takes to get the spool to start spinning. The weight of the spool for casting purposes will also include the line’s weight on the spool. BFS spools reduce inertia by being made lighter and, also by holding less line to further reduce spool weight. Inertia can be reduced further by using bearings with less rolling resistance to aid the spool spinning with less force.


Daiwa Tatula 100 with stock spool and Roro Lure RTX27 BFS Spool

Being able to cast lighter lures with a baitcasting reel also found its way to the streams of Japan among trout anglers. The need for increased accuracy and lure control during flight is what drove the trout angling community to start using BFS reels.


How I Started in BFS: My BFS journey started in 2011 when trying to combine my love of ultralight fishing with my new found joy of using baitcasting gear. I stumbled upon the TackleTour forums and discovered what users were calling BFS. Back then, there were not dedicated BFS reels on the market as there are today. Casting light lures usually meant having to put aftermarket spools and finesse bearings into existing platforms. There was the Daiwa Pixy and Shimano Calcutta 50 but, they too had limitations.


BFS tackle allows precision casting in very tight spots

I tried out the Shimano Chronarch 50e for my first finesse baitcasting reel. I eventually upgraded to the Daiwa PX Type-R. This was my real foray into the BFS world and never looked back. The joy compounded when I got the I’ze Finesse Spool for the PX-Type R. This combination would bring such joy to me when I would cast lures that were normally reserved for spinning tackle. The addiction continues to grow as I keep pushing the boundaries of what “shouldn’t be” casted with a baitcasting reel.


Employing stealth and subtle presentations

Next Section: The Pros and Cons of BFS...









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