What is BFS Fishing?
BFS stands for Bait Finesse System and is a term you may have seen getting thrown around a lot lately, especially in the bass fishing world. It's a technique that has grown in popularity at an astounding rate and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So what exactly is it? BFS fishing is essentially finesse fishing with casting gear. A small baitcasting reel with a shallow, lightweight spool is paired with a light action casting rod used to throw finesse baits on light line. If you're anything like me, the first time you hear that you think "there's no way that there's casting gear out there capable of throwing the lightest finesse baits I use." Well, we've both been proven wrong. Companies such as Shimano, Daiwa, and KastKing have engineered some incredible casting reels that are specifically designed to be used for BFS applications. In this article, we'll talk about what makes a BFS casting reel unique and take a deep dive into our top five to help you choose the right one for you.
A typical BFS setup with popularly used BFS line, lures, and baits
BFS Fishing Reels
A BFS casting reel isn't just any ordinary casting reel. As soon as you pick one up, you'll notice it's quite a bit smaller and lighter than what you may be used to. You'll also notice the spool is much shallower than that of a standard casting reel. BFS casting reels are also equipped with specialized brakes and a load of other features that make it possible for them to be used with light tackle. Each reel has its own unique features that separate them from the rest, so let's take a look at what each one has to offer.
Although this reel doesn't have BFS in the name, it certainly meets all the qualifications necessary to fit the category. The Daiwa CR80 Low-Profile Casting Reel comes in at $79.99, so if you're looking for a very reasonably priced reel to get started BFS fishing, this is the one.
- Compact body design makes it easy to palm
- Magnetic cast control assists with casting light lures and baits
- Carbon resin frame/side plate
- Double anodized aluminum spool
- 32mm spool diameter
- 90mm swept handle
The lightest BFS reel on the market coming in at just 4.4oz! The KastKing Kestrel Elite BFS is a very impressive piece of machinery.
- Magnesium alloy frame to keep real extremely light yet strong
- Flyout Arc Finesse auto-adjustable braking system specifically designed for finesse fishing
- BFS shallow feather weight spool weighs just 5.6 grams and requires less effort to turn and get up to speed
- Palm perfect body compact design (36.5mm) height
- Main gear and shaft constructed from hard anodized aluminum and linked to a 100% brass pinion gear; carbon handle and side plates
- Patented Low Friction Tapered Vortex line guide limits friction during casts
- 8.4:1 gear ratio
If you're a fan of Shimano reels, you probably have a Curado in your lineup. It's one of Shimano's most popular reels, so it's no surprise they shrunk it down and made the proper adjustments to create a BFS version.
- HAGANE Body design means this reel has a metal body with high rigidity. The result - angler's actions are directly transformed into cranking power
- X-SHIP design ensures that gears stay turning and in the right place
- A Cross Carbon Drag allows for a huge variety of settings and ultimate smoothness
- S3D Stable Spool Design leads to significantly reduced spool vibration
- SF (Super Free Spool) eliminates friction on the spool shaft during the cast, helping to launch light baits a mile
- S A-RB bearings featuring shields on both sides that reduce the possibility of salt or sand inhibiting the bearing's rotation
- Drag makes an electronic sound when in use, adding excitement with each run from a big fish
- Finesse Tune Brake that achieves unparalleled casting performance of lightweight lures by eliminating the brake unit from the spool
Amazingly lightweight and incredibly small. The Daiwa Tatula SV TW-70 features an aluminum frame, handle, and sideplate that houses Daiwa's Hyper Drive design gearing system, which provides exceptionally smooth cranking.
- T-Wing System constricts line flow by delivering a T-shaped line guide that is larger, wider, and less restrictive
- SV spool minimizes backlashes while both magnetic and centrifugal breaking technologies provide the reel with extreme castability
- 7+1 ball bearing system
- Hyper Drive Design
- Hyper Drive Digigear: continuous strong and smooth rotation achieves increased meshing ratio without reducing the gear tooth size
- Hyper Armed Housing
- Hyper Double Support
- Hyper Tough Clutch
This reel is not yet on the market, but it's sure to be a BFS fishing machine upon release. Similar to the Curado, the Aldebaran is a BFS make of a standard-sized casting reel. If you've used the standard Aldebaran, you probably know how special this BFS version will be!
- Magnum lite (MGL) Spool III to reduce start-up inertia for unparalleled control and accuracy
- MicroModule Gear technology - state-of-the-art and ultra-refined gear tooth design
- Shimano's FTB (Fine Tune Brake) system
- Lightweight magnesium frame and specialized braking system
As BFS grows in popularity, the technology developed around the technique will only become more and more advanced. The BFS fishing reels on the market now are already incredible, and there's sure to be more in the future. If you're looking to learn more about BFS, check out our article "BFS Fishing - A Complete Guide to Bait Finesse System". We hope you were able to learn from this article and put some giants in the net using BFS in the near future!