I decided to take the plunge, and bought a "beginner" setup: Kastking Zephyr BFS 5'6" rod and reel, spooled with 4# ultragreen.
I've been reading and re-reading, studying baitcaster casting videos, etc. I have some test weights I use with spinning rods, about 11g, 6g, and 4g. Probably I should also try one of my 2.5g kastmasters (with hook removed for the casting pools). I see there is a quite a learning curve ahead of me ...
I've been making all the newbie mistakes. Seriously, the way I learn always seems to be the hard way
Tweaking the mag brake and the spool tension knob, and seeing how much overrun I get. Practicing with clearing up bird's nests. So far I'm just working on sidearm casts.
I am wondering at this stage if replacing the bearings with ceramics will be a hindrance or a help in learning baitcaster casting basics. I suspect the former.
11 g is a practical half ounce (ok, it's 3/8 oz) - is your rod even rated that high? Seven grams is a quarter-ounce.
You should be casting something you can see, about the mid-rated-weight for your rod.
The big weight jerks your spool and creates the need for a centrifugal brake at spool start up, even if your cast is smooth as butter.
You should be casting a weight that you'll fish - start forming good habits.
My back-yard is a acre, and 150' across the short direction, so I have a perfect casting range, with bushes along the edge of the clearing bracketing useful reference distances.
In addition to marking my, .e.g, 110' cast, and working on distance, I'll make short casts into the bottom of my meter-persimmon-bushes for working accuracy. What you learn on the short casts is that the rod makes all the difference.
I most often back-yard toss a 2-g jighead with the hook buried in the head of a plastic lure body, probably another g, for 3 g total.
This is where I set my mag brake, to just eliminate mid-cast wind backlash.
This is especially true of my reels with internal-only set-once mag brakes
I'll admit to free-shrimping a Daiwa Millionaire a little more than 35 years ago (weightless rig - bare hook, live 3" shrimp).
PO'ing a couple of guides because my spiral cast literally doubled the distance of their spinning cast, when they were trying to explain to me why my cast wasn't loading the rod. .
It's OK, I made them each look good at the dock later - guides like that about me.
Once again, here's the primer I wrote on the 3 types of backlash and 4 types of casting brakes
Linear mag brake does its best work on mid-cast wind backlash.
To get the mag brake set right, you have to be casting for distance.
Start-up and finish-cast are both different - finish cast always has to be your thumb to prevent over-run.
Your thumb should be braking the spool before your bait hits the ground /water, and your eyes are part of this.
Get out of the need for spool tension - set it only to adjust-out side play in the spool.
For 1/4 oz, I cast a TSL grasswalker, easy to plant the swimbait hook in the lure body to drag it through the grass, and I would be fishing this lure, but this is an MM bait, not a finesse bait.
For MH, I cast a TSL grasswalker on a 1/4-oz weighted swimbait hook, for a total of a half ounce - but this is with the major bass rod and inshore Corky's (7/8 oz) rod.
(a double-handed cast on my 8' surf-lure rod will throw this lure across the neighbor's back acre, too).
My trial for 1/8 oz (+ a g or 2) is Z-man minnow rigged on 1/8 oz Texas-eye jighead, which I also fish - on inshore ML
Bearings - reducing rotating mass and inertia in your spool improves Everything - easier to start, easier to stop, less brake needed to take energy from your cast.
I'm going to add again here, the advantage of the Daiwa brake, you set the linear mag function for the lightest thing you're going to throw, per above, and SV moving rotor takes care of the heavy stuff for you - does the same function as an added centrifugal brake.
To a limited extent, it will also absorb jerk from bad casting habits.
This makes for a jewel all-range braid reel, from casting 1/16 oz to 1-oz near-offshore plugs.
22-lb X-braid (PE#1) will also fish that full range - you can adjust your fluoro leader to match the target and rod-line-test rating.