You’ve probably heard someone talk about BFS while you were at your local tackle store, or you’ve seen this acronym tossed around in some of your favorite YouTube fishing channels.
In this guide, we’ll go over this new-ish craze of fishing (In North America, at least), the kind of tackle it entails, the type of fish you can catch, and the pros and cons of this system versus others.
Let’s dig in.
What is BFS?
BFS in fishing stands for Bait Finesse System. It entails specialized ultra lights baitcaster reels and rods. From our research, there have been talks that this system originated in Japan and has quickly grown in popularity in the United States.
This system allows anglers to effectively cast lures and jigs as small as one gram and is fished in bodies of water where the bass are more pressured.
Wait a minute, don’t we already have ultralight fishing gear on the market, you ask?
We do. However, before BFS gear made its way into the U.S. market, none of the ultralight combos were baitcasting reels. Does that make it better? Yes and No.
We’ll compare the pros and cons of each below so you can decide which is better for you.
Bait Finesse System Tackle & Gear
When it comes to BFS fishing gear, the name of the game is ultralight (UL) such as:
- BFS baitcasters
- Ultralight BFS rods
- Finesse fishing line
- Really, really small jigs and lures
BFS Baitcasting Reels
One of the key components of a BFS setup is the baitcaster reel. These reels are designed to cast finesse lures and jigs farther than your regular spinning combo. Smaller lures mean less spooked-out fish in pressured conditions.
More and more brands like Shimano, Daiwa, Kast King, etc, are hyper-aware of the BFS trend and have introduced their own line of BFS gear to the U.S. market.
BFS Casting Rods
The ability to cast a tiny crankbait far all begins with the right kind of rod for your reel. BFS casting rods are ultralight, whippy, and fun to use. Like the reels, many brands have also manufactured their own rods for BFS fishing applications.
Because of the shallow spool design on the BFS baitcasters, a lighter line is needed to be able to launch your micro lures far.
Japanese braided line brands like Varivas have specialized braided lines for finesse systems, which entails outstanding strength to line diameter.
When it comes to lures for BFS, anglers typically use small jigs and crankbaits that weigh 1 to 10 grams.
Some anglers prefer smaller, soft plastic baits, like the Keitech Swing Impact or Z-Man Finesse TRD.
Pros & Cons of BFS Fishing
Now that we know what BFS is and what kind of gear is used, let’s dive into some pros and cons of this technique.
+ More finesse approach for pressured fish
+ Longer, more accurate casts
+ Fun challenge for anglers to learn and master
Can You Catch Big Fish On Tiny Lures?
There’s a misconception that you can only catch big fish by using big lures. In some parts of the U.S., that’s probably true.
However, when you fish in highly pressured ponds and lakes like where we’re from (California), sometimes you’ll need to take the finesse approach to catch fish.
Can You Cast Far On A BFS Reel?
You’d be surprised how far you can throw a 1/8 lure on a BFS reel. Casting out 75-80ft isn’t uncommon with the right line and rod combo.
Are BFS Setups Worth It?
In our opinion, having a BFS setup in your arsenal when you’re out on the water is absolutely worth it. Why?
Because it’s so fun to use, but they’re not for everyone. We’ll explain more in detail below.
– Can be difficult to find BFS-specific gear in stores (though online shopping has made it easier)
– More expensive than traditional ultralight fishing gear
– May not work well in deep water
Where Can I Find BFS Gear?
Years ago, the only way you could find any BFS gear was to order them through JDM sites from Japan, such as DigiTaka.com.
Nowadays, brands like Shimano and Daiwa have made U.S. versions of their JDM reels counterparts.
BFS rods are also slowly coming into the U.S. market and can be found online on many sites such as TackleWarehouse.com.
Is BFS Fishing Gear Expensive?
Yes, BFS gear can get expensive compared to an ultralight spinning reel and rod combo. Higher-end BFS baitcasters can cost you close to $275. Manufacturers like KastKing, however, have a BFS reel at a much lower price.
In general, they are more expensive than your conventional UL spinning setup.
Can You BFS Fish In Deep Water?
We don’t advise fishing in deep water with a BFS setup because all of the BFS reels are designed with a shallow spool.
BFS vs UL Spinning Combos
So why should you invest in BFS gear if there are cheaper ultralight alternatives? That’s the million-dollar question.
Using a baitcaster in general means more control of your line. For example, you can thumb the spool on overcasts to plop your lure right where you want it to drop.
Another benefit of a baitcaster is the ability to use your time more efficiently since it’s faster to re-cast as opposed to a spinning reel where you’ll have to open the bail everytime you cast out.
Those are the two main reasons, aside from price, that many people enjoy using BFS gear so much. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference as to what setup you prefer using on the water.
But if you’re looking for a new challenge and want to mix up your fishing game, BFS is definitely worth trying out.