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How to Use a Shakespeare Ugly Stik

Shakespeare ugly stik
Written by Immanuel Baranov
Last Update: July 24, 2023

Since 1897, Shakespeare Ugly Stik has been the leader of fishing tackle products. The durability, ease of use, and other conveniences of Shakespeare ugly stik reels have made them so reliable and popular. However, you must know how to use them properly to maximize your benefits. This article will guide you to use a Shakespeare ugly stik baitcasting reel step by step.

How to Use a Shakespeare Ugly Stik Fishing Reel

Step 1: Filling the Reel with Line

  • Check the line guide and thread the line through it and around the spool.
  • Secure the fishing line to the spool using a common
  • Tug on the line as gently as possible until it is secured.
  • Turn the handle of the reel slowly and fill the spool with the line.
  • Do not overfill the spool but fill at least 90% of the spool.

How to Use Shakespeare Ugly Stik

Step 2: Setting the Spool Tension Knob

It is important that you properly position the spool tension knob to minimize backlashes and to maximize your casts.

  • The spool tension knob assists you to prevent backlash when the spool revolves slowly.
  • Place the reel on the rod.
  • After threading the line through the guides, attach the lure/bait.
  • Hold the fishing rod to create a 45-degree angle and then apply pressure to the spool using your thumb for releasing it.
  • Loosen the tension knob methodically making some small adjustments until the lure reaches the ground.
  • If the spool backlashes at that time, tighten the tension knob.

Step 3: Releasing the Spool

  • When the lure is hanging at least six inches from the tip of the rod, put your thumb on the spool and press the thumb button to disengage the spool.
  • When the motion ends, take off your thumb from the spool and allow the weight and speed of the lure to pull the line off the fishing reel.
  • As the lure gets in contact with the water, you should turn the handle of the reel to engage the spool and level the line from the wind.

Step 4: Thumbing the Spool

  • While casting, you need to place your thumb on the spool but not touching it.
  • Put pressure on the spool to stop its spinning only at the end of the cast. If you fail to do it, the line might backlash and can be tangled with the line on the spool.
  • It becomes easier with experience. As you become experienced, you will learn to thumb the spool naturally. However, you need to keep working on it.

Step 5: Adjusting the Drag

The new Shakespeare Ugly Stik baitcasting reel is designed to handle all sizes of fish. However, you need to set the drag appropriately to avoid a line breakage.

  • The star drag of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik is located between its handle and the right-side plate.
  • After making your cast and turning the handle to lock the spool, allow the hooked fish to take the line off the spool.
  • Turn the star drag of the reel forward to adjust it. Turn it clockwise for added tension and turn it anticlockwise for less tension.

Proper Maintenance of Shakespeare Ugly Stik

With proper care and lubrication, your Shakespeare Ugly Stik might last your whole life. Don’t get scared! It’s not a high-maintenance product or anything fancy you need to do. It just needs periodic cleaning and maintenance.

  • Be careful when you are lubricating it. Extra grease or oil can get into the areas that might hinder its performance.
  • Apply a light coat of grease on the moving gears of the reel’s body.
  • Apply only a few drops of oil on its exterior moving parts to keep your reel operating smoothly.
  • After you finish your fishing for the day, check any dirt or sand that may be inserted into the reel. Don’t forget to wipe the reel with a clean damp cloth.


When you fish in salt water, rinse the reel thoroughly with fresh water and wipe the water with a clean, dry cloth.

There are many varieties of Shakespeare reels, rods, and combos. I suggest you follow the instruction manual of these products carefully to get a better result from these products. The steps mentioned above are also compatible with the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Lite Pro, Shakespeare Ugly Stik combo, Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod, and the maintenance tips are useful for every fishing reel you might use.


1. Why is the tip of Ugly Stik rods clear?

Ans. The clear section on the tip makes Ugly Stik rods tougher against damage. The clear tip design provides strength and visibility but doesn’t sacrifice sensitivity.

2. How much weight can an Ugly Stik hold?

Ans. The Ugly Stik 6-foot heavy models have an 8-20lbs line weight capacity. The 6-foot light models come with a 4-10lbs of line weight capacity. The line weight for 9-foot medium power models is 4-20lbs and 6-15lbs for 7-foot medium power models.

3. Can Ugly Stik rods break?

Ans. Ugly Stiks don’t break under usual fishing conditions. They may shatter in extreme conditions such as hoisting a power tool into the air or being attached to a running vehicle. The line will break before the rod in most of these situations.

4. What are Ugly Stiks best for?

Ans. Ugly Stik rods are an affordable option for anglers. The sensitive tip alerts fast whether you catch fish onshore or in a boat. These rods offer a decent cast with live lures and baits when paired with compatible reels.

About the author

Immanuel Baranov

My life is pretty much defined by my avid outdoor activities. I’m generally obsessed with fishing, skiing and occasional hunting and whitewater paddling. I’ve been active since my early years. I inherited my passion for fishing from my father who made frequent family trips to the banks of Sacramento River. Growing up, I did a lot of fishing in the vicinity. Now that I have two sons, our weekends are full of fishing activities. I would say, you need good spots where you can go out a lot for the thing you love. I had the privilege to grow up near numerous water bodies and I’m proud to say that I made good use of them. It’s also great to do something with kids that helps them learn patience, endurance and preciseness.

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