Baitcasters vs Spinning Reels: Which Reel Is Actually Better?

One of the things I thought about when looking for a new fishing rod is whether or not I should go with a spin-cast or baitcast rod. I ended up going with the baitcaster (since I already had a spinning) but there are certain situations when it’s better to go with a spinning rod.

If you’re going to be using light tackle with a line under 10 lbs then go with a spinning reel. If you’ll have heavier tackle and heavier line then go with a baitcaster. Spinning rods perform much better with lighter hardware and that’s when I’ll use one. Baitcasters can cast heavier lures and are better for bigger fish.

If you can get both then I’d recommend that (obviously) but if I had to only have one fishing rod then it’d be a baitcaster. I find it’s more versatile and is a lot more fun to fish with. I can fish more water because I don’t have to worry about flipping the lever over every time. Both are great though and the spin caster does have its place.

What Are Spinning Reels Good For?

There are two main things I’ll use a spinning reel for:

  1. If I’m casting light lures and line.
  2. If it’s super windy out.

I just find they perform much better and that’s why I always bring a spinning reel with me. If you use light tackle and line on a baitcaster then there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a birds nest. Plus, it’s not going to cast very far. You can throw on some weights and it’ll work though.

Spinning rods are quite a bit easier to use as well and there’s less that can go wrong. They aren’t going to tangle as much but the big downside is that you can’t cast in tight areas.

The reason spinning rods aren’t the best for heavier fish is because most of the pressure gets put on the guides (since they’re on the bottom of the rod). With a baitcaster, the guides are on the top of the rod and can take much more force.

What Are Baitcasters Good For?

If it’s not windy out and I’m casting heavier tackle then I’ll use a baitcasting rod all day long. I find them so much more versatile and a lot more fun to use. You can also use them in tighter areas.

Like I said before, baitcasting rods have the guides at the top of the rod and can handle bigger fish. They can be used in pretty much every situation and that’s why I’d probably recommend one if you could only have one fishing rod and you were casting.

You can also get more accurate casts with a baitcaster because you can control the distance with your thumb. With a spinning rod, you’re pretty much stuck with what you give it. You can also reel in much quicker with a baitcaster because of the way it’s geared. This can be really useful for more experienced fishing.

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel Casting Distance

In my experience, a spinning reel will cast slightly farther than a baitcasting reel. There’s a lot less that can go wrong so you’re able to throw it as hard as you want. With a baitcaster, you have to be more careful.

Fishing isn’t always about pure distance though and that’s why I prefer a baitcasting rod. It’s more versatile and it’s more accurate. If you just want something that’s easy to throw and want the most distance possible then go ahead with a spinning rod.

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel For Saltwater

The first thing I’ll say is that your smaller freshwater reel probably won’t do the job on the ocean (unless you’re after smaller fish). It can work fine but saltwater reels are designed to withstand saltwater and are generally stronger.

The second thing I’ll say is that if you’re planning on fishing for larger stuff then either of these probably won’t be the best. You’d be better off going with a standard rod if you’ll be fishing the big guys.

If you’ll be going after fish under 20 lbs, you are pretty experienced, and you need to put a good hook set then I’d go with the baitcasting reel. If you want something easy to cast, are going after smaller fish, or plan to troll behind a boat then a spinning reel could be a good choice.

What Is The Best Type Of Reel For Bass Fishing?

In my opinion, the best type of reel for bass fishing would be a baitcaster. A spinning reel will work completely fine and is probably better for most beginners. I just like a baitcaster because of the versatility and heavier line you can put on.

If you’re going to be fishing for bass you’ll probably end up near the weeds at some point. If you do get caught up on them (or anything else) you’ll need a good amount of torque in your rod and that’s why a baitcaster is better. You can put heavier braided line on and it’s generally stiffer than a spinning rod.

It all really just comes down to your skill level and what type of fishing you’ll be doing. Both are great and I use both. If you’re a beginner or don’t get out much then you’ll probably be better off with a spinning reel. If you’re more experienced, want the most versatility, and need the backbone to really set your hook then a baitcaster will be for you.

Happy fishing. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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