A reel can be as simple as the handle on a spool filled with lines or as complex as a delicate machine that spins as smoothly as silk.
But they are all similar in some aspects such as providing a place for the line to be stored, a method for storing the line until you want to release it, and a way to wind it back in.
Baitcaster and spinning reel, the two most common types of a fishing reel that are used by experienced anglers nowadays, both are fully functional fishing reels that can provide a wide range of applications. However, their uses may overlap, but in many cases, one is better than the other.
There’s always a debate among anglers about these two reels, which are mainly about
- How different are baitcaster and spinning reel?
- What are the pros and cons of each type of reel?
- What are they used for?
Don’t worry! We’ll fully address these concerns and identify the reel that suits your needs best. Let’s dig deeper into each type of fishing reel and waste no more time.
What is a Spinning reel?
Spinning reels are known for their versatility as well as their user-friendly credentials. They are extremely adaptable and can be used to catch anything from brook and trout to bluewater species like marlin and everything in between.
To be more specific, they perform effectively in a variety of fishing circumstances. In terms of usability, they are easy to use, suitable for novices, and quick to learn.
A spinning rod and reel are meant to be used together. These reels are designed to be mounted on and fished from the underside of a rod, so it is facing toward the ground while you’re reeling.
Unlike baitcaster, the spool of the spinning reel is stationary and the line is kept on the reel by way of its bail.
The line leaves the reel and bends at a 90-degree angle before continuing on toward the rod tip. When casting, the bail arm is folded back, which allows the line to simply slip off the reel, so the spool doesn’t have to rotate during the casting process.
You can buy spinning reels designed for fresh and saltwater. Some saltwater models hold large amounts of line, which enables them to be used for surf-casting and for fighting fish that make long runs.
See also: What are the parts of a spinning reel?
When you should use a spinning reel
A spinning reel, on the contrary, should be used when we are planning for light tackle. For example, crappie fishing requires ultra-light tackle.
It is not recommended to try using baitcasting with lightweight fishing gear as it would end in a bird’s nest tangled in the spool.
Moreover, a spinning reel is a common option for any beginner in sportfishing as they are generally cheaper and easier to use, which makes them a popular choice for most cases that don’t require the specific strength of a baitcaster.
Pros and cons of spinning reels
- Extremely simple to use
- Generally cheaper than baitcasting reels
- Highly versatile
- Can be changed easily
- Very simple to maintain
- No backlash during casting
- Great for casting with ultralight lures and lightweight lines
- More flexible when allowing fishermen to cast with their dominant hand.
- Less accurate
- Not good for big game fish
- Heavier than baitcasters
- Usually not quite as durable
- Easy to twist the line especially if you wind with slipping drag.
What is a baitcaster?
Baitcasting reels, often known as casting reels, are excellent for heavy tackle and fishing covers. They sit on top of the rod, and face the angler, allowing the spool to be parallel to the rod.
In order to cast a lure with a baitcaster, the spool rotates at high speed, releasing line during the cast rapidly and smoothly.
However, when casting, the spool moves with the casting line so it requires an experienced angler to keep things under control.
Otherwise, the spool ends up moving faster than the flying casting line, which results in a tangled mess of line. It is also referred to as ‘backlashing’ or ‘birdnest’.
In this case, cast-control, friction, and braking function on baitcasting reels prevent overrotation from happening.
Additionally, this tackle demands a particular casting method where the angler uses his thumb to monitor the outgoing line and can apply friction directly to it when necessary.
Despite cast control, backlashing still frustrates new baitcaster fishermen who have not yet mastered the knack of applying the force of thumb to enhance the cast control capabilities.
It is surprising that many experienced anglers believe that average-skilled fishermen are more likely to buy spinning reels than baitcasters so as not to face this problem.
Furthermore, the prices of baitcasters range from incredibly low to exorbitantly high, but there are several long-lasting baitcasting reels that are priced in the middle.
When you should use a baitcaster
One of the reasons why many saltwater fishermen choose baitcasters is because these anglers are in need of heavy tackle. A baitcaster can handle heavier lines, heavier lures, and larger fishes much more easily than a spinning reel.
When casting distance is considered, you should choose a baitcaster over a spinning reel. A spinning reel can not cast as far as a baitcasting reel.
Many professional bass fishermen can be seen carrying a baitcaster as many bass fishing techniques require long casts.
Finally, in terms of accuracy, a baitcaster is a perfect option. Baitcasting rods and reels are much more precise than spinning rods and reels. Therefore, use a baitcaster to position your lure in the ideal location.
Pros and cons of baitcasting reels
- Long-distance casting ability
- The high degree of casting accuracy
- Compatibility with heavy lures and line
- Durable design
- Bigger line capacity on large models
- Less line twist during normal use
- Lighter weight than comparable spinning reels
- More difficult to master
- High risk of backlash while casting
- Constant adjustment is needed for spool tension with lures of different sizes
- Generally higher priced than spinning reels.
Differences Between Baitcaster Reel Vs Spinning Reel
While spinning reels are popular for different fishing situations and are relatively uncomplicated as well as inexpensive compared to baitcasters, both types of reels are designed to serve different purposes.
The comparison is shown in the table below.
|Suitable for skilled users
|On top of the rod
|Light tackle/ All around
|Heavy tackle and Fishing cover
|High quality for low price
● Average casting distance
● Compatible with various types of lines
● Greater line capacity, high casting distance
● Works well with heavy lines.
|Heavy weight lures
|Trout, Bass (Size about 3000 )
|Trout, Bass (Size about 100), Saltwater (size 300 - 400)
As shown in the table, there are a lot of differences between the two types of reels. We will discuss the most noticeable features:
While spinning reels have fixed spools, baitcasting ones have a revolving spool that turns when you cast. Because of this, baitcasters are able to cast farther and with more accuracy.
They have braking systems that can be magnetic, centrifugal, or mixed due to the rotating spool.
This is crucial in order to slow down the spool as the lure hits the water.
Both types are ideal for all levels of fishermen. While spinning reels are incredibly versatile and make casting simple, baitcasting tackles require more advanced techniques from the users; otherwise, they are likely to experience backlashes.
Usually, baitcasting reels are more expensive.
Therefore, beginners who are having a tight budget should go for spinning ones as they are way much cheaper and quick to pick up.
An angler can probably get by with the typical baitcasting reel if they need to have the absolute maximum range or accuracy.
Most of the experienced anglers admit that although spinning reels can help them cast precisely, they are not as highly accurate as baitcaster.
Line capacity and lure type
Spinning reels require lighter lines and are therefore used in situations necessitating lighter tackle or for angling in locations without obstructions in the water.
Baitcasters, on the other hand, enable the angler to use heavier weight lines and lures.
This is particularly useful when casting into weeds or in instances where an angler must force a fish out from cover.
What is the casting distance for baitcaster vs spinning reel?
One of the main benefits of a baitcasting reel over a spinning reel is its ability to cast longer distances.
A baitcaster reel with the right casting rod is the perfect match for each other. If you pair the two of them, you will be able to achieve high record casting distances.
In this major, baitcaster seems to have better performance. It outperforms the spinning reel as long as you can control the spool rotation during the cast.
Spinning rod vs. Casting rod: How are they different?
Novice anglers may be confused when choosing the right fishing rod for themselves as there are various types of rods in the market. However, spinning and casting rods are the two most basic types. The main differences between the two types of rods are the position of the reel, the line guides, the location of the rod backbone, and their applications.
While spinning tackles have the reels mounted underneath the rod, which is on the same side as the line guides, the reels of casting are positioned a little higher on the top of the reel seat.
For the above reason, spinning rods are well-suited for beginner to intermediate-level anglers as they are user-friendly, versatile, and backlash-free. It is highly recommended that anglers should use this type to catch lighter freshwater fish.
Casting rods, on the other hand, are more suitable for experienced fishermen despite being harder to control. Similar to casting reels, users without skillful technique may have to deal with ‘backlash’, a serious obstacle in sportfishing.
Casting rods are compatible with many fishing methods but anglers tend to use them for heavier freshwater and saltwater fish.
Baitcaster vs spinning reel for bass – which is better?
Either baitcasters or spinning reels are suitable for bass fishing. It depends on the fishermen’s personal preferences and fishing strategies.
The reason why baitcasters are more likely to be chosen by most bass anglers is because of the greater casting accuracy they provide.
Bass fish are often found close to heavy cover, therefore the bait must be precisely positioned near dense cover in order to catch them.
Baitcaster vs spinning reel for trout – which is better?
In terms of trout fishing, a baitcaster is not considered a good choice. The matter is that baitcasting rods and reels are designed for heavier lines and heavier lures targeting bigger fish.
Trout fishing is often about smaller lures and lighter lines. So using a spinning setup for trout fishing is way more effective.
In conclusion, if users are totally new to sportfishing, spinners are the perfect match for them as they are typically cheaper, simpler to use, and more versatile.
This type of reel is considered a great option for novices as well as a multi-purpose reel.
Meanwhile, baitcasters have better traits than spinners at some points, such as higher accuracy, long casting distances, and the ability to handle heavy tackle.
Additionally, with a baitcaster, you can drop your line in a crowded area or in a hotspot like a riverbed.
Depending on the quality, it may also be strong enough to serve as an offshore fishing reel.
Because of those benefits, they are best suited to senior fishermen who want to use them for specific applications.
However, anglers have to pay a high price so as to possess a casting reel in their collection.
Whether you are a novice or an experienced angler, I hope you can find the right reel that meets your demand.
Born in Lakeland, Florida, Daniel has started fishing since he was just a tiny little kid. His father was a real good fisherman, as he taught Daniel tricks and tips to catch the fish better. From those childhood memories, Daniel has built up his love for fishing. Until now, he has been participating in several bass tournaments and currently serves as the Chief Editor of fishingonsunday.com to share his precious knowledge and experiences with many more people.