Baitcasting vs Spinning Reels – When to Use Which Reel?

Getting a good reel is crucial in fishing, but the process becomes difficult if you do not know which type of reel to buy. There is also another type of fishing reel besides the baitcasting and spinning reel. This article will discuss only baitcasting vs spinning reels since the last type (spin-caster) is mainly used by beginners or testing the water.

Before starting the comparison, one crucial thing to note is that we cannot label one reel as better since both have pros and cons. A reel that works well in one condition or situation might not work in the other. Keeping this in mind, let’s get into the comparison of baitcasting vs. spinning reels.

baitcasting vs spinning reel

Baitcasting Reels

What is a baitcaster reel?

Generally, the baitcasting reel is used by more experienced fishermen due to its working mechanism. The baitcaster reel sits directly on top of the rod. When we cast the line, it comes out in line with the rod because of the position of the spool. We have also created a list of 11 best baitcasting reels of 2022 for you and those reels are performing really good and every angler is loving them.

This spool position allows for more precise casts, but it can also be troublesome for some fishermen. That is because the spool spins with the line going out during casting, and if the spinning of the spool becomes faster than the line, it can cause it to backlash.

To prevent this backlash, you have to control the spool during casting. This requires skill and experience, so more experienced fishers use this reel. These reels are hard to master. Baitcaster reels also provide a lot of power and are suitable for catching big fish. Moreover, we can use baitcasting reels for casting at long distances.

When to use a baitcaster reel?

About a decade ago, baitcaster reels had limited usage because it was a problematic controlling drag on this reel. However, with the arrival of modern baitcasting reels, you have plenty of options to choose baitcasting reels. These reels have advanced braking systems that can slow down the spin of the spool during casting. Also, the ball bearings make baitcasting reels a lot smoother to cast

Baitcaster reels are good at making precise casts. Moreover, they can also give you more cast distance, so if you play with medium or heavy lures and do big game fishing, this reel is suitable for you. With all of that said, I would suggest using baitcaster reels for freshwater fishing.

However, if you use light lures, I would not recommend using a baitcaster reel since lighter lures would shorten the cast distance quite a bit. This is because baitcaster reels use the weight of the lure to release the line. If the weight is not enough, the spool won’t spin much, and the cast distance would be very short. So we would suggest you use heavy lures.

Working mechanism:

Baitcaster reels sit directly over the upper side of the rod. This allows the reel to cast the line straight; hence the cast is pretty accurate. When launching the line, the angler uses his force and the weight of the lure. There is a button that releases the line when pressed. After pressing this button, the line is released, and the lure carries the line with its weight.

This is why we recommend heavier lures since they can cast farther. After the line is released, the spool starts spinning with the line. This is tricky because the lure is slowed down because of contact with water or wind, the spool won’t stop spinning, and it can cause a backlash of the line.

Most of the modern baitcaster reels have magnetic braking systems to prevent this. This system allows you to slow down the speed of the spool when casting. However, it still makes it quite challenging to use, so more experienced anglers mainly use baitcasting reels.

You can end the cast by rotating the handle or putting your thumb on the spool. Most experienced anglers use their thumbs to control the spinning speed of the spool as it gives them more control.

Casting distance and price:

The casting distance of baitcaster reels is much better than spinning reels. The cast is also much more accurate and precise than a spinning reel. However, the excellent casting distance comes at a price that adds difficulty in using this reel.

 This is why more experienced anglers mostly use it. The backlash can be controlled by slowing down the speed of the spool using your palm, thumb, or braking system.

If we talk about the price, a baitcaster reel costs much more than a spinning reel. It is primarily due to the more straightforward nature of spinning reels. Baitcasting reels are made from durable and lighter materials to allow the user to cast farther with less effort and even sustain the force of bigger fishes.

Difficulty level:

Generally, baitcasting reels demand more experience. However, this doesn’t make them any bad since baitcasting reels are used when you need accurate and longer cast distances. With that said, we wouldn’t allow beginners to start with an expensive baitcaster reel. They should practice with spin caster reel since it is relatively easy to use.

  • Durable and strong material
  • It has a vast casting distance with heavier lures
  • Accurate casts
  • It gives more control on the line
  • Great for freshwater fishing
  • Suitable for big game fishing
  • Lightweight
  • It costs more than a spinning reel
  • Needs practice for good casting
  • Greater chances of backlash
  • Not that good with lighter lures

Spinning Reels

What is a spinning reel?

Unlike the baitcaster reel, a spinning reel does not rest on top of the rod but at the bottom. This allows for a better balance and line control. We can adjust the drag from the top of the rod. The most significant advantage of spinning reels vs. baitcaster reels is using the reel.

Spinning reels don’t require much experience, and their casting is pretty straightforward. These are also much more forgiving for inexperienced anglers. Moreover, spinning reels can work better with lighter lures or even weightless lures.

Spinning reels have an open face with metal bail; this removes the risk of backlash or nesting. However, spinning reels also have downsides, like less line capacity and less accurate casts than a baitcasting reel. Moreover, there is a chance of line tangling in spinning reels which is not present in baitcaster reels.

When to use a spinning reel?

Generally speaking, spinning reels can be used in all sorts of water bodies and will work fine in most environments. But there are some situations where having a baitcaster reel would be better. For example, fishing in crowded water, we recommend a baitcaster reel since it offers many accurate casts. Moreover, the baitcaster reel will provide you with a much longer cast range if you use heavier lures.

On the other hand, a spinning reel would be ideal if you want to catch smaller fish and use lighter lures. It doesn’t mean that you cannot use a spinning reel for catching big fish because that is wrong. The point here is that these reels are specialized for specific situations. So it is better to get a reel that performs better in the particular case you are in.

Working mechanism:

The working mechanism of spinning reels is a bit different from baitcaster reels. In baitcaster reels, the reel is attached directly at the top of the rod so the line is released straight and the cast is accurate.

On the other hand, spinning reels are placed at the downside of the fishing rod. The drag is adjusted from the top. Moreover, spinning reels can be adjusted for right and left-handed people according to their needs. This is impossible in baitcasting reels since they cannot be adjusted.

You disengage the metal bail and hold the line down with your finger to cast the line. This prevents the line from tangling. When you are at the top of your cast, you will release the line by removing your finger from the line. You can then move the metal bail back to its original position to prevent unspooling.

Casting distance and price:

The casting distance of spinning reels is a bit lower than baitcaster reels. However, spinning reels can work excellent with lighter lures and give a much farther cast. If you are not worried about the casting distance, then a spinning reel is ideal for you.

It has a meager chance of backlashes or jamming. Moreover, spinning reels are much more versatile and can be used for almost any fishing environment.

The price of spinning reels is pretty lower than baitcaster reels. Spinning reels are much simpler and can even be used as training reels for people new to fishing.

Difficulty level:

The rod is made for all fishermen. It is far easier to use than a baitcaster reel, which is a big part of its attraction. There is no risk of backlash or nesting of the line. The casting is easy, and it even works well with lighter lures. Overall, it can be used by people of all skill levels.

  • No risk of backlash
  • Fewer chances of jamming and line getting tangled
  • More versatile
  • Works well with smaller lures
  • More balance and drag control
  • Cost less than baitcasting reel
  • It can be used in a lot of fishing environments
  • Not that good for big game fishing
  • Lower casting distance
  • It doesn’t perform well with heavier lures
  • Has a risk of line twisting

Baitcasting vs Spinning Reel (Main Differences)

The main difference between baitcasting vs. spinning reels is their working mechanism and usage. It is a bit more challenging to use a baitcasting reel because of the risk of backlash. You have to control the drag during casting to prevent backlash.

Spinning reels do not have a backlash problem. However, spinning reels provide comparatively less accurate casts. When it comes to lures, a baitcasting reel will work best with a heavier lure, while a spinning reel would give the best results with the lighter lure.

This is because the baitcaster reel uses the weight of the lure during casting, so when we use lighter lures, the cast distance is not that good. Spinning reels are quite affordable. So if you are on a budget, a spinning reel would be more suitable for you. Also, it is ideal for beginners due to its ease of use.

Controlling the drag on the baitcaster reel is challenging since you have to use your thumb on the spool, and doing it the right way requires a lot of experience. On the other hand, controlling drag on spinning reels is very simple.

With all of this said, we can see that both have their pros and cons, and choosing one over the other is a matter of self preference and situation.

Which one should you choose?

If it’s for big game fishing or you want long and precise casts, then a baitcaster reel is best for you. However, if you’re going to have more control over your reel and try different fishing techniques, a spinning reel would be better.

The thing to keep in mind is your preference and budget. Spinning reels are much cheaper and easier to maintain than baitcasting reels. Moreover, if you are new to fishing, we recommend starting with spinning reels and then moving towards baitcaster reels.

All that matters is your fishing experience at the end of the day. You’re your situation and preferences in mind, and then determine which reel would best fit those criteria.

Final Verdict

To sum it up, we shouldn’t ask which reel is better from baitcasting reels vs. spinning reels, but we should ask which reel would fit our purpose better. If your purpose isn’t big game fishing or long cast distance, buying a baitcasting reel would be a waste of money. So before you make a decision think about all the things you want from your fishing reel and then make a choice.

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