Choose your weapon, baitcasting or spinning reel, fluorocarbon or monofilament? So many complex, delicious choices on the trail to a whopper. Whether anglers prefer a spinning vs baitcasting reel depends on situation and experience. Once newcomers understand the joys of fishing, they invariably want to learn more about the equipment and technique.

Anglers are choosing to keep both spinning and baitcasting setups handy for better targeting. Experience dictates lighter tackle for tight quarters and heavier setups for open water.

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel

Modern fishing has evolved into a throng of technological alternatives that are profoundly satisfying. If you are a beginner to this wonderful sport, spinning reels are a straightforward choice to get bait in the water. As experience grows, baitcasting reels are the next step.

What is a Baitcasting Reel?

Baitcasters sit on top of the rod with its spool parallel. Controlling the line as its cast, anglers use their thumb as a brake. For decades this elementary process has been retained for only the most experienced anglers.

Baitcasting reels give anglers superior line control, allowing for longer casts with heavier line. The ability to softly drop lures into tight spaces is a strong point for a baitcaster. Newcomers to the sport felt continuous frustration because of the incessant line backlash. Baitcasters are now much easier to control with improved braking systems.

Guide for a beginner fishing: How to spool a baitcaster reel

Why Use a Baitcaster Reel?

  • Longer casts equate to more water, increasing the chances of finding bigger fish.
  • Anglers have better spool control, providing for optimization of the reel for heavier lure weights.
  • Baitcasting spools are perpendicular to the retrieve with rod eyelets up. This configuration enables more torque, adding power to fight bigger fish and weeds.
  • Higher gear ratios on baitcasters give anglers the ability to get crank baits in tighter spots for aggressive bass.
Why Use a Baitcaster Reel?

What is A Spinning Reel?

Open face or spinning reels are for lighter fishing lines and lures. Spools are narrower than a baitcaster with lower gear ratios.

Spools for a spinning reel sit underneath and is perpendicular to the rod. Casting using a spinning reel is straightforward and why beginners opt for this equipment first. The angler moves the bail arm up to free the line, which lets the line free to unspool. Unlike a baitcasting reel, the spool does not turn during casting.

Reeling the line back in is a simple process of turning the handle on the reel which snaps the bail back into place.

Why Use a Spinning Reel?

  • Tackle for spinning equipment is cheaper than baitcasting.
  • Spinning reels and rods are suitable for lighter lines and lures. Casting is easier and precise.
  • Newcomers prefer spinning reels primarily because there is never any backlash of the line.
  • Another convenience feature, if the spool runs out of line, snap another spool into place.
  • Spinning reels and tackle are intrinsically easier to set up.
Why Use a Spinning Reel?

Baitcasting or Spinning Reel for Saltwater?

Water is water, Right? To experienced anglers, the answer is definitely, No.

Switching to saltwater, fish are bigger, reels and tackle must get bigger. If you are using a baitcasting or spinning reel, it is feasible to take freshwater tackle to saltwater as long as seals and gears are conducive.

Saltwater Reels

In saltwater, all tackle will be bigger, based on the fish species you plan to engage with. Reels will have components resistant to saltwater and have much heavier drags. The saltwater baitcasters should be able to handle 30 to 50-pound test line easily.

Saltwater spinning reels can handle lines up to about 30 or 50-pound test line. The problem, most spinning reels are not built for heavy tackle. Casting and retrieval are satisfactory, but not great. Go to a baitcaster if possible.

Inshore baitcasting reels look similar to their freshwater counterparts. However, gear ratios will be higher, along with a stiffer drag. Inshore reels incorporate magnetic braking, bowed aluminum handles, and corrosion-resistant gears.

Experienced anglers agree the baitcaster is best for saltwater fishing. Because of its adaptability, baitcasting reels can be outfitted to target smaller fish, less than 20 pounds.

No, it is not recommended to use these two together since these are created for different purposes with different sizes. In general, casting rods to come with smaller guides than their counterpart spinning rods. This is why if you try to use a spinning reel with a casting rod, the line coming off the reel will easily interfere with the smaller guides and will end up tangling your line.

Choose Your Gear for Fishing

Spinning or Baitcasting Reel for Freshwater?

Whether to use a spinning reel or baitcaster boils down to personal preference with a freshwater habitat. Experienced anglers have both systems in their boats for specific situations.

Different scenarios require finding out what setup is best for you. If you need heavy crank baits popping through the water with heavy line, baitcaster is the choice. Small lures and lines for smaller fish, use a spinning setup.

Spinning Reel for Freshwater

Versatility is the ticket with a spinning reel and tackle. Fishing in tight spots with short casts or maybe even troll if the demand arises. More anglers are using heavier spinning setups for bigger fish. Technology has made a substantial impact on open-faced reels and tackle.

Spinning reels offer anglers an easy set up on the water. Spinning reels are finesse fishing, and they do not need a lot of space.

Baitcasting Reel for Freshwater

Baitcasting reels have considerably higher gear ratios and drag, making them excellent for larger crank baits and heavier lines.

Longer precise casts and faster retrieves give anglers more control for larger fish like the largemouth bass. The drawback to a baitcasting reel is line backlashing and losing control in tight locations. Accuracy is the key to a baitcasting reel – Land large fish in tough spots from a distance.

Spinning Reels, Advantages and Disadvantages

Over the last few years, there have been many advances to the spinning reel and its ecosystem. Spinning reels offer several advantages over alternative types of equipment, making them excellent for anglers just getting into this magnificent sport.



Baitcasting Reels, Advantages and Disadvantages



Manufactures have designed reels for saltwater environments, with the toughest conditions in mind. Saltwater baitcasting reels have been the logical choice for decades. However, manufacturers have been developing sturdier spinning reels.


Without a doubt, baitcasting reels offer anglers the widest variety of fishing technique and tackle. Baitcasters can deal with lighter lines and lures up to the heaviest tackle available. Spinning setups simply cannot deal effectively with heavier lines and lures. Choice for any fishing trip would be the baitcasting reel!

Technology is firmly embedded into the fishing industry, and this has brought many young people into this wonderful sport. As technology keeps getting better more people will keep finding their way to fishing.

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