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Baitcaster vs Spinning Reels – (Differences / Pros & Cons)

Fishing should be fun, and this can be achieved if you get the right equipment. People used a simple line a hook in the past, but now accessories and tools have become sophisticated. It has made fishing more enjoyable and easier. Still choosing between a baitcaster vs spinning reel has raised debates.

Have you gone to one of those large outdoor stores? These stores are paradise for anglers because there is everything you might need, including fishing tools, rods, lures and any other accessory you will need. With a lot of options available, picking the right tool can be overwhelming, especially if you are searching for a reel.

First things first, you should decide whether you want a spinning or baitcasting reel. These two common reels cover most of the fisherman’s needs and both have their advantages and disadvantages. We will talk about the benefits of using one reel over the other, and clear up all the questions you may have.

Differences Between Baitcasting and Spinning Reels

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel Infographic

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel Comparison

If you a fan of fishing like us, we hope you share our delight that angling stores have that many options when buying each equipment piece. In the reel section, it comes down to two different categories – spinning and baitcasting reels.
It is not easy to make a smart choice, which will primarily depend on your fishing plans. Take a look at this baitcaster VS spinning reel comparison to discover how they both perform in various areas.

  1. What Fish to Do You Plan to Catch?

    The primary thing to keep in mind is the fish you want to catch. Moreover, the entire fishing gear should be fitting to the species you want to catch.
    When it comes to reels, the general rule is that you use spinning reels for average-sized fish. You can catch all species from tiny to medium, but if you are planning on tackling a large fish, a baitcaster may be a better choice.

  2. Which Lines and Lures Should I Choose for Each?

    The next factor you want to consider is the line that you plan to use. If you go with lines that have around ten pounds, the logical choice is a spinning reel. It will provide the necessary flexibility and bendiness you need to avoid the line breaking.
    On the other hand, if you plan to use lines and lures that are heavy, a baitcaster is a better option as it provides a high level of control.

  3. Which Reels Are More Suitable for Beginners?

    When you are a newbie, you don’t want to spend a minute more than necessary on setting up your gear. For those that are looking to dive into the fishing experience right away, the logical choice is to go with a spinning reel.
    Nobody denies that it will take time and effort to learn how to handle a baitcaster. That is why many anglers are considering it to be an advanced reel.

  4. The Importance of Accuracy

    Spinning reels do not provide the level of control and accuracy that experienced anglers may need. While they may do the job for beginners, skilled fishers prefer using a baitcaster.
    Baitcasting reels allow you the highest level of casting accuracy. They enable you to aim for a particular spot and hit it right every time. In case you realize you made a bad cast, you can quickly stop the baitcaster and avoid bigger issues.

  5. Do They Require a Lot of Maintenance?

    If you want to maximize the durability of your fishing equipment, maintenance is essential. The good news is that there is not much work when it comes to maintaining the reels.
    It all comes down to disassembling the reel and cleaning the components with a suitable solution. After greasing the gear teeth and oiling the bearing, you can reassemble everything.
    Baitcasters usually have a more complex structure than spinning reels, which is why it may take a bit more time to go through the process mentioned above. That shouldn’t make the process more difficult, but it does demand more time.

  6. Which Reel Is Cheaper to Buy?

    It ultimately depends on the unit, but the general rule is that spinning reels are more affordable. That comes with some trade-offs, though, because you will get a less durable reel.
    However, if you are on a tight budget, the chances are that you should stick to spinning reels. On the other hand, if you are going for a long-term investment, baitcasters can prove to e a smart purchase.

  7. Which Reels Are More Durable?

    If you are looking for longer shelf life, and a reel that you can use a large number of times, you should choose a baitcasting reel. Their construction is more complex, and they should be sturdier and more durable than their spinning counterparts.
    However, the durability also depends on the maintenance, as well as what happens during the fishing trip. While baitcasters should be able to handle large fish, they can still break.

  8. Which Are Less Prone to Jamming and Tangling?

    There is nothing that can ruin your angling experience than having to face jamming and tangling often. While experienced anglers understand that this happens sometimes, and they know what they need to do to minimize the chance of something going wrong, beginners prefer to choose the equipment resistant to tangling and jamming.
    First of all, you should know that no gear out there can guarantee there will be no tangling or breaking. However, spinning reels do perform better in this area, and they don’t tend to cause jamming often.

Other Features Worth Considering

Here are some other insights that may be worth checking out when it comes to comparing the two reel types:

  • Line capacity – baitcasters tend to have a bigger line capacity than spinning reels.
  • Casting distance – thanks to the line capacity, baitcasters have a bigger casting distance. However, spinning reels are easy to cast so that they reach their maximum range.
  • Gear ratios – baitcasting reels also have a larger range of ratios available.

Final Thoughts

It is impossible to pronounce a clear winner of the baitcaster VS spinning reel comparison. They both have a set of advantages and drawbacks, and you will probably end up using both at some point.
If you are a beginner or someone who wants to make a fishing trip an enjoyable experience, you should always go with a spinning reel. It is easy to use, and it is less prone to tangling and jamming. Spinning reels are also suitable for light lines and lures, and catching fish that’s no bigger than the average size.

On the other hand, if you have the desire to learn and want to invest time and effort into improving your fishing skills, go with a baitcaster. These reels are more durable and accurate, which gives you an impressive level of control. They require tougher lines and lures, but they are suitable for catching large fish, too.

Finally, allow us to give you a piece of advice. Make sure to consider your fishing plans and expectations, and then pick the reel and the rest of the equipment accordingly. It is the best way to maximize your angling results and experience!

Baitcasting Reels

The baitcasting reel, also known as a conventional reel, has been around for a while. This reel is considered advanced and it is used by experienced fishermen. Most experienced anglers prefer baitcasting reels because of the control and sheer degree of precision these reels offer. The spool moves as you cast. Therefore, these reels demand a level of skill to produce the right power of inertia required to move the spool. Experienced anglers need to do a lot of exercises to get the hang of using baitcast reels.

Baitcasting reels provide anglers the durability and strength they cannot get from other reels. Its spool is capable of withstanding heavier line required in catching big fish.

When to Use a Baitcasting Reel

Just like any other reel, baitcasting reel has situations where it is the best option. For instance, when using heavier lures and lines, the baitcast reel provide greater accuracy and control than other options. In a situation where you need control, like an ability to slow down the bait, it is achievable with a baitcast reel.

Other anglers choose baitcast reel because they want a challenge of learning to cast the line in a proper manner.

Pros:

  • Less line twist
  • Easier to slow bait
  • Improved accuracy with heavy lures
  • Improve accuracy and control compared to spinning reels
  • A larger variety of available gear ratios
  • Lighter reel weight
  • The best option for heavier lures and lines
  • Greater line capacity
  • More durable than spinning reels

Cons:

  • Takes time to learn and use
  • Can wear out lighter lines
  • Harder maintenance
  • Relatively expensive
  • Complicated without experience
  • Bird nesting and jamming more common
  • Lines can dig into the pole during flexing

Reel Summary:

  • Baitcasting reels are more durable and suitable for harsh weather conditions.
  • It is designed to withstand a battle between a fish and man. With additional drag pressure, anglers can battle fish for a long time.
  • Due to its accuracy, baitcasters are popular for saltwater fishing.

Spinning Reels

Nearly all anglers have used a spinning reel. This reel is an excellent option for finesse catching crappie, bass, redfish and other small to medium-sized fish. It comes with a fixed spool below the rod. You need to use the weight of bait, lure, and tackle to pull out the line.

When to Use a Spinning Reel

A crucial part when it comes to picking the right reel is ensuring that you have the right tools for the job. When using a line less than 10 pounds, the spinning tool is the best option. It is recommended to use spinning reels when fishing with lighter lures or lighter lines and for a right reason.

When fishing with a line below 10 pounds, a limber rod that flexes and bend is required. Otherwise, you might break your line when you catch a bite. When a baitcast rod flexes, the line will rub against the rod blank. Repeated rubbing will make the line to develop a weak spot and then break.

Since the guides are below the rod in a spinning reel, the rod can flex as needed and the line cannot touch the rod.

Also, spinning reels are the best option when it comes to lighter lures since the lure will only pull the weight of the line and not the entire spool.

Pros:

  • Less tangling
  • Easier to understand and use
  • Relatively cheap
  • Longer line life
  • Less bird nesting and jamming
  • Easier to maintain
  • Considerable casting enough distance
  • Easy to handle by anyone without an issue
  • Can be used for all fishing styles
  • The best option for lighter lures and lines
  • No line digging

Cons:

  • Less line capacity
  • Larger, heavier reels
  • Cannot handle stronger fish
  • Line twist is more common
  • Less accuracy and control compared to baitcasting
  • Hard to slow bait
  • Doesn’t flip or pitch easily
  • A small variety of available gear ratios
  • Not accurate with heavier lures

Reel Summary:

  • The reels weight doesn’t rest on the rod, making it easy to hold and control.
  • It allows more accuracy and is suited for small areas. It is suitable for freshwater fishing.
  • Designed to eliminate backlash.
  • When compared to baitcasters, this reel is easier to cast and anglers can cast under trees and above plants in the water.

Jump to: What’s the best rod and reel combo?

Conclusion:

The baitcasting reel is ideal for intermediate and experienced anglers who are looking for more accuracy and who want to catch bigger fish. This reel differs from classic design in that the casting functionality works. Anglers are required to push down their thumb for the spool to be released instead of closing and opening the bail.

However, a spinning reel requires one to pay attention to the drag. It is best suited for intermediate and beginner anglers who prefer freshwater fishing. You should press the thumb down at the apex doe the line and gear to be released. Without proper timing of the movement, the cast will be where you don’t want it to be.

Hopefully, this guide has pointed out all the differences between baitcaster and spinning reels. You need the right reel for the right job.

6 thoughts on “Baitcaster vs Spinning Reels – (Differences / Pros & Cons)”

  1. I appreciate the effort on the article and it’s well organized; having some good information for someone who is relatively new to the sport.

    But, I think there is some miss-information (or at least some missing information) in the article. The biggest being that the size of fish has an impact on which reel to use. I disagree.

    It’s true that bait casters typically have more “cranking power” than spinning reels. However, that’s more applicable to the kind of fishing (and species of fish) one is pursuing.

    I’m a Minnesota Walleye fisher. I cast very little and don’t need precise casting when I do. I only use a spinning reels. Bass guys are always casting, need accuracy and need to be able to pull fish out of cover or away from docks (etc) quickly. Those guys are most often using bait casters.

    Those are similar size fish species, different reel application.

    I’ve done some Tarpon fishing in FL, caught a 200lb Tarpon – those guys (& I) used exclusively spinning reels.

    When grouper fishing for 30-80 lb grouper, we had to muscle the fish out of the structure and wrecks to keep them from snagging the line – there we needed the cranking power of bait casters.

    Both of those were relatively larger fish, but had different reel applications because of the style and species of fish.

    All that is to say, in my opinion, the most important factor in choosing a reel is the type of fishing ( & fish species) one will be doing. The size of the fish has very little relevance.

    Reply
    • I disagree with the article I use deep sea rods and spinning reels. I have caught 50 lbs flat head catfish. on 17 lb test line. It is all in the way the drag is set. and how you fight the fish. I fish the Tennessee River and we have a lot of big fish.

      Reply
  2. This article was very informative and will assist me with making my decision on what reel to purchase.
    I am an average fisherman but I want to experience the baitcasting reel on my next outing, whenever that may be with our stay-at-home in place.

    Reply
  3. I don’t consider it a choice. For me, both reels have their purposes. That comparison chart is not true. Baitcasters are not used for larger fish and spinning reels have many more size options too. A conventional reel is not a baitcaster. Bsitcasters are generally used more in freshwater too. And baitcasters don’t hold more line either because of the size options available with spinning reels. A 1000 size to a 10,000 size spinning reel. There is more but you get my point…

    Reply
  4. I don’t agree with this article in many aspects. I have been fishing for over 26 years and been a huge catfish angler for over 20. And I have caught many blues over 65 pounds and some 50 plus flatheads on spinning reels, without any issue. And this article didn’t go over different line like braid which is small in diameter. In example 20 pound braid has the same diameter as 6 to 8 pound mono. There fore you can put a ton of 20 to 50 pound braid on a spinning reel and reel in big fish wether Salt water or freshwater. I own spinning and baitcasters. I mainly use spinning reels now because where I fish I don’t need to be able to get the extra casting distance a baitcaster can give you. Although I can cast my spinning reels almost as far and it also depend on the length of your rod and you guys even failed to mention that. I did however agree with some of the stuff you guys talked about.

    Reply

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