Bait Casting or Spinning?

So which is it, bait casting or spinning? What's the difference and if there is a difference, is one better than the other?

Well there is a difference, but assessing the superiority of one technique over the other is more difficult to quantify as much of it comes down to personal preference.

But which ever technique you prefer, the objective is the same; to cast a lure and manipulate it such a way that it will fool a hungry fish into thinking it's the real thing.

But if we'd asked 'Is the the equipment used for bait casting or spinning the same?' then the answer would have been easy...

'No, completely different!'. Let's see how different.

Here's the
Reel Difference!

That's pretty much what it comes down to - the reel.

  • The reel used for baitcasting is of the traditional type, mounted on top of the rod;
  • and for spinning, it's a fixed spool reel, mounted below the rod.

But it doesn't stop there; the rods and reels must be properly matched, as a rod designed for use with a baitcaster reel is quite different to that for use with a spinning reel.

We'll take a look at the two outfits...

The Baitcasting Outfit

At the heart of this set-up is the baitcaster reel, a form of traditional or 'round' reel.

Rods designed for use with these reels have a couple of distinctive features:~

  • a trigger grip beneath the reel fitting, adding comfort and control when 'thumbing' the spool;
  • small diameter, closely spaced line guides. They have to be closely spaced because otherwise, with the rod bent over under load, the line would come into contact with the rod which would be bad news all round.
Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Reel/Johnny Morris CarbonLite Micro Rod Baitcast Combos

Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Reel/Johnny Morris CarbonLite Micro Rod Baitcast Combos

We've paired a low-profile Pro Qualifier Baitcaster with a Johnny Morris CarbonLite Micro Guide Casting Rod for a Bass Pro Shops Baitcasting Combo that will put you at the top of your game.

One way of making sure of having a perfectly matched baitcasting outfit is to by it as a combo, like the one shown above...

The Spinning Outfit

In this set up, with the reel slung below the rod, there's no need for the rod rings to be so closely spaced as on the baitcasting rod.

But they do have to be much larger to accommodate the coils of line as they spill over the edge of the non-rotating spool of the spinning reel.

The rod ring closest to the spinning reel clearly must be the largest, with those beyond it decreasing in size until the tip ring which will then be a similar size to that of the baitcasting rod.

PENN Spinfisher V 7500 and 8500 Boat Spinning Rod and Reel Combos

PENN Spinfisher V 7500 and 8500 Boat Spinning Rod and Reel Combos

One of the most recognized and accomplished saltwater spinning reels in the world, the PENN Spinfisher is a real workhorse and the 7500 and 8500 models are brawny, high-capacity machines capable of dominating the biggest inshore and offshore saltwater gamefish.

The highly regarded Penn Spinfisher Rod and Reel Spinning Combo is shown above...

So Which is it To Be?
A Bait Casting or Spinning Outfit?

As we mentioned earlier it's largely a matter of personal choice, but here are a few points which may help you decide which way to go...

  • It does take a little longer to become proficient with a baitcaster reel, during which time you may experience the odd over-run. But modern versions with magnetic breaking and level-wind systems will reduce this to a minimum;
  • Once mastered, nothing beats a baitcasting outfit for accurate casting;
  • For controlling a large, hard fighting fish a baitcaster reel - particularly one with a lever drag mechanism will beat a spinning reel every time;
  • The spool on the baitcaster reel requires some energy to get it turning at the start of the cast. With very light lures, this will reduce the ultimate casting distance;
  • So for light lure casting the spinning outfit gets better results, but with heavier lures the baitcaster will outcast the spinner.

You Are Here:~ Saltwater Fishing > Techniques > Bait Casting or Spinning?

New! Comments

Have your say about what you've just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Recent Articles

  1. A Saltwater Spinning Reel Enables Novice Fishermen to Make Long Casts

    Jun 17, 19 01:19 PM

    The fixed spool design of the saltwater spinning reel means that over-runs just can't happen. As long as line twists are avoided, long hastle-free casting is almost guaranteed

    Read More

  2. Reliable Big Game Fishing Reels are Expensive, and Here's Why...

    Jun 17, 19 01:05 PM

    If they're not going to let you down, your big game fishing reels must be properly designed and engineered, but what are the vital features you need to look for?

    Read More

  3. Skirted Trolling Lures: The Mainstay of Your Offshore Lure Collection

    Jun 16, 19 09:48 AM

    But there are plenty of other proven trolling lures to choose from – diving plugs, surface poppers, soft-plastic lures or spoons for example. Which one would you decide on?

    Read More