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 whichever 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 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.

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.

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.

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