Skip to content

Buying Guide & Reviews

When to Use a Spinning Rod VS Baitcasting Rod

by Tom Melton 25 Aug 2022

Do you own both baitcasting and spinning rods? Do you ever battle with which rod should be used and when? Baitcasting (conventional), and spinning rods crossover in many areas, but there are certain times when a baitcaster will out-perform a spinning rod, and on the other side, a spinning rod will out-perform a baitcasting rod. They are similar, but totally different…let’s take a look and make sure you are getting optimum performance out of your gear. When to use a spinning rod vs a baitcasting rod is not that difficult.  

What Can They Do?

For the most part, the biggest difference between the two in my opinion, is that a baitcasting rod for the most part is built for power, whereas the spinning rod is built for distance. 

Baitcasting rods will usually have a lot more guides than spinning rods. This helps get the total power out of the rod by utilizing the entire rods length without skipping over wide sections. If you look at most baitcasting rods, they have 8 to 12 guides, depending on the length. The guides are also low profile as the line coming off the reel is straight and not spinning outward like in a spinning reel.

As you can see, the first guide on a baitcasting rod is much smaller than a spinning rod guide. The revolving spool and line flowing straight off a baitcasting reel and the coiling of line coming off a spinning reel is the reason for the difference in guide size.

Fishing rod

When you look at spinning rods, the guides are spread out along the blank, and of a higher profile and diameter. The higher profile and larger guide ring helps capture line as it comes off a spinning reel in larger loops. This aids in casting distance, and helps eliminate wind loops.

Unless you are a really adept caster and very good with both spinning and baitcasting rods, longer casts will be made from a spinning rod. On the other hand, more accurate and a powerful hookset and “fight” of the fish will be achieved with baitcasters.

Specific Uses

Beginning with baitcasters, let’s take a look at where they will be better suited than a spinning rod. Before we get into when and why, a baitcaster or conventional style rod are basically the same animal. They both offer guides above the blank, and both offer smaller guides.

A baitcaster will allow the angler to pinpoint casts under trees, into docks and other areas easily. They will allow an angler to put optimum pressure on a fish when setting the hook in heavy cover. Another area where these rods excel is deep water angling where 8 to 10 ounces of lead are used or in the trolling game where heavier lines or even wire will put extreme pressure on the rod.

When I jig a beaver dam for largemouths I need a stout baitcaster for accuracy of the pitch, and the ability to pull a big fish out of the wood.

Baitcasting reel

Although some believe a baitcaster will outcast a spinning rod, I believe even though the line comes straight off of a baitcast reel, and through the guides with virtually no friction, unless you are a highly skilled angler, the distance you cast will be less than a spinning rod.

  • Pinpoint casting
  • Heavy cover
  • Deep water/heavy sinkers or lures
  • Topwater cadence

Moving to the spinning rod, the largest advantage is the ease of casting for beginners and skilled anglers. The reels used are simple to operate, and making long casts are easily obtained when needed. A spinning rod has larger guides which allow the line coming off the reel to slide through easily.

Casting large popping plugs like this 2-ounce Super Strike requires spinning gear for long casts.

Spinning reel

A spinning rod is best suited for lighter lines and baits when used in the freshwater venue, but when hitting the saltwater side, they are the optimum rod for surf casting and pier fishing. The spinning rod, which will range from shorter 4 foot trout and panfish models up to heavy 12 foot models for surf fishing, with all weights and tapers as well.

  • Distance
  • Ease of use
  • Larger range of sizes
  • Lighter lines

Time to Choose

Whether you decide to use a baitcasting rod or a spinning rod, just like in choosing the “correct” reel, you need to explore what type of fish, where you are fishing – deep saltwater, light freshwater, heavy cover, etc. – before you choose which way to go.

If you are a beginner to fishing, especially when it comes to mastering casting techniques, the spinning rod is probably the better choice. A spinning rod is a lot more forgiving in the learning curve where 'casting for beginners' comes into play. On the other hand, if you are an adept angler, you need to explore what you will be doing. Do you plan on surf casting for black drum or striped bass? If so, then a heavier 10-11 foot spinning rod is a good choice. Are you throwing Texas rigged worms in heavy cover for largemouth bass? A baitcaster will give you the power to winch the bait, and subsequent fish, through the slop. How about when light fishing line in the 2-6 pound class and light 1/32 or smaller lures are used? In such cases, using a spinning rod for these delicate casting scenarios is a piece of cake.

There are situations where one or the other will be best suited, but it really is up to you, the angler, to decide what option will work best.

 

Prev Post
Next Post

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Popular Products

KastKing MegaJaws Elite Baitcasting Reels KastKing MegaJaws Elite Baitcasting Reels
MegaJaws Elite Baitcasting Reels
World's Most Versatile Baitcasting Reels MegaJaws Elite baitcaster reels have all of the features that tournament Pros and avid recreational anglers demand in a fishing reel: flipping switch for pitching and flipping, CNC machined aluminum frame with carbon fiber swing-wing side cover for a...
Regular price
$129.99
Regular price
$129.99
KastKing Mg12 Elite Magnesium Baitcasting Fishing Reel KastKing Mg12 Elite Magnesium Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Mg12 Elite Magnesium Baitcasting Reel
Perfect Reel For Tournament Fishing The technologically advanced MG12 baitcaster is meticulously crafted with a lightweight magnesium-alloy frame offering exceptional performance at only 4.8 ounces. The deep spool design holds more line than other reels in its class. Advanced Braking Technology Mg12 Elite fishing...
Regular price
$249.99
Regular price
$249.99
KastKing Bassinator Elite Baitcasting Reels KastKing Bassinator Elite Baitcasting Reels
Bassinator Elite Baitcasting Reels
Elite Concept Designed for Competition; Engineered for the Win! Advanced Bassinator Elite Classic baitcaster reels deliver Pro Level performance for anglers like MLF tournament Pro, Bassmaster Elite AOY Brent Chapman. The Bassinator Classic casting reel was developed in a series of tournament ready fishing reels for peak...
Regular price
$80.00
Sale price
$80.00
Regular price
$159.99
sale-discount
-50%
KastKing iReel One IFC Smart Fishing Reel KastKing iReel One IFC Smart Fishing Reel
iReel One IFC Smart Fishing Reel
INTELLIGENTLY CHANGING THE WAY YOU FISH Using Bluetooth to pair the iReel One with your smartphone or other Bluetooth devices and the KastKing App, iReel One employs highly accurate motion capture sensors in the spool assembly to provide anglers with precise casting metrics, including...
Regular price
$349.99
Regular price
$349.99
Choose Options

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
Conditions And Terms

1. Enjoy a chance to enter our special Easter lucky draw with actually purchase over $80 From March 28 to March 31! Verify your order ID and email to enter the draw. Please note that the Order ID is included in the Order Confirmation Email.

2. The coupon is valid until May 31, 2024 and it will be emailed to prize winners. The email will include full details.

3. Only one coupon can be used per order, and they cannot be combined with other promotions or discounts.

4. This lucky draw is available for purchases of all KastKing products.

5. The prize will be delivered to the winners at the original address where you placed the order. The tracking number will be provided upon shipment.

6. KastKing reserves the right to disqualify any entrants found violating the contest rules or engaging in fraudulent activities.

7. KastKing Team has the right to final interpretation.

this is just a warning
Login
Shopping Cart
0 items