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An age old argument spinning vs baitcasting reels

An age old argument spinning vs baitcasting reels An age old argument spinning vs baitcasting reels

By Dwayne Zboril

I have been an avid fisherman and outdoorsman for some time now and one thing I never grow tired of is the battle, the battle between fishing purists who wage verbal wars over what type of reel is better, spinning or baitcasting reels?

Lets look at the the two before we choose a side and voice our opinion. A baitcasting reels is a classic design that has never gone away, many changes and improvements have occurred over the years, but one thing remains the same the durability and quality. Baitcasting reels have a toughness that is unmatched by any other reel. When the weather is tough and the conditions are harsh a baitcasting reel will stand the test of time and be there when you need it. Baitcasters traditionally are known for their strong backbone or ability to handle strong fish. The gear design makes this type of reel ideal for a long gut renching battle between man and beast. The drag system aids us in beating the beast of the deep with constant drag pressure and the confidence to bear down and musle the fish. I have mentioned several pros of the baitcaster reel, but with the pros com the cons. The most notable problem an angler faces with a baitcasting reel is the dreaded backlash, birds nest, or what ever term you want to use. Usually its followed by an irate angler who chooses to express his distaste with a few choice words. The benefit of the outdoors is that you can let out a little agression without causing too much of a disturbance. Well back to the task at hand the backlash, what cases this headache to anglers of the world? Too much slack in the line during the cast, drag settings not properly set, or maybe user error not applying the slight thumb pressure needed to make a quality cast. Many anglers will not even attempt to use a baitcaster when the winds are up, visions or backlashed haunt them and drive them to picking up a spinning reel.

A spinning reel has pros and cons just as the baitcaster does, you may ask yourself why should i use a spinning rod? One of the most obvious reasons is not what your thinking ( no backlash ) right? not so fast. While using a spinning reel if your line is not spooled properly or you have over spooled the bail you will recieve a very unpleasant surprise. Yes an huge tangle or birds nest that gets caught in the guides and pulls too tight to even attempt a recovery. Then it means wasted fishing time pulling out line and respooling until you have the appropriate amount of line on the reel. Spinning reels have a major component that keeps anglers away and thats the bail and bail springs. How many times have you gone to use your favorite spinning reel and the bail wont flip back after casting, you have to manually flip it over after every cast. Thats the durability defect with spinning reels if you are too ruff or drop the reel on the bail you can damage the spring or break the bai!

l and then you lose the automatic bail flip and have to take time to manually flip after every cast. Not fun when the fish are hitting and your taking the time to flip your bail and everyone else is making quick casts and hauling in the fish. The drawbacks or cons I have listed are but a few I can think of, but I'm sure you want to hear the pros of a spinning reel.

The main pro is that when fishing shoreline or tight cover a spinning reel is easly to cast under overhanging trees. A side arm cast is easier for a lot of fisherman than the pitching method of a baitcasting reel. Spinning rods hold lighter line which is useful in certain situations and lighter line caused different movements in baits. A lighter line in a baitcasting reel can result in a large amount of backlashed until you have mastered the reel and the gear and drag settings. Spinning reels are easir to cast with and you dont have to keep steady pressure on the line while making a cast.

Just a few things to think about when the next argument erupts over what type of reel is the best. I know I didnt mention everything in this article, but if I did the fun of the argument would be lost. An argument or difference of opininion is as common in fishing as a line and hook are, its part of the experience and part of the greatness of the outdoor experience. So the choice is yours take a side and see which is better or prevent the pressure of making a choice and do as I do, use both and master the tools of the trade and then see how intense the argument gets when you are as deadly with each weapon of the trade.


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Mike | Posted: May 12, 2013

Every time I go flushing I always bring both casting and spinning reels. I can definitely say that spinning reels make it easier to throw worms and other plastics because you don't need much weight on the lure. When I'm using crank baits and spinner bait I always use my casting rod. There is a reason casting rods are also referred to as crank rods. You have a much better feel for crank baits. All in all, I think that you should use what feels most comfortable for you personally but I have to with the casting reel for myself, even if a spinning rod can throw it a bit farther. Good article though.

Mitch | Posted: March 21, 2010

I am lefthanded, have been using a spinning reel most of my life. I cast with my left hand and reel with my right hand. No changing hands after every cast. A lefthand spinning reel is setup to be reeled with the right hand. Tell me why is a right hand baitcasting reel setup to be reeled with the right hand? It seem to me that if you are righthanded and you cast with your right hand you should reel with your left hand. I recently bought a baitcast reel with a foot counter for trolling and purposely bought a righthanded reel so the crank is on the right side which makes since for a lefty like me. I plan on buying another baitcasting reel for Pike fishing and it will also be a righthand reel. I would think that your dominent hand would be the one you would want to cast and work your rod with not crank. Please give me your input why Bass fishermen keep switching hands. Mitch

OLD FISHERMAN | Posted: August 11, 2008

The baitcaster is a relic of the past, older than the Ford Model T car, and just as antiquated. The whole reason spinning and spincasting reels were invented, was to overcome the casting deficiencies of a baitcaster. The old baitcasters had only a clicker button for drag/alarm, no release, no clutch, no tension setting. When you casted them, the crank handle spun crazily as the line/lure went out ! The release button, clutch settings, etc. were all added to get them to cast better. They still don't cast as well as spinning reels ! It's common sense- on a spinning reel, only the line has to leave the reel, pulled along by the weight of the lure/bait. On a baitcaster, the spool must also spin at just the right speed, to let the line out. There's friction on the spool. Common sense tells us, the spinning reel will cast further. The only true reason and purpose to use a baitcaster reel, is to haul in really large fish, like a marlin or swordfish. There's not a bass or pike alive that can't be landed with a modern spinning reel.

anonymous | Posted: October 7, 2003

I thought the facts were very true and well researched. You can tell he has had a lot of experience using both types of reels.