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Are baitcasters better reels than spinning reels?

Baitcasting reels have their advantages and disadvantages versus spinning reels. Baitcasting reels are popular with bass fishermen because all of the bass fishing pros use baitcasters. Who doesn’t want to catch bass as well as the pros do? That is the main reason that bass fishermen usually use baitcasters.

BUT they do have advantages over spinning rods in many different fishing scenarios. However, there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to mastering a baitcasting reel.

Spinning reels are effortless to use and you don’t have to deal with big bird nests caused by the inevitable backlashes that occur with baitcasters. Even the best fishermen will occasionally get a backlash in a moment when they are not paying attention to what they are doing.

Back in the day a bass fishermen would get laughed off of the bass boat if they showed up with a spinning reel but many have realized that spinning reels are great for freshwater bass fishing in many circumstances.

I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been catching bass for more than 40 years in the ponds, lakes, canals and just about everywhere else in Florida.

In the article below, I will teach you what I know about the pros and cons of bait casting reels and spinning reels.

Watch the video below and learn how to choose the best bass rod and reel.

Bait Casters versus Spinning Reels

Back in the olden days (The early 1990s) it was real hard to find a bait shop or any retail store who sold braided line to us bass fishermen. Believe it our not young people who are reading this article but it is true. Us old guys had to fish with mono filament line and that was the only choice that we had.

However, the first few generations of braided line were horrible. They were stiff and had lots of memory so you would get bird nests in your line even if you were using a spinning rod. You also could not get your knots to hold. You had to use super glue to keep your knots from unraveling. It was a horrible time to try and use braided line.

Baitcasters were great for casting the heavy mono filament lines that you needed for digging those big, “lunker” swamp donkeys out of the weeds or lily pads. If you wanted to pitch a jig into heavy cover, then you had to use a baitcasting rod and reel combo to maximize your results. A heavy fast action rod and a fast 7:1 baitcasting reel just can’t be beaten by a spinning rod in this scenario.

A spinning reel just can’t cast heavy mono filament line as effectively as a bait casting reel can. It is as simple as that. So if you were a bass fishermen who liked to fish around heavy cover, then you were crazy not to use a baitcasting reel. A spinning rod just could not perform very well in that fishing scenario.

BUT then the new and improved braided fishing lines hit the fishing world like a ton of bricks. Now a bass fishermen had access to fishing lines that were 40 pound test with a diameter of a 10 pound mono filament line. That changed the game for those bass fishermen that never could quite master the baitcasting reels.

A spinning reel loaded with 40 pound braided line can cast a lure just fine. It still isn’t the right choice for fishing heavy cover but you can do it if you want to.

Old school bass fishermen will still laugh at you if you bring a spinning reel bass fishing but they work just fine. In fact, they will cast a light lure much better than a bait casting reel will. When the bass pros are fishing those micro lures you will often see them bust out a spinning reel because they are a better choice for light lures. They also fish spinning reels with Carolina rigs and wacky rigs a lot of the time these days.

There are other differences between a baitcasting rod and reel combo and a spinning rod and reel combo. The most obvious is the fact the baitcasting rods are often much stiffer than a spinning rod. This sturdier built rod will allow you to get a much more efficient hook set on the bass that a similar spinning rod could not. In other words, a baitcasting rod allows you to exert more force on the fish during hook set in general.

Baitcasting reels are better for circumstances that require perfect accuracy. You need to become a master of using that type of reel or you will have nothing but backlashes. There are usually magnetic drag resistance properties in the baitcasting reels today. You need to know exactly what amount of pressure that you must use on the line as it leaves the reel or you will get a bird nest.

Spinning reels are very easy to use. All that you have to do is flip the bail and cast. The line comes off of the reel in a spiral motion that is less efficient than a baitcaster but you won’t have to worry about getting any backlashes and bird nests of line.

Another great attribute of a spinning reel that is not the case for a baitcaster is the ease of changing out your spool. Many hardcore fishermen like to have the perfect pound test for different fishing scenarios. Many reel companies give you an extra spool with your reel purchase. This allows for more precision when fishing heavier or lighter pound test lines for difference circumstances.

Another advantage of a spinning reel over a baitcaster is the ability to switch from a left handed to right handed or vice versa with ease. It takes about 60 seconds to switch your reels handle from right to left with a spinning reel. This is a great advantage when there are some lefties on your bass boat with you. Try that with a baitcaster.

Spinning reels are easier to skip under docks and trees without getting a backlash. This probably goes without saying but it takes a couple dozen of hours to get good at skipping a lure with a baitcaster. It takes a couple dozen casts to master skipping with a spinning reel.

Spinning reels are easier to cast in the wind without getting a backlash. Again this is a no brainer because spinning reels don’t get backlashes very much. The wind can make the best baitcasting reel bass fisherman cuss up a storm. Wind is not a problem for a spinning reel fisherman.

Conclusion:

Baitcasters are better for circumstances that require pinpoint accuracy and casting heavier baits and lures. They are also better for fishing in heavy vegetation.

Spinning reels are better for new fishermen and for casting lighter baits and lures. Besides those few differences it just boils down to the fisherman’s preference these days. Braided lines have evened out the playing field quite a bit for bass fishermen who could not seem to master the baitcasting reels.

I fish with spinning reels almost exclusively these days but I fish mostly saltwater for redfish, snook, tarpon and speckled trout. The one baitcasting bass rod and reel combo that I have is for a very specific bass fishing circumstance. I have a 7 foot 2 inch heavy fast action reel coupled with a high speed 7.1:1 baitcasting reel.

I use this set up when I fish frogs and jigs in heavy cover. My spinning reels are just not the right tool for this fishing scenario but they work just fine for all of the other bass fishing scenarios.

The bass pond behind my house is full of 3 and 4 pound bass and my 2500 series spinning reels can handle them just fine. It all depends upon what you prefer. If my pond was full of lily pads and thick weed mats, then I would probably have to bust out my baitcasting rod and reel combo.

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