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Baitcaster vs Spinning – Which is better for beginners?

Baitcaster vs spinning is a decision beginners often get hung up on. I know I did when I first got started fishing. Both have their benefits and situations they thrive in. In this guide, I will break down each of these so you will know which is best for you.

What’s the Difference: Spinning vs Casting

Differences in Spinning & Baitcaster Reels

The biggest difference between spinning and baitcaster is in their reels. Spinning reels are designed so that their spool is fixed in place and the bail manages the line as you reel in. When casting the fixed spool allows the line to freely come off the spool. This allows spinning reels to cast lighter lures under 1/4 oz easier.

Baitcasting reels feature a spool that rotates when you turn the handle. This makes the spool act as a winch and gives you more torque. This allows baitcasters to fight bigger fish in more easily. Due to the spool rotating you need to use 1/4 oz and heavier lures to be able to generate enough power to spin the spool enough for long cast.

Differences in Spinning & Baitcaster Rods

The most noticeable difference between spinning and baitcasting rods is their rod guides. A spinning rod has much larger diameter guides due to the line coming off in loops. The larger rod guides allow you to handle to wide loops as the line comes off the reel but also make your casts less accurate.

Baitcasting rods have much smaller rod guides due to the line coming straight off the spool. These smaller guides give you much better accuracy when casting.

When to Use a Baitcasting Rod & Reel

Baitcasters are ideal when targeting larger species like bass. They give you the ability to use heavier fishing line and larger lures that are better suited for catching giant fish. This is why you will see pro bass anglers using baitcaster most often.

Baitcasting reels allow you to be much more accurate with your cast. They are more accurate because you can use your thumb to adjust the speed of the reel by adding pressure you slow down the amount of line coming off the spool. Additionally, the smaller rod guides provide better accuracy.

Benefits of a Baitcaster

  • Can handle higher lb test line
  • Strong drag capabilities
  • Higher casting accuracy
  • Longer casting ability

Cons of Baitcasters

  • Higher learning curve – takes more practice to master.
  • Can’t switch handle side – must purchase either left or right-handed.

When to Use a Spinning Rod & Reel

Spinning rods and reels are slightly easier to learn and don’t require as much practice as baitcasters so they are often chosen by new anglers.

Spinners are ideal when using lighter baits because the line flows off the spool without restriction. This allows light lures to be cast further than they would be able to on a baitcaster.This makes them perfect for targeting smaller species like bluegill and crappie as well as finesse style bass lures.

They are also nice because there’s no need to worry about a backlash with a spinning reel.

Benefits of a Spinning

  • Can switch handle side
  • Ability to cast light lures

Cons of a Spinning

  • Shorter casting
  • Less accurate cast

Final Thoughts

Spinning is the best option for beginners and those wanting to catch a wide range of freshwater fish. Baitcasters are better for bass anglers who need gear to handle heavier lures.

Now that you have a better idea of whether a baitcaster or spinning rod and reel is best for you, let’s go over the terminology you will need to understand when purchasing your next rod and reel.

Rod Selection Guide

Reel Selection Guide

This guide is part of our larger how-to fish guide.