Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel: Which Is The Best Investment?

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Fishing is one the world’s most popular leisure activities, but with all the different components and the huge range of products, it can be hard to decide what to buy. You’ll certainly need a reel, and the most common options include baitcasting and spinning.

The baitcaster will allow you to cast large lures over a long distance accurately, and its heavy line means it's ideal for catching big game. However, the casting technique takes a time to master, and short distance fishing will be challenging due to the risk of backlash.

Alternatively, the spinning reel is easy to cast with little practice, and the latest models can support relatively heavy lines. Casting over large distances will prove difficult, and many anglers consider this component to be less hard-wearing than the baitcasting alternative.

To help you make an informed purchase, we’ll answer the simple question: spinning reel versus baitcaster – which is best for you?

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel Comparison Table

Model

Point 1

Point 2

Point 3

Point 4

Point 5

Point 6

Baitcaster

Ideal for heavy lines

Ability to hold heavy lures

Casts over long distances

Perfect for catching big game

Difficult technique to master

Risk of backlash

Spinning

Purposed for light lines

Ideal for light lures and bait

Best suited for casting over short distances

Easy to learn

Limited catching ability

Risk of etching

THE SPINNING REEL

What Is It?

This component is fitted to the underside of the rod, with the rod guides facing downwards usually getting gradually smaller as they reach the end of the tip. The average gear ratio is 4:1, meaning the spool retrieves four coils of line for every turn of the handle.

The 4:1 ratio is considered slow speed, but you might benefit from the huge amount of torque when you’re trying to wrestle and fight a catch.

This reel is traditionally used with light line weighing a maximum of eight lbs mainly because the friction caused when retrieving a line can cause many of the reel's components to etch and consequently, scar your line.

How Do You Use It?

Much of the spinning option’s popularity comes from its easy to master casting technique. For starters, you can cast it low underneath trees or overhanging obstructions and against winds without too much hassle.

Additionally, the casting technique is as simple as holding a button for the line to release and then letting go of the button once the lure has reached its target.

Fishing For Beginners -  How to Cast A Spinning Reel

If you’re new to the activity of fishing, the spinning reel might prove the easiest component to get used to, as you’re very unlikely to lose your line even if your technique isn’t perfect because it won’t keep releasing line once the lure hits the water.

This also means the risk of backlash is small. If you haven’t heard the term, backlash happens when the spool continues to release excessive line even after the lure has landed, often resulting in a tangled mess or a ‘bird's nest.'

Kastking® Mela Spinning Reel

ADVANTAGE

  • Much of the spinning option’s popularity comes from its easy to master casting technique. For starters, you can cast it low underneath trees or overhanging obstructions and against winds without too much hassle.
  • Additionally, the casting technique is as simple as holding a button for the line to release and then letting go of the button once the lure has reached its target.

DISADVANTAGE

    • This reel might not have the capacity you need if you're aiming for big game. It's built for light lines that could snap or become damaged when attempting to catch heavier fish, and it also means you'll be limited to using relatively light lures and bait.
    • While it’s possible to attach a heavy line to this item, casting over long distances will prove difficult, especially if you’re aiming for pinpoint accuracy. Overall, you’ll be limited as to what types of fishing you can do successfully with the spinning reel.
    • There's also a small risk of individual components etching as a result of the friction caused when retrieving the line. To minimize this risk, look for a reel made from aluminum, such as the Kastking® Mela Spinning Reel. Aluminum also puts up good resistance to salt water.

THE BAITCASTING REEL

What Is It?

Unlike the spinning component, the casting reel is attached to the top side of the ride, with narrow guides lining the spine of the blank.

It often has a higher gear ratio than the spinning option, and a popular configuration choice amongst anglers is 6.4:1, literally meaning every turn of the crank retrieves 6.4 spool revolutions of line.

It’s designed to accommodate a heavier line than the alternative component, and that means it might be the ideal product if you want to cast heavy lures over large distances to catch impressive game.

How Do You Use It?

You'll need the use of both hands with this product, one hand for holding the reel and the other for cranking during the retrieve stage. There's a handle for your cranking hand when you're not using it.

When you cast, the spool spins to release line, and that means you have to control the speed to prevent your lure from flying over the horizon. There are a variety of braking and drag systems and you'll need to learn to do this effectively.

It’s important that you remember to disengage the reel when your lure reaches its target, as the spool will continue to release the line if you forget.

Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Reel

ADVANTAGE

  • Heavy lines and lures coupled with large potential casting distances make this product more adept at catching award-winning fish. Additionally, much of the pressure resulting from wrestling fish is applied to the rod's spine thanks to the topside position of the guides.
  • The design of the spool arguably makes it less prone to wear and tear than the spinning alternative, though advanced products are built with materials including titanium that effectively prevent etching.

DISADVANTAGE

    • This item’s main drawback is concerned with how difficult it is to master. There are many complicated systems you’ll have to get your head around, and you won’t learn the casting technique overnight.
    • There’s also a risk of backlash because you’re fully in charge of stopping the spool from releasing excess line, though the Abu Garcia Max Low Profile Reel fitted with a power disk drag system is less prone to this issue.

How To Cast A Baitcaster

BAITCASTER vs SPINNING REEL – OUR RECOMMENDATION

Many anglers will say the level of your ability is the most important factor to consider. But we think the superior functionality of the Baitcaster makes it a smarter purchase as it's perfect for many types of fishing, including surf fishing and bass fishing.

While it requires patience and practice to master, you’ll be able to achieve casts over long distances with accuracy once you do, and catching the big game is going to be a rewarding experience.

As the risk of backlash might be frustrating in the beginning, the Abu Garcia Max Low Profile Reel might be the ideal choice for those intending to learn the art of angling with the baitcasting reel.

If you have anything extra to add or still have a few unanswered questions, submit a comment below and join the conversation.

About the Author Jimmy Bruce

Loves everything to do with fishing and gear.

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