Can You Use A Spinning Reel On A Casting Rod?

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After you've bought a casting rod with the hopes of catching a wider variety of fish, you might wonder whether you really need to purchase a casting reel and learn a new technique instead of just using your current spinning apparatus.

While you’ll be limiting your new rod’s casting and catching abilities, your spinning reel effectively tackles lighter fish and is easy to use. So, are the drawbacks important enough to go for full casting gear? Can you use a spinning reel on a casting rod?


The casting rod itself is fitted with guides through which the line is weaved from reel to tip. The casting rod's guides are typically mounted along the spine facing up, making it capable of catching heavy fish by placing less pressure on the rod, especially towards the tip.

The spinning rod's guides go along the bottom of the road, which is perfect for wrestling and tiring light fish but less useful for award-worthy catches.

Essentially, mix and matching equipment means you’ll be using your rod upside down. Technically, you can still do it and still expect some decent catches, but the pressure applied to the rod from large fish could potentially result in breakage.

That means you'll have to catch some very impressive fish for serious structural damage to be a real worry. On the other hand, you might think it undermines a big reason to buy the bait caster in the first place.

You might want to find the spine of the rod for yourself to make sure your rod performs to its maximum potential.

Finding The Spine Of A Blank: Rod Building 101

Casting Capability

Experienced sporting fishers like the casting rod for its ability to launch far and accurately (once you get the hang of it). The more favored spinning rod is easy to cast in a straight line, but its limited distance potential is a big reason to upgrade to the caster for many anglers.

Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get the most from your new rod if you don’t use the reel specifically built for it, and that's in large part to do with the friction placed on the line by guides designed for a different kind of reel.

A spinning reel releases the line in a coil, which is why its corresponding rod has large and wide guides that slowly get smaller as they reach the tip, minimizing the amount of friction caused as you cast.

If you put it on a bait caster, the line will still be released from the spool in a coil, but the thin small guides will slow the line down and therefore, limit your maximum potential cast. You might want to try both variations of reel to see if this is going to be a problem for you.

The Safety Of The Line

The small guides on the caster also provide a potential hazard to the fishing line, with coils possibly able to latch around the guide closest to the base and prevent you from casting at all, and that makes the whole fishing experience rather redundant.

In all honesty, though, this isn't something that's likely to be a common problem. I imagine even one occurrence in a hundred is enough of a nuisance to make any fun activity frustrating.

Additionally, the line could be under pressure at the point in between the two guides closest to the tip due to the guides being on the underside of the rod. Again, the chances of problems are small, but it might mean a broken line at best and rod at worst.

One advantage to the casting reel is the fact that it uses a heavier line and therefore, can handle heavier lures to attract the bigger fish.

Level Of Experience

You’re not required to keep an even amount of pressure applied to the line when casting with a spinning reel, whereas you might lose your line altogether if you don’t do it quite right with the alternative.

Having said that, it’s easier to create ‘spider webs’ and tangles in the more favored spinning choice if you don't tie the line to the spool correctly.

However, at this point, you're probably more than aware of how to set up your equipment, which means the real difficulty is going to come with the casting technique. Stick to spinning, and backlash will likely be less of a problem than with the casting reel.

Of course, purchasing any new equipment will take some getting used to, but it’s worth having the patience to get used to the reel that's meant for a bait caster because once mastered, the casting reel assures much more accuracy than the spinning alternative.

Fishing - How To Cast A Bait Casting Reel

The Verdict

So, can you put a spinning reel on a casting rod? I think the biggest disadvantage of this combination is the inability to catch really impressive fish – the reel is simply not built for it, and you’ll risk damaging your rod and line. You’ll be better off with the more heavy-duty alternative.

You’ll have to master a new technique, but a big reason to purchase a bait caster is to improve your game. If your main worry is the cost of buying all the components, you could buy a Fiblink Baitcasting Fishing Reel for a more than reasonable price to practice.

If your curiosity has been piqued and you have a few unanswered questions, don’t hesitate to submit a comment below.

About the Author Jimmy Bruce

Loves everything to do with fishing and gear.

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