Spinning vs Casting: What’s the Best Reel?

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When it comes to fishing, is ease-of-use or potential catch and casting capability more important to you? The latter would suggest you need a casting reel, but modern spinning reels are increasingly versatile, and easy casting makes it suitable for all experience levels.

There’s so much choice in the market that deciding where to put your money can be challenging. That’s why in this article, I’ve set out to answer the question: spinning reel vs casting reel – which one should you buy?

Spinning vs Casting Comparison Table

Model

Point 1

Point 2

Point 3

Point 4

Point 5

Spinning Reel

Easy to use

Great for bass fishing

Ideal for light lures

Best for short distance casting

May not be ideal for large game

Casting Reel

Difficult to master

Probably not ideal for small fish species

Ideal for heavy lures

Good accuracy with long casts (with practice!)

Ideal for large game

THE SPINNING REEL

Off-Shore Fishing Capabilities

Most modern reels are manufactured with aluminum, though you might find cheaper items still made from graphite. But be warned: the reason aluminum takes precedence nowadays is because it’s less prone to corrosion in saltwater.

However, the main reason for the modern spin component's improved surf fishing capabilities is its stronger build and the ability to hold a heavier line and lure. For example, the Okuma Raw-II 80 can hold an 80-pound braided line.

You might have to spend a lot (relatively) for a spinning reel that's suitable for surf fishing, as the most popular items still aren't built to hold lines heavier than 10 pounds. You might struggle to get the distance and lure weight you need to achieve impressive catches.

Bass Fishing

In my opinion, the spinning reel excels when it comes to bass fishing capabilities, and that might be a summary of an important question if you're one of many Americans who take part in the activity.

An 8 to 10-pound line will do just fine for catching bass, and the fact that you can easily master a variety of techniques gives the spinning reel a big advantage. I would again recommend purchasing an aluminum product, as it increases the sensitivity required to detect light bites.

Trophy Catches

  • If you’re aiming for only the biggest and the best of species including salmon and walleye, you might want to stick with the bait caster. Most experienced anglers wouldn't disagree with me here, but a couple of reasons helps explain my opinion.
  • You need a heavy lure for large game, and you need your rod to be able to withstand the pressure. With a bait caster, the weight is better spread across your whole rod, and it's a reel specifically designed for heavy line and ability to cast over long distances.

Main Drawbacks

  • If you're looking for the fish that prove difficult to locate and attract, catching with a spinning reel is going to be tough. A beginner can learn to cast in a day, but placing a lure exactly where you want it is a mission for the bait caster.
  • Additionally, you might have to spend quite a bit on a high-end reel if you want it to hold the heavy lines to catch the bigger fish. The cheaper options won’t be able to cast very far if you attempt to use a heavier line than what it’s built to accommodate.

THE CASTING REEL

Off-Shore Fishing Capabilities

You'll probably still find that despite the capabilities of advanced spinning reels, the bait caster is still usually the go to product for surf fishing. Casting reels have always been built for heavy lures, where only a few spinning reels are really worthy of doing the same.

Long-distance casting and surf fishing are almost synonymous, and while you'll struggle in the beginning to master the bait caster, you'll end up being able to cast far and wide with great accuracy.

The Abu Garcia Black Max Reel BMAX2 might be a good bait caster option to learn with due to its excellent value price and more importantly, it’s light weight that makes it easy to handle. But beware its graphite construction makes it more susceptible to corrosion for saltwater.

How To Cast A BaitCaster Fishing Reel "THE RIGHT WAY AND ADJUST THE KNOBS"

Bass Fishing

In my humble opinion, you're better off sticking to the spinning option for bass fishing, because you're going to need a lightweight reel that makes it easier to fight frantic fish.

Additionally, casting reels are notoriously difficult to cast over short distances with any accuracy because you need to stop the spool from releasing line to avoid the dreaded bird's nest.

On top of everything, heavier line and guides located on the topside of the rod could mean you don't even feel a bite. If you're an absolute pro, you can probably go bass fishing with a bait caster, but I don't see much point in choosing it over the spinning reel if you have a choice.

Trophy Catches

  • If you’re aiming for only the biggest and the best of species including salmon and walleye, you might want to stick with the bait caster. Most experienced anglers wouldn't disagree with me here, but a couple of reasons helps explain my opinion.
  • You need a heavy lure for large game, and you need your rod to be able to withstand the pressure. With a bait caster, the weight is better spread across your whole rod, and it's a reel specifically designed for heavy line and ability to cast over long distances.

Main Drawbacks

  • The main drawback with the bait caster is that it's not an easy bit of tackle to learn how to use properly. The rod a casting reel attaches to is usually longer than a spinning rod, and that can be a nuisance when trying to cast against heavy winds or under ledges.
  • There’s also the risk of backlash, though modern features have seen that risk significantly reduced. Nevertheless, it can still be problematic for aspiring but inexperienced anglers.

SPINNING REEL vs CASTING REEL: MY VERDICT

Of course, it depends on exactly what you want to achieve when it comes to picking the ideal reel, but I would recommend purchasing a casting reel mainly due to its capacity to catch impressive game.

You'd have to be prepared to make quite an investment to buy a spinning reel with big game catching capabilities, but you'd probably only do that because it's easier to cast. You might want to upgrade quickly to the caster once you've started to catch big fish.

Besides, you're likely to find catching fish becomes simpler with a bait caster than a spinning reel when it comes to catching walleye and salmon because, with practice, it achieves pinpoint accuracy over great distances. If you’re just starting out, the Abu Garcia Black Max Reel BMAX2 could prove ideal to learn the technique. Do you think my opinion is a fair review?

Do you have anything to add? Our readers would love to hear what you have to say – submit your comment below to tell us what you think.

About the Author Jimmy Bruce

Loves everything to do with fishing and gear.

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