Spinning vs. Casting Rods: Know Your Tackle
Spinning vs. Casting Rods: Know Your Tackle – If you’re a new angler, the differences between spinning and casting rods may not be apparent at first glance. That’s OK–they’re pretty much just variations on a theme, with the principal difference being the reels they’re designed to wear.
You’ll be asking yourself this question every time you buy a fishing rod and each time you get ready for a day on water.
Casting rods are best for certain techniques. Other angling techniques can be done better with spinning gear. There is a lot of overlap between the different rod types.
This article will explore what’s different between these rod types and, if it’s possible, we’ll declare a winner in the age-old battle, casting vs spinning rods!
If you want to understand these differences better or find out more about common rod styles, keep reading!
What’s the Difference Between Casting Rods and Spinning Rods?
Both baitcaster rods and spinning rods are available in any length and with any level of strength and flexibility you need, so those aren’t factors that separate them.
Here are some differences:
- Reel type – A casting rod requires a baitcasting reel, the kind that looks like a small winch mounted to the rod. Spinning rods take an underslung, open-faced spinning reel that has a revolving bail to wind the line.
- There are two types of reel seats and guides. The first guide on a spinning rod is larger than the one on a casting rod.
In practical terms, there is no difference between spinning and casting rods. It all comes down to the type of reel that you attach to them.
This is a big difference.
You can cast lighter lures with longer casting times, and baitcasting reels are more precise and allow you to win when it comes down to it.
For most fishermen, it is not about which rod is “best”, but which rod is best suited for a particular fishing technique.
Both rod types are needed!
It becomes clearer that both a spinning and casting rig have their strengths and weaknesses. This includes the reel.
Let’s take a look at some situations where you might want to use spinning equipment. Next, let’s examine situations in which baitcasting equipment would be more effective.
How to choose a spinning rod
Spinnable tackle has the primary advantage of being able to cast very light lures. This is due entirely to how the reel works. The spool orientation allows the line to flow freely off the reel without resistance. The line can flow freely in large loops. Spinning rods have a greater first guide to reduce drag when those loops are removed from the reel.
Spinning gear is a great choice for topwater fishermen who enjoy using them. It’s perfect for presenting all types of surface baits. Spinning gear can be used to cast surface baits such as buzzbaits or light surface plugs. It also allows you to throw soft plastic rigs such as those used for finesse fishing.
Bait fishing is another scenario where spinning gear is preferred. With the kind of heavy weight you’re throwing in the surf or when catfishing, for example, a large spinning reel can enable you to make incredibly long casts.
Although spinning gear might not be as powerful as a baitcasting system when you need to fight a large fish in heavy cover, it is still very effective at what it does. It allows anglers to fish with smaller baits such poppers or tiny worms, and allows for extremely long castings.
Long spinning rods are the best choice for surf and inshore fishing. They’re lighter, which makes it easier to use in particular situations.
How to choose a casting rod
Baitcasting is the most popular method of fishing. Two of the most effective bass fishing lures, jigs and crankbaits are tied to a baitcasting rod a lot more than a spinning rod. A baitcaster’s low profile mounting and smooth operation make it a popular choice for targeting bass in heavy cover using a jig or grinding a crankbait over a main lake point in 15 feet of depth.
This design’s spool orientation gives anglers total control. It creates a solid feeling when fishing for a lure or pulling a lunker from its den. Baitcasting reels allow anglers to cast more accurately. Most models have fine tuning that allows for extremely precise targeting.
Other popular baits that typically get paired with a baitcasting rig are spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged worms, swimbaits, and jerkbaits. A baitcasting rig can be used with any lure that has a reasonable weight. A baitcaster is the best choice for lures you want to present in dense covers.
Don’t forget to check out the best baitcasting rods of this year.
If Has to Be a Winner…
Here we are comparing casting rods vs spinning rods. A vague answer such as “it depends” will not cut it. Let’s choose a winner!
This rule is more accurate and powerful than spinning gear for many anglers.
I will use if the lure/bait weighs enough to allow me to put on baitcasting equipment.
This guideline is not bad. It points to baitcasting rigs and rods as the undisputed kings of fishing gear.
There is a lot of overlap between the different rod types, so in most cases your choice will be based on personal preference or which rig you are more at home with.
Spinning and casting rods are just variations on the theme
Casting rods and spinning rods have a lot in common. The few differences that they do have are only apparent when you look closely.
They can be made of the same materials and offer the same powers and actions.
As I will discuss below, the main difference between the reel styles is how they are designed to be worn, necessitating some subtle design changes.
These two rods can you be distinguished?
Spinning rods are only equipped with spinning reels. The reel seat and guides are located below the rod.
Casting rods cannot be used in conjunction with casting reels. You’ll therefore find the reel seat and guides higher than the blank.
Casting rods often have a trigger grip for your index finger. This is a nod towards the way you will hold the reel during casting.
Pick Your Reel First
Picking a fishing rod is the first step to choosing a new fishing line.
The main difference between casting and spinning rods is their reels. Because there is no mixing or matching, experienced anglers will know which reel to choose before choosing a rod to match it.
However, there are important differences that go beyond this–and they are worth discussing.
You will notice that the reels and guides are located below the rod.
For the best spinning rods, check out our buying guide!
Design and Sensitivity
While it is not difficult to see that a spinning rod is meant to be worn with a spinning reel on its side, many anglers don’t understand the implications of this combination.
Spinning reels are placed beneath the rod and release line around a fixed spindle. They have a large “stripper”, which is the guide nearest to the reel, and are used to gather the twirling line and move it in the correct direction. A guide’s importance increases with the size of the reel. For larger reels like those used for surf casting, a series may be needed to reduce the running guides.
This can also be affected by the distance between reel foot and body. Longer “arms” will place the center of reel closer to the rod’s centerline.
This means that spinning rods with comparable power rarely match the small guides found on casting rods.
This can cause spinning rods to be less sensitive in practice. Also, you won’t have as much sensitivity for running largemouth worms rigged Texas-rigged.
Line and lure weight
Spinner reels perform best when they have lighter lines and smaller diameters.
However, reel companies are not to be blamed: It’s just physics!
The retaining lip must be cleared when a line flows from a fixed spindle. The friction created by the line as it passes the retaining lip is greater the larger its diameter.
This means that a line that is larger than 10 pounds mono will drag in the real world. It can affect casting performance. However, big spinning reels have their place. I own several of them! There’s nothing better for windy beaches and difficult weather. Most anglers are happy to cast a little farther, but with fewer tangles.
For freshwater anglers looking for bass, pike and lake trout, this is important because heavier lines work better with casting reels.
The rods are a reflection of that.
Although you can buy heavy-duty spinning reels and spinning rods with heavy power, serious anglers know that casting tackle is best for bigger lures and heavier lines.
This is why spinning tackle tends be smaller – think trout, panfish and perch.
You will notice that the reel is on top of your rod.
For the best casting rods, check out our buying guide!
Sensitivity & Design
Casting rods can be used to cast reels that sit above the rod.
These reels are not fixed spools. Instead, they release line from a spinning spin spool that runs parallel to the rod’s main axis. This means that the line will come off the reel in-line with your rod. No stripper or reduction guides are required.
This allows rod manufacturers to make very precise guides, increasing sensitivity.
Casting reels are not only good for casting, but many anglers prefer casting tackle because it offers the best insensitivity and power.
Lure and line weight
I discussed the difficulties spinning tackle can experience with heavier lines. Casting reels are a similar problem, but opposite.
The force of the lure you throw at the spool when it spins free-spins, however, is what gives it its energy. The spool won’t turn as quickly with light lures, even if you throw them on lighter lines. Sometimes, the result is tangles or birds’ nests.
Casting reels work best when they have larger lines. This allows them to throw lures that will catch fish larger than crappie or perch.
Spinning gear is the best choice if you are looking for ultra-light tackle.
I hope you have found this article helpful in understanding the differences between casting and spinning rods. This will allow you to make the right choice for you.
We’d love to hear if you found this article helpful.
Leave a comment below