What is the Difference Between Spinning and Casting Reels?
This is the first step in understanding which situations an angler might use a spinning reel versus a casting reel. There is not always a clear-cut best choice for every situation but understanding the differences and building your personal preference will guide you on which is the best for the task at hand.
Spinning Reel Situations
Since most beginners start off with a spinning reel, you can get away with using it for most types of fishing. A lot of people will say you can not use a lightweight bait on a spinning reel, although it takes more thought and effort to get your rig setup right, you can definitely use a lightweight bait on your spinning rod.
The spinning reel is what you would use for close quarters where you need to just cast easily with just a flick of the wrist. You can use it in a boat or kayak and use it for the heaviest fish. There's no going wrong with a spinning reel, especially for your first quality reel.
Casting Reel Situations
Anytime where you are working your lure frequently like in a topwater situation, a casting reel will allow you to have constant contact. You can fish topwater with a spinning rod and many do but it’s not easy for most people and isn’t as advantageous as a casting rod for these situations. So a casting rod will increase your chances of success in topwater overall with more speed, accuracy, and being able to be in constant contact with your lure.
You will want to have a casting rod if you find yourself frequently throwing a jig, a heavy lure, punching, flipping, or throwing into cover.
Pros and Cons of Both
Some of the advantages with casting rods are that you have particularly more accuracy when casting, you can use one hand to both use the trigger and cast with the same hand for some definitely quick snap casting, and it’s easy to learn for newcomers as you just cast and reel. The benefit of leverage and to be able to sense exactly what is happening with your lure can also benefit all skill levels of anglers.
You can place your pointer finger alongside the shaft of the rod while balancing the rod against your arm to increase sensitivity and have the correct response with a better response time. This plus watching your lure carefully will prevent more fish from getting away because you will have a constant awareness of exactly what is happening and the ability to sense even the most gentle of bites.
Another technique is to place your pointer finger against the bottom side of your line with your casting hand. Any bumps or bites will be more noticeable and this is not nearly as easy to do with a spinning rod.
Some advantages with spinning rods are using lightweight baits, topwater baits, surface plugs, and soft plastic lures. You can use these lightweight baits because there is no resistance when the bell on the reel is open. The line will freely loop off the reel and let you cast further, especially if you are using an especially light lure. This will benefit you with more accuracy when using these light lures but you can also use heavier lures with it too, so there is some crossover into the other category of reels.
You can also find it easier to use a spinning rod for bait fishing. You can throw further with a spinning rod and this will help you reel in more fish because you increase the yardage you are able to fish in while staying in the same spot.
Some disadvantages with spinning rods are tangles, backlash, and wind knots. These can be avoided but you should know of the disadvantages before going in on one.
The Best Choice Overall
With there being so many anglers who prefer one over the other, there isn’t any way for us to say one is the best for everyone. If we had to recommend one overall, we would say that the casting rod is going to be easier to learn and is more well rounded (especially if you are planning on fishing on a boat).
In reality, if you are planning on fishing in a lot of situations and throughout the year you will probably need to have both rod types, but knowing which one is best for the type of fishing you want to do most will help you invest in the rod you will get the most out of, and therefore be happier with at this stage in your fishing career.
You have to ask yourself what you will most likely be fishing--will you be fishing topwater frequently, are you fishing more from the shore/dock or from a boat, what kind of lures/baits will you be using?
These questions will really determine what might be the best choice for you, even though there is not one best choice for everyone and there still will be times where you will want to have both options available.
If you are especially strapped for cash and you want a few cheap recommendations for both spinning reels and casting reels so you don’t have to make the decision between one or the other, would rather have your budget work for you, and be able to buy both for the price of one more expensive one, then look no further. These are going to be some of the best available reels of each type at their respective budget.
If you have the money to flaunt and you want the best of the best, you can just skim right past this section, but for the rest of us, there are some amazing deals to be had that will get you started with some quality reels you will cherish and keep reusing even after you buy a more expensive reel down the line.
- Lightweight - narrow hollow graphite body
- Incredibly smooth - 9 high-quality ball bearings plus one roller bearing paired with precision gears engagement
- Pure power - drag power up to 19.8lb
- Braid ready spool
- Baitfeeder Drag System
- Allows free-running line
- TITAN graphite construction graphite side plate, strong anodized CNC Aluminum Spool for corrosion resistance
- Thicker main shaft, stainless ball bearings, and a carbon fiber drag system with 15kg/33 pound drag
- 10 + 1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Sealed aluminum spool and rotor structure
- Suited for heavy freshwater and light saltwater use
- Magnetic brake system for longer casting control
- 10 Magnetic Beans + 30Pin Magnetic Brake System optimize the magnetic effect
- Low profile palmable 1.7 inch height above the reel seat and a total weight of 6.7 ounces.
- 7.2:1 and 8.1:1 gear ratio
- X-SHIP gear system reduces the rotation resistance of the fishing reel and improves efficiency of gears
- 17.6 LB carbon fiber drag
- 18LB carbon fiber drag to handle big fish
- Industrial durable-strength, climate-resistant Japanese Hami cut 3604 brass gears
- 7.1:1 gear ratios
- Unique side-plate oil port for prolonged maintenance
You should be confident with which reels will work better for you in all situations and what to look for in both types of reels. You can’t go wrong with either type but the casting reel gets our vote for best overall for most beginners, and if you have to have just one for the rest of your life, that is what we would go with! You get more bang for your buck, and it fits our particular style of fishing in 90% of the waters we fish.