Baitcasting Vs Spinning Rods - A Complete Comparison

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, understanding a spinning rod vs. baitcasting rod is of great importance for the best fishing experience possible

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Choosing between a baitcasting rod and a spinning rod can be quite a challenge if you don’t know the difference between the two.

While your skill level as an angler and the type of fish you’re looking to catch may determine the type of rod you should choose, a noticeable difference between the two is on the types of reel and how they should be positioned.

Imagine a situation where you’re out on the water hoping to land some good fish only to find that your fishing rod and reel setup don’t match! In most cases, you’ll be very disappointed because it won’t work. It’s not just about the disappointment; there’s not much you can do as you’re perhaps very far out on the water and you’ll probably head back on land with a whole day worth of fishing totally ruined.

To avoid such an ill-fated scenario, you need to know the difference between a spinning rod and a baitcasting rod.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, understanding a spinning rod vs. baitcasting rod is of great importance if you want your fishing escapade to go as smoothly as possible from start to finish. In addition to avoiding mix-ups, knowing the difference between the two will help you save time and become a more informed and better angler. As such, the most profound difference is in the reel. A spinning reel is meant for a spinning rod while a baitcaster reel is meant for a baitcasting rod. Again, they have completely different features and ways of working.

This article takes a quick look at the differences between the two, how to determine each and when to use each for your fishing.

Table of Contents

What is a Spinning Rod?

The main basis of a spinning rod is that it uses a spinning reel. This type of a reel requires you to flip a lever, pin the fishing line, pull it up, and let the line go as the tack setup pulls it out. The spinning reel is typically under the rod with the rod guides facing downward. When fighting a fish, you’ll notice that the force of the fishing line will get pressed against the eyelet while pushing away from the rod’s blank. In other words, a spinning rod ensures that the fishing line feeds out and will bend from the force of a bite on the line.

In terms of the position of the spinning reel, it will rest underneath the rod and the reel’s handle will remain on your non-dominant hand. In short, the spinning rod should be on your dominant hand while the reel should be on your non-dominant hand.

Spinning Rod Pros

  • Spinning rods are easier to master, which makes them perfect for beginners
  • You won’t have tangles in your fishing line
  • Spinning rods are fast to reel in fish
  • They are a cheaper alternative
  • They are perfect for small fish species
  • They have a straightforward spinning mechanism

Spinning Rod Cons

  • They are not very accurate
  • They are less durable
  • The reel structure makes it a lot easier for the line to snap
  • They may not be perfect for professional or highly-experienced anglers
  • They are not perfect for targeting big and heavy fish species

When to Use a Spinning Rod

In addition to being the perfect rod if you’re targeting small fish species, a spinning rod is the best rod if you want to easily cast in long distances. When combined with the right line, a spinning rod will never let you down in small waterways, as well as when using small lures such as worms. More importantly, this is the best rod if you want a rod that offers you the ability to reel or retrieve fish as fast as possible.

A spinning rod is also perfect if you’re using a lightweight monofilament line rather than a fluorocarbon or braided line. The idea here is that braided lines generally have a lot of issues with spinning reels and may not be perfect, especially when you’re still new to fishing. Similarly, fluorocarbon is less forgiving than monofilament and may cause serious tangle problems.

In short, it’s important to go for a spinning rod if you’re still new to the fishing game and want to learn more. The fact that it’s cheaper and a lot easier to use will make fishing more enjoyable until that moment when you’ve gained enough experience. Similarly, you should consider this type of rod if you are going for small fish species or when you want to reel in fish without a lot of fight.

Should You Go for a Spinning Rod?

One of the main reasons why you should go for a spinning rod is that it’s principally made for beginners. Using it is a lot easier than a baitcasting rod and having a tangled line will never be an issue because it never happens with a spinning rod. On the contrary, spinning reels generally feature a magnetic and centrifugal cast mechanism that can be frustrating due to their inaccuracy but that shouldn’t be a reason not to go for a spinning rod, especially if you’re still new to fishing.

Baitcasting Rods

Commonly known as casting rods, baitcasting rods are designed with a reel seat that positions the baitcast or spincast reel above the fishing rod. With the rod guides facing upward, this type of rod will bend over when you’re fighting a fish. This is because the force of the fish will push the fishing line down on the eyelets and the rod blank. This design is crucial if you’re targeting big or heavy fish as it will prevent the fish from pulling the eyelets off the rod blank.

In essence, baitcasting rods are designed with rod guides that can perfectly handle heavy lines that are required for baitcast reels. Keep in mind that a long baitcasting rod is ideal if you want to cast farther while a shorter baitcasting rod is perfect for vertical fishing right beside your boat or near docks. This is because they’re fast action rods that provide more accuracy.

Baitcasting Rod Pros

  • They offer greater accuracy when fishing
  • They are very durable
  • They are perfect for big and heavy fish species
  • They have excellent drag systems
  • The fishing lines rarely snap

Baitcasting Rods Cons

  • They are expensive
  • They are not beginner-friendly
  • They are difficult to learn and use
  • They can be time-consuming to setup
  • They are not perfect for finesse-fishing

When to Use a Baitcasting Rod

A baitcasting rod is not only an accurate fishing rod but it’s also a versatile rod if you know how to use it. While mastering it may take time, this type of rod will never let you down when you want to feel a bite on your fishing line. It has smaller eyelets, which is essential in enhancing accuracy.

It will also work best if you’re targeting big and heavy fish species or when using heavier lures. This is because it’s very durable but this, of course, will have you spending more. You should also keep in mind that a baitcasting rod gives you the versatility of working with all types of lines: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided lines.

Should You Go for a Baitcasting Rod?

The fact that baitcasting rods are hard to master makes them challenging for beginners. As such, they can be perfect for professional or advanced anglers. This, however, doesn’t mean you can get a baitcasting rod even as a beginner. The best thing to do is to have both a spinning rod and a baitcasting rod so that you can maximize them in all fishing situations.

We have to note that you’ll have to deal with a lot of trial and error if you’re still learning how to use a baitcasting rod. For this reason, you’ll have to be patient to learn how to use it and you’ll have to invest more as they’re more expensive than spinning rods. But if you learn and master how to use a baitcasting rod, you’ll fall in love with the accuracy that it gives you in terms of feeling the line. All you have to do is invest more to acquire this rod, be patient, learn how to use this rod, and you’ll never regret getting this rod.


When it comes to spinning vs. baitcasting rod debates, there’s simply no clear winner as to the best. They both have their pros and cons and you’ll probably end up using both at some point in your fishing adventures.

A baitcasting rod may be perfect for advanced anglers, but may not be the best if you’re a beginner. As such, a spinning rod may be the best type of rod for a beginner given that it offers fewer tangles, it’s cheaper, and can be very easy to maintain. On the contrary, a baitcasting rod may be expensive and a lot hard to maintain and set up but will guarantee you durability and a high level of accuracy although you’ll have to deal with tangles here and there.

At the end of the day, the type of rod that you end up with should largely depend on what you feel comfortable using. Well, this is because there’s no right or wrong rod and it all should come down to what feels better in your hands or what works best for you.


Scott Kimball

Scott Kimball

From a young age I was introduced to fishing, hiking, camping, snowboarding and more through family, friends, and scouting. After 20 years of learning and participating in these outdoor activities, I share what i've learned (and continue learning) with you.

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