Spinning Rods vs Baitcasting Rods

The most common fishing rods are baitcasting or spin casting. Sure, they’re different, but honestly, you can use both of them in almost any situation. But there are conditions where one can perform better than the other.

Let’s explore both rods, their angling techniques, the pros and cons, and lastly, how to benefit from the different rods.

It’s time for the big battle: spinning rods versus baitcasting rods!

Pros of Spinning Rods

Using spinning rods has several advantages over baitcasting gear. Here are a good half dozen reasons where spinning rods take the advantage over baitcasting rods.

Who Has the Control?

The spinning rod and reel have distance on their side. Compared to the baitcaster, the spinner can get light lures further. We’re talking lures that are weightless going to a quarter of an ounce.

The baitcasters will brag they have the control with a heavier lure. Sure, they can manage half to one-ounce lures, but watch a baitcaster tackle a 1/16th of an ounce lure.

Spinning tackle leads here. The baitcaster steps to the side when it’s time to cast panfish jigs, 1/32 ounce Beetles, or light spinners for trout.

Using a 1/8 ounce jig in saltwater flats while traversing a pothole is a task with a baitcaster. The best fishers in the world of pro bass fishing use spinning rods for drop-shotting, shaky heads, and throwing light crankbaits and jerkbaits.

Against the Wind

If you’re casting in the wind, the spinner has the advantage. Baitcasters can face serious backlash when trying to cast in the wind. You’ll see greater efficiency when casting against the wind when you use a spinning rod. This is especially true if your lures are light.

Don’t Forget Those Obstacles

Depending on where you cast, you may have to skip your lure. Reasons can include a low-hanging cover. There may be piers, docks, bushes, or low limbs of trees. But if you’re spinning tackle, you’re in a good place.

Now, you’ve probably seen a pro bass angler skips lures with their baitcasters. But trust these guys and gals spent hours — probably thousands of hours — practicing the technique until they were backlash-free. This is something even the newbie doesn’t have to worry about with a spinner. You won’t need that sort of concentration and training. You’ll start skipping lures right off.

A Straighter Sink

Another solid advantage to using spinning tackle is the ability to cast and sink straighter. Baitcasters depend on the pendulum effect. This is the result of the rotational spool on their caster, which makes the lure pendulum towards the angle while sinking.

To counter the effect, baitcasting anglers may manually strip the line off the spool. This is necessary for deeper water to better feed the sinking lure, creating a line that’s free of resistance. Now the line will fall free.

With the spinning reel, lines uncoil freely from the spool. That means minimized resistance without a lot of work on the fisherman’s part. You won’t need the pull required to manage a rotational spool spin.

This is key if you’re fishing vertical cover under conditions like standing timber, pilings, seawalls, steep bluffs, and tall vegetation in deep water. It’s also important if you hope to target current breaks where you expect your lures to fall straight down into eddies.

Ambidextrous Angling

With a spinning rod, it won’t matter if you’re left- or right-handed. The reel handle is relatively swappable between the left and right sides. This is not the case with the baitcaster. You can’t swap. Upon purchasing a baitcasting reel, you choose a design dedicated to the left hand or the right hand.

Adjust the Drag

Dragging the line is critical to success out there. The big benefit of a spinning reel is the ease of adjusting the drag during your fight to capture the fish. It won’t matter if the drag is at the reel’s front or the rear. With the spinner, drags are generally liberally graduated and accessible under the strongest pressure.

This isn’t to say the baitcasting reel isn’t designed to accommodate adjustment. But the drag’s located near the handle. This amplifies the complexity of winning the catch as you try to rotate the drag while fighting.

Pros of Baitcasting Rods

The spinning tackle is an excellent option if you’re angling smallmouth or largemouth fish. The spinner casts easily and makes handling simpler. But there’s a good reason why almost every bass pro has a set of baitcasters in their toolkit come tournament day. The fact is baitcasting rods have a lot of benefits over spinners.

The Basics

A baitcast reel is a crucial component. It sits atop the rod, keeping the spool parallel to the rod. On the spinner, the positioning is perpendicular to the spool. Another major distinction between the two rods is that the baitcaster rod rings are larger and placed on the rod. The baitcaster performs best with all types of lines – fluorocarbon, monofilament, and braided.

The Backlash

As you baitcast, the spool moves with line casting. To keep things under control, you’re going to have to be a fairly decent angler. If things get out of control, the spool’s going to move faster than your casting line flies. The line then bunches up and creates a mess that will take more time than you have to repair.

We call the process backlash or bird’s nest.

Backlash makes baitcasting more complex than spinning reels. The experienced angler uses them to control and brake the line as they cast. Using a baitcaster requires the dominant or stronger hand to keep the rod steady during the cast. The angler then has to switch hands so that the dominant hand steadies the reel.

The Engineering

The baitcaster is lightweight and low profile, but it holds a heavier line than the spinner. This gives it the capacity to use larger, heavier lures. It can also hold more lines, has longer casts, and manages more precision and distance control. The heavier lines and lures mean the angler can catch bigger and heavier fish than a spinner ever will.

With the heavier line, this is a good investment for fishing when conditions or weather are harsh. It’s also the alternative if you don’t plan to use a rod holder. The lighter weight will probably feel better in your hand.

The baitcaster is the reel you turn to when angling for the big prey. If you’re a newbie, you’re going to spend a lot of time getting up to speed. The more experienced angler knows you’ve got to be ready to put in the extra work a baitcaster will ask for.

Typically, baitcasting rods have a greater backbone than spinning reels. The backbone is the area of the blank nearest the handle. There’s less bend when you need to control the rod.

Properly engineered, the backbone sits directly atop the blank as the angle stills the rod. With that, the backbone enables the lure to rip through vegetation with ease. Yet, it ensures a powerful hook-set, more so than a spinning reel in the same category.

Braided Lines

Unfortunately, the relatively new braided line — thin in diameter and substantially greater breaking strength — introduced some issues to freshwater fishing. It was too small in diameter for the rod it was essentially designed for. Catching a fish on the braided line resulted in major backlash. It was the result of the line getting buried deep into the spool.

The braided line has become a boon to the spinner. A thinner, stronger line has given anglers an attractive addition to their adventures.

Cons of Spinning Rods

  • This a heavier and bulkier device
  • Not as durable or strong
  • Line can twist, tangle, or tear (wind knots)
  • Less drag (Refers to resistance a fish experiences when it pulls on the line. The tighter the drag, the more resistance the fish feels.)
  • No control of distance control

Cons of Baitcasting Rods

  • More expensive
  • Higher learning curve; requires more experience
  • Backlashes/Birds Nests
  • Difficult to switch between left and right orientations


We believe spinning tackle is ideal for anglers learning the art of fishing. It won’t require the technique that the baitcaster asks for. Though this option isn’t out of the question for the experienced outdoorsman. Many pros use a spinner based on the situation.

The baitcasting option leans more toward the learned fisherman. It has a noticeable learning curve. That’s not to say the novice can’t get the hang of the art. They simply have to be willing to put in the work.

You should take into account the baitcaster is the more expensive of the choices. Not necessarily because it’s better, but for its unique construction. The newcomer might want to explore the less expensive spinner first.

Look at where you’ll do the bulk of your fishing and conditions like climate. The research will offer insights into what’s best for you. Ultimately, when it comes to spinning rods vs. baitcasting rods, you’re going to have a great time out there!