Baitcasting Reels vs. Spinning Reels

A lot of people think if you only use spinning reels, you’re not a real fisherman. And, while I believe that this isn’t completely true, ninety-nine percent of tournament anglers use baitcasters in addition to spinning gear because the features you get with a baitcaster give you some advantages over those using spinning reels.

Advantages of a Baitcaster:

  • Stronger drag systems – Baitcasters typically have a higher maximum drag weight than spinning reels do. This increased drag allows for the use of heavier applications like bigger jigs, Texas-rigs, etc.
  • Line – Baitcasters are also made to handle heavier line than spinning reels are. You can put sixty-five pound braided line on a baitcaster and, combined with the heavier drag capacities, just absolutely winch fish out of heavy cover.
  • Faster gear ratios – When using lures like topwaters and jigs, you want to be able to bring in the lure as fast as possible after a cast so you can quickly get another cast back out there. Also, if a fish hits the lure and swims towards the boat (or bank), you need to be able to catch up to the fish by reeling in the slack line before setting the hook.
  • Reel weight – While this one may be the least important for some people, it could also be the most important for others. This is one of those things that doesn’t matter too much for the weekend angler, but if you’re in to fishing tournaments, this will make a huge difference. Fishing an eight-hour tournament with heavy, uncomfortable equipment would be exhausting, and, honestly, would make your experience much less enjoyable. Baitcasters are typically lighter in weight than spinning reels, making them much more comfortable to fish with for long periods of time.

Disadvantages of a Baitcaster:

  • Frustration – Until you get the hang of using a baitcaster, they could make you want to give up fishing forever. While they are extremely effective once mastered, they can be tough to figure out how to use. It usually takes a solid day or two to figure out how to use these reels to their fullest extent.
  • Wind – Baitcasters are commonly known to cast baits very far, but if you’re trying to cast a lure directly into the wind, it can end in a catastrophe.
  • Lighter lures – It can be very difficult to cast lighter lures on baitcasters if you don’t have the right equipment, or if you don’t have your reel tuned exactly right.
  • Backlashes – This is the big deal-breaker for mot people when they decide not to use baitcasters. If you have your spool tension too loose, or if you let the spool continue to spin after your bait hits the water, your line will knot-up and create problems until you get the loops out.

Advantages of a Spinning Reel:

  • Line – On a spinning reel, you can use lighter-diameter line than you could with a baitcaster. Just remember, with the lighter line and lighter drag, you have to “play” the fish more rather than trying to just horse them into the boat.
  • Casting light lures – Like I said, casting light lures can be a problem with baitcasters because it can backlash your reel, but with a spinning reel, you can cast light lures without the worry of a backlash.
  • Wind – Just like light lures, wind can wreak havoc with a baitcaster, but since you don’t have to worry about backlashes with a spinning reel, you can cast as hard as you want into the wind with a spinning reel.

Disadvantages of a Spinning Reel:

  • Lighter line – Because you are using lighter line, your drag needs to be set properly, or you’ll break off fish almost every time.
  • No “heavy” use – Since you have to use lighter line and a lighter drag, you aren’t able to just winch in fish out of heavy cover.
  • Reel weight – Most spinning reels are heavier in weight than their baitcasting brothers, making them a little more uncomfortable to fish with for long periods of time.

I hope the things I have listed here today will help advance your bass fishing knowledge. Thank you for reading and I encourage you to comment or e-mail me with questions at Make sure to subscribe to our page to receive notifications about articles that we post! Thanks again and have a great day!


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