Baitcaster vs Spinner Reel – Which Reel do you Need?

​Many of us will fondly remember the early ​fishing reels we used as kids. They were lightweight, simple to use, and allowed us to concentrate on fishing without all of the fuss. Of course, technology has changed since those innocent times and we now have access to more reels than ever. 

Baitcaster vs Spinner Reel

Despite all of the marketing and models available, there are two main types of fishing reels: baitcaster and spinning. So, which one should you use and why?

Why Should You Use a Spinning Reel?

Sometimes, you really just want to get out there and fish, without all of the fuss with equipment. If this is your goal, a spinning reel might just be for you. So, what do they offer to anglers? Consider the following:

1. Ease of Use and Convenience

The biggest advantage to the spinning reel is that they are easy to use and operate. There’s a good reason why lots of young anglers use them. This means that you can focus on what you really love: fishing.

2. No Drag to Set

Setting the drag is essential when you need the reel to do a lot of the work of landing a fish, but it’s not for everyone. This is especially true if you’re not intending to catch anything too big. With the spinning reel, all you need to do is place your finger on the line and cast it out. This gives you all of the control you need.

3. Great for Light Baits

If you primarily use plastic lures and light baits, a spinning reel is going to be a good investment. Because there’s no drag on the line and no pressure from a pin, you can cast out your lures and baits as far as you can. The line will simply flow right off the spool and you can get on with fishing.

The other advantage here is that there’s also no reel backlash to deal with. Lots of anglers don’t like to deal with the backlash from a reel with a set drag, and the spinning reel has none of this tension.

What Does the Baitcaster Offer?

If you’re thinking about moving to a baitcaster from a spinning reel, you need to know that there is an extra level of skill required. Here’s what you can expect when you use a baitcaster:

1. You Can Use Heavier Lures and Baits

If you’re into using jigs, crankbaits, and heavier lures, then you really need to use a baitcaster for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Unlike the light plastic lures that are fine for spinning reels, the baitcaster allows an angler to use heavier lures and cast them out with greater accuracy. This also means that you can use heavier baits and catch bigger fish.

2. Set the Drag Resistance

If you’re going to move to using baitcasting reels , you absolutely have to learn how to set the drag resistance on your line. By setting the drag on a reel, you can let the reel do much more of the work when you’re trying to land a fish. This also means that you can catch bigger fish.

Drag is a mechanism by which a pin places pressure on the line. This pressure can be set anywhere from loose to tight. The higher the level of drag, the more the fish has to fight against it and the easier it is to exhaust a fish for landing.

The biggest issue is that setting the drag too tightly can snap the line, which is not what you want to be doing.

If you’re new to setting drag, here are a few things you need to know:

  • Setting the drag too tightly will likely snap your line because there’s too much pressure on it
  • Setting it too loosely will make landing a big fish much more difficult
  • You can test out the pressure of the drag by pulling out some line from the spool to see how much resistance there is
  • There’s a sweet spot for drag and you have to learn how to use your thumb on the line as it spools off, otherwise you’ll get too much backlash and a tangled line
3. Cast Out Further and More Accurately

When you cast out with a spinning reel, the line flows off the spool easily in a circular motion. Unfortunately, this also makes it less accurate.

When you cast from a baitcaster reel, the line flows off the spool in a straight line, and this means that you can pinpoint the lure more accurately and much further out. Of course it takes some time to master this, but those who do it regularly really enjoy how much further a line can be cast and how accurate they can pinpoint it.

This may not make much of a difference to anglers who just enjoy the activity, but in areas of water where control over where the bait and lure is cast is required, using a baitcaster is much more important.

Which One Should You Use?

So, which one should you use: spinning reel or baitcaster? Ultimately, it’s a matter of need versus comfort. Obviously, there’s more that goes into using a baitcaster, and in this sense it may not be suitable for everyone.

Where precision, use of heavier lures, and casting distance are important, the baitcaster is really the only choice.

The spinning reel is a great choice if you just want to get out and enjoy a spot of fishing by yourself or with your friends and family. It’s certainly the least demanding of the reel types and is good for general use.

The ease of use and convenience of the spinning reel also makes it the ideal choice for beginners and anglers who don’t have a lot of experience.

In the end, there’s so much about fishing that is based on personal preference, so choose a reel that is intimately connected with your personal experience.

If you feel comfortable with the spinning reel, it’s the best choice for you. If you want to push yourself, then moving to a baitcaster would be the better choice.

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