The debate has raged since the competition started. Spinning vs casting, which type of fishing rod is the best. One thing is for certain, the war won’t stop and there is no real winner.
Aside from the things we will discuss later, there are a few major things to help you decide which rod is right for you. These are a few factors that will always play into your decision when choosing any fishing equipment.
- Size of fish being targeted – use the right size gear to match the catch
- Price – well, everyone has a budget and rods vary greatly in price
- Experience – spinning for newbies, baitcasting rods for more advanced fishermen
Now that we mentioned the obvious, let’s break down some of the differences and clear up the confusion so you can make an educated decision on which rod style suits your needs best.
What are the Major Differences Between Casting and Spinning Rods
The biggest difference between spinning and casting reels is where the reel is actually positioned on the rod. While spinning reels hang below the rod, casting reels sit on top.
That being said, you can put a casting reel on most spinning rods. It just may feel a tad awkward. You could also put a spinning reel on a casting rod but it won’t be pretty in operation.
This difference makes the handle and the eyes of the rod the 2 main distinctions for casting vs spinning rods.
Get a Handle on Things
Basically, every spinning rod on the market has a long(ish) handle. It tends to be at least 6” past where the reel connects to the rod. Often, it’s quite a bit longer. Longer casts are much easier when there is ample space to get both hands on the rod. It allows you to get more leverage in the cast and also provides greater control for accuracy.
Casting rods come in short and long handle options. Sometimes they will use a short pistol-style grip allowing for comfort when casting all day. Others have to longer handle and a small “trigger” style grip for the index finger. When learning how to use a baitcaster, it will be much easier to learn casting techniques with the longer handle on your casting rod.
The Eyes Make All The Difference
Perhaps one of the greatest differences in these rods is due to the reel position stated above and how each casts. The size of the eye really does make a difference.
On a spinning rod, the eyes are large and heavily tapered. The reason for this is that the line comes off a spinning reel in large coils or loops. The tapering of the eyes reduces the size of the coils and sends the line out straight. It also creates friction on the line, slightly slowing the casting speed and lowering distance.
The eyes of a casting rod, however, are small from the start. They do taper down in size although it is much less significant. The line flies off a baitcast reel straight rather than in coils. This means less resistance allowing baitcaster combos to generally outperform a spinning combo if all other things are equal.
When to Use a Spinning Rod
One of the things that makes a spinning rod great is the ability to cast long distances with ease. When paired with the proper line and reel, a spinning rod can really sling a bait, even for beginners.
When you are fishing on really small waterways such as casting spinners or worms for trout, a spinning rod is the only way to go. No baitcasting combo could get the job done. Another time I always use spinning gear is when I am reeling at a super-fast retrieval pace.
- Easy to cast long distance
- Comes in many available options for power and action
- More forgiving for beginner fishermen
- Larger eyes which increase the chance of breakage during transport
- Line twist on spinning combos can cause issues casting if not changed yearly
When to Use a Casting Rod
A casting rod is a versatile weapon in the hands of an experienced fisherman. Picking up a baitcaster and launching a bait out will surely result in a backlash when performed by a rookie. It simply takes time to master. Having said that, baitcast lovers swear by their favorite casting rod.
They aren’t all created the same though, they are specified. For instance, some are created specifically for flipping a bait gently into brush 10 feet away, while some are made for casting giant catfish baits as far as possible.
- Smaller eyes produce more casting accuracy for advanced users
- Comes in many available options for power and action
- Unique handles often offer comfortable design
- Can’t cast lightweight baits or lures easily
- Casting has a big learning curve
What Rod Style Should You Choose?
Hopefully, the thoughts mentioned give you a better understanding and help you make your selection regarding the spinning vs casting rod debate. Obviously, nobody can tell you which selection is right for you.
By now you should have a good idea which way you will be fishing the most and be able to choose though. If you are like me, you will end up with a pile of each rod style.
One thing you should always consider in my opinion is quality. For your first rod, don’t be afraid to get something in the cheaper price range. There is a good chance you will learn a lot and realize you wish you had chosen a bit differently. When you get your next, you will be better educated and can up the quality. And yes, with fishing rods, a higher price will mean better quality, same with reels.
If you have any additional questions that you couldn’t find on this post, don’t hesitate to reach out.
As always, good luck and happy fishing!
Frequently Asked Questions About Fishing Rods
Can you use a casting reel on a spinning rod?
While it is possible to use a baitcasting reel on a spinning rod, the performance will not be great due to smaller eyes. Spinning rods are designed for the reel to be underneath, thus won’t be very comfortable either.
What are casting rods used for?
Casting rods are used for baitcast and spincast fishing reels. They are a great option for many fishing conditions.
What’s the difference in fishing rods?
One of the biggest differences with any rod is the size. You are going to want to use a larger pole for larger fish. Additionally, how the reel is positioned on the rod also differs. Finally, the eyes are different sizes for casting vs spinning reels.