Spinning and baitcasting reels are the most popular types of fishing reels used today. But what is the difference between them and which is the best for which fishing purpose? This guide explores the key things you need to know about baitcasting and spinning reels and the pros and cons of each.

A spinning vs. baitcasting reel

The design of a baitcasting reel features a rotating spool connected to the top of the fishing rod. By switching the handle on the side of the reel, the spool rotates spooling line onto the reel. On the other side, a spinning reel is usually attached to the base of a fishing rod, and its spool does not rotate. Rather, a bail arm revolves around the spool once you turn the handle on the side of the reel hence spooling line onto the spool.

Another difference between the two types of reels is seen when casting. When casting a lure with a baitcasting reel, the spool is released and rotates at high speed, releasing the line during the cast. So the spool unwinds the line rotating rapidly and smoothly during the cast, which is made possible by the ball bearings. In contrast, the bail arm is usually folded backward when casting with a spinning reel, allowing the line to slip off the reel, so the spool does not rotate during the casting process.

The applications

When choosing between a spinning and baitcasting reel at https://www.meltontackle.com/big-game-reels, you have to consider the reel applications. Baitcasting reels come in handy for various applications, including surfcasting, big game fishing, and light spin fishing. North Americans tend to use bait casters widely for freshwater lure casting for bass.

Spinning reels also come in handy for various applications, including surfcasting, spin fishing, and offshore fishing. But they are not used for heavy fishing applications like big game fishing, mainly reserved for bait casters with experienced anglers.

Baitcasting reels pros and cons


  • Has a durable design.
  • Ability to cast a long distance.
  • Can manage heavy lures.
  • Has a higher line capacity on bigger models.
  • It has a high degree of casting accuracy.


  • It is challenging to master its use.
  • You have to adjust spool tensions for different-sized lures.
  • It is expensive than spinning reels.
  • It has a high risk of backlash when casting.
  • Not suitable for casting light lures.

Spinning reels pros and cons


  • Highly versatile.
  • They are easy to use.
  • Cheaper than bait casters.
  • Has simple maintenance.
  • The spool is easily adjustable.
  • Has no backlash during casting.
  • It is suitable for casting light lures.


  • It has a lower degree of casting accuracy and distance.
  • Not suitable for big game fish.
  • Not suitable for heavy lures.
  • Heavier than bait casters.

Which one is the best?

Your best choice depends on your fishing skill level, style, and needs. Spinning reels are considered general-purpose because they are versatile and can be adapted to any fishing style, even for beginners. But bait casters have more casting qualities in terms of accuracy and distance; therefore, experienced anglers prefer them for specific fishing applications.




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