Baitcast Reel Vs. Spinning Reel

by Rona Aquino
Choose a fishing reel that complements your fishing techniques.

Choose a fishing reel that complements your fishing techniques.

Fishing reels are used to deploy and retrieve fishing line with the use of a spool mounted on an axle. You can choose from many brands, types, designs and sizes of fishing gear on the market, but the two main types of fishing reels are baitcasting and spinning. These reels are distinct from one another, and knowing which to use depends on your personal preferences regarding fishing techniques and the species of sportfish you want to catch.

Baitcast Reel

Baitcast reels are also called overhead reels. This type of reel has a revolving spool on top of the casting rod. You can use it to cast your lure or bait with a good amount of precision. Baitcast reels are characterized by that way the reel is mounted above the rod, where the line is kept on a revolving spool. These reels are typically constructed of graphite or aluminum.

Types of Baitcast Reels

Two main types of baitcasting reels are round baitcaster reels and low-profile reels, according to Baitcastingreels.com. Round baitcasters have a larger spool to hold more fishing line. Though low-profile reels hold less fishing line, they are more ergonomic and are quite easy to handle. Choose the type of baitcaster reel depending on the game fish you want to reel in.

Spinning Reel

Spinning reels are the most well-known type of fishing reel, according to the Bass Pro Shops OutdoorSite Library. Spinning reels are also called fixed spool reels, and are typically mounted below the rod. They are designed to be used with light line fishing, as you can cast much lighter lures with a spinning reel than with a baitcasting reel. Also, many anglers prefer spinning reels because they do not suffer from backlash due to the lack of a rotating spool to overrun their fishing line.

Spinning Reel Drag System

Your spinning reel's drag system is one of its most important parts. The drag's purpose is to apply pressure to your hooked fish and to allow you to let out line. Choose a high-quality, smooth and nonconstrictive drag to avoid broken lines. Two types of drag systems for spinning reels are front and rear drag. Front drag systems have larger drag washers for added performance and durability. Rear drag systems are easier to handle, especially when you are fighting to drag a fish, although they may not be as useful as front drag systems for larger fish species, according to the Bass Pro Shops OutdoorSite Library.


If you are a novice angler, you may find spinning gears easier to learn with than baitcasters. Spinning gears are easier to operate than baitcasting outfits due to backlashes. As an experienced angler, consider the type of fishing methods and techniques you employ when making a choice between the two types of reels. Many anglers own both and choose one or the other depending on the given situation. Generally, the lighter the fishing line is required to catch a fish, the more you should lean toward using a spinning gear.

About the Author

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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