Explore America's Campgrounds
With the incredible range of fishing tackle and equipment available, settling on a single rod and reel combo that works for you can be a challenge. Most fishing rods can be classified within two basic categories: spinning rods and casting rods. The choice is based largely on personal preference, but each type works best in certain situations.
Understanding the Difference
Spinning rods and casting rods are easy to differentiate on sight. Spinning rods have a reel that hangs below the grip, while the reel on a casting rod sits on top. To cast with a spinning rod, one holds the rod in one hand and opens the bail to free the line with the other. Casting rods usually have a button on top of the reel that must be pressed to let line out. Spinning rods are more versatile and generally easy to use, while casting rods are usually stiffer and offer more hook-setting power. They work well with large baits and heavy lines.
Choosing a Rod
If you want to use a single rod for all your fishing, a spinning rod works in the widest range of situations. Spinning rods are well suited to bass fishing, and they can cast small baits longer distances for light-biting fish like trout and panfish. Casting rods don't work well with light line and small baits, but they give you greater casting distance with heavy baits. A casting rod can be better if you're after big fish like pike or muskellunge, and they are commonly used for saltwater fishing.
When Richard Corrigan isn't writing about the outdoors, he's probably outside experiencing them firsthand. Since starting out as a writer in 2009, he has written for USA Today, the National Parks Foundation and LIVESTRONG.com, among many others, and enjoys combining his love of writing with his passion for hiking, biking, camping and fishing.