Spinning vs Casting Rod

When you think about the secret to fishing success, your first thought might be about the perfect bait or lure. Or it could be that secret spot where the fish tend to congregate even when the rest of the lake or river is dead.

But don’t overlook the importance of a good fishing rod. Choosing the most well-suited rod for any given fishing trip can mean the difference between success and failure. Use the correct one and your casts will be sailing exactly where you intend, and you’ll be able to handle any fight a fish puts up.

To make sure you’re using the perfect rod, you need to know how to pick the one best suited to each situation. And to do that, you need to know the difference between a spinning and a casting rod.

What is a Spinning Rod?

Spinning Rod

Broadly speaking, there are two types – Spinning rods and casting (or baitcasting) rods.

Spinning rods designed to be used with spinning reels. To work well together, they have some special characteristics that set them apart from casting.

A spinning rod is made to hold the reel below as you fish, and the mount for the reel will accommodate that. Also, these rods have fewer guides (the loops through which the line feeds) than casting ones, but the rods’ guides are larger. This lets the line play out more freely when casting.

When Should You Use a Spinning Rod?

The question of when you should use a spinning rod comes down to when you should use a spinner reel, as the two should always be paired.

Most beginning anglers start with a spinning setup. It’s simpler to cast and less likely to get tangled up within the reel.

Spinning setups are also great for fishing with lightweight lures or bait, as you can get good distance on a cast even without much on the end of the line.

And spinner setups are great for fishing in close quarters where you must be able to cast with just a flick of the wrist.

Can You Use a Spinning Rod with a Casting Reel?

Technically, the answer is yes, but in practice, it’s a bad idea. First, spinning rods are set up so that the reel sits beneath, but a casting reel is designed to sit on top.

Also, the guides aren’t designed for this type of reel. You’ll find that your casting is compromised, and even reeling in will strain the entire structure and can lead to damage or even breaking.

Pros and Cons


  • Easier to cast for newer anglers
  • Able to cast light lures long distances
  • Able to generate a decent cast with little backswing


  • Tend to be less durable over time than casting setups
  • Not as well suited for going after large, powerful fish

What is a Casting Rod?

Baitcasting Rod

Now, we’ll take a look at the other side of the coin, the casting rod. This type is designed to be used with a casting reel and is engineered in a different way than a spinning rod.

First, a casting rod is designed so that the reel sits atop, the opposite of a spinning setup. Even more importantly, this type of rod has more guides than its spinning counterpart, but the guides are significantly smaller. This gives you more control while casting.

Is Baitcasting Superior to Spinning?

Like most complicated issues, there’s no clear answer to whether baitcasting is superior or inferior to spinning. Many anglers are wildly successful with either type of setup.

What’s certain is that baitcasting is more suited to certain situations, and spinning shines in other circumstances.

What is the Benefit of a Baitcaster?

If you’re going after large fish – Say, fish over 10 pounds – A baitcasting rod and reel are what you’re looking for. A baitcaster is more in its element throwing heavy lures and baits, and you’ll find that you have more precision when casting.

One big difference between baitcasting and spinning is that the strain of the line is on the rod itself rather than the guides. This is because the reel sits on top of the casting setup, while it’s below the spinning setup. As a result, the baitcasting setup is more durable, especially during heavy fights.

Can I Use a Baitcaster Rod with a Spinning Reel?

Just like the reverse question, it’s possible to use a spinning reel with a baitcasting rod, but it’s a bad idea.

You have the problem of the rod being designed for the reel to sit on top but the spinning reel needing to sit on the bottom, making using this rig all but impossible. And the different guide structure means that both casting distance and strain on structural integrity are negatively affected.

Pros and Cons


  • For expert users, able to get more distance and greater accuracy on casts
  • Superior for handling tough fights with larger fish
  • Tends to last longer than spinning rods


  • A steeper learning curve for casting setups
  • Casting rods tend to be a little more expensive than spinning
  • These setups don’t do as well with very lightweight lures and baits

The bottom line when it comes to fishing is that smart anglers choose the best tool for the task at hand. To be as successful as possible, understand your situation and pick the correct rod for it.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you came out of it knowing a little more than you did coming in. If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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