What is the Difference Between Casting and Spinning Rods

Making the Best Choice: Spinning Rod vs. Casting Rod

Both seasoned and beginning anglers know that more goes into choosing a fishing rod besides price and performance of the reel. Different equipment and practices affect rod experience, making them important factors to consider.

Spinning and casting rods are two types that couldn't be more different from one another. Knowing and understanding their differences promise a perfect match between reel, rod, and angler. So, what is the difference between casting and spinning rods? We run through the pros and cons of each, helping anglers of all skill levels choose the right rod for them.  



 

Casting Rod and Spinning Rod: Why The Differences Matter

A common but irritating mistake is to set up a rod and reel while fishing, only to find the two don't match. If you're far out on the water in your boat, there's not much you can do about this until you're back on land and near a fishing equipment store. This has happened to many of the best anglers, but it can ruin a whole day's worth of fishing. We want you to avoid this situation by knowing the difference between casting and spinning rods straight away. Understanding a spinning rod vs. a casting rod can help your fishing experience go smoothly from start to finish. You'll avoid annoying mix ups, save time, and become a better, more informed angler to boot.

For beginners, knowing the difference between casting and spinning rods is especially important. Not only do you want to avoid mix ups with rods and reels, but you want to know the difference between fishing rods made for spinning reels and those made for baitcasting reels. More seasoned anglers are already aware of this difference, allowing them to pick the right combination for their needs. Of course, what you choose depends upon what you prefer and what works best for you, no matter your fishing skill level. In short, though, spinning rods are easier to master while baitcasting rods have advantages spinning rods cannot offer.

Features of a Spinning Rod

fishing spinning rod

A spinning rod comes in many different types and sizes. There are light action spinning rods, medium to heavy rods, and heavy spinning rods. When fishing, a spinning rod will bend from the force of a bite on the line. All the eyelets point downward, and the line feeds out and pulls down. The spinning reel rests underneath the rod, while the handle is on the angler's non-dominant hand side. This means that the fisherman's dominant hand (right or left) is on the spinning rod, while their "weaker" hand works the reel.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

The largest advantage of the spinning rod is that it tends to make fishing easier on the starter. Spinning rods are typically used by ameteur anglers because you can reel in fish faster and avoid line tangles. The spinning reel is a straightforward mechanism compared to the new baitcasting reels. These feature centrifugal and magnetic cast control mechanisms. Many anglers find these features frustrating because they are time consuming. Of course, while baitcasting reels take a bit more time to master, they are easier to use in other ways, which leads to the disadvantages of spinning rods As they are often used by amateurs, they soon leave much to be desired when it comes to technique. In the end, the casting setup of the spinning rod and reel is easier to master but harder to contain. The baitcasting reel takes more time, but is easier to use in the long run.


Spin-Casting Technique

When using the spinning reel, the angler holds the line against the spinning rod with their index finger. Next, they flip the bail, freeing the line so that it is ready to cast. When the right moment of rod propulsion arises, the angler lets go of the line and allows the lure or bait to fly.

Once the cast is finished, the angler can start reeling. This is done to flip the bail, but the bail can also be flipped by hand. Once the line has been cast, spinning rod anglers don’t have to worry about the line coming off the spool or becoming tangled. It is complete and finished.

Features of a Casting Rod

image of casting rod hanging over a wooden railing

To understand a casting rod, take all that you know about spinning rods, and flip it. Unlike the spinning rod, when a fish pulls the line of a casting rod, the rod is bent over and the eyelets face upwards. Novice anglers may find this confusing or even unnatural, but the truth of the matter is that casting rods use eyelets in a more effective way. In short, casting rods are better for serious fishing.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of casting rods are that they’re hard to learn and master. While spinning rods are simple and better suited to amateurs, it can take a while to get the hang of casting reels. Before the technique is learned, you can expect lots of backlash inside the casting reel. This means that the line will have to be changed more often, which can take up time, money, and patience. However, once you’ve gotten feel of a casting rod, the advantages start rolling in.

For one, the way the line pushes downward on the casting rod eyelets actually forces them into the rod. The spinning setup pulls the eyelets away from the rod, making them more likely to break. With the casting setups, eyelets have a lower chance of breaking from force because the rod supports them. Further, casting reels let the line roll off the spool. The line in a spinning reel tends to come up and off the lip of the spool, creating friction. Baitcasting, on the hand, reels the roll smoothly. Anglers who use this rod get the benefit of incredible casts with great distance as they practice and hone their skills.



Casting Technique

As mentioned, baitcasting technique is a bit harder to learn than spin-casting. Seasoned anglers are better equipped to handle casting rods and enjoy better fishing results. To use a baitcasting rod, hold the rod in your hand as you would a tennis racket. Make sure the reel is facing toward you. The bulk of the rod should rest solely on your index finger while your thumb lies across the line.

For best results, try to have your thumb across the line in the reel at a 45 degree angle. From here, pull back the rod and and then lightly flip it forward over-hand. The rod will snap forward completely. As it does so, lift your thumb and release the line from the spool. If the technique is done well, the weight and your lure on the end of the line will unroll the line on the reel. If all has been done correctly, your bait will land directly on target, and you can begin the relaxing waiting game. Remember, the better you master the technique, the farther your line will go and the better your casts will become.


Which Will You Choose?

image of a man with a fishing rod and mountains behind him

As you can see, spinning rods and casting rods have their own pros and cons, but the two are entirely different fishing rod types. In fact, these rods are total opposites. For many anglers, this means they prefer one or the other, but usually not both. As mentioned, spinning rods are best for amateur anglers just learning to fish and hone their techniques. Due to spinning rods being easy to master, they take less time and offer more fun straight away. However, casting rods are usually the most popular fishing rod and reel types amongst experts.

The difference between casting and spinning rods can make a difference in your fishing experience. Be smart about which one you choose, and continue to do you research. Your success depends on where you are with your fishing journey. You might be brand new to the sport, a seasoned professional with many years under your belt, or somewhere inbetween. Wherever you find yourself, these useful tools and tips will help you make a well-informed decision.

Now that you know the difference between casting and spinning rods, head out on your boat and get fishing!