Spinning reel or baitcaster?

Spinning reel or baitcaster?
By Han van den Eertwegh

Most predator anglers use a spinning reel, and there are many that prefer a baitcaster. There are anglers that use both, for different conditions. I am using both; mostly I use a spinning reel, but there are techniques I think a baitcaster suits better.

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Spinning reel or baitcaster?

So what is the actual difference between a spinning reel and a baitcaster? Well, one of the biggest differences is easy to see; the baitcaster is being fished on top of the rod and the spinning reel is hanging underneath it. The baitcaster requires another kind of rod; one with a trigger grip and the guides on top of it.

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A baitcaster rod’s trigger grip

With a baitcaster the line comes straight from the starting guide on the spool and the spool is actually circulating. When fishing a spinning reel, the line is being spooled in a 90 degree corner, on the spool by a rotor. The spool itself if not circulating, it only moves up en down in order to have the line equally divided on the spool. Thanks to the difference in construction, but also because of the fact a baitcaster’s spool is constructed on both sides, a baitcaster is stronger/ can handle more pressure than

Most anglers find casting with a spinning reel easier than with a baitcaster and most believe a spinning reel allows further casting. Regarding distance, it is a matter of practise. Fishing a baitcaster does require a little more carefulness as the angler should be aware to press the thumb in time when making a cast. When too late, a bird’s nest could be the result.

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I prefer the use of a spinning reel when fishing vertical and when fishing for perch…

A baitcaster is normally left or right handed only, whilst a spinning reel can be used both ways, simply by switching the handle.
Having explained the biggest differences, one question remains; when do you choose for a rod with a spinning reel, and when are you better off with a baitcaster set? It is actually mostly a matter of taste and personal preference of the individual angler. Well, there is one condition that does require a baitcaster (in this kind of fishing it is called a reel) because of its strength, which is the heavy big-game fishing.

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… and when casting intensively for asp, I prefer a spinning reel too.

Personally I use a spinning reel when casting for species such as pike and asp, fishing for perch and fishing vertical. When I would be trolling for pike with larger lures, I switch to the baitcaster. When setting it in a rod rest I use a longer, more flexible rod and when keeping the rod in hands, I prefer a shorter, somewhat stiffer baitcaster rod. It is purely a matter of personal taste because I believe a traditional rod and spinning reel won’t catch less.

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Baitcaster on the hand-held rod when trolling for pike

Furthermore I like to use a baitcaster when fishing diagonal and backtrolling with heavy jigheads for zander. This way it is easy to stay in contact with the bottom and give line simply by pushing the button when losing contact, mostly due to heavier current. I find this easier than a spinning reel, which requires opening and closing the bail all the time.

Most of the time it will be a personal preference, but when you are a die-hard spinning reel fisherman, give the baitcaster a try! It can be a better alternative for different techniques and conditions for sure.

Han van den Eertwegh

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