Most people new to fishing will encounter a spinning reel. They are easy to use, and can be fished across a wide range of fishing applications.

When an angler gets more serious about their fishing, they will learn to appreciate the capabilities of a specific type of spinning reel for a certain type of fishing.

However in comparison, people often get very confused about baitcaster reels, particularly when and how to use them when fishing in saltwater.

So lets take a brief look at when you may want to consider using a baitcaster Vs. a spinning reel.

What Is A Baitcasting Reel Designed For:

Baitcaster Reel

These lightweight and compact reels are designed for lure fishing in both fresh and saltwater.

Casting these types of reels can be challenging for a beginner, so they are typically used by more advanced and competitive anglers.

The basic point of a baitcasting reel is to allow good casting control, and the give the angler the ability to stay in direct contact with the lure at all times.

They are also suited to fishing with heavier lures.

However, they are prone to line tangles, and they need a lot of adjustment to find the right settings for a specific angler.

Baitcaster Vs. Spinning Reel: Casting

Both these types of reels are great for casting baits and lures. However one is better than the other.

The spinning reel is very simple to cast, but there is a sacrifice on accuracy, and there is a lot more loose line causing the angler to lose contact with the lure.

Spinning reels are also much better suited to lighter lures and line, and allow the angler to cast further.

The baitcasting reel can be difficult to cast for people who haven’t fished these types of reels. But the casting accuracy is a lot better, and the line comes off the spool a lot tighter. This allows the angler to maintain better contact with the lure, therefore allowing them to feel any hook ups or bites.

A baitcaster reel is also better suited to heavier lures.

Baitcaster Vs. Spinning Reel: Hook Ups

The baitcasting reel allows for a greater number of strikes and potential hook ups, compared to a spinning reel.

When the lure hits the water and begins to sink, the angler will have more direct contact with the lure with the baitcast reel than the spinning reel.

This is because the line comes off the spool a lot tighter during the cast with the baitcaster.

When you cast a spinning reel, the line coils off the spool, and is a lot looser. The lure will hit the water and will begin to sink. There will be slack line, and the line will take time to tighten as the lure sinks. This may mean you miss feeling any bites or hook ups following the cast.

Also if you do get a bite while the bail arm is still up, then you have to drop the bail arm, and then wind the handle and/or strike the lure, depending on your technique.

When you cast the baitcaster, you have the thumb bar control. The line will come off the spool a lot tighter, and there will be minimal slack line if cast properly. Any time there is a bite or a hook up, the angler can release the thumb bar. This will instantly engage the drag, and the angler can strike the fish.

So the baitcasting reel allows the angler much quicker and efficient strike action.

Spinning Reel

When To Use Each Type Of Reel:

Each angler is different, and will have their own opinions on when and what type of reel to use.

My opinion when fishing inshore saltwater with lures with either a baitcaster or spinning reel is as follows:

When I am casting lures in very shallow water, such as into the wash against structure or into the kelp, I tend to use a spinning reel.


I am often working a large area, casting lures from a boat.

I don’t want to be getting to close to the rocks with the boat, so I will be casting further distances. A spinning reel allows me to cast further distances.

I also will be fishing as light a lure as possible, as well as the lightest line that the conditions will allow. In this situation, it is much better to be using a spinning reel.

I am casting into a spot, allowing the lure to hit the water, dropping the bail arm and waiting only a few seconds. I don’t want the lure to sink much at all, as it will get caught in rock or kelp.

I then jig and wind the lure a few times, and if there is no interest I will retrieve the lure and cast again.

If I hook up, it is generally a second or so after the lure has hit the water.

I prefer to use a spinning reel in this situation, as I find it mush easier to fight a good fish in such a shallow environment that is full of objects for the fish to snag me or bust me off.

I am not really looking for extreme casting accuracy in this situation, as I am working a large area of coast, and constantly moving.

When I am fishing lures in slightly deeper water, or casting into a school of fish I prefer to use a baitcaster.


Often in this situation I know the fish are slightly deeper down, or I know the fish are biting as the lure drops.

I will be casting heavier lures, and I don’t need to cast a large distance.

I have greater contact with my lure as it falls with a baitcasting reel.

As the lure descends, if at any time I see the line slacken, or feel a bump in the line, I can instantly release the thumb drag and strike the fish.

This allows for much greater hook ups and overall fish caught.

So that is my opinion of baitcasting reels vs spinning reels in saltwater.

This is all a matter of preference, and how you want to fish.

You may find that you prefer to do things the other way around … that is the great thing about fishing these days …

We are so spoiled for choice when it comes to reels, tackle and ways to fish!

People Also Ask:

It is not recommended that you use a freshwater reel in saltwater.

While even reels designed for use in saltwater will suffer from corrosion eventually, they have been designed specifically to reduce the effect of corrosion over time.

Freshwater reels have no such protection. A freshwater reel will get damaged and will corrode quickly if it is used in a saltwater environment.

Yes you can use a spinning rod with a baitcaster.

Many people like to fish with this type of combination, as they are more comfortable with the reel sitting higher up the rod. Whereas with a rod designed for baitcasting, the reel sits much lower down.

The Current Bestselling Baitcasting Reels For 2018 Are:

  1. Shimano Curado K
  2. Daiwa Tatula Btcst Reel Type R Tatula
  3. Shimano Curado 70
  4. 13 Fishing 8.1:1 Gear Ratio 7BB Beetlewing Sideplate
  5. Lews Fishing TPG1SH Tournament Pro G Speed Spool Reel
  6. Abu Garcia REVO Rocket Low Profile Reel
  7. Pflueger Patriarch Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel.

Since a greater portion of the human race is right handed, reel manufacturers design their reels with this in mind.

The market for fishing reels is much greater for right handed reels.

With baitcaster reels, by design you can’t switch sides with the handle like you can with a spinning reel.

The good news is, there are now many baitcasting reels being designed for left handed anglers.