Bass Fishing Spinning Reel vs Baitcaster Reel

The ultimate debate in the bass fishing world isn’t hard or soft baits, worms vs crankbaits. Or even monofilament vs braid vs fluorocarbon.

It’s whether you prefer using a spinning reel or a baitcasting reel for chasing these hard-fighting and popular fish.

Really though, each of these has its own pros and cons. A baitcasting reel does some things really well and others terribly.

The same goes for a spinning reel. How can you know which one is right for your style of fishing though?

Below, we’re going to cover exactly what each fishing reel does well and what they struggle with. By the end, you should know exactly what types of reels you need for your next fishing trip and which fishing techniques go best with each reel.

Baitcaster Reel vs Spinning Reel 

Back in the day, you might see in different bass fishing magazines or on television that no angler was ever using a spinning reel. Everything was done with a baitcaster.

That is definitely not the case in today’s bass fishing world.

The line capacity is going to be similar on both reels. You’ll find that bass pros aren’t too worried about the amount of line they put on their fishing gear.

Often their fishing tips are to not overspool or underspool the reel. 

You’ll now see every serious or professional angler has at least one or two spinning combo setups ready to go with different lures on them. This is because it is no longer considered a reel for young kids or beginners.

Anglers have finally come around to the fact that spinning setups do some things better than baitcasting reels.

What Is A Spinning Reel

A spinning reel is an open-faced reel that works very well when using light lures, such as jigs on lighter lines. Something that baitcasters often struggle with. On top of being great for finesse fishing, and throwing spinnerbaits they are also perfect for use with live bait.

Whether it be minnows, worms, cricketers, or shiners.

They are also much easier to use than a baitcaster. Making them perfect for younger anglers who are just looking to get involved in the sport.

Or for new ones who don’t quite know how to cast yet. The learning curve for using a baitcaster is much steeper than a spinning reel.

What Are The Parts That Make Up A Spinning Reel?

There are four main pieces that make up a spinning reel. Each plays its own special role in ensuring the reel is working perfectly.

The Drag

This is located at the very top of the reel. However, sometimes it’s at the very bottom.

It all depends on the brand of the reel. The drag is what removes or adds tension to the line.

The knob for the drag can be twisted to adjust how much tension you want on the line.

Adding or taking away tension from the drag will help you when fighting fish. A tighter drag can help reel in a fish quicker.

This keeps the fish safer and allows you to shorten the fight. However, keep in mind that if your drag is too tight and you line too light then the fish could snap off.

A loose drag allows the fish to take line when it decides to run. This prolongs the fight and could exhaust the fish which makes the release more difficult.

If you have light line on and you hook into a fish then a loose drag will be the only way you could land it though.


This is located just below the drag and is what houses the line for your reel. On the spool, it will tell you what size line to add to it and how much.

Adding too much, too little, or different sized lines could affect the way your reel works.


The bail has two very important jobs for the spinning reel. It releases line and allows you to cast, and also controls the line when reeling in your lure or fighting fish.

To cast you must open the bail and hold the line with your finger. Once you’ve cast you must close the bail so that it can begin retrieving the line when you turn the handle.


The handle is what turns the bail to retrieve your line. This is located on the side of the reel and can be adjusted to be used on either the left or right side of the reel.

This another thing that many bait casters don’t have, and that’s an adjustable handle.

What Are The Parts That Make Up A Baitcasting Reel?

Now that we’ve gone over a spinning reel, let’s talk about the main parts that make up a baitcaster.

The Drag

This works the exact same way it does on a spinning reel. Tighten the drag to add tension and loosen the drag to take away tension.

The biggest difference is that the drag on baitcasters is located on the side of the reel next to the handle.

Braking System

The braking system is designed to help control the rotation of the spool during your cast. The more “brakes” you apply to the spool the less likely you are to bird’s nest (tangle) the heavier line contained in the spool.

This is what makes using a baitcaster more difficult than a spinning reel. It is recommended that a new angler has the brakes turned up high until they are more comfortable casting.

Where experienced anglers can go lighter.

With this, you may find you won’t be able to cast as far, but that’s ok. Once you get more comfortable you let off the brakes and begin working on longer casts.

It’s a learning curve but a little practice on the lake or in the backyard will help.

Tension Knob

You can also adjust the spool speed. While the braking system is great for larger restrictions, the spool tension knob is ideal for fine-tuning your reel.

Once you’ve figured out to cast your baitcaster you can really start to adjust this knob to get the reel exactly how you want it.

A Closer Look At Fishing Reels vs Baitcasting Reels

Now that we know a little bit more about the reels and the parts on them let’s go over five different products that can help you catch more fish out on the water. We’re going to have three baitcasters and two spinning reels listed.

1. Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel

One of the most well-known names in bass angling, Shimano produces wonderful gear and their spinning reels are no different. They are both lightweight and strong.

Allowing you to fish all day and not worry about banging up your reel. 

In this series, they have added the CoreProtect. This is usually only found on their most expensive models.

This CoreProtect is going to increase the durability of the reel. Xo, if your rough on gear then the NASCI spinning reel might be the one for you.

The way the reel is made will help it position itself closer to the fishing rod which will increase its center of gravity. Making for a more comfortable holding and winding position when fishing.

This will help decrease arm fatigue when fishing for longer periods. 

This reel also comes in five different sizes. The smallest is ideal for a small stream or ultralight fishing.

Great for panfish, or smaller trout. With the largest size being capable of hauling in those big bass, crappie, catfish, and other freshwater or saltwater fish.

Buy The Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel On Amazon

2. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

This is a great reel for someone who is just looking to get into bass fishing or in the baitcasting world. The price point is pretty low so if you find that you don’t like using a baitcaster then you haven’t spent too much money on one.

This also makes a great backup reel.

The eighteen-pound carbon fiber drag system is strong enough to handle just about any fish you hook into. It’s ideal for bass and hauling in those big largemouths.

This low-profile baitcast reel is ideal for use on rivers, lakes and ponds.

Despite the low price, this product is surprisingly durable. The climate-resistant brass cut gears will allow you to fish in any type of weather.

So, if you enjoy fishing in the dead of summer and the middle of winter you can be sure that this reel won’t break down on you.

The 7:1:1 gear ratio is perfect for fast-moving and heavier lures or for getting bass into the boat as quickly as possible. It’s great for when you’re fishing in heavy cover and need to pull the fish out quickly before they get too tangled in the weeds or wrapped around a log.

Buy The Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel On Amazon

3. Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel

The Tatula is the lightest spinning reel in the series. Making it perfect for those days where you know you’re going to be casting thousands of times and don’t want to worry about tiring your arm out.

The T-Wing system level will allow you to cast longer and more accurately than other reels at this price point. So, when you want to make a precision cast that is far away you should be reaching for a Tatula.

You’ll be surprised by the casting distance you can achieve. 

Despite the small size this reel is made to last. The aluminum frame is strong and can handle some of the worst conditions out there.

With a little upkeep, this reel could last for many fishing seasons.

Buy The Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel On Amazon

4. Kastking Bassinator Baitcasting Reel

These reels were designed to be fished hard and often. Made specifically for anglers on the pro tour.

So, if you’re a weekend warrior and spend 50+ days out on the water then investing in a reel like this could be a great option.

It’s Kastking’s smallest zero-flex aluminum frame casting reel. It fits perfectly in the palm of your hand.

It’s designed to be extra comfortable when placed on your baitcasting rod and will help keep arm fatigue away when fishing long tournaments.

The hardened main gear and solid brass pinion gear shows you how strong and durable this reel is. Meaning you can spend hours, days, weeks, and months out on the water and this reel is most likely going to outlast you.

The 17.6-pound carbon fiber drag is strong enough to handle even the biggest bass. The six adjustable brake shoes allow you to fully control your casting so that you can minimize tangles while casting. 

Buy The Kastking Bassinator Baitcasting Reel On Amazon

5. Pflueger President Spinning Reel

If you’ve been around bass fishing at all then you’ve heard of the Pflueger President reel. They are all across this sport from amateurs to pros.

The reason being these are just some flat-out great reels.

The seven-bearing system allows for smooth control when casting and reeling. The corrosion-resistant ball bearing ensures you will always have a smooth repetitive and your ball bearings won’t grind.

The lightweight graphite body and rotor help keep your arm rested when fishing and will help balance out your reel on just about any spinning rod you strap it on to. It’s also a braid-ready spool, so no longer do you have to tie on a few yards of mono before your braid.

The sealed drag system ensures that the drag system is never compromised from sand, mud, dirt, or water from getting inside. This also helps keep the fishing line laying smooth on your spool and will help prevent line twists.

Buy The Pflueger President Spinning Reel On Amazon


Baitcasting and spinning reels both do different things well. However, in the end, they both are there to help maximize your fish-catching ability.

Which is really what we all want as anglers.

So, use the information above to help you find the best reel for you. It could be a bait caster, a spinning, or it could be both.

The only way to know though is to get out on the water!