Spinning Rods Vs. Casting Rods: Which One Is Best For You?

If you’re new to the fishing world you might be a little confused as to why you’re seeing different fishing rods. You might be thinking, “well what’s the difference? Why can’t I just use them interchangeably?”

The answer is that you can absolutely use both rods, as long as they’re paired with the corresponding fishing reels. You must make sure that a spinning reel goes on a spinning rod and a casting reel goes on a casting rod.

You also might be wondering what the difference is why does it even matter. Well, below we’re going to go over in-depth what the differences are and why you should care. As well as a few different rod recommendations.

The Difference Between Spinning Rods and Casting Rods

The main difference is that these rods need to be used with their corresponding reels. Technically you could hook up a casting reel to a spinning rod.

You should keep in mind though that if you do that you will be sacrificing casting distance as well as durability.

A spinning rod is going to have larger guides than on a casting rod. They also will not have nearly as many guides as casting rod will. This is because the line is below the rod instead on top of it.

Casting rods will have their guides on top of the rod. They’ll also have smaller guides and will have more of them than on a spinning rod.

The reason for this is because they don’t want the line to rest on the rod which could wear the fishing line out quicker than normal.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of A Casting Rod

Casting rods are going to be more versatile than a spinning rod. You can use them for trolling, live, bait, as well as lures.

Since the reel is on top of the rod you‘ll also have more control of the heavier line when casting. If using lures these are great for throwing medium to large sizes.

Some disadvantages are that they can be difficult to use. Even someone who has been angling their whole life will have a learning curve the first time they try to cast out.

So casting rods are not recommended for beginners or people who just want to get out occasionally.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of A Spinning Rod

Spinning rods are great if you want to throw finesse lures or other light gear. The way the guides and reel are set up will allow you to cast accurately and with distance with some of the lightest lures out there. A casting rod would not allow you to do so.

One disadvantage of using a spinning rod is that they are not as effective casting rods for trolling. Sure, it can be done but if you have the option its best to stick with a casting rod.

Also, if you want to use heavier lures you’ll find that a casting rod is just going to work better for throwing those heavy baits.

When To Use A Spinning Rod

If you’re new to fishing then a spinning rod is going to be a great choice. It’s versatile enough that you can throw all different types of live bait and lures.

While also being easy to use because the reel is more user friendly. A spinning rod also effectively throws a spinnerbait.

Making longer casts is one of the strengths of using a casting rod. The way the reel seat is situated on the rod allows for the monofilament line to come out of the spool with very little resistance.

The larger guides also play a part. This is ideal for anglers who are surfcasting and need to get their bait out past the waves.

Using light or finesse type lures is a great way to switch up your lure fishing strategies.

A drop shot or another unweight soft plastic will work extremely well with a rod and can entice bites on days where the fishing might be slow.

When To Use A Casting Rod

Anytime you need to cast for accuracy you should be pulling on your casting rod and baitcast reel. Make pinpoint casts to docks, points, or along grass lines.

Whenever the fish are being finicky and won’t chase your lure use your casting rod to the lure right in front of the face of the fish so they can’t resist.

Whenever your casting to heavy cover a casting rod is going to give you the strength needed to pull fish out of there.

Flipping jigs or punching lures through lily pads or grass mats need a strong rod. That’s where you’ll need to be using a casting rod in order to work any fish out or to get your lure untangled.

If you want to feel like you have complete control of your lure, bait then a basting rod is going to be the right one for you.

The way the rod and reel are set up will give you a better feel or where your lure is going and will allow you to control where you need it to go.

Throwing big lures and crankbaits is a great way to try and target trophy fish. So you’ll need a rod that can handle the size of the lure.

Not just for casting but also when working it through the water. The way the eyelets are set up, along with the strength of the rod will allow you to do this. It will also let you muscle in those big fish you’ve been targeting.

Casting Techniques For A Spinning Rod

You don’t need much practice in order to master how to cast a rod. All you need to do is pinch your line to the rod neck by using your index finger, flip the bail back, draw the rod over your head, and cast forward while letting go of the line that you pinched.

Tangles are rare and usually due from line sitting on a reel for too long or from someone putting the line on improperly.

Casting Techniques For A Casting Rod

This is where things get a little bit tricky. You will need patience, as well as practice in order to get this casting technique down. It’s best to use to get out in the park or your backyard and practice with this before ever stepping foot out in the water.

When practicing you’ll want to tie to on a weedless lure or heavy bullet weight to the end of the line. This way your hook won’t get caught in the grass.

Your thumb will be in control and will be placed on the line. After you’ve drawn back and cast forward you’ll take your thumb off the lin and allow it shoot forward. Right before it hits the ground you’ll stop the line with your thumb.

It might be frustrating the first couple times you do this and you’ll be picking out a lot of birds nest. Over time you’ll get the feeling of casting down and it will make a world of difference in your fishing.

How To Choose The Best Rod For You

Before purchasing the rod you should think about your skill level. If you’re new to the world of fishing then a spinning rod should be the one for you.

Choosing a casting rod is going to take time and it will become frustrating when all you’re doing is picking out tangles instead of fishing.

Learning to cast on a casting rod is not as important as learning how to fish. That is something a spinning rod will allow you to do quickly.

If you’ve become comfortable with a spinning rod and would like to challenge yourself or open your fishing repertoire then advancing to a spinning rod would be the right call.

This will allow you to use different techniques that might not have been as effective on a spinning rod.

Finally, you should think about the cost. Spinning rods and the gear that goes with them is typically going to be cheaper than a baitcasting rod. Many baitcasting rods will be separate pieces that you’ll have to purchase separately.

This could to a higher bill as well as buying the wrong rod for the reel. So, a spinning rod combo set up will be the way to go if you’re on a budget.

Basically what it all boils down to is which one do you feel comfortable using. Are you looking for a challenge? Or do you want something that you can use a few times over the summer and you’re comfortable casting? It’s all about personal preference.

Rod Reviews

Now that we’ve covered what spinning and casting rods are let’s go over two rods that you could potentially use out on the water.

These are not going to be top of the line of pieces of gear but they’re going to good rods at a good price.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

This spinning rod is made of fiberglass and also has 35 percent more graphite than normal. Giving it abnormally strength as well as feel.

Ugly Stik is known as one of the most durable rods in the fishing world, and this “elite” rod is no different. Great for the hardcore angler who spends all of their time out on the water and is rough on gear.

This rod will last you season after season.

This rod also comes in several different sizes as well as actions. Purchase the 4’ 6” ultra-light and tear up trout streams, or farm ponds for bluegill.

The light action will make small bluegill seen like a monster bass. It also comes in larger sizes such as 7’ 6” medium action rod. Use this for targeting large bass or other fresh and saltwater fish.

This moderately priced reel would be great for an angler of any skill level. Costing under $50 a causal angler could have faith that this rod will be there for them season after season and they won’t have to worry about rod upkeep.

However, this rod is also good enough that a hardcore fisherman could use this weekly and still stand up to the test. If you’re looking for a solid all-around spinning rod then look no further.

St. Croix Mojo Bass Fishing Rod

St. Croix is known as one of the better rod companies in the fishing world, and the mojo bass rod holds up its name.

It features an advanced graphite construction which gives the angler a sensitive and lightweight rod without having to sacrifice durability. Feel every bite and the bottom of the lake with thanks to hos sensitive this rod is.

With a variety of actions and rod sizes, you’ll be able to fully customize your rod to get exactly what you need out of it. With this range of sizes and actions you’ll be able to throw whatever you want and with the utmost effectiveness.

This rod is more expensive coming in at over $100, but if you’re getting a baitcasting rod you should spend the money to get something good.

If you spend a lot of time out on the water and using baitcasting reel then it would be good to have a rod that will be able to hold up to your outings. As well as giving you the extra features for throwing different lures.


When picking out your spinning or baitcasting rod you should really be thinking about what your level of skill is and what you need.

Most of the time a spinning rod will be what you’re picking out. However, if you want to advance your fishing techniques then a baitcaster would be a great rod to work up to.

If you do decide to get a baitcaster don’t be overly frustrated when first starting out. Practice in the yard and when you take it out fishing make sure you have a spinning rod with you in case you get oo frustrated.

Both rods have their pros and cons, but hopefully, now you have a better understanding of what to look for. There are many great items on Amazon or at your local sporting goods store. So head on out and pick one up!