Spinning Rod vs Casting Rod (Differences Explained)

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Fishing rods are an essential part of any angler’s toolbox. Generally, this tool comes in many shapes, sizes, and functions but has two common types: the spinning rod and the casting rod.

Spinning rods and casting rods are two very different pieces of fishing equipment. Because of this, it can be hard to know which ones are best for you.

Both of these can be used for various fishing setups. Nonetheless, understanding their specific details will significantly help anglers, especially beginners, have a better fishing experience.

So, if you want to know the difference between a spinning rod vs casting rod, continue reading!

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Spinning vs Casting Rods: What’s The Difference?

Casting and spinning rods are two different rod types of fishing rods that have been used for centuries. While both are designed for various fishing techniques, they also share some characteristics.

With this, you have to understand the difference between casting and spinning rods. Additionally, you also have to find out the similarities between these two rods. This way, you’ll be able to avoid mix-ups and have a better time on your next fishing trip!

What is a Spinning Rod?

Spinning rods are a type of fishing rod that you use with a spinning reel. Spinning reels have an open face and a metal bail to prevent the line from nesting.

Additionally, spinning reels are mounted on the bottom of the rod for better balance when casting. The drag adjustment is located on top of the spinning reel.

The reel seat on spinning rods points downwards, so it’s easier to keep the line in the rod when reeling.

Additionally, the reel handle is on the bottom of the rod so that you can have your thumb on it for easy handling. The line guides are also located along the bottom of the pole, so they are next to the reel.

When to Use a Spinning Rod

Spinning rods are versatile and come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials, from ultralight graphite to heavy fiberglass. Because of this, anglers opt to use spinning rods for a variety of fishing methods.

The most common use for spinning rods is for casting and retrieving lures. Additionally, anglers use them for trolling, bass fishing, ice fishing, and surf fishing.

While spinning gear may not be as powerful as a baitcasting downrigger, it’s still an effective tool—long cast and lightweight—perfect for fishing with tiny worms and poppers.

The Pros and Cons of Spinning Rods

A spinning rod is a handy tool you should have, regardless of your setup. Nonetheless, there are advantages and disadvantages to using one. Below are some of them:

The Pros
  • Handles the wind:  The versatility of a spinning rod allows it to manage lures even in high winds.
  • Easy to control: A spinning rod will make it easier for you to correct errors without suffering any additional consequences. Thus, it’s one of the best rods for both newbies and experts to use.
The Cons
  • Not ideal for harsh water conditions with heavier cover: If you’re in a pond with murky water, lily pads, and tall grass, spinning rods aren’t as easy to reel vs. casting rods. Accuracy might not be as great compared to better water conditions.
  • Not ideal for catching fish less than 10 pounds: Catching big fish on spinning rods is an excellent way to go. Nonetheless, you’ll need to use the spinning tackle to catch smaller ones.

What is a Casting Rod?

A casting rod is a type of fishing pole designed to be used with a baitcasting reel. Generally, casting reels are the most advanced fishing reel type.

They are casting reels with more moving parts than a spin cast reel or a spinning one. Nonetheless, they ultimately take your fishing game to the next level.

On a casting rod, the casting reel handle is positioned upward on top of the rod handle. Similarly, the backbone and guides are also located running along the top.

There are also many different casting pole lengths and sizes for fishing applications. Nonetheless, anglers use a casting rod for heavier-weight applications than spinning poles.

Lastly, you can find these easily as they’re often designated with a “C” in the model number.

When to Use a Casting Rod

A casting rod is designed with winch-like power and laser accuracy. Due to this, this powerful weapon is the absolute leader in many fishing applications.

A bait caster’s low-profile mounting and smooth operation make it a favorite when targeting bass in heavy cover. Many anglers use it with a jig or grinding a big-lipped crankbait over a main lake point in 15 feet of water.

Additionally, its spool orientation produces a more solid feel when reeling in a lure. There’s also a direct line of power to the reel, giving you total control over your cast.

The Pros and Cons of Casting Rods

Like a spinning rod, a baitcasting rod also has pros and cons. Here are some of them:

The Pros
  • Longer casts: A casting rod is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a greater casting distance. Additionally, this rod type also offers more accurate casting.
  • Ideal for use with other gear: Casting rods are suitable if you’re looking for a rod that can handle various baits and artificial lures. Whether they’re light lures or heavyweight, casting rods are compatible with many types of tackle.
  • More durable: If you’re looking for a rod that can withstand more pressure, this is the one. If you’re looking to put up a fight with bigger species, casting rods is for you.
The Cons
  • Can be expensive: Casting rods are relatively more costly. Nonetheless, they’re more durable and can put up a fight against bigger fish.
  • Lures can sink crooked: Casting rods have a unique movement pattern that can scare off some fish at the start. In choppy conditions, it will cause the rod to reel in a bit more erratically.

Spinning vs. Casting Rods: Which is Better?

As an angler, it’s important to find the right fishing rod and reel combination for your needs. Nonetheless, this can be difficult as no combination is necessarily any better than others.

The key is making sure you choose the one that works best for you and your style of fishing.

Both spinning rods vs. casting rods serve the same purpose of helping you bring home a big catch. With this, you must assess which one suits your setup better.

You can also look at how the rod bends! Whatever rod you choose, make sure that it’s one you can afford and will use.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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