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Spinning or bait cast: when to choose which?

I see that question often and the answer will vary depending on personal preference from one angler to the next. But I will try to clarify how and when to make the choice from the comprehension and knowledge I gained over time and with what is “common knowledge”. Many anglers are dread bait casting reel because of backlashes. I can assure you that even after thousands upon thousand of casts, even more hours practicing, tuning and perfecting the technique… Backlashes will still happen and even the highest levels of pros can’t escape it.

But regardless of that fear, why choosing one over the other? Many factors come into play in the selection process. The weight of the lure being a big one, you also have the type of lure, the technique, the conditions and the type of structure you’re going to encounter. All of this will become the foundation of what will help you make a choice as to which one you’re going to pick up and fill the intended role you need it to.

More often than not, the lighter the lure, more you will want to push towards a spinning combo. By design, the way to rod is built, the way the reel works to release line it is made for that. If you are in a situation that you need to toss out a lure that is fairly light to really light (3/8oz or less) far out, a spinning combo will be the best tool out there to do so because the restriction on the line coming out is at it’s lowest with that kind of setup. If you need to work finesse baits, most of the time spinning gear is better adapted to that. Same goes for when you are running light lines like braided line under 20lbs test or monofilament and fluorocarbon under the 8lbs test mark. The way small diameter line work in reels makes it more convenient to use a spinning combo and is less likely to develop issues over time. The techniques that are most commonly used on spinning tackle are as listed: dropshot, ned rig, neko rig, wacky, small Texas rigs, tubes, small swimbaits or crankbaits, small jerkbaits, soft jerkbaits (fluke style) just to name those.

By concept, spinning tackle is also really well suited for vertical fishing as they allow line to come out quickly and almost freely to drop a bait down to drop it back after missing a bite.

The baitcast, that type of combo is that ol’ faithful for any anglers looking to toss heavier lures (3/8oz and more) but also larger style lures like magnum worms 10 inches long all the way to those giant swimbaits. It goes also for the conditions or the type of structure that demand rods with more power and backbone to pull those fish out of hiding or when you want more control over a fish while fighting it. I particularly like baitcast setups for their ability to make super accurate casts. How do they allow us to do it? The concept of the reel allows the user to control the line coming out by using his thumb directly on the spool as an additional braking system and those braking systems are not that complicated to use and understand after some basic understanding.

Speaking of these braking systems, here is a breakdown of them:

-The spool tension knob, like the name implies it is meant to control the spool when the thumb bar is pressed to release the lure so when you do so, the spool doesn’t try to release all the line out at full speed. Simple tip, when adjusting it, put just enough tension so that when you press the thumb bar, the lure will start to fall and when it touches the ground or the water it stops on its own.

-The cast control (centrifugal or magnetic), will allow you to slow the spool down during casts and stop the spool when the lure reaches its destination. A big role it plays is also to ensure that during the cast, the spool doesn’t release more line than what the energy of the cast provides. When set, at the end of a cast the spool should stop on its own.

If both brakes are set, you could in theory, make a cast and do almost nothing except making the casting motion. With experience and with some techniques like skipping or flipping and pitching the brakes won’t be set the same way and will demand more line control on the user end. Same will happen over time with experience and the desire to get those few extra feet at the end of a cast or just to be able to effectively stay further away from a target so you don’t spook the fish.

One of the great advantages of baitcasting setups, like I mentioned, is to be able to control the line with your thumb. That way you can bring a bait to a sudden stop if you know it’s going to hit something you don’t want to or if the lure would end up in a precarious spot. It also allows you to slowly bring the lure to a stop as it’s about to hit the surface like you were almost delicately setting the lure down to minimize the splash. It also gives you a wide range or rod with different action, power and flexing patterns to suit whatever technique you could want.

The techniques often associated with baitcasting combos are: crankbaits, jerkbaits, jigs (vibrating, arky, flipping, swim, football…), texas rigs, carolina rigs, frogs, topwater baits like popper and walk the dog style., spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and more.

At this point I could go even further down the rabbit hole and make a full in-depth guide with actions, powers for each technique but it would end up as an encyclopedia on fishing. Here I wanted to make a quick guide to help you and give you some advantages and common use for each type of combos.

Be safe and have fun out there fishing!


Bearded Bass Projekt

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