Baitcast vs Spincast – Which One Is Better for Your Needs?

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Baitcast vs Spincast

Surf fishing requires the right equipment – that is always a fact. If you are one of those who are interested in fishing, then you might be wondering what fishing equipment you should invest in.

Should you purchase a quality spincast reel or the world’s best saltwater baitcasting reels? If your concern is to determine which between the baitcast and the spincast is better, then this article can help. Continue reading to find out what makes the two different from each other and which one will work for you.

What Is a Fishing Reel?

A fishing reel refers to the mechanical tool that those who are interested in fishing can use to store, release, and collect fishing lines. To do the mentioned tasks, it is necessary to utilize the tool’s rotating arm. It is one of the most important fishing devices, which is why your options for a combo set of fishing rod and reel continue to rise in popularity.

With the aid of the reel, you can catch fish more comfortably and efficiently, even those that are from a distance. By investing in a high-quality fishing reel, accessing more substantial water vicinity is possible. With that, you can fish with ease.

Types of Fishing Reels

One thing you have to know about fishing reels is that they come in different types with each one being suitable and appropriate for a specific fishing style. Here are three of the most commonly used types of fishing reels in the market today:

Spinning Reel

Many consider it as the most commonly used type of fishing reel at present. One of its most prominent features is its open-faced design, promoting ease in casting even if you are still a beginner. It also features a fixed spool, which makes it possible for the line to freely flow while casting.

With that, expect the spinning reel to be perfect for light lures. It casts further and has a higher level of accuracy than spincasting reels for fly fishing and other fishing styles. However, it is also expensive, which is one of its downsides.

Spincast Reel

One thing that makes the spincast reel different from the spinning reel is the design of its face. It is because the spincast comes with a closed-face style. This specific design makes all vital components remain inside beneath a nose cone.

To use, you will need to feed the line through the hole found in its cover. It also features a button at the back. You have to press it down while casting forward. One press of the button when you are casting causes the line to get pushed out. On the other hand, letting the button go will cause the line to stop.

Baitcasting Reel

You might also want to check out the best baitcasting reel at present if you prefer to use a more advanced fishing reel. It is because it is the most advanced out of the three types of fishing reels. Because of its advanced nature, you might need to practice and become more skillful in fishing to be able to cast it.

With that said, you can expect the baitcasting reel to work perfectly for experienced and skilled anglers. Experienced anglers can opt for bamboo fly rods as well as a baitcasting reel. This type of reel is created in a way that it lets the spool rotate upon releasing the line. It offers a higher level of accuracy and a more extensive distance. However, it is also harder to master and get used to.

What is a Baitcast?

What is a Baitcast

To make it even simpler, a baitcast can be defined as a reel with a revolving spool. It sits atop a casting rod that features a trigger handle. As mentioned earlier, a baitcast is categorized as advanced, so it is no longer surprising to see it being used by skilled and experienced anglers. It is a big help in casting rules, such as spinner baits, crank baits, and jigs with a high level of pinpoint accuracy.

Benefits of Using a Baitcast

Guarantees Better Line Control

You can expect to achieve that benefit if you compare it to spinning and spincast reels. With the kind of line control it offers, it is possible for the baitcast to assure users of casts with a higher level of accuracy.

Highly Durable

Another benefit of a baitcast is that it is built to be sturdy and durable. With that, you have an assurance that it will serve its purpose for quite a long time. A braided fishing line doesn’t fade easily, so the fact that the baitcast is long-lasting and durable also makes the two a great combination.

Boasts of Strong Cranking Power

As a matter of fact, it has the required cranking power needed for baits with a high drag. Some examples of these are crank baits and spinner baits.

How Does a Baitcast Work?

A baitcast has a different working mechanism as the other types of fishing reels. One thing you have to take note of when casting while using the baitcast is that it tends to cause the spool to spin. If that happens, then it indicates the need to use heavier lures. By doing that, pulling the line free will be easier.

Another thing indicated by the spinning spool is the need to make proper adjustments on your fishing rules. The baitcast, therefore, requires you to make use of some essential skills as a means of stopping it from spinning upon hitting the water. Not doing that is a big disadvantage as it might cause the baitcast to continue turning, leading to massive backlashes.

Pros and Cons of Baitcast

When trying to understand the capabilities of a baitcast, you have to make it a point to familiarize yourself with its unique set of pros and cons. That way, you will know what makes it a good choice and a few faults that you have to be aware of.


  • Provides an opportunity for slowing down the lure. This is a good thing as it ensures that it will fall to the water softly without having to spook any fish that is close by. It is vital when trying to flip baits into cover.
  • Works better in casting heavier line. It is better equipped in casting heavier lines compared to spincast and spinning reels that have similar size.
  • Provides a quick and power retrieve. With that, you can expect the baitcast to be extremely useful when planning to catch faster, heavier, harder, and larger fighting fish.
  • Better accuracy than other fishing reels. The baitcast is highly accurate especially when handling heavy lures. You will also enjoy better control and accuracy with a baitcast in comparison to spincast reels.


  • Costly investment.
  • Requires harder maintenance compared to the others.
  • Can be complex to use for those who do not have experience and are still beginners in fishing.

Parts of a Baitcast

Parts of a Baitcast

Now that you know the pros and cons of a baitcast, it is time to learn about its different parts. Among those parts of the baitcast reel you have to familiarize yourself in are:


You can see this part at the side, specifically close to the reel’s handle. It is a vital part because it sets and regulates the tension that you put on the line when you fight a fish.

For those who intend to fish in water with a dense cover, they have to make sure that the drag goes downward. It is necessary in ensuring that the fish will be out of the cover. If you intend to throw a lighter presentation, though, then the drag needs to be loosened up.

Braking System

The main function of this part of the baitcast is to regulate the rotation of the spool every time you cast. It functions almost in the same way as a bicycle’s brakes. It would be helpful to begin with more brakes to ensure that you will have an improved feel when holding the reel. Once your comfort level improves upon each use, you should begin to let go of the brakes. After that, you can experiment by using short and long casts.

Spool Tension Knob

Another important part of the baitcast is the spool tension knob. With the help of this specific component, you can make adjustments on the spool’s speed, resulting in finer tuning. It, therefore, plays a huge role in improving various lures with different weights. With that, expect to be able to reach the ideal ration every time you cast.

What Is a Spincast?

A spincast is probably the first fishing reel a beginner in this venture will most likely encounter. Just like when you need to choose a fishing kayak that’s easy to transport and use, it is also essential for beginners in the world of fishing to have a fishing reel that is simple and user-friendly. You can expect that from a spincast.

Aside from being easy to use, a spincast is also known for being low-maintenance. It can be described as a hooded reel featuring a button, which you just have to press whenever you need to cast a line. You will then release the button once the line reaches your preferred distance.

Benefits of Using a Spincast

Easy to Use

One of the most favorable benefits of a spincast is that it is proven to be user-friendly. You will have no problems using it even if you are a beginner as it does not have any complicated features nor steep learning curves. With that, even beginners will not deal with any initial downsides from using it.

Offers Better Line Control

Another remarkable advantage of a spincast is that it gives you more control over the line whenever you cast. This also lowers the risk of line twisting.


Compared to other fishing reels, a spincast is less expensive. It is beneficial for those who are interested in fishing but only has a low budget for their initial set of equipment.

How Does a Spincast Work?

The spincast reel works with the help of a tiny hole that can be found in front of it. It functions by letting the line come out from that hole. The reel also comes with a spool parallel to the axis of the fishing rod.

Another thing you have to know about the way spincast reels function is that they do not tend to rotate every time you cast them. What it does is unspool the line simply as soon as the bait or lure’s weight freely pulls it.

Pros and Cons of a Spincast

To gain a better understanding of a spincast reel, here are some of its pros and cons that you should be aware of:


  • Solid and non-complex construction. The fact that it has a simple and non-complicated construction means that even beginners and kids can use it to fish adequately. Despite its simplicity, it still boasts of a high level of stability, thanks to its solid and durable structure.
  • Prevents common fishing issues. With a spincast reel, you can avoid tangled lines, backlash, and fatigue. It eliminates the risk of getting tangled since the opening of the line tends to sort it out perfectly.
  • Ideal for use with lightweight lines and lures. It is because of its user-friendly structure.
  • Easy to cast close to the shore or beneath overhanging trees. This sorts of expand the areas you can fish or explore.


  • Drag ability is lesser compared to other fishing reels. Note that the drag ability refers to the amount of resistance felt by the fish once it pulls the line. A tighter drag also means that the fish will feel more resistance.
  • Heavier and bulkier than the others.

Parts of a Spincast

Parts of a Spincast

Just like the baitcast reel, the spincast also has a few vital parts that make it perform its function pretty well. Among the most important parts of the spincast are the following:


It is an important component of a spincast as it aids in adding and getting rid of tension to the line. In most cases, it appears at the spool’s back or topmost part. With the aid of the drag, you can make adjustments on the frictionless plates.

This provides you the control to increase or reduce tension whenever a fish fights. When using this specific part, remember that a light drag indicates better control. A tight drag, on the other hand, means your power is just minimal but you can improve that just by increasing the line’s pressure.


There is also what we call as the spool in a spincast. You will most likely see this part under the drag adjustment, covering the line. It differs from a baitcast because it does not cause the spindle to spin whenever you reel the spincast.

What happens, instead, is that the line tends to go around, preventing backlashes and line tangles. With that, it is surely a big help in assuring users of a smooth and hassle-free cast and release experience.


Another vital part of a spincast is a bail, which serves two major functions. The first one is that it acts as the reel’s casting trigger. It plays a huge role in casting your bait. Another function of the bail is to ensure that your fishing line remains securely in place, especially if it rolls and comes off from the spool.

Anti-Reverse Switch

You can see this important part of the spincast at the reel’s bottom. You will find this anti-reverse switch useful whenever you fight fish. It is mainly because it lets you reel in reverse. With that, you do not have to drag, which usually happens when you are using a baitcast.

Baitcast vs Spincast Differences

Now, it is time to tackle the major differences between a baitcast and spincast. To make them even more distinguishable, here are the specific areas where they seem to differ from each other.

Fishing Experience

Baitcast and spincast can be distinguished based on the fishing experience of their users. For beginners, a spincast reel is more beneficial for them. It is one of the first investments you should make in the world of fishing. Fishing sunglasses are great protection, especially when you are still starting out in this hobby.

The same is true for spincast reels as you will most likely feel protected and at ease using them. They are simple, uncomplicated, and work well for beginners in fishing. However, if you are more of an advanced user, then go for the baitcast reel. It is ideal for you if you are already comfortable using reels with more advanced and complex features.

Fishing Line and Tackle

The two also differ as far as the fishing line and tackle that you will be using are concerned. Spincast reels are perfect for fishing baits and lines that fall under the light category. On the other hand, a baitcast seems to be more suitable for heavy and massive lures and lines. A line or lure is ideal for use with a baitcast if it seems to be heavier than a 10-lb. test line or one-fourth oz. lure range.

Power vs Finesse Fishing Techniques

A baitcast is ideal for power fishing techniques. One example of this technique is that which involves burning spinner baits and crank baits through the water. The fact that the spincast is more suitable for beginners also means that you can use it even better for finesse fishing techniques.

These techniques are ideal for anglers who are in favor of using smaller lures and lighter lines. If you intend to implement the finesse fishing technique, then your rate of success will be higher if you use a spincast reel.

Your Fishing Frequency

Choosing between baitcast and spincast should also be dependent on the specific number of times you go fishing. Do you consider yourself an active angler? Or do you fish only occasionally? If you fish more frequently, especially if your target is trout or bass, then it is necessary for you to have a versatile bass fishing rod on hand all the time.

If that is the case, then you may want to use a baitcast. It is perfect for those who fish frequently because the material used in creating it is highly durable. It can even withstand heavy and daily use and abuse. For more occasional fishing sessions, a spincast reel would suffice.

Size of Fish

Another factor that can differentiate a baitcast and spincast and which one you should use for a specific occasion is the size of fish. Generally, spincast reels are more appropriate for light species of fish. A few examples of such fish species are trout, crappie, and panfish.

You can then combine this reel with a light tackle and line to achieve your desired results. If you want to catch large fish species, then a baitcast is a more suitable choice. It works well for large fish, such as double-digit bass and muskies.

Fishing Reel Size

Fishing Reel Size

Make sure to check the fishing reel’s size before buying, too. In most cases, your choice of the right size will depend on the specific place where you will be using it. A wise tip is to check out the item’s description to find out how big it is.

The description will also indicate the weight that the reel can handle upon setting the line to a certain distance. The size you get will determine the fish species it is capable of holding. If you want your fishing line to have more capacity, then you may want to get a bigger baitcast or spincast reel.


Consider the weight of the fishing reel before investing in one, too. Remember that you will most likely be fishing for several hours a day. With that said, you should choose a baitcast or spincast reel, which is not that heavy.

Avoid extremely large and heavy ones as such might only exhaust your arms. This might also cause you to lose your battle when trying to catch the fish you are targeting. Go for a lightweight reel, especially if you are still a beginner in the world of fishing.

Comfortable Grip

Make sure that you look for a reel with a grip that is comfortable enough for you. A high comfort level as you grip the reel is crucial in ensuring that you will be able to handle it firmly as soon as your target fish bites. Ensure that the handle is non-slip, too. It should be ergonomic enough to guarantee hassle-free reeling and casting.


Your choice between a baitcast and spincast should also be made after assessing their level of durability. Of course, you want to make sure that your investment will not be put to waste, so go for one that is durable enough that it will last longer than your initial expectations. Go for a strong and durable one, especially if you plan to use the reel often for a long period. It should be constructed from high-quality and robust materials so it can withstand heavy use and handle whatever fish species you are targeting.


Make sure that the overall quality of the fishing reel you are buying is top-notch. The quality even needs to be on top of your priorities when shopping for a good baitcast or spincast reel. The fishing reel should be top-notch in the sense that it will never disappoint you when having a tough fight with your target fish. It should also be tough enough that it can deal with whatever challenge you will be facing during each fishing session.


The gears and equipment you need for fishing can be quite costly. With that in mind, it is advisable to determine your budget beforehand. Know exactly how much you are willing to spend for the reel. Make sure to stick to your budget, too. Make sure that the price you are paying, especially if it is quite high, corresponds to the quality of the reel. Check its suitability with your level of experience, too.

Casting Distance

Another important consideration when shopping for the best fishing reel, whether it is the baitcast or the spincast, is the casting distance. In terms of casting distance, a baitcast seems to be better. It has a larger casting distance because of its impressive line capacity.

However, most spincast reels are also very easy and effortless to cast, making it possible for them to achieve their maximum range. Consider such capabilities in terms of casting distance before you make your choice between the two.


Accuracy is also one of the most vital factors that should contribute to your final buying decision. Spincast reels have a decent level of accuracy and control but these gears are more suitable for beginners. In terms of accuracy, baitcast seems to be a lot better, which is why skilled and experienced fishing enthusiasts favor it over the other types of reels.

The fact that the baitcast is highly accurate makes it possible for you to target a specific spot and ensure that you hit it each time. Also, you do not have to worry in case you did an unwanted cast. It is because the baitcast will let you stop it quickly and prevent bigger problems from ensuing.


The brand of the fishing reel should also matter on your decision. Look for trusted brands – those that already earned positive feedback from the public because of the quality of their products. Among the brands that you should check out are Shimano and Penn.


Spend time assessing the overall customer satisfaction rating of certain baitcast and spincast reels by reading letgiimate reviews. Find out what the public is saying about a specific brand of the reel. By reading reviews, you will know exactly which between the baitcast and spincast reels is appropriate enough for your needs.

Other Features

Fishing Reel Other Features

Apart from the mentioned factors, there are also other vital features that you should spend time assessing. Do not forget to check out these features as such will also help you determine the best reel for your fishing needs:


This specific feature of most fishing reels works in ensuring that the fishing line will remain securely in place. Each spool can also be expected to have different line capacities.

You can find fishing reels in the market that come with an 8-pound test when having a line at 250 yards. Some reels also provide a 12-lb. test when the fishing line is set at 160 yards. As much as possible go for a flexible spool – one that is capable of handling more line.

Line Capacity

Another feature worthwhile to check out is the line capacity. It can be defined as the amount of line that your chosen reel can withstand or handle. The most suitable line capacity for you is dependent on the specific place where you intend to use the reel as well as your target casting distance.

For instance, go for a reel with a smaller line capacity if you intend to fish in ponds and streams. Those with larger capacity are perfect for you if your target fish are in seas and rivers. It is because these bodies of water require a more extensive casting distance.

Level Wind

If this feature is around, reeling your line anytime you need to do so is possible. It is because the level wind can offer more convenience and control when you start to use the reel.


Another vital feature that your chosen fishing reel should have is the bail. It plays a major role in closing and opening the spool, providing the required line necessary in casting. A closed bail indicates that no line comes out from the spool. An open bail, on the other hand, indicates a free fishing line that can leave the reel as soon as necessary.

Crank Handle

It is also advisable to find a fishing reel with a crank handle. It is because this specific feature can boost efficiency when reeling your line.

Gear Ratio

With the aid of this built-in feature, you can determine the specific number of times needed for you to revolve your chosen reel with an aim of retrieving the lure or bait. In most cases, it would be ideal to go for a high ratio since it indicates a smooth, effortless, and quicker retrieve.

Ball Bearings

It is also greatly beneficial to invest in a baitcast or spincast with ball bearings. It is because these features contribute a lot to the effortless and smooth functioning of the spool.

The ball bearings integrated into the fishing reel need to be of top-notch quality. If possible, choose those made of stainless steel as this material is much better in terms of performance compared to ball bearings made of brass material.


Drag is an essential feature of your fishing reel regardless if you decide to use the baitcast or the spincast. It is because it plays a huge role in creating tension, making it possible for you to catch even the hardest-to-get fish.

You can do that without dealing with fishing line tangles. It can also prevent your arms from getting too exhausted from the process.

How to Use a Baitcast

How to Use a Baitcast

Step 1 – Find the braking system

This system is a big help in slowing down the spool’s rotation once you allow the bait to fly. By finding the braking system, you will be able to use it in preventing backlash, which might happen due to the spool spinning quicker compared to the dispersing line.

To find this system, take off the side plate that you can see opposite of the handle of the reel. It works if the braking system is considered as centrifugal. However, if the braking system is magnetic, then you can locate it by adjusting the knob.

Step 2 – Make the necessary adjustments on the braking system

The next thing you should do is to make all the necessary adjustments on the brakes. You may want to engage this system. If you want to do that, push the levers in the interior towards the center. However, if you plan to disengage the brakes, then push the levers far away from it. You may need to disengage the brakes if you do longer casts with a high likelihood of backlashing.

Step 3 – Locate the tension knobs and make adjustments

You can find the tension knobs on the side where you can see the reel’s handle. Make the necessary adjustments on these knobs based on the weight used for the baitcast. For instance, you may want to turn it clockwise if you want to tighten it. If your goal is to lighten the tension, then it is advisable to turn it counterclockwise.

Step 4 – Test the tension

Start by holding the tip of the rod that is in front of you. Click the release button of the spool to disengage the tension. You can usually find this button at the bottom part of the spool. Make the necessary adjustments on the tension knob until you notice that the bait gently falls to the ground. The bait should be able to do so without causing a backlash.

Step 5 – Grip the baitcast

You can perform this step by letting your dominant hand wrap around the handle of the rod as well as the reel. Let your thumb rest on the spool and its release button. By doing that, you can disengage the spool correctly, promoting proper casting.

Step 6 – Release the line, spool and cast

You need to release the right amount of fishing line to guarantee a good cast. If you are still a beginner, it would be best to set aside around 8 to 12 inches of fishing line to hang prior to casting. You can do the measurement from the rod’s tip to the bait.

Release the spool next. What you have to do is to press its release button then put your thumb on the spool right away. You have to do it quickly to ensure that the line does not run. In terms of releasing the cast, you can choose whatever technique that you are comfortable using.


How to Use a Spincast

The spincast reel is so easy to use that you just have to utilize its push-button mechanism. The presence of this mechanism promotes ease in using the spincast since it also lessens the risk of dealing with backlash issues. All it takes to use it is to follow these steps:

Step 1 – Simply push the button

This simple step is the only thing you need to begin the disengagement process. It indicates that once you let go of the button, it subsequently leads to the release of the line, allowing the lure to travel forward.

Step 2 – Turn the handle

This step is what you should undertake whenever you plan to re-engage the lock. It will prevent the line from getting released, giving you the chance to retrieve it.


How to Maintain a Baitcast

The proper maintenance of a baitcast involves cleaning it up regularly, which involves the following steps:

Step 1 – Disassemble the entire baitcast reel

Remove all its parts then pull the side plate out. You can do so once you put off the screw. Release the spool, too. Doing so gives you access to all the reel’s parts.

Step 2 – Wipe it with a cloth

Find a clean and soft cloth then soak it in alcohol. Use this alcohol-soaked cloth to wipe the baitcast reel as well as all its parts. Alternatively, you can spray some alcohol to the reel and its parts then wipe it with the cloth. Doing any of them can remove all the dirt and residues found in the baitcast.

Step 3 – Oil and grease it

Make sure to use an oil and grease specifically designed for baitcast reels. Just put a bit of the oil on the tip then rub it on the brakes, spool, housing, lines, and the remaining parts of the reel. Apply the grease on all slots. You may also want to crank the baitcast reel as a means of spreading it. Wipe the tension knob then rub some oil into it, too.

Step 4 – Reassemble

Put everything back together after cleaning it.


How to Maintain a Spincast

Step 1 – Rinse it

Use fresh and clean water to rinse the spincast then allow it to air dry.

Step 2 – Lubricate it

Aside from cleaning the spincast, it is also advisable to protect it through regular and proper lubrication. What you should do is to lubricate all moving parts that you can access. Use light oil for this. It would be best to do this step after you have properly rinsed the spincast.

The lubricating step is even more important if you are someone who tends to fish regularly in saltwater. It is also necessary if the reel is exposed to dirty conditions several hours a day.


Does More Spending Mean More Quality

When it comes to shopping for a fishing reel, remember that spending a fortune is not advisable. While it is true that you need to invest in high-quality fishing gears, particularly baitcast or spincast reels, it does not necessarily mean spending a lot. Remember that with proper research, you can always find reasonably priced baitcasts and spincasts that have the kind of functionality and quality you are hoping for.

Do’s and Don’ts With Baitcast and Spincast

  • Correct casting movements. It is necessary if you want to prevent possible injuries, like tendonitis, that might be caused by casting incorrectly.
  • Use a baitcast if you intend to fish for heavier targets. It is also the best choice for you if you are an experienced angler.
  • Inspect and grease your reel every now and then. This tip is especially applicable to spincast reels. By doing this, you can prevent your reel from wearing out too soon or becoming rusty.
  • Do not use a reel with dirt, sand and grit. Make sure that it is clean before using it; otherwise, you will put it at risk of getting damaged.
  • Do not set the drag too tightly. It should be just enough to let a fish pull out a bit of line before it successfully comes in.

FAQs About Baitcast vs Spincast

Are reels with more ball bearings better?

In most cases, it is not highly recommended to go for reels with a higher number of ball bearings. It would be much better to go for one with fewer ball bearings as such promotes more efficient reeling functions. It also helps guarantee the smooth functioning and use of your chosen reel.


Finding out which between the baitcast and spincast is the best choice for you requires proper research. You have to be resourceful and find as much information as possible about their individual differences. By being informed, you will know exactly what type of fishing reel is suitable enough for your specific needs and requirements. 

Photos from: eans /, Gastello /, /, Ostariyanov /, lunamarina /, begemot_30 / and fimkajane /

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Louis McCarthy

With over 40 years of fishing experience, I am a true veteran of the sport with a passion for reeling in the big ones. From coast to coast, I have lived in some of the best fishing spots the US has to offer. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and love for the sport, one catch at a time. Join me as I explore the great outdoors and share my expertise in the art of fishing. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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