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Casting Rod vs Spinning Rod – What’s the Difference ?

If you are just starting out fishing then you may well have heard a lot of debates about which is better a casting setup or a spinning setup

Casting rod vs spinning rod - So what's the difference and when should you choose one over the other?

A casting rod uses a baitcaster reel which is mounted on the top of the rod whereas a spinning rod uses a spinning reel and has the reel mounted on the underside of the rod.

Also Read: Rod Action vs Power

The line guides on a spinning rod start out much larger at the bottom near the reel and then taper down towards the rod tip, whereas on a casting rod there is less of a difference in size all down the rod, they do still taper in size towards the tip however.

Casting Rod vs Spinning Rod

The difference between a casting rod and a spinning rod is the type of reel that is used and how the reel is mounted.

However, there are some subtle differences in how each rod is constructed and also in terms of casting performance and the types of fishing that you can do with either one.

As a quick guide a casting rod is built for casting performance and can handle medium to heavy sized lures and bait rigs.

A spinning rod can also handle heavy and medium sized weights but it is significantly better than a casting rod when it comes to using lightweight lures and bait rigs.

Although a spinning rod can cast heavier setups the casting rod will perform much better with the heavier weights.

Difference Between a Baitcasting Rod and a Spinning Rod

A casting rod will usually have a 'C' in the model number depending on what naming convention the brand is using.

They will usually have a small trigger grip just forward of the reel seat to make gripping a baitcaster easier.

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The line guides will usually be of a fairly uniform size tapering from the bottom guide to the tip.

Spinning rods will normally have an 'S' in the model number.

There is no trigger grip like on a casting rod.

The first line guide closest to the reel will be significantly wider than on a casting rod. This is to accommodate how the line falls off of a spinning reel spool.

Casting rods on the other hand will have a more uniform size of line guides.

Casting Rods

When we refer to a casting rod it is generally understood that we mean a baitcasting setup.

The best casting rods allow you to make pin point accurate casts on a larger setup with greater ease than a spinning rod.

Spinning rods require you to flip the bail arm and hold the line with your index finger before casting, with baitcaster reels you flick a switch, cast and then control the spool with your thumb.

When casting all day long the baitcaster is much simpler and requires a lot less energy.

You also get to control the casting distance with you thumb on the spool which gives much greater control of you lure than when using a spinning reel.

However, casting rods can also be used for trolling and other such applications that do not involve actually casting but the specifications of these rods will be significantly different to a true baitcasting setup.

Casting rods usually make the best bass fishing rods as they can be used for a variety of techniques.

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are a lot easier to learn how to cast. A spinning reel is much simpler to learn how to use than a baitcasting reel.

Spinning setups do not suffer from bird-nesting unlike baitcasters.

A spinning rod is an excellent choice for a beginner, they are easy to cast and are better suited to smaller lures and lighter bait or bobber rigs which most people will start out fishing with.

Spinning rods are also best suite to light weight fishing setups and what is called an ultra light fishing rod.

Ultralight rods are used with very small lures and bait rigs. They are used with light line in the 2 to 6 lbs range and use a very small spinning reel of size 1000 up to 2500.

These types of rods are ideal for use as a trout fishing rod on a small river or stream where a casting setup would be too cumbersome.

When using line that is so fine a baitcasting setup will be almost useless as the weight of the lure will not be sufficient to rotate the spool quick enough for accurate casting.

On a spinning setup the line will fall off the spool much easier when using lighter weights.