When to Use a Spinning Rod and Reel

Last Updated: 13.07.20


A spinning rod and reel can open up a whole other world of fishing techniques and it is important for the angler to know how to use this piece of equipment and when it should be used.

Thus, if you want to learn more you can take a quick look at the informative article we have prepared for you below and in the event that you haven’t yet found the right spinning rod and reel, our in-depth review of the Ugly Stik GX2 combo might prove useful for you.



Advantages of a spinning rod and reel combo

Spinning rod and reel combos are used by most novice anglers since they are easier to handle and cast than many other types of rods available on the market. For starters, spinning tackle can throw lighter lures farther, which makes this type of rod hard to beat in terms of casting distance.

While baitcaster enthusiasts might be quick to praise the lure control of their rods with heavier ½ to 1-ounce lures, when handling lures that are only 1/16th of an ounce, they will quickly reach out for their spinning combo.

A spinning rod and reel combo is one of the most versatile fishing equipment that you can get since it can be used to catch a wide variety of fish. Spinning tackle can be used to catch fish such as Northern Pike, musky, salmon, bass, trout, bluegill, and catfish.

Even if some people might use the argument that the baitcaster dominates the world of pro fishing and downplay the advantages that a spinning reel has, the top anglers still use spinning tackle for shaky heads, crankbaits, drop-shotting and for throwing light jerkbaits.

In case of conditions that are windy, spinning tackle has a huge advantage because, while backlashes bloom in baitcasters that are cast into the wind, casting into or across the wind is much more efficient with a spinning rod. Lighter lures, in particular, fare much better in the wind then the heavier one used by the other types of fishing tackle.

In situations where you need to skip lures under low hanging covers such as bushes, piers, low limbs of trees, or docks, a spinning rod and reel will again outshine other fishing equipment.

It’s not that similar movements are impossible to do with baitcasting gear, for example, but it can take hundreds of hours of practice to do them properly, while with spinning tackle the process is much more forgiving.

Another benefit that is often overlooked is the fact that with a spinning rod and reel you can sink your lure down straighter, without having to worry about the “pendulum effect” that occurs due to the rotational spool found on baitcasters. Because the line on a spinning reel uncoils freely from the spool, it does not encounter as much resistance.

This is a critical advance when fishing vertical covers such as steep bluffs, seawalls, pilings, standing timber, or tall vegetation that can be found in deep waters. Spinning rod and reel combos are also very efficient when targeting current breaks. In these situations you want the lure to fall straight down into the eddy.

With spinning gear it is not important whether you are right-handed or left-handed, since no matter the hand you use, the gear is designed to be swappable between the right and left side to fit the needs of the angler. Baitcasters, on the other hand, have no swapping sides, and you will need to get either a dedicated left-hand or right-hand model that you will be stuck with.

One final and just as important advantage of using a spinning rod and reel is that you can adjust your drag easily during the fight with the fish. Spinning reels have the drag either on the front or on the rear, and no matter its location, it is often easily accessible and generously graduated, which gives you the ability to fully adjust it during the battle.

While a baitcasting reel can be adjusted during the fight as well, the drag location which is right next to the handle can make it a much more complex endeavor. Whether you are a novice angler, or you are looking to reach a higher skill level and performance in this sport, spinning tackle is still a standard in sportfishing to this today.



Learning how to cast a spinning reel has a bit of a learning curve, and it does take some time to get it to the level required to put some distance on your cast and develop accuracy. Spinning reels use a fixed spool, which means that the weight of the lure is doing all the work. You should not overpower the cast since that can quickly cause the line on the spool to get messy.

The basics of casting a spinning reel are to start with your index finger of the dominant hand and use it to pull the line just above the bail and line roller and bring it back to the rod. Use your other hand to lift the bail so that the line can leave without encountering much resistance.

From this stage, it is no more different than casting any other rod and reel. Once you get to the point of release, all you need to do is to simply release the line from your index finger. You won’t need to put pressure on the spool like you would need to on a baitcaster since the spool is fixed.

The line will stop leaving the spool as soon as the lure hits the water. While the process sounds simple, it will require some time to get it right. Do not feel disappointed if you can’t replicate the moves of professionals on your first try; just give it another try and you will have it down in no time.


Drag and line twist

Spinning tackle uses a stacked drag system that is made of washers constructed of various materials. The drag can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the amount of pressure that is exerted by the washers on the spool.

Turning the dial counterclockwise loosens the pressure of the washers making it easier to pull line off the spool while turning the dial clockwise will give the opposite effect. Just as with learning how to cast, becoming proficient with the drag settings can take time. Once you get the hang of it, you will become a more efficient angler that can prevent line breaks.

Line twists are inevitable when you pick up a spinning reel, and while nasty tangles can be next to impossible to fix, there are a few methods to help you reduce the number of line twists.

The first one is to use the same direction that the line was put on the spool when you purchased the equipment. Another method is to ensure the line is tight the moment you close the bail manually after casting and then to give it a few quick reels with a tight line. Finally, you should change the line after a few months of sitting unused or after several outings.




A spinning rod and reel offer anglers a lot of versatility since it can be used to catch a wide variety of fish and are much easier to become proficient in than with a baitcaster. This is without a doubt the main reason why a lot of fishers have continued to use it to this day.

Furthermore, it also excels at using lighter lures, making this type of spinning tackle the go-to choice for finesse fishing applications. The only disadvantage that this option has is the fact that it is more prone to line twists. The good thing is that as long as you follow our advice, these small inconveniences should not be a problem for you.



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