The Best Type Of Rod & Reel For Inshore Fishing [Baitcasting Vs. Spinning Gear]

By: Luke Simonds on March 12, 2019
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baitcasting vs spinning gear

Trying to decide between baitcasting and spinning gear?

Like many of you, I was originally a bass fisherman before I got into saltwater fishing.

Naturally, I used a baitcasting reel when I started saltwater fishing, but I really struggled.

Eventually, I gave in and switched to spinning gear and I started catching more fish!

Want to know why?

Check out this video where we break down the pros and cons of baitcasting reels vs. spinning reels, plus we talk about what gear we use today.

Enjoy!

(P.S. What’s your experience with baitcasting vs. spinning gear? Let us know in the comments!)

Baitcasting vs Spinning Gear [VIDEO]

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Conclusion

What are your experiences with baitcasting vs. spinning gear?

What are you using now?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Bill BennettLuke SimondsSteven KarpelMatt GarrettDave Frymier Recent comment authors
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William Bennett
Member

1. Practice, practice, practice, that’s the key to casting. Left hand & right hand. 2. Setting up your bait caster reel for the lure/bait you are throwing. 3. Length of the rod, longer for flats, distance, and shorter for skipping, better control, my opinion.
I always have a bait caster onboard for flipping docks and skipping under mangroves. I’m more accurate with the bait caster than a spinning reel, I can control the distance with my thumb. Harder to do with a spinning reel, my opinion. I skip better with a bait caster than a spinner.
I agree, lightweight use a spinner.
I have a bait caster Abu Garcia, Revo Inshore, reel on a 6’10” rod for saltwater use. Love the reel!
Practice, practice, practice.

Steven Karpel
Member

Thank you Luke for the heads up on this commentary. Very informative and helpful!

Matt Garrett
Member

Very interesting video, I also started off using baitcasters in freshwater for largemouth bass in Florida, then moved up north and went to light spinning reels for smallmouth bass. Return to Florida and started saltwater fishing for all species, using both baitcasters and spinning reels. Now I am a tarpon addict, jumping 824 tarpon last year, while landing 425. About half of these on swimbaits, the rest dead baits cast to visible tarpon or live bait. All I use for tarpon is spinning reels, from Cabo 120s lined with 150 pound braid to 3000/5000 series reels with 30 pound braid. I believe a spinning reels has lots of advantages over a baitcaster when casting large baits (9 inch spoolteks) over bait caster when fishing the Everglades or casting a dead croaker next to a shrimp boat dragging nets in North Florida. Just one persons opinion.

Dave Frymier
Member

I also did a lot of still-water freshwater bass fishing with baitcasting (and spinning) reels in my younger times, but always “left handed” ones. I can’t figure out why, with most people being right-handed, the reel manufacturers want us to work lures and fight fish with our left arms while using a right-handed baitcasting reel. I haven’t been able to find a reasonably priced left-handed saltwater model, so I tried out a righthander. This taught me something completely unexpected – I have very specialized muscle memory in both arms. The right arm knows how to do those little “pops” that make the lure hop and swim in the water to trigger strikes, and the left knows how to reel synchronized with that action – and both know what to do on a strike. Reversing the roles just doesn’t work – I could cast the right handed baitcaster fine – but I couldn’t “fish” it worth a damn. Maybe you don’t have this problem – I note the reel in your video is right handed – but it’s spinning gear for me. To see what I mean, move the handle on a spinning reel over to the right side and give it a whirl.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I agree completely Dave!!! I can’t get the twitch rhythm on the left and reel with the right. I have a couple lefty bait casters and all my spinners have left hand cranks.

Dave Frymier
Member

Are your lefty baitcasters designed for salt water? … and if so, what are they (hopefully less than $300!)

Sam Craparo
Member

A agree with you that spinning is more versatile. I have used both but due to medical hand issues I am forced to baitcasters reels. When Diawa came up with the skirted spinning reel it was a game changer. Before that reels like the Mitchell 300 line would get under the spool. The first Diawa skirted spinning reel was CC or silver next came GS or gold then finally the BG or black gold ind it was the state of the art. Back then I could buy a new BG 15 for less than I spend on braid on my reels. I still have a few and they still work. We had to change the mono on those reels every two or three outings luckily Ande or Berkley line was about $5.00 for 2000 yards. You could get about 100 yards of 8 lb on the original BG 15. When I was able to I used both spinning for jigs and baitcasting for plugs. Miss those spinning days

Aaron Dean
Member

Luke to be fair I have asked Tony about these things, but I would really appreciate your feedback as well. I am about a 1month old member and I have watched almost all your videos including your kayak fishing course. Great Stuff!! I have a couple questions and if I am to post these somewhere else please let me know. I try to be judicious with my questions but need your help in these areas. I know there is a bit of info here but please help as I haven’t been able to get answers to these questions:
1. I have heard 2-4 feet of leader material, but when I push 4 feet of leader I cannot cast as accuratley or with the same amount of force as a shorter leader (the dart cast you showed me). What is your average leader length? What leader do you typically use, I have conisdering using the Berkley Vanish MAINLINE given your recent findings for my leader.
2. Much of the waters you fish are clear, I live in Naples and fish the back water which is almost always brown due to the tannins in the water as I am almost always fishing near mangroves. What if anything should I be doing different given I don’t get to sight cast much at all. Should my lures (gulp jerk shad, gulp shrimp), or presentation change etc.
3. There is not much grass or grass flats down here, mostly tannin stained water with sandy bottoms, You seem to target fish on the grass flats. How should I adapt, what would you do? There is Estero Bay up the road but I have never fished it., but understand it “may” hold grass flats.
4. I have been using the maps as you suggest, but when on the water should I be using my google maps to actually locate the drop off. In your videos you are often further off the shoreline than I ever am when fishing. I am usually fishing up next to the mangrove line and working lure back towardls my kayak. PS if you do use the google maps on your phone how the heck can you see them, In the sun I can hardly see my map.
5. Serious thoughts on Fishfinder and what do I really need (hook5 etc?). Being that I fish in 1-3 foot of water often will the passing over a 3 foot drop off from 1 foot be a place I should cast? I am jlust not sure how much a 500 investment in a down and lateral scanning fish finder (my hobie outback 2019 supports lateral scanning) would help me as I have never used one. And on top of that do they work in shallow water, are the helpful in shallow water?

THANK YOU SO MUCH! And my apologies for all the questions.

ERNEST DUNCAN
Guest
ERNEST DUNCAN

NICE TO HEAR FROM A FELLOW FISHERMAN, HOWEVER, I TAKE OFFENSE TO YOUR COMMENT ABOUT COMPARING THE BAIT CASTING VERSES SPINNING REELS. I AM A SALTWATER FISHERMAN & HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ONE SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND MY FRUSTRATION HEARING SOMEONE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED “BAIT-CASTING”. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO COMPARISON,WITH ALL DUE RESPECT.I HAVE EVEN USED SPINNING EQUIPMENT IN FRESH WATER.
I LIVE ON THE EAST COAST(CHARLESTON,S.C.) & HAVE THE PLEASURE OF FISHING BOTH “FRESH & SALT WATER”,HOWEVER MY PREFERENCE IS SALT. I FEEL THERE ARE MANY MORE VARIETIES OF GOOD FISH & LARGER ONES TO BE ENTERTAINED BY.
I RESPECT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING BUT LIKE MOST GOOD FISHERMEN, I WILL STRETCH MY STORY JUST A LITTLE.
THANKS FOR YOUR ARTICLE,
ERNIE

John Daly
Guest
John Daly

For me approaching a day of fishing presents opportunities to rely upon established habits with familiar equipment, blended with chances to experiment and learn how to use novel gear. At the end of the day, the target species of fish is gonna go about its very same day regardless of the fisherman’s choice of equipment. Bait vs spin gear, like the choice of bait(s) (size, weight, color etc), tidal flow, day light, water temperature, etc. selection are all elements of the daily sport of fishing.

For top water (0 – 15 feet) spinning is my preference for each reason you highlight. Wind knots are easily managed, after you have ‘matured’ the hard way. Meaning, observing a school disappear or move out of casting range as you untangle your mess, is a good motivator not to do that again. Similar to learning to regulate thumb pressure on to avoid a bird’s nest.

My preference for live lining bait free spool, or bottom fishing in depths and/or structure; the gear ratio, drag stopping power, and short stout rod length, is the bait caster. Also for heavy plugs into the wind/rain. Other conditions call out for the grace of an 11 foot spin surf caster, as opposed to the brut force of a crane.

Calm Seas are not a training ground for proficient Captains. Whether your present familiarity is spin or bait casting, getting out of your cove and into open waters is a great day on the water!!
Tight Lines!

John

Jason Mcpherson
Member

I was the same way Luke! I have some very nice bait casting outfits im going to try and take out when i can…. I believe i would prefer the bait casting with some of my hard twitch baits.

ROBERT
Guest
ROBERT

You didn’t mention anything after the hook-up. Perhaps some presentations are better with spinning gear. Conventional rigs are always better for fish-fighting control.

Gary Rankel
Member

Hey Luke…….I agree completely – a spinning reel with 8-10 lb braid is the way to go. Was that one of the new ZMan 7 inch minnows you had rigged? I just tried one the other day and it casts much farther than the 5 inchers. I wonder, however, if the 5 inch lure would be better because it comes closer to matching the bait fish in the area?? The 7 incher seems to big.

Werner Boeer
Member

Luke, after having finished in tournaments in Texas over the last few years I have discovered that there is a place for both spinning and bait casting equipment on my boat. Everything that you have said in your video on spinning versus bait casting is true. We generally start out the morning with top waters being worked with bait casters to help us locate the redfish. We get much better distance out of top water plugs with the bait casters. If wind becomes a factor, we change over to spin cast equipment with lighter plugs to give us the advantage to cast into the wind. There have been a couple of times when changing to spin cast equipment has saved the day by being able to throw into the wind. Overall though, in Texas, the bait caster gets the nod for being used more in tournaments to throw various types of bait than do spin casters.

Dewayne Merriman
Guest
Dewayne Merriman

Just watched your video on baitcasting vs spinning gear. You are right, east of the Mississippi use spinning gear and west of the Mississippi use baitcasting. While I have only been living in South Texas for eight years, we do tend to use baitcasting for inshore fishing. I normally throw plastics with a 1/8 ounce jig head. You do have to throw more parallel with the water when throwing into the wind, but it can be done. I use 30 lb braid with a 20 lb fluorocarbon leader. I do like the faster retrieve of the baitcaster when bringing in trout, especially when there are dolphins around. I use a custom 7 foot rod with micro guides and a spiral wrap. I think the micro guides help with casting distance. With the newer reels, having the adjustment on the outside of the reels helps when changing from throwing with the wind to throwing into the wind. I also find it much easier to fish with live croaker using a baitcaster.

Frederick traut
Guest
Frederick traut

Coming to you from the northeast. I am an avid surf fisherman an use all conventional. I use spinners for every thing else.

Joe
Member

luke- beyond excellent presentation. my question is-

are there plans for saltstrong to translate similar inshore to OFFSHORE -run&gun/jig&pop style , artificals exclusively, equipment and techniques?

thx much,
joe quellman

John Martin
Member

Thanks, Luke, just trying to master my spinning reel casting for inshore fishing. Have used bait casting here for trolling around Stump Pass and out shore distance into the Gulf. But spinning is totally my go to for casting light lures. Learning is always a pleasure for ones mine.
Best Regards
John

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I used bait casting reels quite a bit when pier fishing, but back then they were more like small conventional reels. I mostly used the Ambassadeur series reels. When tossing a bucktail or plug from the beach or jetties, I used spinning gear. Again, back then, the Mitchell 300 and 410 were the kings! In fact, I still use them!

John Sipe
Member

Luke, do you back your spinning reels with mono or another line before adding the 10b braid?

Sean Hoffmann
Guest
Sean Hoffmann

Texas=baitcaster
Florida=egg beaters
😉

Jay Jackson
Guest
Jay Jackson

Great Comparison. I fish with lures underneath a popping cork often, and I find it much easier to cast these setups with spinning tackle. As you mentioned, I prefer baitcasters with heavier plugs.

Hal
Member

It’s all about the lure you’re using and what you’re fishing for. That’s why I always carry both types of tackle……..to match what I’m trying to do at that moment. I probably use the baitcaster 90% of the time…..and the spinning rod only for really light lures and jigging when I want to hold the rod in my right hand.

Robert Tittl
Member

a left handed baitcasting reel will keep your rod in your right hand. i have been using such for decades. i have always wanted to hold my rod with my stronger more coordinated arm. and you don’t have to pass it back and forth between hands (assuming you also cast with your right arm).

Hal
Member

Just never worked for me.

David Stoots
Member

I think you covered it really well. Most of it boils down to personal preference and being confident in getting the job done in the given situation. As you mentioned, I think the bait caster might be a better choice with heavy plugs.