Spinning Reels vs. Baitcasters: Which Reel Is Best For Inshore Fishing?


This might be one of the most controversial topics we’ve ever covered on the podcast…

Yes, that’s right, today we are talking about baitcasters vs. spinning reels!

The other day I had a young man reach out to me on Instagram and ask us why we rarely use baitcasters.

Trying to figure out the real reason he was asking this question, I turned it around on him and asked him why he only uses baitcasters.

His answer was, essentially, that it makes him feel more like a man!

I’m all for feeling like a man, but when I go out fishing, I have one goal: catch fish.

So here’s the real question…

Which is better for catching inshore fish: a baitcaster or a spinning reel?

In this debate with the Salt Strong fishing coaches, we cover every aspect of these reels to come up with a conclusion, including:

  • Casting accuracy and distance
  • Retrieve speed
  • Power
  • Weight
  • Wind knots vs. bird’s nests
  • Ease of use
  • Maintenance
  • And, of course, manliness

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Spinning Reels vs. Baitcasters [VIDEO]

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Spinning Reels vs. Baitcasters [PODCAST]

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storing your fishing rod and reel

The calculator says… spinning reels are better for catching fish!

In all seriousness, they may be better, but it also has a lot to do with what you’re comfortable with.

If you grew up using baitcasters, you can still catch a ton of fish on them.

We (that is, us except for Mark) think spinning reels are better so if you’re on the fence about using one or the other, we suggest you use a spinning reel.

Have any questions about spinning reels vs baitcasters?

Or other further comments on the topic?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who uses a baitcaster, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Terrence Tolbert
2 years ago

Great discussion, I recently purchased a cadence baitcastier and it was a nightmare. Granite I could have taken it out on more trips but the moment I get in to a school of fish after about 3 cast I start getting tangled. At this point not worth the headache

Robert Harris
3 years ago

When my uncle got me my first spinning reel tn the “60’s”, he taught me to cast by holding my finger against the top edge of the spool, not hooking the line with my finger. This lets me slow the cast by lightly touching the top of the spool with my finger, or stop it if the wind blows it into the mangroves { it is always the wind’s fault}. I have done this all my life, except with the surf reels, my fingers aren’t that long!

Capt. Ray Markham
3 years ago

I’ve been using baitcasters for about 65 years. You might want to think again about what reel holds the long-distance casting record. The distance of 915.22 feet is held by an Abu Garcia baitcasting reel. Much of how well you can cast, both a spinning or baitcasting reel, has to do with the combination of your rod and your reel and your skill level is. Skipping baits are easier for spinning reels, but for line control, the baitcaster is better for me. If you have issues with backlashes, I believe the Daiwa Coastal CLSVTW150 with their T-wing design line guide offers the longest cast without backlashing of any reel on the market, even in the hands of a non-expert. Also, it IS considered a saltwater reel because of it’s seals and bearings.

3 years ago

Can I get off subject a little, what do you think about using Vaseline petroleum jelly to lube your reels?

Adam Bailey
2 years ago
Reply to  Carl

Only use lubricants made for fishing reels – reel oil, gear grease, drag grease. Vaseline to lube a reel is like squeezing toothpaste into your engine block; not good in case there’s any question about my example.

3 years ago

Great podcast! I absolutely love my Lew’s inshore baitcasters for topwater/jerk bait fishing but spinning reels for everything else.

3 years ago

I listen to the podcast and couldn’t understand why you were comparing the two. They were designed to compliment the other, not compete. They both have their advantages, but to say one is superior to the other is only reducing your odds of success. They are designed for different tactics. Baitcasters today are virtually backlash proof, so if that’s your reasoning, your off. Redfish, trout, snook fishing isn’t always about distance and light line, spinning will always win that issue. Im sure you very rarely cast as long as you can on every cast. Oh, and Lew’s makes a saltwater baitcaster!

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thanks for leaving the comment. We were comparing them because many people ask about when they should use one vs. the other. I totally agree that they both have their unique situations were one will outperform the other. Baitcasters are tough to beat for short casts where accuracy is the #1 need.

3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

@Luke – Short casts? I could hit your house from Pinellas with a full size Zara Spook on a baitcaster 😀

@OP – I have two of the Lew’s inshore reels. They are fantastic!

Lee Chaney
3 years ago
Reply to  Stefan

And thats a saltwater baitcaster your guy said they don’t make!. You also have to compare the setup. you can work a lure much more effectively with a bait casting setup because of small eyes on rods and straight line release give you better control over the bait. Length of cast is a non issue anymore.

Lee Chaney
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Luke, I made the original comment, idk why I was anonymous.

3 years ago

This might have beed yall’s best one….this was hillarious. Love it!

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment!

Michael Danagher
3 years ago

It’s about type of fishing… If I’m fishing open water…Spinning is the only way to go (for me). If I’m fishing shore line, docks, etc. There is no way to beat a baitcaster. When I over-shoot my target.. I stop the cast by mashing down on the spool… done it all my life. I’ll bounce it right on the dock 2×6 and drop it straight down. No way I can grab the spinning line quick enough to do that. Also, with both spinning and baitcasting you can underhand cast…but I can control the distance with the bait-caster. Baitcaster are all about finesse… 30-60 feet. Again controlling the distance is where the lure drop is critical… always in the bait caster favor. I cast texas rigged worms, 4″ Plastics, and 3/8 oz spoons just fine. Speed is another advantage… I can reel in and shoot much faster than spinning. The down side is you need to adjust the baitcaster controls for every type of lure and weight you put on. You must do this or you will get rat nests. And you can’t really cast directly into the wind. I use both spin and bait caster. Since I fish structure most often, I catch most of my fish on baitcasters. I just wish we could really get salt water baitcasters. I just buy the cheap ones and discard after a year.

Luke Simonds
3 years ago

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment Michael!

Dave Otte
3 years ago

I loved this podcast! The banter and the fun and the experience you all brought made it fun and useful. For what it’s worth, I do a lot of trolling with the paddletail and now the jerk shad with a spinning reel in a skiff and a kayak. Those baits do not cause wind knots while trolling.

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Otte

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Dave!


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