Putting a Baitcaster on a Spinning Rod? Read this First!


It’s always great when you can adapt your fishing gear. But there may be times when it is a bad idea.

Creating a sub-optimal rod and reel combination can drastically affect your catch rate.

An example. Putting a baitcaster on a spinning rod! Why? Well, you are about to find out.

I’m going to talk you through why it might not be a good idea, show you the differences and give you the benefit of my experience.

Let’s cast out!

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Can You Use a Baitcaster on a Spinning Rod?

In short, no.

The truth is that it is probably not a good idea to use a baitcaster on a spinning rod.

Why?

The two are mismatched. Spinning rods are designed to work with spinning reels, baitcasters are designed to work with baitcasting rods. When was the last time you saw something purposely designed used for something else to good effect?

Your casting will be affected, as will your bait presentation and ultimately your retrieve. Imagine hooking into your personal best bass only for the rod to break?

There are plenty of reasons to avoid putting a baitcaster on a spinning rod. To understand why we need to look at a few differences between the two…

two fishing rods with reels - spinning reel and baitcasting reel

Spinning Rods and Reels Compared to Baitcasting Rods and Reels

Still, considering it? Think again. Here’s how spinning rods and baitcasting rods differ.

Reel Direction

Take a good look at anyone using a spinning reel, and then have a quick watch of someone using a baitcasting reel.

What do you notice? Does anything stand out?

Yup.

People who use a spinning rod will have the reel mounted underneath the rod. Those who are fishing with a baitcaster will use the rod with the reel on top!

This might not seem like a big difference, but can you imagine fishing with a spinning rod oriented upside down? Or with a baitcaster on the bottom.

Sounds weird, right? Essentially that’s what you’ll be doing if you try and fish with a baitcast reel on a spinning rod.

Blank’ Bias’

Some carbon blanks (which is a fancy name for the rod’s backbone) are engineered to flex in a certain way. This ensures that they get the best casting distance and behave correctly when pulling in a fish.

Why is this important?

Well, using the rod in the opposite way may result in it being overstressed. Not good.

Rod Rings and Line Guides

If you’ve ever taken a look at sea fishing rod and reel combos, you’ll normally find that they specify whether they are made for a fixed spool reel or a multiplier.

The reason?

It’s all to do with the rings. The rings support the line. On a spinning rod, there’ll be fewer rings as it takes less to hold the line away from the rod’s body. On a baitcaster, the rings are smaller and closer together. There needs to be significantly more ‘structure’ to support the line as the rod bends away from it.

Rod Action

Spinning rods tend to be much softer. This serves several functions.

Such as?

It allows you to accelerate lighter lures, thus increasing casting distance. It also acts as suspension, meaning you can fight bigger fish with a lighter rod and reel.

Conversely…

Baitcasters tend to be stiffer, with the gearing and spool of the baitcasting reel taking the brunt of the force. Think about how much weight you’d cast with a baitcaster? It is far over what a spinning rod could safely handle.

man fishing using baitcasting reel

Reasons Not to Use a Baitcasting Reel on a Spinning Rod

Still not convinced?

Ok, here are some great reasons not to use a baitcasting reel with your spinning rod.

Loss of Casting Distance

Remember what I said about there being fewer eyes on a spinning rod? This means you are going to get loose line flying everywhere during the cast. This will increase friction and, as a result, cause you to lose significant distance in your casts.

You Could Break Your Rod

Spinning rods are designed to flex in a certain way.

And let me tell you this…

That way is not backward!

In order to use a baitcaster with a rod meant for spinning, you’ll have to invert it. Essentially this means that you will be bending the blank the wrong way. This increases the chance of you breaking your rod!

You Could Crush your Line Guides

Imagine 5 people carrying a heavy weight and a separate group of 10 people carrying the same load.

Let me ask you a question…

Which group has the easier job?

Baitcasting rods have closer and more frequent eyes, thus spreading the load. Spinning rods, on the other hand, have fewer eyes, resulting in more line pressure.

If you have tried to fish using a baitcaster and a spinning rod, you may notice that your line guides are becoming warped.

It Looks Silly!

Look.

We all had to start somewhere, and we have all learned from our mistakes.

But…

Nothing is going to scream ‘noob’ more than you turning up at the swim with a mismatched rod and reel.

What’s the answer?

Well, it is easy. Pair your spinning rod up with the right reel.

How?

I’ve got plenty of great guides. Here’s one about the best bass fishing rod and reel combos

And.

Oops, would you believe it? Here is another great one on the best carp fishing rod and reel combos.

My Friend, here’s what you need…

An education.

Head on over to my article on the different types of fishing reels to learn all you need to know.

In Summary

Putting a baitcaster reel on a spinning rod is not a good idea. But hey, look, we have all made mistakes! By doing so, you’ll look like an absolute amateur, risk damaging your rod, and it will really affect your fishing.

If you check out some of my other gear guides, you’ll see perfectly paired combos, and what’s more. They are super cheap. Whether we are talking ice fishing or even the best rod and reel setups for catfishing, there’s plenty to see.

What is your biggest fishing faux pas? Let me know in the comments and share your shame!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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