Fishing rods serve the purpose of holding your line along a straight path until you are ready to toss it in a specific direction, thus allowing you greater distance when casting your bait into the waters. Two of the main reel types used by anglers are bait-casting and spinning reels. While both types of equipment are used for essentially the same task, each offers its own unique advantages on the water.
Bait-casting rods require more skill to use than rods equipped with spinning reels. To cast with a bait-casting rod, you hold it in your hand like you would a tennis racket with the reel facing up toward you. The weight of the rod should rest on your index finger and your thumb should lie across the line in the reel at a 45-degree angle. Pull back the rod and flick it forward overhand to cast. As the rod snaps forward fully, lift your thumb to release the line from the spool. When done correctly, the weight and lure on the end of your line will unroll the line on the reel, landing the bait at your target.
Spinning reels are much easier to cast and typically are used by amateur anglers before graduating to a bait-casting rod. You hold a spinning rod with the reel on the underside of the rod so that you can grasp the line with your index finger. To cast your bait, flip the line catch over the reel so the line can be released. This is the metal piece of wire that arches over the line. Firmly hold the line an inch or two against the rod with your index finger an inch or two above the reel so it is pinched in place. Pull the rod out to your side and flick the tip toward your target with a wrist action similar to skipping a stone. Release your index finger from the line when the rod is forward to release the lure.
Bait-casting rods are longer than spinning rods and typically outfitted with heavier gauge line. This makes them the ideal choice if you are casting long distances or fishing for heavy freshwater fish like walleye and bass. The line on a bait-casting rod and reel comes off straight, creating greater accuracy when casting and reducing the need to replace the line regularly, as can be necessary with the coiled line of a spinning rod.
Spinning Rod Advantages
According to Dr. Ronald Dodson on the Bass Resource website, spinning rods have many advantages over their bait-casting counterparts. The spooling system of a spinning rod prevents the line from becoming tangled in the reel, which can be a major problem for beginners with a bait-casting rod. Additionally, the larger spool of the spinner rod allows you to reel in faster.