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Can you use a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod

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A lot of questions pop up in mind when selecting fishing gear. But the most common question I have heard mostly from beginners is “Can I use a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod?” or “Can a baitcasting reel be placed on a spinning rod?” Well, the straight answer to this is “NO”, you shouldn’t because there are some consequences with this innovation.

Practically you can place a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod and vice versa but technically not. Because will that be a perfect cast? No. Both types of reels are designed differently and are meant to be paired with their respective types of fishing rods.

There are tons of reasons why a spinning reel shouldn’t be placed on a baitcasting rod as it majorly targets casting accuracy so it is necessary to know more in detail about these technicalities.  

But first, I suggest you should learn the major differences between spinning and casting rods. Because it is a terrible idea to try this mismatch technique and you should know how each part of the rod is connected to the reel and how the reel affects their working. 

Difference between spinning and baitcasting rods

There are many different types of fishing rods like spinning rods, casting rods, trolling rods, surf fishing rods, ice fishing rods, and telescopic rods. The point here to understand is spinning and casting is techniques as you can have a surf fishing casting rod and also a spinning rod for surf fishing. The same is the case with all other types of rods.

So it is utterly important to know the difference between these two, I am quite sure once these distinctions are highlighted the confusion about using a spinning reel on baitcasting will be resolved automatically.  

difference between spinning rods and casting rods

You can learn about all the different types of fishing rods in our article on their types.

Rod Guides

The small metal loops placed on the fishing rods are “Rod guides”. They are placed to evenly distribute pressure between the rod and line, restrict the line from touching the rod, remove line coils, and play their role in casting accuracy.

Rods Guides are one of the major differences between spinning and casting rods. On spinning rods, guides are larger in diameter and placed facing downward. While on baitcasting rods, the guides are smaller, placed closely, and greater in number than spinning rod guides.

On spinning rods, the size of the guides gradually decreases from the butt to the tip i.e. the tip has the smallest guide. They are made this way to reduce friction.

When you use a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod, the line comes off the spool with larger coils, which was supposed to pass through the larger guides from downward to reduce friction but now as the baitcasting guides are facing upward, they will not only increase friction, over straightens and stretches the line, hence disturbed line flow, and effected casting efficiency.

The casting rod’s guides are made smaller in size, they tighten the line and remove the smaller coils coming off the bait caster’s spool. In the baitcasting setup, more pressure is on guides rather than rods.

This working of baitcasting setup is one of the major reasons why they aren’t recommended to beginners as line tangles, knots, and backslashes are major issues with this type of rod and reels.

Placing the spinning reel on the casting rod will increase pressure on the rod and may result in a snapped rod in half.

So very first point is, the baitcasting rod guides are meant and designed to work with spinning reels. 

Reel placement

Another, main and major difference between both types is the placement of reels. The spinning reels are placed on the bottom side spinning rods i.e. facing downward just like the guides.

While on the other hand, bait casters are placed on the above i.e. facing upward.  A baitcasting rod expert certain pressure from bait casters at a certain position and will bend the right way. When placed spinning the reel, all will be reversed.

This disturbed placement of the reel also leads to many loops and again casting accuracy, casting distance, and your ability to fish will be affected.

The bend of the rod

The spinning rod is designed to have a spinning reel on the back side of the handle so that it can bend the natural way with larger guides facing downward. When you combine both opposite gears, you are forcing the rod to bend upside down placing a lot of pressure on the rod, this may lead to rod breakage.

So another answer to the question “Can I use a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod?” is “No, it is a waste of money. As you may end up with a rod snapped into two halves”.

Why shouldn’t you use a spinning reel on a baitcasting Rod

It is not recommended for two main reasons:

  • Compatibility: Baitcasting rods are designed to work with baitcasting reels, which have different shapes and operating systems from spinning reels. As a result, using a spinning reel with a baitcasting rod may not provide the optimal balance, comfort, and control that you would get from using a baitcasting reel with a baitcasting rod.
  • Performance: When compared to spinning reels, baitcasting reels can handle heavier lures and lines and offer better casting distance, accuracy, and speed. When using a spinning reel with a baitcasting rod, you may experience difficulties with casting, line tangles, and overall control, especially when using heavier lures or fishing in stronger currents

In conclusion, if you are looking for the best performance, it is generally recommended to use a baitcasting reel with a baitcasting rod. However, if you already have a spinning reel and a baitcasting rod and you would like to try this combination, you may still be able to fish with it, but you may need to make some adjustments to your fishing technique and be mentally prepared for the inconvenience as these casts will not be a smoother or accurate one.


What happens when you place a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod


When a spinning reel is placed on a baitcasting rod, the result can be a mess of backlash. The spinning reels are designed to work with light lines and are not made to be used with heavier lines. This mismatch of components leads to frequent backlashes as the spinning reel is unable to handle the weight and tension of the heavier line. The backlashes can be a time-consuming nuisance that can frustrate anglers and even damage the line. To avoid this issue, it’s best to use the correct type of reel for the type of fishing you’re doing.

Twisting of the line

Another common problem is the twisting of the line. This is because spinning reels have an open-faced spool that allows the line to be released in a tangled manner. This can cause knots, tangles, and other complications when trying to cast. As the line is released, it twists around the spool and winds around itself. This will cause your casting accuracy to suffer due to the difficulty in controlling the line. Therefore, it is important to take extra care when using spinning reels on baitcasting rods in order to avoid any unwanted tangles.

Poor Casting Performance

One of the most evident consequences of placing spinning reels on a baitcasting rod is poor casting performance. This combination disrupts the natural balance of the rod and reel, making it hard to cast. As a result, the spinning reel will not be able to spin freely, resulting in an inaccurate cast. Furthermore, the back spinning line will cause the lure to be pulled down into the water before reaching its target distance. This drastically reduces the accuracy of the cast and makes it difficult to catch the fish. The overall effect of using a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod is severely reduced due to poor casting performance.

Poor Casting efficiency

This combo can have serious effects on your casting efficiency. This is because spinning reels are not designed to be used on baitcasting rods. Spinning reels feature a fixed spool that allows for a much slower line release compared to baitcasting reels. When the line is released too slowly, it causes a backlash as it coils around the spool, resulting in tangles and knots. Additionally, due to the slow release of the line from the spool, it’s much harder to get consistent distance when casting. The slow line release also makes it difficult to retrieve your lure. All of these factors contribute to poor casting performance, making it difficult for you to catch any fish.

Frequently Asked Questions


In conclusion, it is possible to use a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod, but this combination but there are certain advantages and disadvantages to using a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod, so the best decision is to use the right type of reel with the right type of rod. Be sure to consult an expert or do some research before attempting this combination, in any case, you are so curious to try.

 A final wrap on this question will be that the spinning reels aren’t meant to work on a baitcasting rod and vice versa.