Spinning vs. conventional. What's the difference?

Grew up saltwater fishing and everything was spinning reels, regardless of what we were fishing for. Same thing with freshwater, though the reels were a little smaller.

I see a lot of freshwater guys with strictly conventional reels on their boats. Why? What is the difference between the two and why are conventional that much more popular bass fishing? Do they offer that much of an advantage?

Just curious. Thanks!
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Replies

  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 6,396 Admiral
    PROS: More accurate, better distance (except for lightest lures), tougher, better drags IMO (not a huge deal for bass tho), more mechanically efficient, more ergonomic in the hand, less "clunky" when it comes to storage/handling

    CONS: Backlashes, not so good with the lightest of lures
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,555 Moderator
    PROS: More accurate, better distance (except for lightest lures), tougher, better drags IMO (not a huge deal for bass tho), more mechanically efficient, more ergonomic in the hand, less "clunky" when it comes to storage/handling

    CONS: Backlashes, not so good with the lightest of lures

    All this ^^ and , certain presentations and lures are easier with conventional . Flipping with heavy braid , crankbaits , Pitching soft plastics around cover. With spinning I throw light topwater baits and weightless worms.

    You could do all you need with two conventional and two spinning. IMO
    "You'll get your weather"
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 686 Officer
    Backlashes are my biggest problem. At least for the first 30 minutes before I adapt. I can see how flipping would be easier.

    All right. Thanks for the input.
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 7,074 Admiral
    I agree with all of the above, but I'd say far and away the number one reason is accuracy. Also not having to deal with wind knots is a close second :)

    Captain Todd Approves

  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,555 Moderator
    mikenav wrote: »
    Backlashes are my biggest problem. At least for the first 30 minutes before I adapt. I can see how flipping would be easier.

    All right. Thanks for the input.

    It will still happen :banghead but with less frequency the more you do it.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 580 Officer
    anyone with a traditional 7 to 7.5' rod with a Baitcaster tied to it would like to have a little distance contest vs. a spinning outfit please let me know. I'm also up for Distance-Accuracy or Accuracy within shorter distances too.

    The Conventional has been around longer and has the superior drag system since time began. Less bulky and easier to stack on the bow for those that require 13 rods up there with them.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • fishonfishon Posts: 947 Officer
    I am enjoying my small 1000 spinners on med rods 30 braid and med/heavy rods 65 Braid. Upsized the handle for comfort and power. I was not sure about Flippin and Pitchin, but not a problem. Wind knots can be an issue, but I have less of them than my friends have with backlash. I like the rod staying in my dominant right hand too, not having to switch back and forth after each cast. I grew up with bait casters, so I do know what I'm missing... Fish with what you like, i maybe singing another tune if the drag fails me on a monster? But 40 inch snook have not torn them up, so let's see if the big bass can....
    Triton 1870 Bay Sport, 115 merc. 4/stroke,
    Fish Shallow saltwater, lakes central Fl. And Lake Oconee Ga.
    Live in Lakeland
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 580 Officer
    I keep a few baitcasters but Spinning is go to for ALL Species. As far as "switching hands" with a baitcaster, silly I agree. If your Right Handed naturally then your RIGHT HAND has the Wiggle, walk the dog and slack line popping down pat (coordinated) but my left hand is kinda DUMB. I reel with my Left Hand on my baitcasters as well...no hand switching which I think is just silly. Some PRO at one time must have used the WRONG Handed reel and everyone just kinda assumed that is how it is done...no it aint. Here is a knee slapper too, I reel with my left hand on my spinning outfits so I never have to change from Smart Dominant hand to my dumb lefty no matter the "Catching" tool in my hand. The exception is off shore Conventional which is dominated by reels that are retrieved with your right hand making your Left hand the "pumping" hand.

    Buying the correct reel over the internet is made difficult as well because of the Industry Manufacturers that are NOT standardized even in this day and age. Example: Pick 15 manufacturers for Baitcasting Reels. Some will call them Left {Handed} or Right {Handed}, which means that they have already placed the Handle on the side that right handed people reel from according to them. While other manufacturers will call them Right {Hand} or Left {Hand} signifying the side the handle is located on, and you pick which one you want.
    I'm Right handed and reel with my left. I don't swap hands in a cast with any reel setup.

    fishon wrote: »
    I am enjoying my small 1000 spinners on med rods 30 braid and med/heavy rods 65 Braid. Upsized the handle for comfort and power. I was not sure about Flippin and Pitchin, but not a problem. Wind knots can be an issue, but I have less of them than my friends have with backlash. I like the rod staying in my dominant right hand too, not having to switch back and forth after each cast. I grew up with bait casters, so I do know what I'm missing... Fish with what you like, i maybe singing another tune if the drag fails me on a monster? But 40 inch snook have not torn them up, so let's see if the big bass can....
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 7,074 Admiral
    I've had the dominant hand reeling and casting discussion before. No matter what your dominance, it must be very unique to the individual.

    For example I am right handed, but reeling with my left hand feels very weird and I can't do it.

    For me, reeling has a lot more motion and movement, while holding and working the rod doesn't. So for me, reeling with my right hand feels way more natural.

    I think with handedness and fishing we tend to think how it feels to us is how it feels to everyone. I've had enough discussions on the subject to realize that isn't the case. It's different for everyone.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

    Captain Todd Approves

  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 580 Officer
    Agree with setup being the individual feel...i just wish the industry would standardize the way they ID a Reel being right or left or right or left handed....but to see anyone make a cast and then swap hands to retrieve will never be correct in my view.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • GRIZZLGRIZZL Posts: 761 Officer
    mikenav wrote: »
    Grew up saltwater fishing and everything was spinning reels, regardless of what we were fishing for. Same thing with freshwater, though the reels were a little smaller.

    I see a lot of freshwater guys with strictly conventional reels on their boats. Why? What is the difference between the two and why are conventional that much more popular bass fishing? Do they offer that much of an advantage?

    Just curious. Thanks!

    I have both setups all the time. Spinning= lighter line for spooky fish, more open water-no snags, lighter smaller lures to match the hatch
    Bait casting Med Action= Big spinner baits , deep diving crank baits, sensitive tip for detecting strikes
    Bait Casting Heavy= Flipping/Pitching in heavy cover. Braided line and/or braided line with Floro leader for spooky fish, frogging over pads/grass

    Use the right setup for HOW/What you are fishing
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 9,187 Admiral
    I have used spinning reels my entire life, actually when i was 6 I used the old push button zebco from Kmart. But i prefer spinning because it's all i've ever used. Going to get a couple of levelwinds for trolling, but i've got spinning rods for that too. For me I prefer to set the hook with a spinning setup, when i tried with a baitcaster, it didn't feel as natural.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • fishonfishon Posts: 947 Officer
    Agree Soda, I am much more comfortable giving a two power an E ticket ride on hook set, using a spoon inner rig!
    Triton 1870 Bay Sport, 115 merc. 4/stroke,
    Fish Shallow saltwater, lakes central Fl. And Lake Oconee Ga.
    Live in Lakeland
  • Josh StewartJosh Stewart Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    capt louie wrote: »
    All this ^^ and , certain presentations and lures are easier with conventional . Flipping with heavy braid , crankbaits , Pitching soft plastics around cover. With spinning I throw light topwater baits and weightless worms.

    You could do all you need with two conventional and two spinning. IMO

    I couldn't have said it better...
    Live to Fish
    Buy DMi, Inc.
    Josh Stewart
    9942 State Road 52
    Hudson, FL 34669
    Office: 888-296-9928 Ext: 200
    Email: [email protected]
    http://www.livetofish.com
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 2,875 Moderator
    RealSeabee wrote: »
    The Conventional has been around longer and has the superior drag system since time began.

    Wait, what? Maybe I'm using the wrong reels but I would trust the drag on a relatively cheap spinning reel over that of even the best baitcaster.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,212 Officer
    When I was a kid there were no spinning reels and I learned to fish with a knucklebusting baitcaster and a flyrod. That said I use spinning now days and agree with Louie. Finesse worm fishing I'll use a spinning rod with 6 lb line but usually use a baitcaster with 8.
  • SizuperSizuper Posts: 293 Deckhand
    I've never understood it either. I find bait casters akin to masochism. I always wonder why anyone would do that to themselves. The pros and cons start with this:

    Cons: backlash on every cast unless you use your thumb to perfectly minster the reel on every cast.
    Debate over. Spinning wins. No other combo of factors can touch how absurd it is to have to worry about backlashes. Lifetime of spin-fishing, number of backlashes: zero. Case settled for me. :)

    I hear the word "accuracy" mentioned a lot...shoot, I can hit a dime from any distance with a spinning reel, and so can everyone who practices.

    I never understood how so many folks prefer to fish a reel that requires you to suck the rod butt into your chest the whole time, and has such a small crank that you have to use tiny little T-Rex arms to turn it.

    It's always been the weirdest phenomenon seeing anyone use them, let alone almost all largemouth bass anglers. Whenever I see someone fishing for the first time with a spinning reel and they have it upside down - we've all seen that unfortunate soul at least a couple times - I always think, well that's still better than a bait caster.
  • Austins26Austins26 Posts: 1,989 Captain
    I agree I'm very confident with my Spinning outfits be it Distance, Accuracy (any distance).

    I sold All my Baitcasters 20 years ago. Have learned to cast Baitcaster reels when I was 11 (I mowed 3 yards to Buy my First BC'er a Shimano Bantam) I realized I was not a Sponsored Bass/Snook fishermen.

    I use spinners for everything freshwater including Flipping heavy cover. An all my inshore fishing ( any Structure, Snook, Tarpon)

    Conventional reels have there place for Large Saltwater Applications
    RealSeabee wrote: »
    anyone with a traditional 7 to 7.5' rod with a Baitcaster tied to it would like to have a little distance contest vs. a spinning outfit please let me know. I'm also up for Distance-Accuracy or Accuracy within shorter distances too.

    The Conventional has been around longer and has the superior drag system since time began. Less bulky and easier to stack on the bow for those that require 13 rods up there with them.
    The Original HOTD poster
    680k views 360 plus posts Deleted by a so called Mod over a little cleavage

    member since Oct 1998 long before most of You
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 6,396 Admiral
    Sizuper wrote: »
    I've never understood it either. I find bait casters akin to masochism. I always wonder why anyone would do that to themselves. The pros and cons start with this:

    Cons: backlash on every cast unless you use your thumb to perfectly minster the reel on every cast.
    Debate over. Spinning wins. No other combo of factors can touch how absurd it is to have to worry about backlashes. Lifetime of spin-fishing, number of backlashes: zero. Case settled for me. :)

    I hear the word "accuracy" mentioned a lot...shoot, I can hit a dime from any distance with a spinning reel, and so can everyone who practices.

    I never understood how so many folks prefer to fish a reel that requires you to suck the rod butt into your chest the whole time, and has such a small crank that you have to use tiny little T-Rex arms to turn it.

    It's always been the weirdest phenomenon seeing anyone use them, let alone almost all largemouth bass anglers. Whenever I see someone fishing for the first time with a spinning reel and they have it upside down - we've all seen that unfortunate soul at least a couple times - I always think, well that's still better than a bait caster.

    That's just stupid.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,178 Captain
    Complaining about back lash is like spinning reel users complaining about wind knots. Just because you don't know how to use something doesn't mean it's stupid or even obsolete. For some people, it's something they just don't get, idk if they just don't have the feel for it or what it is.

    They each have their applications. Spinning tends to be more finesse than conventional/bait casting.

    Most guys won't throw heavy plugs over 3/4 ounce with spinning tackle. I used to, but accuracy with the bait caster is much easier and a smoother stop, IE it's easier to over cast and stop it short when needed with the bait caster as to the abrupt stopping and splash of a spinner if needed to stop on a dime. I also have less wear on my fingers from using a bait caster for bigger plugs. Also in tight situations I find it easier to flip or swing baits with a bait caster when distances are less than 30 feet. I just feel I can softly land it on a bass beds if needed. Usually with a little flick of the wrist. The trajectory of my casts with bait casters also make it easier to skip under docks or trees

    In open water, I'll take a spinning rod hands down unless throwing big plugs, as accuracy isn't really needed usually. Also, throwing the really light stuff can be difficult on a bait caster, leading to many backlashes and causing those to go to spinning tackle.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
  • SC53SC53 Posts: 365 Deckhand
    Some good points made on these, especially Reel Teal, but here's my experience.

    Each type has some advantages to the other.

    Before braid, if you wanted to throw mono (all we had) over say 17-20#, you used a bait-casting reel. Try to throw mono in that size, or above, from a say 4000 size reel and your casting distance was very comparable to the BC. You had to move up in reel size to be able to toss the heavy stuff. This meant a bigger, less comfortable reel to fish with, especially working lures.

    The other inherent problem with spinning reels is its design. Because of how the line is retrieved, it has to make a 90 degree turn before being put back on the spool. This results in line twist. You cannot stop it, even with braid (although it's less noticeable). It's just the design flaw.
    Friction is also caused by the roller as it makes the turn and this weakens the line along with the twist.

    Because of their design, bait-casters do not have these issues as the line comes directly off the spool.
    Also, because of their "winch-like" design, BC's have better pulling power than a spinner.

    Braid changed the whole heavy mono problem but the design flaw is still present.
  • gnappignappi Posts: 55 Deckhand
    I grew up with a Mitchel 301 left handed spinning reel and an automatic fly reel because nobody made a left handed fly reel.

    When I moved to Florida in the 70's I used Penn Internationals for deep water but, I always had light spinners aboard for when I got into some dolphin or just to drift with a floating 2x6, wood door, or other debris or in the ICW for Jacks.

    For casting I too never used anything but a spinner. My Dad and I used to have contests with a Mepps "0" or "1" without barbs casting to hit stones on our dirt road with old line that was going to be replaced, and lures above swirling creek pools for trout. For some like me the bother and cost of learning anything else simply had no benefit at all. What you grow up with you use life long unless as in my salt water fishing other reels became more practical.

    For a beginner, I think it can go either way. A great teacher can help a newbie get either down fairly quickly.
    Regards,

    Gary
  • gnappignappi Posts: 55 Deckhand
    That's just stupid.

    As is your reply.
    Regards,

    Gary
  • gnappignappi Posts: 55 Deckhand
    Sizuper wrote: »
    I've never understood it either. I find bait casters akin to masochism. I always wonder why anyone would do that to themselves. The pros and cons start with this:

    Cons: backlash on every cast unless you use your thumb to perfectly minster the reel on every cast.
    Debate over. Spinning wins. No other combo of factors can touch how absurd it is to have to worry about backlashes. Lifetime of spin-fishing, number of backlashes: zero. Case settled for me. :)

    I hear the word "accuracy" mentioned a lot...shoot, I can hit a dime from any distance with a spinning reel, and so can everyone who practices.

    I never understood how so many folks prefer to fish a reel that requires you to suck the rod butt into your chest the whole time, and has such a small crank that you have to use tiny little T-Rex arms to turn it.

    It's always been the weirdest phenomenon seeing anyone use them, let alone almost all largemouth bass anglers. Whenever I see someone fishing for the first time with a spinning reel and they have it upside down - we've all seen that unfortunate soul at least a couple times - I always think, well that's still better than a bait caster.

    Growing up with spinners (read my separate post) I agree, zero back lash, extreme accuracy no problem, but why some folks use what equipment is of no concern to me. I prefer rear drag, it seems I'm nearly alone, in the U.S anyway. In the Eurozone it's another matter completely as was recently pointed out (thankfully) to me.

    BTW, your comment about T-Rex arms does nothing but add heat to a discussion without light :-)
    Regards,

    Gary
  • SizuperSizuper Posts: 293 Deckhand
    That's just stupid.

    While I meant the main points I made, the color commentary was just funnin', hoping to lighten the mood. gnappi definitely got it. Good discussion thus far, but I dot have a reply to your comment...Life's too short to argue about fishing reels.
  • RareRare Posts: 245 Deckhand
    Throwing lures, catching bait, beach fishing, etc spinning reel.

    Off the pier, bridges fishing, boats (depends). Mainly on the bridges because we set up rods, the conventional clicker is great and a flip of the lever you are fighting. Yes, bait-runner like Shimano you can use and i have but conventional i prefer. Enjoy casting them more than spinning reel. On the boat, like the Yankee Capt. on their lite PR trip the line capacity/torque is nice to have as well without getting a bigger size spinning reel. $$$
  • gnappignappi Posts: 55 Deckhand
    Sizuper wrote: »
    Life's too short to argue about fishing reels.

    +1, good on you! Fish instead!
    Regards,

    Gary
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    Gravity favors the reel under the rod in terms of balance. IMO baitcasters do afford less pointer finger casting cuts with heavy rigs, hence why surf casters love them. They def both have strengths and weaknesses.
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 19,002 AG
    RealSeabee wrote: »
    anyone with a traditional 7 to 7.5' rod with a Baitcaster tied to it would like to have a little distance contest vs. a spinning outfit please let me know.


    You do know all the long distance casting contests are won with hot rodded conventional reels...right?
    Simple physics....as line comes off a spinner...there will be increasing friction as line goes around the lip of the spool.
    A conventional...once the spool is in motion...( law of conservation of movement bla bla bla) it tends to stay in motion.

    lesson over..... :wink
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 19,002 AG
    What you use..is also location dependent...

    If you show up on the Texas coast...with a spinner...they know you are not a local...or a Texan.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
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