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Spinning vs Casting Rods: How to Choose the Ideal Fishing Rod

ByAnthony Hendriks

Oct 16, 2020
Spinning vs Casting Rods

Being a beginner in anything is hard, and it’s no different from aspiring anglers. Before you head out to the local lake, river or ocean and get to make your first catch, there are a few things to learn in order to ensure a successful experience. Knowing the local regulations, fish species habitats, and what equipment is the best for fishing where you want to fish is crucial to your success and enjoyment. Picking out equipment is especially difficult for beginners, and there’s not a single more important piece of equipment than your fishing rod.

Being synonymous with quality, Shimano is the chosen brand for many aspiring anglers. But before you start looking at all the different Shimano spinning rods and casting rods, you need to do your due diligence, and figure out what fish you’re targeting. Some beginners focus on a single species, while others want to target as many as possible. Personally, I prefer focusing on a specific type of fish, as that’s the best way to learn to catch that fish and pick your gear accordingly. This is the simplest way to narrow down your choices when it comes to picking the ideal fishing rod.

Then, you’ll have to decide where you want to fish – saltwater or freshwater? Some fishing equipment can be used for both environments, while other types restrict you. Regardless, it’s recommended you get equipment that’s made of materials that aren’t prone to rust. As long as you don’t use specific freshwater equipment in the ocean, you’ll be fine. Once you’ve decided on the species and where you want to fish, it’s time to figure out what type of fishing rod will help you get the most success.

Casting Rods

Casting rods are suitable for fishing if you’re able to pinpoint the placement of the lure or bait. These rods feature guide rings on top of them, which means the reels for casting rods sit on top of it as well. Casting rods are further categorised as bait and spin casting rods. 

Spin casting rods are ideal for kids or beginners. They feature smaller guide rings and a forefinger trigger grip. The casting rod design combines with a spin casting reel and a covered spool. Most of these rods feature a tiny guide ring close to the reel. These rods are simple to use, but at the cost of accuracy and distance. 

Bait casting rods also attach to the top of the reel, but they’re typically meant for experienced anglers. The guide ring close to the reel is larger than that of the spin cast rod. Additionally, these rods se bait casting reels, which are open spooled. Another notable feature is their tough backbone, which doesn’t allow the rod to bend as much, allowing the lure to rip through vegetation or hook into strong fish. 

Spinning Rods

Shimano spinning rods are similar in shape to Shimano casting rods, except they’re lighter and thinner. These rods range from 1.5 meters to 3 meters in length. The reel these rods use is attached and hangs off the bottom of the rod instead of the top. Spinning rods also feature a larger guide ring closest to the reel in order to reduce friction on the line as you cast it. And given the fact that the reel is under the rod, most beginners will find it comfortable and easy to learn to use.

Regardless of whether you go for a spinning or casting fishing rod, you need to pay mind to its power and action (flex). The action of the rod refers to the area where and how much the rod bends when it’s loaded. It’s important to understand that rod action also relates to the thickness of the rod, and the thickness limits the curvature of the rod as it bends. There are three types of rod action-heavy, medium and light. 

  • Heavy action rods are stiff and most of the bend happens at the uppermost part. This action is sensitive to small nibbles and is easy to dislodge a hook if it snags. Heavy action rods are great for strong fish, bottom fishing and heavy lures. 
  • Moderate action rods bend slightly deeper, near the middle part of the rod. These rods are versatile, making them suitable for beginners. Moderate action rods feel like they have a backbone, and more strength to pull in big fish, but they aren’t as heavy for beginner anglers to wield and manipulate.
  • Light action rods are the most flexible, and they bend near the bottom end of the road. This action feels very whippy, light and is great for light bait.

Generally, the action you decide to go for will depend on a few factors – what you’re trying to catch, your casting technique and the type of lure you use.

And then there’s fishing rod power which is a rating similar to action, except it refers to the rod’s resistance to flexing. The heavier the rod power rating of the rod is, the more resistant it will be to flexing. You want a rod with a power rating that’s sufficient enough to handle the weight of the lure and line, both of which you can find on the rod itself.

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.