How To Cast A Spinning Reel

Regardless of what kind of an angler you are, knowing how to cast a spinning reel is an important skill to have. It tends to be the next step up for beginners, once they’ve gotten used to casting with a spin casting reel.

Eventually anglers might move on to other reels, like conventional level wind reels or baitcasting reels, but you should never ditch the spinning reel. 

The following article will break down exactly how to cast a spinning reel, before touching on how to cast the other most common kinds of reels. 

Spinning Reel: The Terminology 

First thing’s first- it’s handy to be aware of all the main terminology regarding the spinning reel before you attempt to cast it. 

The butt cap is the bottom of the handle of the rod, and is often made with rubber. The handle is the grip, the part of the rod you hold. The reel itself is attached to the rod, and is used for winding (or unwinding) the line.

The guides are the rings you can see going down the rod- they’re called guides because they guide the fishing line down to the tip. 

The ‘action’ of a rod is essentially the rod’s flexibility. If a rod is described as having fast action, this means it’s a stiffer rod, whereas if it has slow action then it’s a more flexible rod. The bail is what allows you to release the line from your reel, while the crank is the handle you’ll turn in order to bring back in your line.

The reel gear ratio determines the speed at which the line can be retrieved. 

How to Cast a Spinning Reel

So, now that you’re more familiar with all the terminology regarding spinning reels, how do you actually cast one? 

The first step is gripping the rod with your casting hand so that it’s comfortable, and that you’re going to have the ability to cast your reel. The bait or lure should be hanging between six to 18 inches under the rod’s tip. Reel the bait in if it looks like it’s a little long.

If it’s too short, release the bail to let out some of your line, and close it when the bait is at the right distance. 

With your index finger, grab the line above the bail and press it against the rod until the line can’t be pulled out any further. With your finger still on the line, open your bail. Bring the tip of the rod back, far enough that you’ll be able to cast. Cast the tip of the rod towards your target, and the line will come away from your fingers.

When the lure or bait lands in the water, close your bail so you’ll be able to reel it back in (the lure or bait, that is).

More Information on Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are a great all rounder. They tend to cost between 50 US dollars to 150 US dollars. The only real downside to spinning reels is that if you’re not as careful as possible when it comes to handling the bail, it can lead to some gnarly twists and tangles in your line.

It’s also worth noting that spinning reels can only really be used with lighter gear- their performance will begin to drop immediately if you load them with heavier lines or lures.

Other Kinds of Reels and How to Cast Them

The spinning reel isn’t the only reel you’re going to need to know how to cast. There are a number of other common reels. Here’s a step by step guide on how to cast each of them.

How to Cast a Baitcaster Reel

A baitcasting reel is a reel that uses the weight of the bait or lure to extend the line towards the target. To cast this kind of reel, you should start by holding the rod at waist level.

The reel should be higher than the rod, and your thumb should fall naturally onto the bottom of your spool. The lure or bait should be dangling roughly between eight to 10 inches under the rod’s tip. 

Push the button on the rod that sets the reel in free spool. Your thumb should be pressed against the spool to stop it unwinding.

Next, pull your rod backwards so that its tip passes above your dominant shoulder. Point the tip of the rod towards the target. Take your thumb off your spool when the rod goes over your shoulder, and then return it to the spool when the bait or lure lands in the water. 

Baitcaster reels are generally the most powerful reels. Unlike spinning reels, they can handle heavier lines with a good deal of power.

They’re perfect for when you’re chasing large fish. Baitcaster reels are also very customizable, which makes them a popular choice for avid anglers. 

The only notable downside to baitcaster reels is their price. They tend to range from 100 US dollars to 500 US dollars, so they’re not exactly feasible for beginner anglers. 

How to Cast a Spincast Reel

Spincast reels are by far the easiest reels to cast. All that’s required is to press the spool control button, swing in much the same way as you’d swing the other reels on this list, and release your finger from the button.

At this stage the line will fly out to your target (where the tip of your rod is pointing). When you want to stop your line just press the button once more. 

Spincast reels require very little effort to use, but they do have their downsides; the closed face design means that they often keep water within the reel, and over time this can lead to irreparable damage.

Because of this, and because most spincast reels just generally aren’t very well made, it’s rare that you’d be using one for more than just one season. Their casting range is a lot more limited, too, especially compared to that of a spinning reel. 

Conclusion: How to Cast a Spinning Reel

With our step by step guide, you should be mastering the spinning reel in no time. There are several benefits to using a spinning reel rather than using a spincast reel- namely that their casting range is far more impressive.

There’s nothing wrong with using a spincast reel, as they’re perfect for beginners, but eventually you should be moving on to either a spinning reel or a baitcaster reel.

George Alexander
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