Can You Use a Baitcaster on A Spinning Rod?

So, you have a baitcasting reel laying around and you also have an old spinning rod, and you are wondering, can you use a baitcaster on a spinning rod?

Technically, the baitcasting reel will physically attach to the spinning rod, but it will not work correctly or proficiently.

Keep reading below and we will explain exactly why you should not use a baitcaster on a spinning rod.

Baitcasting Rods And Spinning Rods: What's The Difference?

Baitcasting rods and spinning rods are used in the exact opposite manner.

Let me explain.

With a spinning rod, the spinning reel is attached to the bottom of the rod and hangs below the rod., as you can see in the image below.

Fisherman with a spinning rod

With a casting rod, the baitcaster is attached to the top of the rod and remains on top of the rod when in use, as you can see in the image below.

Fisherman using a baitcaster

Click here to learn more about the different types of fishing rods.

Spinning rods and baitcasting rods are very different tools for catching fish. Let's take a closer look at each of them so that you can understand why you shouldn't use a baitcaster on a spinning rod.

RELATED: Spinning Reel vs Baitcaster

Baitcasters And Casting Rods 

A baitcaster a reel with a spool that turns on a vertical plane and are usually mounted to a fishing rod with a trigger handle.

They can be difficult to use because you must use your thumb on the spool, when casting in order to prevent backlashes.

This was a major problem when using baitcasters and casting rods in the old days, but today the baitcasting reels have evolved to the point that they can now be casted effectively, even by beginners, without fear of backlashes, thanks to reels like the Shimano SLX DC.

Shimano SLX DC Baitcaster on a baitcasting rod

Baitcasters are used extensively by professional bass fisherman, and they can provide excellent castability, sensitivity and control for certain fishing situations.

The baitcasting rod usually has a trigger underneath and the line guides are much smaller than on a spinning reel

This is because the fishing line comes off a baitcaster in a straight line as the spool revolves vertically.

So to recap:

  • Baitcasters mount to the top of the rod
  • Baitcasting rods usually have a trigger on the bottom
  • Baitcasting rods have small line guides

Now let's take a look at spinning reels and spinning rods.

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Spinning Reels and Spinning Rods 

Spinning reels work differently than baitcasters. A spinning reel has a stationary spool that is on a horizontal plane. When you cast it, the fishing line comes off in loops, which requires larger line guides in order to minimize friction and maximize casting distance.

When you reel it in, the spool still does not revolve. The bail turns around the spool, spooling the line back onto the reel.

Spinning reels mount to the bottom of the rod and hang in that position while in use, with the line guides also on the bottom.

Spinning rods are ideal for beginners. They are easy to use and can be mastered by adults and children of all ages

Let's recap:

  • Spinning reels mount to the bottom of the rod
  • Spinning rods have larger line guides
  • Line guides are on the bottom of the rod

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Why You Should Not Use a Baitcaster on A Spinning Rod

Here are four reasons you shouldn't use a baitcaster on a spinning rod:

1. It Minimizes Casting Distance

Baitcasting rods are designed to provide minimum friction on the line when casting with a baitcaster. Putting a baitcaster on a spinning rod, with its bigger line guides will provide for a loss of line control and added friction that will minimize casting distance and control.

2. You Will Get Backlashes

Backlash in a baitcasting reel

The added friction and loss of control caused by the larger line guides will lead to uncontrollable backlashes that will frustrate you and end your fishing trip early, unless you have a proper backup rod and reel combo.

3. You Might Break Your Fishing Rod

Spinning rods are designed to be used with the guides on the bottom. As you put a bend in the rod when fighting a fish, the line pulls on the guides, which bends the rod. If you put a baitcaster on a spinning rod and use it with the guides on top. The rod will be bent in a manner that it is not designed to be. This could result in the rod breaking, and would probably void any warranty.

The only spinning rod that you might be able to put a baitcaster on and not break it is an Ugly Stik. Supposedly, they are unbreakable.

4. It Looks Ridiculous

Once you become a proficient fisherman and you grow to have a lot of experience, you will occasionally see someone fishing with a baitcaster on a spinning rod, or even worse, fishing with a spinning rod and reel upside down. You will just shake your head and have a chuckle, thinking about how you used to think that you could put a baitcaster on a spinning rod.


Which one would you use? Baitcaster vs. Spinning reel?

A spinning rod and reel combo is the easiest to learn how to use and is perfect for beginners and weekend fisherman. As you get more serious about your fishing and you are looking to get more specialized equipment, then it is time to start adding baitcasting rods and reel to you fishing gear.

What's the appropriate rod to use on a baitcaster?

The appropriate rod to use with a baitcaster is a baitcasting rod that matches the specifications of your reel and is suited to the type of fishing that you are going to do.

Are baitcasters difficult to use?

Yes, baitcasters are difficult to use. There is definitely a learning curve to feathering the fishing line with your thumb while the spool rapidly revolves, and there will definitely be backlashes when you are learning. However, with the right amount of practice, any fisherman can master the use of baitcasters.

RELATED: How To Catch Redfish

Wrapping Up

Using a baitcaster on a spinning rod is not a good idea! Baitcasters mount on top of the rod and spinning rods are meant to accept reels that mount on the bottom of the rod.

Putting a baitcaster on a spinning rod will make for very uncomfortable fishing because the combination will be completely out of balance, won't cast very far and you could even break the rod, or worse, you could lose the fish of a lifetime.

Don't be that guy!

Pick up a good quality baitcasting rod for your baitcaster or just buy a spinning reel for your spinning rod.

RELATED: How To Catch Snook

Photo of author

Jimmy Martin

Jimmy is an outdoor writer and frequent contributor to Fisherman's Authority. Jimmy fishes 12 months a year and is an expert in bass fishing, panfish, catfishing and more. He loves to fish from his boat, but he also does a lot of fishing from the banks of rivers and the shoreline of lakes and ponds. Jimmy is proud to share his methods with others, so that they can enjoy the outdoors with their friends and family. He has a passion for introducing kids to the outdoors and the sport of fishing.

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