Photo courtesy of ESPN and Mike Frenette
I spend most of my waking days on the water. Each year it usually accounts to more than 280 days out on the big pond.
Whether it is with clients, pre-fishing for a tournament, fishing a tournament or just simply "play" fishing, I'm searching, learning, and refining my techniques. YES, I do spend many of my days "off" just play fishing. Don't you?
Almost daily, it is inevitable that someone will ask me, "What kind of reel do you prefer, spinning or baitcasting?" A rather simple question, or I should say simple answer, as I feel both are important tools.
Let's back up a minute. I did say that it was a pretty simple answer, but the reality is, it's not that simple.
Funny how things really work. I can remember years ago there was a separation between freshwater anglers and saltwater anglers, one that very few anglers wanted or were willing to cross.
"Back in the day," most of the freshwater anglers used baitcasting reels while most saltwater fisherman used open-faced or spinning-style reels.
Why? Think about it. Remember the old bass shows where everyone used baitcasters, and then when saltwater guys began to get a little exposure, it was all spinning.
Don't know why. That's just the way it was. If you crossed the line, you kept it to yourself. After all, it was kind of like Vegas: "What happened in your boat stayed in your boat."
Now, there are far more freshwater anglers using spinning reels than ever before, but there are more saltwater anglers who have not picked up a baitcaster yet. Why? Personally, I think when a freshwater angler makes a cast with their spinning rod, in the back of their mind they are wishing and hoping that a 10-pound redfish will hit their bait.
If that is the case, then what about us saltwater anglers? Are we tossing our baitcasters and in our minds morphing into Kevin VanDam holding up our "Angler of the Year" or "Bassmasters Classic" trophy? You really think I would do that? Really, it's no ones business what I do on my boat, as I said earlier "what happens on my boat stays on my boat." I would never admit it anyway. Lighten up everyone, just kidding.
Bottom line, many saltwater anglers have not used a baitcaster because they have this inner feeling that they are awkward or just hard to use.
Hate to use the word "backlash," but if asked, most anglers who do not use baitcasters will use this as their No. 1 excuse. Granted, years ago that might have been a justifiable excuse, but with today's technology, that excuse won't fly anymore. Anglers who do not use spinning reels will say they encounter too many "wind knots" or they feel awkward. Well awkward can refer to the very first tme you attempted anything, including riding a bike, but what happens after the third or fourth time of use? Just like anything else, it becomes easier.
Now, down to the facts. The real (or should I say "reel?") reasons why anglers should use one or the other: Most professional anglers, both saltwater and freshwater, carry an arsenal of rods and reels. Included in that arsenal will usually contain both baitcasters and spinning. What's the point you ask? Well there is a reason why we carry both, a very good reason.