The question of which specific type of rod and reel to use is a very controversial subject. Anglers all over the country are set in there ways that either a spinning rod is the way to go or a baitcaster is the way to go. The truth is, both have there time and place, and to truly be a versatile successful fisherman it is important to get confident and build your skills with both. This being said there are still a few rules of thumb that I like to stick by when selecting which type of equipment to use, and both definitely have there time and place.
Spinning setups such as the now on sale Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier or the Pflueger President Spinning Reel have been very important keys to my success as a professional angler. Accompany these reels with either a Johnny Morris CarbonLite or a TFO Signature series rod and you will have a extremely versatile rod and real combination. There are some things a spinning rod is key for that a baitcasting setup just simply can't duplicate. For me I almost always choose a spinning rod when I am using 10lb test Trilene line or lighter. Spinning rods are designed for these light line applications and with extremely sensitive drag systems they give the angler the best opportunity to fool a finicky fish into biting by using light line and finesse tactics. The sensitive drag system will allow a large fish to run and fight stripping out line but not breaking you off in the process. Another great advantage that a skilled angler has while using a spinning setup is the ability to side arm skip light or weightless baits with ease. This technique is deadly for fishing up under docks or overhanging trees. With a spinning rod you can gently place a weightless soft plastic bait 50+feet under the cover where fish rarely see a lure. This being said do yourself a favor and give the sometimes frustrating spinning rod and reel a try.
What i mean by sometimes frustrating is the spinning setup is notorious for having blowout loops that can all but ruin a day of fishing. While getting occasional loops is inevitable there are a few fundamentals that will almost eliminate loops and tangles on the water. The first step in casting a spinning rod and reel is holding the line with your finger, you then flip the medal bail over and you are ready to cast. Now from then on is where all of the problems happen, watch your bait as it sails through the air and just before it hits the water place your finger back on the line stopping the bait, and then simply flip the bait back over manually instead of using the spring mechanism by just starting to reel. That is all it takes, most loops occur when your bait hits the water and line continues to come off of the spool creating line twist, as well as the twist and ware on a reel that happens when you flip the bail over by cranking the handle. Give it a try and you will be blown away at how much more enjoyable spinning rod fishing will become. Trust me it really works.
Baitcasters are the most popular setups by far in the bass fishing world. Bass anglers often use relatively big lures and heavy line, making a baitcaster the best choice. A baitcaster has more power and strength for fighting a fish out of heavy cover as well as the ability to cast the heavy lures that are sometimes required to catch bass. So as a rule of thumb, most of the time when using 12lb line or higher a baitcaster is the way to go. They are very important for tactics such as crankbait fishing, flipping and pitching, or deep water fishing with carolina rigs and jigs. While you won't have issues with line twist using baitcasters they do have there own challenges that come with them. Backlashes are the thing that turns many recreational anglers away from fishing with a baitcaster. The key to casting them begins before you even get on the lake with tuning your reel just right, making sure you have your tension knob and break systems properly set for the specific bait you are throwing is extremely important. The rest is all in the way you cast, your cast must be one smooth and fluid motion allowing the weight of the bait to do the work. If your going to get a new baitcaster I would suggest a Johnny Morris CarbonLite Baitcasting Reel with a Temple Fork Outfitters Signature Series Trigger Rod and you are ready to go.
It all boils down to practice, it takes countless hours to truly master the spinning setup as well as the baitcaster, and neither one is a all around better option then the other. If you have any questions such as how to set your baitcasting reel or the size of line to use come in to Bass Pro Shops where associates can fine tune your setup and give you hands on instructions on how to use your equipment! Also if you decide you want to take a leap of faith and learn how to use a new type of reel Bass Pro Shops has a sale going on from now until May 5th. SPRING WARM-UP SALE!
I'll see you on the water!