Imagine the following situations.
You head down to one of your favorite fishing tackle shops and you notice they are running a great deal on a brand new spinning reel that you have been eyeing for some time.
Without giving it much thought you throw it in the cart and are excited at the thought of getting home and hitting the lake with your new gear.
However, on the way home, you realize you don’t have a spinning rod to accompany this reel, you only have baitcasting rods. What should you do?
Or perhaps you have found yourself in the following situation.
You have own several baitcasting reels, but only have a few spinning setups. One day you realize you accidentally step on your last spinning rod. However, the conditions on the lake are perfect for doing some finesse fishing.
What should you do now?
No matter which situation you will find yourself in, you will no doubt be asking the question: Can I use a spinning reel on a casting rod? Or vice versa, can a casting reel be put on a spinning rod?
Let’s answer that question and also take a look at some key differences between these two rods.
Can You Use A Spinning Reel On A Casting Rod?
The simple answer is while it is technically possible to mount a spinning reel on a baitcasting reel, I would not advise that you do so. Not only can I guarantee that this approach will generate a lot of weird looks, but it will greatly affect the performance of the rod/ reel and thus affect your success on the water.
The reason I wouldn’t recommend this approach is for at least two different reasons: the rod’s guides and the overall design of the spinning reel and the baitcasting rod.
First, let’s talk about the guides on your rod.
Spinning Rods Have Oversized Guides
(You might also enjoy reading: The Best Fishing Line For Spinning Reels – Braid, Monofilament Or Fluorocarbon?)
As you can see from the picture above, the guides on a spinning rod are much bigger than you would find on a casting rod. These oversized guides help the line come off the reel with less friction and allow for longer more accurate casts.
Obviously, if you were to put a spinning reel on a casting rod with smaller guides, you can see how this could cause problems and greatly affect your cast and accuracy.
But what about microwave guides, they are small? Wouldn’t my casting rod act like microwave guides?
Before we answer that question, let’s talk a little bit about microwave guides as they are relatively newer technology on the market.
Microwave guides are a guide system used on spinning rods to allow the fishing line to come off more efficiently. This helps for longer and more accurate casts.
How it works is that the initial guide positioned right after the reel has a smaller guide within a bigger guide. This guide within a guide acts much like a funnel. As the line comes off the reel, it helps to guide (pun intended) the line through the hole to do so as efficiently as possible.
This technique greatly reducing line coil and has been known to greatly increase casting distance.
With that being said, let’s go back to the initial question, wouldn’t a casting rod, act much like that much-convented microwave guide system?
No, it wouldn’t. Because the initial guide is much smaller and because it doesn’t have a smaller guide within a bigger guide, the only thing it is going to do is slow things down.
As a result, you are going to greatly reduce your casting effeciency.
Don’t Forget About The Rod’s Backbone
Another thing to take into consideration that sometimes gets overlooked is the rod’s backbone.
A spinning rod is designed to bend with the guides facing down. The opposite is true with a casting rod. It is designed to flex with the guides facing up.
To do that a fishing rod is designed so that the part where the guides are located is made with a very soft, very flexible material.
The part of the rod behind the guide is called the backbone. It is not so flexible. It is stiff. And it is this part of the rod that gives you the power to reel in a big fish.
Think about it for a second if your rod didn’t have a backbone and both sides were made with the same soft/flexible material. You would in a sense be fishing with just a wet noodle and it would be very difficult to reel in a fish.
So, as you can see, for a fishing pole to work properly, you need a flexible side and a stiff side.
Now think for a moment about your backbone, your spine.
For us, it is easy to bend forward because our spine is designed to do so. However, how difficult do you find it to bend backward? Pretty hard right. Not only is it difficult, but it can also be pretty painful. In fact, if you exert yourself too much, you can do some real damage to your body.
The same is true with fishing rods. If you were to put a spinning rod on a casting reel or vice verse not only will it be inefficient, but it could also result in doing more damage than good.
Can You Use A Baitcasting Reel On A Spinning Rod?
No, you should not use a casting reel on a spinning rod.
The same principles apply mentioned above will apply in this situation as well. No, the oversized guides probably wouldn’t affect your cast as much as a spinning reel on a casting rod, but the backbone would still be different.
How Can I Tell The Difference Between A Spinning Rod And A Casting Rod
There are two ways to tells the difference between these rods.
First, take a look at the bend.
Does the rod bend easier with the guides facing up or down? If it is easier to bend facing down, it is probably a spinning reel. If it is easier to bend with the guide facing up, it is a casting rod.
Another way to tell the difference is the fingertip.
Baitcasting rods have a small fingertip located just before the reel seat. This makes it easy to hold onto the rod when making a cast.
Spinning rods do not have this feature as it isn’t necessary to have it because your hand holds on to the rod throughout the cast.
Learn more about casting a spinning reel here.
What About Spincast Reels, Can You Put A Spincast Reel On A Spinning Rod?
Well, that really depends on the type of spincast reel that you want to use. Believe it or not, there are two different types of spincast reels.
The traditional spincast reel sits on top of the rod much like a casting reel. In that case, the same idea would apply. Use it only on casting reels.
The less popular spincast reel is called an Under Spin. It acts much like a spinning reel and in that situation, yes, you could use it on a spinning rod, but not on a casting rod.