Usually, a spinning reel works best on a spinning rod and will depend on the type of fishing you engage in. If you opt to use a  spinning reel on a casting rod, you should be aware of a few challenges.

Most anglers may agree that attempting to use a spinning reel on a casting rod may be possible, but it can be very uncomfortable and risky.

First, let’s explain how spinning reels and casting rods work, so you can tell the difference. The parts of the spinning reel are there to connect the rod and allow it to move freely while hauling in your catch.

Features Of The Spinning Reel

  • The spinning reel shapes like a cylinder and attaches the rod to the fishing reel.
  • Its parts include the line guides, reel spine, reel foot, spool, and handle among some other components.
  • The spinning reel hangs underneath the rod and the line coils around the spool as it spins. It then passes through the roller before going on to the guides.
  • The reel makes it easy to cast the rod with very little tension.
  • The bail arm of the reel helps hold the line in place and guides it over the power roller.
  • The spool of the reel turns as the handle spins when you reel the line in.
spinning reel on a casting rod

Reel Guides

The guides are like circles that sit at the top of the gear, running along the tip up to the handle. Reel guides on the spinning reel tend to be much larger than on the casting rod.

The rod line goes through each circle on the reel and helps hold the line in place close to the rod. The rod ends at the reel foot and helps tie the reel to the rod.

The guide on the reel performs similar to a funnel and assists in keeping the line steady as it comes off the reel. It also helps minimize any coils on the line, while maximizing how far you can throw the rod.

The Reel Spine

The ridge or spine of the spinning reel is softer and more flexible than the casting rod. It usually flexes when the guides are facing downward, while the guides on the casting rod usually face upward.

Therefore, the spines on the reel and casting rod must face the same direction to help the reel spin smoothly when hauling in a catch. Both parts must complement each other for the fishing pole to work efficiently.

To attempt to match a spinning reel on a casting rod may cause significant damage to your fishing gear. To avoid this mistake you need to know how each part works, and how they differ.

spinning reel on a casting rod

Casting Rods

The casting rod sits close to the reel seat and the fingertip tends to be smaller. Parts of the casting rod may include the tip, reel seat, butt cap, hook keeper, windings and the handle.

The reel seat attaches the reel to the casting rod. It also comes with screws and a hood to help secure the reel foot. The windings are a type of string that helps keep the guides in place on the rod. 

Anglers use casting rods to help attach the bait to the fishing hook. They help you control your casting technique and distance. Casting rods are ideal for casting heavier fish baits. 

The casting trigger sits at the bottom, while the guide sits at the top. It also allows the angler to handle the rod more easily when casting into the water.

The spinning reel, on the other hand, anglers can operate by gripping the rod through the cast. The spine on the casting rods lie beneath the gear and are usually stiffer. 

The Differences between Spinning Reels And Casting Rods

The spinning reel sits at the top of the casting rod. If they do not match, it can create a lot of loops when the line is coming off the reel. The casting rod would also cause some friction by making the line much straighter. It may restrict the ease of flow on the line and help reduce the casting distance.

The casting rod also rests nearer to the pole, and at a lower angle. Conversely, the spinning reel tends to be much larger, allowing smaller loops on the line. It may also cause the casting trigger to grate against the palm when hauling in the catch. The guides on the spinning reel are normally larger than the casting rod guides.

If the guides on the reel are smaller, your casting and accuracy may be out of sync. 

Operating Spinning Reels And Casting Rods

When contemplating using a spinning reel on a casting rod, it’s also important to understand how they operate.

Spinning reels are very easy to handle and are ideal for beginners. They are great for casting lighter fishing bait and longer distances.

Operators can twist the bail, keep the lead finger on the fishing line and cast it into the water. To close the bail, turn the handle and reel the line back in.

Casting rods are better suited for heavier fishing bait and may not be as easy to operate as the spinning reel. They also seem to require a lot more skill and practice when operating than spinning reels. 

Anglers may have to exert more pressure on the spool as the line comes off. The rods also tend to create a lot more drag and backlash than spinning reels.

The line on casting rod also tends to launch much straighter than spinning reels. Anglers may have to regularly adjust the distance and casting accuracy to get the best catch possible.


Research shows that spinning reels work best with spinning rods, and casting reels work best with casting rods. The reel guides and the spine must work in tandem to keep the line turning smoothly, especially when hauling in a catch. While it may be possible to use a spinning reel on a casting rod, the risks of damage may be significant.

Apart from looking awkward and working harder, the lines will run in opposite directions, causing much friction and possible damage.

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