Baitcasters are usually associated with saltwater fishing. At the beginning of the modern baitcaster era, they were well known as a robust powertool for lifting seamonsters, and they started conquering the seas, starting from the bay of the North American continent. The European market didn’t recognize its potential at the beginning. Mostly due to left handed models.
Today, a wide variety of models are available for fishermen all around the world and they are gaining popularity in all the fishing waters. For its strength, speed and precision, they can beat the spinning reel in some situations. Here are some freshwater fishing situations you should consider choosing baitcaster before classic spinning reel.
In modern jerk/glider fishing, a casting set is a winner. Jerks are big and heavy, and baitcasters are on their own when casting big lures. Thumb control allows you to cast precisely, close to the cane, logs and other vegetation that pike use as a shelter. Great speed ratio helps you to suck up the slack on fishing line really quick so you are constantly ready for fish to strike. Jerks are usually driven in stop and go presentation pattern, so full control of a baitcaster beats the spinning reel, especially if you prefer to work the lure with your reel rather than fishing rod.
Also, in such presentation, the tip of the rod is usually bowed down to the water surface, and casting sets are much more comfortable for fishermen to hold in such positions, because the reel is on the top side of the rod. This is very important when fishing for cold, inactive pike on jerkbaits, gliders, hard swimmbaits because long pauses between pulling the lure can feel like they last forever if you are not comfortable with your arms position.
Big bait fishing is also baitcaster’s game. Large softbaits, padletails, grubtails, soft swimbaits etc. are massive, heavy to cast and they make strong resistance when pulled in the water. No matter if you are looking for pike on weightless a monster slug in shallows or you are digging deep for muskie on 100+gram softbait, you need a lot of power to handle such a big lure and a baitcaster is a natural choice there.Fishing for active pike is a power fishing event, so casting set wins again. There is no spinning reel that can burn the spinnerbait as easy as a baitcaster. Actualy, when fast retrieval is needed to provoke the pike that is out and hunting for prey, a baitcaster is at home with that. Large spinners, spoons, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and all the other strong vibrating killer pike lures are also kill the spinning reel mechanisms much easier than it does to the baitcasters, so it is also important to make the right choice when you are thinking about the lifetime of your fishing set!
Punching, jigging, powerfishing… you name it! Whenever you are fishing spinnerbaits, crankbaits and other heavy lures that need fast retrieval, you will find your fishing much easier with a baitcaster. Some baitcasters have special button retrieval mechanisms which are perfect for twitching the minnows, jerkbaits, wobblers, poppers, proppers and the other top water lures. Baitcasters are good for casting heavy weights even with strong braids, but if you are finesse rigs fishermen, you should switch to a spinning set, for casting the light weights. There are big arguments on social networks these days, about the topic “dose a baitcaster make you a bass angler”. I believe that this is just the matter of presentation and personal preferences. Baitcasters show the advantages when fishing with big lures, and lets say wind fishing, when you need to pick too much braid running from your spool fast, but the truth is that both kinds of sets land your fish, and you should choose according to your personal taste.
A fishing technique that is gaining in popularity is the pelagic style. This means that fish are located using the sonar, and we fish under the boat, using vertical presentations in order to trigger the fish to strike. Usual baits for pelagic style are no action softbaits like zoom fluke and storm fin-s. Classic spinning set can also be cool on lakes, when fishing from an anchored boat, but the real thing begins with the casting set.
When fishing in lakes from a non-anchored boat that is moving by trolling motor, or by rowing or wind, you need to constantly adjust the length of your line to find the swimming depth where the fish are biting. Full control of your baits swimming depth is achieved by using your thumb to dose the line rolling, and its letting you be ready for a strike at any time. Zander has really fast reflexes and bony jaws that are hard to penetrate with the hook, so you need to have a strong and fast reaction when fish strikes.
A similar technique is vertical jigging for zander on rivers, where the boat is driven by the river current, and the bottom is being searched for fish by tapping with the jighead while moving. This means that fishermen have to follow the bottom line as it changes while moving downstream. Spinning reel fails here, in the same way as in the previous example.
Anglers that prefer dead bait fishing in rivers took the vertical jigging technique with the baitcaster to the art level. A lot of masters of this technique from Danube adapted their fishing style to the casting set for situations where they are drifting their baitfish, rigged on a jighead, down the stream. They are doing this ritual from anchored boats, carefully releasing the line from the baitcaster to reach the bottom, and letting the river current drift the bait to the pit where the fish is hiding. Drag systems of the spinning reel are not cool with this efficient tactic because you can’t be ready to react on a fish strike while you are releasing the line. This made a lot of European anglers to adapt to the cool features of baitcasting sets.
I hope that some of these baitcaster experiences from rivers and lakes were useful and inspiring for you, and that you will consider checking the reels that will fulfill your needs and learn to cast with a baitcaster. If you are still strongly attached to the spinning sets, it is OK, because fishing gear is fine as long as long as you catch fish.