Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel: What Is The Different?

Fishing can be fun to do, whether you’re fishing as an individual or with a group of friends for competition to know who will catch that biggest fish, I mean it all worth it.

But as beginner who want go into fishing, which of the reel do you start with?

With many types and brands of fishing reels on the market today, you may be confuse getting all fishing gears ready.

Thus, conventional vs baitcasting reel – comparison, similarities etc, we shall look into together to help you choose your type of reel correctly.

The reel will help you land your dream fish.

If you’re a beginner, the reel that will be better for you. Probably you must have heard so many things about types of fishing reels.

You don’t have to dwell much on that, as we are here to give you solution to that challenge.

In our previous article we wrote about conventional vs spinning reels, today we will be reviewing on conventional vs baitcasting reel.

At the end of this guide on pros and cons, you will be able to make an informed decision depending on the type of fishing you’re targeting and the area you want do the fishing.

Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel

Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel

Before, we go into their comparison or differences we will first of all look at their similarities because some anglers especially the newbies normally mistaken the two reels to be same. But, no, they are not the same but have similarities.

Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel – Similarities

First, both the conventional reel and baitcasting reel have their spool with the axis aligned at an angle of 90 degree to the rod on which they are mounted.

This arrangement ensures that lines would come off smoothly and straight out due to the spinning action of the spool when casted.

The two reels have their handles on the side of the reels the crank style design can come in either right-hand or left hand usage.

Secondly, both reel can be use for saltwater fishing and are designed to catch big fish. Even beginners will find it difficult operate it without first of all learning how to use it because is quite complicated.

The casting is done manually, therefore fishermen must be able to control the amount of pressure on the line and spool or else they risk a backlash.

Thirdly, both require heavy lures and lines because they’re for big fishes.

Fourthly, Both are durable. You can count on them.

Having known their similarities, we can go into their differences.

Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel Comaprison

Conventional Reel

Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel

Conventional reels are designed in a way to pull fish back toward your boat efficiently because the nature of the in-line reel and alignment transfers maximum pressure to big prey with minimum stress on the gear.

They are equally design in a way it will be comfortable for the angler while retrieving your, because retrieving a record fish from depth of waters can be lots of work.

Conventional reels are used for offshore fishing, specially built for fishing on large lakes, deep seas and Oceans and cannot be used for cast.

This heavy duty reel is used for jigging, trolling, live lining and three way fishing method.

Because they are bulky and bigger than the baitcasting reels, they have big frame strength and line capacity to land bigger fishes like Marlin, Tuna and Musky etc.

Conventional reels have no competitor when it comes fishing for big game or trophy fish.

Do you have a competition? Go with this winning reel and you will be the winner of the game.

Conventional reels are design to let you find the strike zone when fishing at different depth of waters.

In addition to all these features there is still a special features that stands it out from baitcasting and other reels.

It has a breaking system, multi-disc drag system and in-built audible clicker that allow you hear easily when the line is being dragged out.

However, conventional reel its own drawback.

  • They are cost effective
  • They are made for pro anglers and experienced angler not for beginner anglers.
  • If you don’t have a boat, canoe or kayak, you cannot use it because it strictly for offshore fishing.

Furthermore, Conventional reel comes in two different styles: Open body style and Level wind style.

Open Body Style: They have strong frame strength and hold a lot of line. They are easier to let out line without having to cast. Strong enough to lessen the burden of fighting fish from angler.

Level Wind: This style of conventional reel is more versatile than open body style.

It is designed with a moving line guide, which move to and fro the spool. It ensures that the line is evenly distributed along the length of the spool instead of piling up just one side of the spool.

With this great feature, you don’t have to worry about laying the line back and forth.

Tip: Use this style of conventional reel aiming at big game fish.

RECOMMENDED: Conventional reels built for jigging, trolling, live lining and three way includes:

Baitcasting Reel

Conventional vs Baitcasting Reel

Inshore baitcasting reel is engineered for optimal casting performance. It is the second most common fishing reel after spinning reel It is a little bit easier to use than conventional reel and a bit difficult than spinning reel.

It can be use by intermediate and experienced anglers. Newbies could equally use it but will need to learn the tricks of operation before venturing into usage.

Just like the name sounds, they are use for making accurate casts. It is designed in a way that anglers will have control over the cast.

They are good for fishing big and hard fighting fish like catfish, muskie and alligator gar due the fact that they are designed with several gears.

They are very strong and durable. It can be used both in freshwater and saltwater.

However, baitcasting reel has major drawback, which is backlash – that is when the bit has hit the water and stop, the line keeps on unraveling. It will create huge bird nest on the reel that will be time consuming to fix.

But thanks to technology, it has improved so much that the manufacturers now use magnets or centrifugal brakes to prevent backlashes when you’re casting.


  • Not friendly to newbies
  • Not cost effective
  • May not be effective for extra large fishes.

RECOMMENDED: They are best saltwater casting reels and can also handle freshwater.


In conclusion, if you do more of jigging, live lining, three way fishing rig and trolling, conventional reel is your best bet because they are heavy duty and specially made for trolling. 

On the other hand, If you fish more on freshwater or do more of casting, baitcasting is best for you.

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