By Captain Lawrence Euteneier
I’ve been a fisher for as long as I can remember, and my earliest recollections are of fishing with spincast reels. At age eight I was registered “blind” and now almost 40 years later I’m still using spincast reels for certain applications.
The reason I find spincast reels to be particularly well suited for fishing specific applications, is that they allow one to stay in direct contact with the line using their rod hand. Just as people palm their baitcasters, I always palm my spincast reel so I can pass the line between my thumb and index finger during retreaves. This isn’t possible with spinning gear due to the looping action generated by the bail arm on spinning reels. While line contact may not be a big issue when chucking crankbaits or spinnerbaits, when finesse fishing, it’s essential.
Spincast reels also, thankfully, allow fishers access to the heavier-action casting rods on today’s market. I say thankfully, as rod manufacturers now seem to only produce spinning rods that are of a medium/heavy action at most, and even these are considerably lighter than their equivalent casting rods.
Many readers may be under the impression that baitcast reels are out of the question for fishers without sight. However, once a fisher has developed their casting technique, it’s not a big leap to master baitcasting. There are times however, when Mother Nature unleashes her elements, wind, and my baitcasting skills are confounded. I depend on instincts, hearing, muscle memory and experience to anticipate the time to apply thumb to spool, but the wind’s impact on cast trajectories and the sound cancelling properties of rain can all precipitate the dreaded backlash.
Spincast gear is also ideal for casting light jigs into deep water. Given that there’s no spool to turn, it doesn’t take much to cast out a 1/16 or 1/8 jig, and to have it drop straight to the bottom. It takes a deft hand with a baitcaster to replicate the same casting distance and fall trajectory.
Two areas where spincast reels could be improved are drag pressure and retreave ratio. When it comes time to reel in those big ones, one has two choices, pump the rod or clamp down on the drag. Because one needs to fish spincast reels with the drag tightened down, lighter outfits aren’t ideal for pursuing some of the larger species. The relatively low line retreave ratio of spincast reels isn’t an issue when finesse fishing, and can even be an advantage when chucking crank baits, but it’s a different story when one wants to quickly retreave (burn) spinner and buzz baits.
A well rounded fisher masters a variety of gear for fishing different applications. When selecting a spincast outfit to add to your arsenal, be careful to pick a rod/reel/line combination capable of handily managing the fish species being sought. You want to be able to crank down the drag without experiencing breakage. Drag can always be backed off when larger than average fish are in need of a run or two, but depending on timely drag adjustment is a strategy fraught with risk. Think lighter lines, (4 to 8 pound), for those situations when the bait needs to sink naturally, and heavy line, reels and rods for horsing fish out of heavy cover. Of course, spincast gear is also ideal for teaching novices to cast and to catch their first fish.