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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With some new conventionals entering the market I think it's time to look at the pros and cons of each. No doubt both are effective and choice is most likely going to go to your personal preference. My objective is not to bash a brand or type. I just want thoughts on what's good and what's not and why. Let me start by saying I have only been doing the offshore jigging for a couple years and by no means am I an expert. I come froma freshwater background were spinners are generally for light fishing and baitcasters are for heavier plugs and fish. I am always looking for an education though. My ideas are as follows.

Spinner Pros
Probably some of the most bulletproof as of last year (High end models).
Excellent drag capacities (Drag won't effect free spool or create binding.
Anyone can cast with one (No backlashes here)
Right handed (Dominant hand for most on the rod)
No or little rod twist
Spinner cons
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ (Although conventional are starting to catch up)
Line comes off the spool at 90* (For every loop off line a fish takes off the spool going against the drag equals on twist in the line)
Doesn't seem as smooth of a motion jigging (The bail rotation at different degrees of rotation on the spool can alter the line take up slightly in reference to the stripper guide.
Not as convenient to lock on fish that hits on the drop.
Slightly heavier than a conventional of same line capacity.
Two speeds are not available
Conventional pros
Less $$$$$$
Easier to lock on a fish that hits on the drop.
Smoother jigging motion (Every degree of "each" spool rotation brings in the same amount of line)
No line twist from the reel. Also doesn't add the frictiononthe line of the bail roller.
Slightly lighter.
2 speeds available
Conventional cons
Rod twist (Acid wrap helps but wont totaly elliminate)
Not as bulletproof?
Drag issues (Free spool/ binding)
Right handers are dominant hand on the reel for most and not the rod
Line management (Bunching in one part of the spool)
Casting (Not for everyone)
 

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I prefer conventionals hands down, and I will add a couple more reasons:

I disagree that the reels are "not as bulletproof"--the design of a conventional reel is both inherently stronger as well as less mechanically complicated (except maybe when you add the 2 speed part). That is why conventials are lighter for similar drag performance while having greater line capacity. That's also why the few spinners that are up to the task are so expensive.

The other big advantage that conventionals have is the ability to rail fight as well as use a harness with very little extra fuss. Yes, there are contraptions to hook your spinning rod to a belt, but I don't think the geometry of those typically equals a good reel with lugs. Rail fighting, however, remains out of the question.

The disadvantage of harder to cast is a straw man in my opinion. We spend years honing all of our skills, and learning to cast a conventional is just one of those skills. Once you learn to do it, it isn't really that hard. It does take some practice, but doesn't everything else we do? The "backlash" risk will always be there, but they aren't that hard to clear if you know what you are doing--another "skill" you need to learn.

There are even new designs out there that make casting even easier and less fool proof like Avet's Magic Cast. I have an Avet SX with the magnetic cast control, and I am telling you, you cannot backlash the thing once you have it dialed in. I am really looking forward to the new line of Raptors, as I think they will become the ideal jigging and popping reels of the future--easy to cast and heavy drags.
 

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The other big advantage that conventionals have is the ability to rail fight. Rail fighting, however, remains out of the question..



WHY not rail fight A spinning reel? I have seen KIL and GMAN do it! they just flip there rod up side down and reel BACKWARDS!!!!:eek: :p MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!:D
 
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if i had to choose just one it would be the spinner. i can cast poppers with the spinner and it is ok to jig with.
i would purchase both and use a spinner for casting and the conventional for jigging.....rick
 

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The "backlash" risk will always be there, but they aren't that hard to clear if you know what you are doing.

What's a backlash? :confused: :D

As far as casting with poppers and jigs is concerned, it's a tossup as to which casts better. But that's just because I am as adept with the spinning rod as I am with a conventional. Now a spinner wins out over most conventionals when small live baits and lures are involved. And only a handful of small conventionals like the baby Avet and perhaps the Penn 525 mag can come close in castability with small baits and lures, and then only with the use of a proper rod in the hands of a skilled caster.

IMHO the real difference between the spinner and the conventional is in the type of fight and experience you want to have. The conventional is better in a knockdown dragout fight. Most have more drag capacities and cranking power. And even the best spinners don't maintain their drag range fish after fish.

Also, I believe it is much harder to fight a fish with heavy spinning tackle than it is with conventional gear. And the rail option is simply not there. This comes down to what you want to do.

However, a big spinner is a great tool for reaching fish at extreme distances with smaller baits and lures. Just a quick story:

I was on a long range trip a while back and we had a great troll bite going on wahoo that wouldn't come close to the boat on the slide. So after several attempts to get a bite on bombs and lures with 40lb conventional failed, I racked that rig and picked up a 25lb spinner (Van Stall) and fired a small sardine much farther than anyone else could throw a bomb or lure. Best thing about this was that my bait was staying out and away from the rest of the baits and lures being thrown, and was staying in the strike zone longer. I ended up with 2 nice wahoo and several yft doing this.
 

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I'm a split personality from way back , having many examples of both spinners & conventionals, and a bunch of oddballs that are not mainstream in the US ( Alvey sidecast)

Sticking with the jigging & popping context I agree broadly with post #1
plus a few more.

The casting skills referred to in post #2 are valid, but, distance is a big advantage in popping and with stickbaits , spinners handle the aerodynamics of the lure better. With metal slugs both are pretty much on a par.
Why is it tho , that the best chances of a bite always seem to happen when you do get a backlash ?????

Additional spinner pros:
I mention in another thread that spinners are more effort efficient when a fish is taking line. this is a consequence of the larger offset of the guides and the fact that they are on the inside of the deflection curve of the rod.
This causes more deflection of the blank for a given line tension than a conventional. increased deflection at a given load results in higher angler effort efficiency as the angler requires less effort input for the same line tension.

Additional spinner Cons:
1.
The inherent design of the rotating bail on a spinner results in an eccentric motion of the line when cranking.
ie
line tension & cranking resistance increase as the bail roller rotates away from the rod.

This results in a couple of disadvantages when pumping a large fish. both of these are inter-related.
A spinner cannot maintain as high a line tension as a conventional in the wind-down after a pump.
This means that the deflection of the rod has to be unloaded more during the wind-down.The result is that less line is recovered per pump with a spinner and less control of the fish's head is maintained during pump & wind phases of a fight.

A response to these situations is seen in stiffer popping rods for spinners so the "wasted" deflection in lowering line tension to a level that can be cranked & then re-loaded in the pump , is minimised. The disadvantage of this approach is that the angler effort efficiency of the rod in all phases of its use is reduced.

One then starts to ask why spinners specifically for big fish are designed the way they are & why alternative spinner designs are not in use for this activity.
 

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I was on a long range trip a while back and we had a great troll bite going on wahoo that wouldn't come close to the boat on the slide. So after several attempts to get a bite on bombs and lures with 40lb conventional failed, I racked that rig and picked up a 25lb spinner (Van Stall) and fired a small sardine much farther than anyone else could throw a bomb or lure. Best thing about this was that my bait was staying out and away from the rest of the baits and lures being thrown, and was staying in the strike zone longer. I ended up with 2 nice wahoo and several yft doing this.

Don't you think you could have achieved the same results by going to an 870 with a 229 Newell loaded with 25lb? Honostly, the rod and the line weight play a bigger role in being able to launch light weight baits and lures, more than the style of reel. Look at your freshwater conventionals which are casting lures weighing less than 3/8 of an ounce, on 10-14lb line. Its the rod and the light line that facilitates that. Of course a 40lb conventional setup isn't going to cast a light weight bait like a 25lb spinner, but I bet a comparable 25lb conventional would do just as well in skilled hands.
 

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The casting skills referred to in post #2 are valid, but, distance is a big advantage in popping and with stickbaits , spinners handle the aerodynamics of the lure better. With metal slugs both are pretty much on a par.
Why is it tho , that the best chances of a bite always seem to happen when you do get a backlash ?????


I guess I don't understand how the shape of the lure has any affect on the reel. If the rod and line size are properly sized for the weight of the lure, you will be able to cast it just as far with conventional.

As far as backlashes go, it takes only a few seconds to clear a typical backlash. If it takes longer than that, you really need to practice your casting, as you are way off the mark. If you are casting with good technique, any backlashes you get shouldn't be hard to pull off.
 

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While I don't expect (or care to) to "convert" anyone, I think having a fair exchange of pros and cons will help some make a decision one way or the other.

Those new to this style of fishing might simply "assume" you must have to go out and buy an $800 spinning reel to fish with jigs and poppers. I would like them to know they could do just as well learning to cast a conventional, and start out with as little as a $200 investment for a castable star drag reel that will do the job just fine. Even going up to a lever drag/2 speed, you don't have to spend more than the $500 range to get one of the better conventionals.

Don't mean to be "preachy", its a personal choice, just trying to present the positives of conventionals.
 

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I agree topper. Whatever it takes to get the action and whatever people are most comfortable. There is no right or wrong.

I do cringe when folks ask for a budget spinning recommendation. In contrast there are many budget conventionals.

That however doesn't help if the angler isn't comfortable with conventionals...and not everyone is.
 

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-- Tackle Ho --
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I use both conventional and spinning and I find them all good in their own little world. When you're standing on the bow of a boat getting ready to cast to a school of Bluefin Tuna that might only be visible for about 10 seconds, you got to make every shot count, that could be the only shot you have all day not to mention the only shot all season, I have cast with conventional and when you are in the middle of it all you want to revert back to the most simplest method. I understand that you can practice hard enough to be close to perfect with it but why going through all the trouble? you don't have to get a $900 spinning reel, Saragosa have been proven before and the price is only $300. Oh well, I like them both and as I said before they got their own style in their own world.
 

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The other big advantage that conventionals have is the ability to rail fight as well as use a harness with very little extra fuss. Yes, there are contraptions to hook your spinning rod to a belt, but I don't think the geometry of those typically equals a good reel with lugs. Rail fighting, however, remains out of the question.

The disadvantage of harder to cast is a straw man in my opinion. We spend years honing all of our skills, and learning to cast a conventional is just one of those skills. Once you learn to do it, it isn't really that hard. It does take some practice, but doesn't everything else we do? The "backlash" risk will always be there, but they aren't that hard to clear if you know what you are doing--another "skill" you need to learn.


You can use the rail with a spinning reel, I do almost every time I catch a tuna on the Big E.

Also not everyone has the time or wants to spend the time to learn how to cast a conventional, when they can pick up a spinning reel and cast effortlessly as far as most conventional guy are casting.

With that said; I can cast farther with a conventional with 3-5oz lures than I can a spinner on dry land(using the same rod blank). However on a rocking boat in the middle of the night tired from fishing all day I don't have to worry about form, or thumb placement with my Spinning reel.

As far as the new MC avets go, I saw a guy with a Digitally controlled (trinidad DC 30)cast control reel bird nest it, you know what he picked up and fished with the rest of the night? A spinning reel

When they make a conventional that is as effortlessly as a spinning reel to cast then and only then will you see them more on offshore popping rods.

d-a
 

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The benefits of casting a spinner aside (and there are many), the reason I truly love spinners is the ability to aggressively work topwater lures. Try casting and working a large pencil popper like a Craftbait GT Pencil for 5 hours, spinners make it so much easier.

Conventionals on the rail are great for fighting fish, but you have to hook them first........
 

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I guess I don't understand how the shape of the lure has any affect on the reel. If the rod and line size are properly sized for the weight of the lure, you will be able to cast it just as far with conventional.


Its all about the aerodynamic shape of the lure and how the darting & tumbling of the lure affects cast velocity & line delivery from the spool.
a spinner reacts automatically. a conventional ( irrespective of the cast control & educated thumb) just cant keep up.
No doubt that a hot rodded reel can cast extremely well ( I have a few I would never part with ) but cast to cast no tuned conventional can cope with differing situations as well as a spinner.
Its not always the case, but generally the more cast control you have with a conventional the more casting distance you lose.

Don't get me wrong, there are situations where a conventional is vastly more desirable & advantageous...........its simply not popping .......IMHO.
Jigging.........it simply depends on your technique & fighting style as to which suits your purpose.
most times I use a conventional ...........as it has advantages in the knock-down-drag-out type of fights I mostly end up in ( my locations ).

While I don't expect (or care to) to "convert" anyone, I think having a fair exchange of pros and cons will help some make a decision one way or the other.
Don't mean to be "preachy", its a personal choice, just trying to present the positives of conventionals.

absolutely a very useful topic
I certainly have many examples of both and choose the outfit with the most advantages for the particular application to use.

The perfect do anything reel has not been built yet & I doubt it ever will be.
everything in fishing is a compromise .
the beauty in that compromise is in the eye of the beholder.

Its interesting tho that the compromise in design is made by the reel manufacturer . The question is:-
Is that a compromise of duty and pros & cons of design that an angler for large fish would choose today.

For spinners that compromise of design relates to line twist in different situations.
Is than an issue with a rig fitted with a quality modern ballbearing swivel.
............methinks not.
but our options are limited by what the OEM reel companies offer.
A different spinner design could offer every advantage of a conventional including 2-speed in a different design package to today's spinners.

spinners were designed decades ago when the issues, lines available, & use were very different.
I'm rather surprised that we have not seen a different design package by one of the smaller technique specific reel companies, rather than tweaking evolution of the current spinner types.
 

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Its all about the aerodynamic shape of the lure and how the darting & tumbling of the lure affects cast velocity & line delivery from the spool.
a spinner reacts automatically. a conventional ( irrespective of the cast control & educated thumb) just cant keep up.
No doubt that a hot rodded reel can cast extremely well ( I have a few I would never part with ) but cast to cast no tuned conventional can cope with differing situations as well as a spinner.
Its not always the case, but generally the more cast control you have with a conventional the more casting distance you lose.



Having casted with both, I guess I just can't relate any of my experience to having lost any distance with a conventional casting a plug. Its all about matching the weight of the lure to the rod blank and line weight. Get those right, and a conventional can cast just as far or farther than the spinning setup.

As far as cast control, I have the orginal SX with the first MC that Avet produced last year. I can cast a 2 ounce weight 100yds without touching the spool. It takes a few casts to dial it in for the exact weight you are casting, but once dialed in, it is extremely effective and I don't think you lose any distance at all. The trick is to dial it in. If you go heavy on the control, you will lose distance, but there is a point at which you don't backlash, but still maximize distance. You have to take a few casts with different weights to know what setting to choose for what weight, but once you know, you just set it based on what you are casting.
 

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You can use the rail with a spinning reel, I do almost every time I catch a tuna on the Big E.

Also not everyone has the time or wants to spend the time to learn how to cast a conventional, when they can pick up a spinning reel and cast effortlessly as far as most conventional guy are casting.


I'd be very interested to see a picture or video of how you do this. Since the line is between the rail and your rod, I guess I don't see how that is possible uless you put the rod down sideways or something like that. Either way, can't be as simple as just laying your conventional down and cranking.

As far as how long it takes to learn to cast, I don't imagine too many guys who get into tuna jigging or popping are inexperienced fishermen. Many I would guess have already been fishing conventionals of some type, even if its a freshwater bass outfit. I could take any guy like that out in a single afternoon and have him casting a conventional. Still takes practice, but it really isn't that hard. I guess I just don't buy that as a reason not to use them.
 

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I love conventionals (Avets) but I cannot get a popper to "pop" with it. When I try I then get slack line on the spool. Inevitably that means a bird's nest on my next cast. Anyone have any advice for me or is it just the nature of the beast? I tried holding the line with finger and thumb, but it is too awkward and I'm afraid if a tuna was to hit I would lose a finger or two because of the braid.
 

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I use both conventional and spinners but I prefer spinners and use them 95% of the time. It is simple as this folks, if you are up to the ultimate challenge, spinning is the way to go....No!!....it's the only way to go.
 
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