Many modern casting rods may be used with either baitcast or spinning reels. But there are rods designed for a specific type of reel. Without knowing some specifics of these rods, it is easy to make the mistake of using a spinning type rod with a baitcast reel, or a spinning reel with a baitcast or what some manufacturers call a bait rod.
Identifying a Rod for Spinning Reels at a Glance:
These rods have very large guides which taper to a small guide at the tip.
The guide nearest the handle and the reel is very large.
The reel seat on long saltwater rods rest about 20 inches from the end of the handle.
Identify a Bait Rod at a Glance:
Guides are much smaller and usually more plentiful.
The guide nearest the handle is and reel is quite small.
The reel seat is nearer to the end of the handle; 12 to 14 inches on long telescopic rods.
Function of Guides on Rods:
With spinning reels, the line loops to the side upon casting and releases off the top of the reel at a rate determined by the weight of the cast set up and rod flexibility. One of the main reasons for the large guide nearest the reel is to reduce line resistance. If a small guide is positioned near the reel, the line whips against the guide’s inner circular edges at quicker intervals while unraveling its loops, shortening casting distance and quite possibly causing line damage. Fewer guides also lessen impediment.
In the case of baitcast reels, the line shoots off the center of the spool at a much more rapid rate while being guided through the level wind of the reel when casting. It is easy to overrun the speed and distance of the cast with the amount of line going out from the spool, resulting in backlashes. Thus, the guides for such reels are smaller in size, and greater in number to help control the line from exiting too quickly, and aid in preventing the line from flaring off course during a headwind. Many baitcast reel experts consider the level wind on the reel to be one of the most important guides, second only to the human thumb to control the line while casting.
What to do if the Wrong Type of Rod is Being Used:
It may prove best to eventually replace the rod with the correct type, or to change the reel to match the rod. If you are not proficient with the baitcast reel and mainly want to continue practicing without changing the rod and it is a telescopic rod, or if you are using a telescopic casting rod which may be used with either type of reel and have a baitcast reel mounted on it, you may consider changing the guides. Check with your local fishing supply dealer to see if an appropriate set of guides for your fishing rod is available. If your rod is not telescopic and the guides are permanently affixed and none of them can be freely moved, it is not a good idea to attempt replacing the guides. This, of course, also applies to those who happen to be using a bait rod with a spinning reel.
The telescopic rod has guides affixed with glue at the head of each section, and the remaining guides fit the taper of each section so that they can be slid down and set into position. Many standard models which may be used with spinning or baitcast rods do not have the guide nearest to the reel affixed to the head of the last section. Some have the last guide moving freely on the section above and the user sets it into place slightly above the last section. If your model does not have this and the last guide is at the head of the second section, inserting an appropriate guide below this or at the head of the last section is recommended for use with a baitcast reel.
When replacing the guides, start with the uppermost at the tip of the rod. Gingerly use the flame of a lighter for a moment on the metal of the guide to melt the glue holding it in place. Ensure that the flame does not contact the tip of the rod, or it will be burned off. Use pliers to remove the heated guide. This process is repeated to remove the guides affixed at the head of each section. When the new guides are inserted onto the sections, be sure that the guides to be glued align with the guide line markers if the rod has them on its sections.