Life is all about options and choices. When it comes to fishing the same parameters apply. Preferences vary for anglers choosing kayaks, places to paddle, species of fish to catch, lures to cast and rod and reel combinations to use. Everyone likes something different, that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream. More than likely there is a specific outfit that is more suited for the conditions you face. Lure weights are one factor. If you are fond of launching spinnerbaits for bass, clear water, bright skies and a light wind might be best suited for a diminutive quarter ounce spinner. While the smaller lures can be cast by the expert baitcaster, open faced spinning might be a better fit.With open faced spinning there is no backlash, long casts of lighter lures are the end result of the free flowing style of spinning. A good midpoint is a medium size reel and a 6 foot medium action rod. This gives a certain degree of balance to the caster/catcher. Smaller soft plastics, curly tail grubs, tubes, tiny topwaters all easily accommodate four to ten pound test line.
When you upsize your baits to the ½ ounce spinnerbaits, bulky crankbaits, buzzbaits and heavy jigs (1/2 to 1 ounce) baitcasting is the ticket. The stress on the reel, rod and angler is minimized with the stouter gear. Retrieving is facilitated by the heavily geared, aka level wind reel. Feathering the bait, using your thumb to add or release spool pressure to create casting accuracy is a huge plus for the baitcaster. Fighting larger fish is also, in my opinion, a higher efficiency proposition using baitcasting reels and longer rods. Couple with the outfit is use of the heavier line, 12-20 pound test line. Monofilament, fluorocarbon and braided line all spool and perform well on baitcasting reels. Drag systems are a toss-up, both reel have fans for different reasons. Spinning is smoother but baitcasting is stronger.
Which is better? BOTH! There will always be situations facing the kayak angler that dictate a different approach. Gin clear, calm, shallow water and spooky fish, garb the spinning stuff, heavy cover and larger lures leans towards baitcasting; bring both. In kayak fishing, physical, mental and equipment preparation all are keys to consistently catching bass. A small assortment of baits and the correct rods/reels to cast, feel the end line activity, set the hook and play your fish are all essential. Use all the tools available to you to paddle your way to more and bigger bass.