Can You Ice Fish With A Baitcaster?

When it would come to winter, ice fishing is always an excellent pastime for those who wear suits for the sub-zero temperatures and bring fishing gear( reel, line, rod,..) to go out to find frozen water.

if we want to have an effective fishing trip, using a quality ice fishing suit suitable for this rugged sport is an essential thing, I have mentioned this a lot in my previous posts. For ice fishing, set up your ice fishing rods and reels to be ultra-sensitive and light.

The types of reels commonly used for ice fishing are spinning, inline ice fishing reels, and baitcasters. They each have their advantages and disadvantages for specific purposes, sometimes it can fish great in this case, and other times it will not.

If someone tells you using which one of the three is the best, don’t trust them completely. Those are just subjective sayings, influenced by that person’s habits. For example, I’ve been using baitcaster for over ten years, so there’s no reason for me not to recommend you a baitcaster.

Can You Ice Fish With A Baitcaster?

You could not have a practical fishing session if you do not understand to fish and control them and are not comfortable using any reel. And, of course, a longtime angler can’t have just one type of reel; if you have the budget, you can try many different types for more exciting fishing experiences on the frozen water.

Can You Ice Fish With A Baitcaster? The answer is so apparent; it’s entirely possible. It can offer advantages that other reels don’t have, such as less line twist, easy free-spin, can handle larger fish.

However, as I said above, no reel is perfect. The baitcasting reel also has bad features that interfere with our fishing trip. For more information, you can refer to the following article.

Advantages of ice fishing baitcasters

There is always a lot of controversy between the spinning reel and baitcaster. Usually, baitcasters are not used as widely for ice fishing as other reels, but there are still advantages that make ice fishing baitcaster stand out from the other reels.

Easy to fish in gloves

I have tried different reels for ice fishing including baitcasting reels and spinning reel, and when I use a light spinning reel, I have to take off my gloves because the handle is much smaller than my hand; it is difficult for me to rotate this spinning reel with gloves.

And you know, fish under such low temperature without wearing gloves, my hands were numb. So I would not say I hate that feeling.

However, that will no longer be an issue for the baitcaster. The star drags capabilities of baitcasting reels make it easy to operate even when you’re wearing gloves. Along with that, baitcasting reels have a large capacity, so this reel is very smooth when spinning.

Baitcasting mitigates against line twist

Line twist of reel is always a headache for most anglers, and we have to stop the fight and untangle, even change the line of the reel. That’s annoying me, how about you?

twisting the line

But with the baitcaster, the line of reel is released and retracted along the rod to mitigate against line twist. And of course, we have to take out the braid line of the reel and drop it manually

it into the water to fish when we use baitcasting reels.

Push-button free-spool

Push-button free-spool and bale

When using a spinning reel, to switch to the free-spool mode, you have to open the bale at the top of the reel manually in reverse and close it if you are about to jigging.

Unfortunately, you will have to repeat this movement many times during a fishing session. But, if you can do that without getting tired, you’re pretty cool.

Besides, As mentioned above, the reel for ice fishing is very light, so everything including the reel and rod is very compact, so repeating that action many times will cause the bale of these reels to bend.

And now, with Push-button free-spool, you need to press the button to switch to free-spool mode flexibly and to return to jigging, lightly rotate the handle. It saves me a lot of time and increases the efficiency of a fishing session.

Stronger capacity

Baitcasters are commonly known as large-capacity reels intended for fighting big fish. Ice fishing is no exception; although it is smaller to match, this advantage of baitcasting reels is still available.

It is a perfect choice when targeting larger fish like walleye, Panfish, largemouth, smallmouth, lake trout, pike.

Disadvantages of Baitcaster

No one is the best ice reel, neither is the baicaster. Here I will point out its disadvantages.

The price is a bit higher.

While that’s been improving lately, a baitcaster is likely more expensive now than a spinning reel. But I don’t think this is a downside because I get back what I paid for, it may do what I want. Besides, you will save a lot of money to set up a large ice fishing rod.

Requires a bit of skill

Do you know how to fish this fishing reel? If not, to operate a reel smoothly is great hard for you, it can take a little time to learn. However, when fishing on ice, you will not need to do all the casting, which will reduce its difficulty somewhat.

you should refer to the video below to do better with these reels.

Lure weight

as mentioned above, you will have to manually remove the braid line from the spool reels and drop it into the water because the weight of the light bait is not enough to do that. But for bigger fish, you don’t need to worry about that because heavier lures will help you do it.

lure weight


To combine with a light baitcaster reel, should use a 4-5 foot rod. It would be best if you did not use a rod that is too long. Also, always remember that your ice fishing gear is as light, as simple as possible.

That’s what I want to share with you, and I hope you can help me somewhat.

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