Buying a new baitcasting reel is indeed overwhelming even if you are doing it for the 100th time. The plethora of options to choose from could baffle the users, especially the new anglers. Out of some major considerations, the gear ratio is the most important one. Understanding what is a baitcaster gear ratio, how it works, and what will be the best baitcaster gear ratio for you will make the purchase hassle-free.
Baitcaster gear ratios also offer high accuracy and efficiency of your reel therefore, it is foremost to know the actual baitcaster gear ratio meaning. The reels offer a wide range of gear ratios that can cater to multiple fishing needs. For example, lower ratios are suitable for heavy lures such as swimbaits. Whereas, with higher ratios, you can cast long distances and target heavy fishes.
There is so much more to learn about a baitcaster reel gear ratio. To provide you with a detailed explanation of what is gear ratio in fishing, I have done extensive research. This article has everything you need to know about bait casting reel gear ratios.
What Does The Gear Ratio Mean On A Fishing Reel? – Baitcaster Gear Ratio Explained
Gear ratio in fishing reel dictates the number of times a spool can turn with one complete crank of the handle. It is the ratio between the number of spool turns and a single crank of the handle hence called the gear ratio. The figures of a gear ratio will look like X.Y: Z with Z always being 1. It is because Z represents the one complete turn of the handle. On the other hand, X.Y is the spool revolution.
For instance, if your baitcaster has a 6.6:1 gear ratio, the spool would make 6.6 revolutions on a single crank of the handle. Baitcasting reels are available in various gear ratios which one can choose according to their preference. Different gear ratios are used for different purposes which are discussed in detail further.
Baitcaster Gear Ratio Chart
The fishing reel gear ratio chart below determines the range of gear ratios in different. Determine your needs and look for them in the chart below. It will help you find the right gear ratios for your baitcasting reel.
|Category||Gear Ratio||Retrieve Rate||Type of Lures||Types of Species|
|Low Gear Ratio||5.0:1 to 6.0:1||23 in. to 27 in.||Crankbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits, swimbaits||Marlin, shark, tuna, walleye, panfish, catfish, redfish, sailfish, crappie, etc.|
|Medium Gear Ratio||6.1:1 to 8.0:1||28 in. to 33 in.||Swimbaits, jerk baits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, buzz baits, bottom bouncing rigs, plastic worms, and top waters||Bass, pike, catfish, blackfish, mandarin fish, cockmouth, eel, horse mouth, tilapia, trout, etc.|
|High Gear Ratio||8.1:1 to 10.5:1||34 in. to 39 in.||Crankbaits, jerk baits, lipless crankbaits, chatterbaits, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, jigs, big worms, and topwaters||Ideal for long casting. Used for Inshore, offshore, open water fishing, and more.|
Low Gear Ratio
Baitcasting gear ratios between 5.0:1 to 6.0:1 are typically categorized as low gear ratios. These work best for anglers who have an intent for deep crank baiting. Offering you the maximum amount of torque among all the types, these gear ratios won’t require a lot of your effort. This means, you’ll use less energy during retrieval and all of it would be saved for finding the best catch.
Since baitcasters are widely used for bass fishing, these gear ratios become extremely invaluable to fight some in cold waters. For example, these reels keep the baits within the strike zone for a longer time. This ultimately results in aiding while deep water fishing with moving baits.
You can efficiently use these reels with heavy, big, and slow rolling lures such as jigs, swimbaits, and more. KastKing Royale Legend II baitcasting reel could be a great choice for low gear ratios such as 5.4:1. The best recommended round-profile baitcasting reel with 5.1:1 gear ratio is Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S.
Medium Gear Ratio
The medium gear ratios range between 6.1:1 to 8.0:1 and are incredibly versatile. One can use these reels for a wide range of fishing techniques, making them extremely well-liked among bass anglers. According to my experience, one of the best 6.6:1 baitcasting reels is the Piscifun Spark Pro.
Whether you are pounding spinnerbaits in shallow water or plowing through dense cover using a squarebill in pre-spawn, these baitcasters work impeccably. The best all around baitcaster gear ratio also falls under this category i.e, 6.4:1. It offers extra speed and provokes a high reaction rate even in the most aggressive fish.
High Gear Ratio
This category includes the fastest baitcaster gear ratios i.e., ranging from 8.1:1 to 10.5:1. These are another excellent choice for bass anglers. Regardless of the lure you are using, while fishing with high gear ratio reels, you are mostly reeling in the bait with the tip of your rod. Despite that, you still require skills for retrieving the line instantaneously as the fish bites. That is when these reels come to help.
While fighting heavy species such as bass, these gear ratios provide exceptional speed to pull in the fish without line-fraying issues. The compatible lures as mentioned in the chart above create lots of slack for you in the fishing line. With a high gear ratio, you can get a solid hookset if the fish bites even from 30 yds away. The KastKing Speed Demon Elite is a mighty reel with the fastest gear ratio i.e., 10.5:1. It is also available in an 8.6:1 gear ratio.
Baitcasting Reel Gear Ratio For Bass
The best baitcaster gear ratio for bass that most anglers rely on is 6.4:1. The foremost reason is the versatility of fishing techniques that it offers. Moreover, anglers can use a wide variety of lures, and in various water.
Furthermore, baitcaster reels with this gear ratio are responsible for the right amount of torque required to fight off medium or large-sized bass.
Spinning Reel vs Baitcasting Reel Gear Ratio
As compared to spinning reels, baitcaster reels have a wide range of gear ratios. The spinning models would typically offer gear ratios between 5.2:1 to 6.2:1. Whereas, the best gear ratio for the spinning reel is 6.0:1 for a variety of applications.
On the other hand, baitcasting models have gear ratios starting from 4.0:1 to 9.3:1. That said, baicasters are capable of fulfilling most of the fishing needs. These reels are best designed for expert anglers who fish in various environments and require brilliant accuracy and better control.
No matter which reel you go for, make sure to pick the right gear ratio. An inappropriate gear ratio can impact the overall performance of your reel. Don’t forget to specify your requirements and search for the gear ratios accordingly.
Related Baitcasting Guides
Following are some common questions that will help you in understanding gear ratios in a baitcaster reel:
As mentioned earlier, different gear ratios would work for different lures. For swimbaits and topwaters, the ideal gear ratio would be 4.0:1 to 8.0:1. These can be used with low and medium gear ratios.
The best baitcaster gear ratio for chatterbaits ranges between 6.1:1 to 8.0:1. Moving on to the best gear ratio for buzzbaits and plastic worms is the medium one i.e., 6.1:1 to 8.0:1.
Users will make lots of noise about the impact of gear ratio on speed. While gear ratio contributes to the overall retrieve speed, it is also influenced by the size of the spool. A small spool will retrieve less line as compared to a reel with a larger spool running at the same pace.
The retrieve rate is directly proportional to the amount of line a spool would pick up upon retrieval. The more line it takes, the faster will be the speed. Simply put, three key factors impact the retrieve speed i.e., gear ratio, the diameter of the spool, and your winding speed.
Since it is one of the fastest baitcaster gear ratios, it is best for expert fishing techniques. For example, you can use a baitcaster with a 7.5:1 gear ratio for inshore or offshore fishing to catch hefty bodies. It can also prove to be the best baitcaster gear ratio for bass fishing, especially larger ones.
Choosing the right baitcaster gear ratio for your reel can be a bit challenging, especially for newbies. Gear ratios determine the number of revolutions a spool takes with one complete turn of the reel handle. It has a massive influence on the overall performance of the reel therefore, you must understand its types and working mechanism.
Don’t forget to determine the type of fishing, nature of water, and lures that you are comfortable using. Once you narrow down your search, you would come across some more suitable options. The gear ratio chart above can help you find the right category according to your needs. Make sure you check it out carefully and purchase accordingly.