Gear ratios can be confusing if you’re a beginner to fishing with a baitcaster, as there are several gearing ratios for different purposes. All gear ratios provide different speeds and power, and it all depends on what you’re catching and what type of lure you’re using.
Baitcasting Gear Ratio Meaning
Gear ratios determine the spool spins speed. Suppose you have a 7.5:1 gear ratio; this means that the spool will rotate 7.5 times for one turn of the handle. It helps to think of them as gears on a bicycle; the higher your gear ratio, the faster the spool will turn for every single turn of the handle.
There are various reels such as spin cast, spinning reels, and baitcasting reels. Generally, the gear ratios in baitcasting reels range from 5.5:1 up to 9.3:1, and they have higher gear ratios than spinning reels because they are instrumental in the high-speed retrieval of the lure or fish.
Baitcaster Gear Ratio Chart
We compiled a chart for the various gear ratios available in baitcasting reels. There are three ratio types: low, medium, and high. All three of these gear ratios are helpful in different conditions.
|Speed||Gear Ratio||Retrieval Speed|
|Low||4.1:1 to 6.6:1||23” to 27”|
|Medium||6.7:1 to 7.9:1||28” to 33”|
|High||8.1:1 to 9.3:1||34” to 40”|
Application of the Different Baitcasting Gear Ratios
Low gear ratio: 4.1:1 to 6.6:1
Low gear ratios of around 4.1:1 work better for larger fish and when you’re fishing with deep crankbaits, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits. The lower ratio delivers much larger torque from the handle to the spool, providing more power and allowing the fishermen to crank faster when fighting with a large and powerful fish.
However, if the fish starts swimming towards the boat, you have to put more effort into spinning the handle in an attempt to keep the line taut. Many saltwater fishing reels are set to this ratio for that reason.
Medium gear ratio: 6.7:1 to 7.9:1
Most baitcasting reels are set to this gear ratio as they are the most versatile and functional for various tactics. They are also very beginner-friendly as they work for fish that require live bait and work well with spinnerbaits, chatter baits, and shallow diving crankbaits.
These reels are fast enough to remove the slack, keep the line taut, and provide torque and power for some heavier and stronger fishes.
A ratio of 6.7:1 to 7.9:1 will most likely be the best overall gear ratio for baitcaster reels as it can be used for almost all types and tactics of fishing.
High-speed gear ratio: 8.1:1 to 9.3:1
High-speed gear ratios can go up to 10.1:1, called ultra-high-speed reels. These are useful when you need to quickly pick up slack from the reel when you feel a bite.
High-speed reels are helpful for fishing bass and schooling fishes that might or might not be close to cover, and they also aid in long casts and quick retrieval of the line.
These reels are also top-rated in fishing games where you have to pull the fish out of the water and onto the boat as fast as possible, and they also allow you to cast your line multiple times.
If you’re jigging or flipping from a drifting boat, you don’t get a lot of chances and can only cast your line once or twice in a particular spot; you want to be able to retrieve the line as quickly as possible so you can get another chance at the same place.
Furthermore, when fishing for bass, which is usually close to cover, like underwater trees, lily pads, and corals, the fish can go into hiding when you snag it on the hook, so a high-speed reel allows you to reel the fish away from that area much more quickly.
What is a good gear ratio for a baitcaster?
The answer to this question depends on what type of fish you’re catching and the lure you’re using to catch the fish. Overall a medium-speed reel with a gear ratio between 6.7:1 to 7.9:1 is the best, as these reels can adapt to a lot of circumstances and can be used to catch a wide variety of fishes.
Depending on the type of fish you’re catching, you should choose the appropriate gear ratios, as reeling in a large, powerful fish with a high gear ratio can be extremely hard and require a lot of strength to spin the handle.
We know choosing a baitcasting reel can be confusing the first time; usually, bait casters are used by pros as they take some time to master properly, but they allow for highly accurate casting.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind before making a buying decision.
This is by far the most important thing as you need to find the correct gear ratio as it affects the speed at which you can retrieve your lure.
Suppose you’re hoping to catch big and powerful fish. You should go for reels with low gear ratios of 4.1:1 to 6.6:1 as they allow for better torque delivery to the spool from the handle because you can spin the handle much more quickly than in reels with higher gear ratios.
On the other hand, while fishing for fish like bass, most anglers prefer a gear ratio between 6.7:1 to 9.3:1 since bass are found close to natural covers in which they can hide, and your line can get tangled up. Reels with higher ratios allow you to haul the fish up to the boat much faster, ensuring they don’t get to find cover.
Size of the spool
Keep in mind that larger fish need more giant spools, so if you’re looking to catch a big and powerful fish, you need to get a heavier line that can fit inside the larger spool with ease. Furthermore, as larger fish tend to make runs, make sure you have some extra line on hand.
Comfort should play a significant role in choosing the proper reel as fishing is a patient game, and you might be at it for hours. So, choosing a reel that feels comfortable in your hands is very important. Before buying the particular reel, test everything you can, the grip, buttons, release handles, tensioners, and other features.
What is a baitcaster reel?
A baitcaster reel usually sits on top of the fishing rod, and the spool is parallel to the rod; the line from the baitcaster also runs along the rod. Baitcaster reels are said to be for advanced users because the spool moves along with the line when it is cast.
Hence, it requires an experienced angler to handle it properly. Otherwise, the spool might move faster than your line, and the line ends up in a mess known as backlash or a bird’s nest. This can be reduced over time with appropriate practice and time.
How to use a baitcaster reel?
A baitcaster reel is useful for crowded areas or where the fish are schooling; it can also be used in an offshore fishing reel depending on its strength.
The dominant hand is used to cast the line and controls the reel, so you have to switch between them. Advanced anglers use their thumbs to stop and control the line to prevent backlash.
What is a spincaster reel?
Spincaster reels are the most common and the cheapest options available in the market. They are suitable for beginners as they have a single button to toggle between free and locked spool.
However, it is covered with a plastic cover, which means that if the line tangles, it will go unnoticed until it becomes a huge mess.
Furthermore, water and debris can seep into the casing while will shorten the lifespan of the reel, and it can’t last for multiple seasons as it’s not as durable.
What is a spinning reel?
Spinning reels are famous among anglers worldwide, and beginners can also use them.
The reel is mounted at the bottom of the rod, which provides stability and balance to the rod, and the drag adjustment switch is at the top of the rod.
Spinning reels allow for more flexibility as you can control the metal bail with your index finger; this prevents unspooling before the line is cast.
What are lures?
Lures are an alternative to live baits; they are artificial baits made to mimic the live ones. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. There are multiple types of lures depending on the kind of fish, the water temperature, size, and the depth at which it usually lives.
We hope this article helped you understand how baitcasting gear ratios work and choose the best one for your specific needs. As always, stay safe and happy fishing.