This is the information you need before you buy!

Understanding gear ratios in fishing reels will increase your efficiency and accuracy on the water while decreasing your stress level when faced with a big purchasing decision.

The gear ratio tells you how many times the spool turns in one revolution of the handle. The number before the colon denotes the rotations the spool makes per one complete turn. For instance, a 6.4:1 ratio means every time you turn the handle, the spool inside turns exactly 6.4 times. The larger the first number, the more line retrieved on each crank.

The faster the handle is turned, the faster the spool rotates.  A reel with a gear ratio of 5.1:1 is going to be a much slower reel than one with a 7.1:1 gear ratio—the spool of a 5.1:1 reel will spin 5.1 times with each handle turn, while the 7.1:1 spool will turn 7.1 times with each handle turn.

Baitcast vs. Spinning Reels

Baitcast reels offer a wider range of gear ratios than spinning models.   Most spinning reels feature a gear ratio of 5.2:1 to 6.2:1. Bait casting reels are for the more experienced anglers who want better control and accuracy. Gear ratios on most brands of baitcasting reels range from 5.0:1 to 9.1:1.

Types of Gear Ratio

Low gear ratio reels | 5.1:1 thru 5.4:1

The low gear ratios like 5.2:1 and 5.3:1 are great for fishing baits that pull hard like deep crankbaits, big swimbaits, and deep water spinnerbaits. The low gear ratio helps you reel the bait slower, keeping it in the strike zone longer when fishing moving baits in the deep water. These reels have the highest amount of torque, allowing you to put less effort into retrieving the bait and more energy towards finding the fish.

Medium gear ratio reels | 6.0:1 thru 6.4:1

Mid-range gear ratio is great for multiple techniques and presentations. They are an all-around good choice. You can use any fishing technique with a variety of bait like squarebill crankbaits, medium depth crankbaits, shallow spinnerbaits, and shallow castable umbrella rig while maintaining excellent performance.

High gear ratio reels | 7.1:1 thru 8.1:1

High gear ratios are best for techniques where taking up slack and bringing a bait back to the boat are critical. Topwaters, jerkbaits, jigs, plastics and even lipless crankbaits warrant the use of a high-speed reel. These techniques create a lot of slack in your line, and if you get a bite 25 yards out from the boat, a high gear ratio comes in handy for getting a solid hookset.

Baitcast Reels within a Budget


Daiwa Tatula Baitcast Reel

The Daiwa Tatula is an innovative baitcasting reel offering a new “T-Wing” casting system. The T-Wing concept is a special designed line guide to reduce friction and obstruction on the cast, while maintaining a uniform level line winding onto the spool on the retrieve. There is less restriction on the line, allowing you to cast farther and smoother.

The Tatula reels comes equipped with a carbon drag stack, Magforce-X casting brakes, 8 bearings, and in several gear ratios, all at an affordable price.


Shimano Curado 70 Baitcast Reel

The Shimano Curado reels are known for their performance, reliability, and durability and are considered some of the best baitcasting reels of all time. This reel provides smooth casting with an adjustable Infinity braking system.

The Curado is complete with all the other cool Shimano technologies like a Super Free Spool, S-A-RB bearings, and the new X-Ship pinion gear design that anglers have been raving about since it came out.

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