Fishing Reel Gear Ratio Explained 

Many anglers become overwhelmed when shopping for new fishing reels since there are so many alternatives.

Selecting the correct gear ratio reel is one of the most important decisions. When faced with a large purchase decision, comprehending gear ratios in fishing reels will boost your effectiveness on the lake and reduce your level of stress. 

The reel gear ratio is the number of times the spool rotates for every single grip turn. When you turn the handle on a reel with a gear ratio of 6.4:1, the spool within rotates precisely 6.4 times.

As a consequence, a reel with a gear ratio of 5.1:1 will be substantially slower than a reel with a gear ratio of 7.1:1. The spool of a 5.1:1 reel will rotate 5.1 times with every handle turn, whereas the spool of a 7.1:1 reel will round 7.1 times with each grip turn. 

It’s also useful to know how many Inches Per Turn (IPT) a reel has. That is the amount of line that can be retrieved into the reel with just one handle rotation.

It could also imply that a reel with the quickest gear ratio is actually like other high-speed reels. Since spool size, width and depth affect IPT, just because a reel is 7.3:1 or 8:1 doesn’t guarantee it reels in much more line every turn than a 7.1:1 one. 

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job 

The pursuit of lower gear ratios may lead you to believe that faster is always preferable. However, faster is good only when the fishing situation necessitates it. 

Fast, medium, slow, and gear ratios are the most common categories used by fishermen. Slow reels have a ratio of less than 6:1; medium ones have a ratio of 6 to fewer than 7:1, and fast reels have a ratio of 7:1 or above. 

You have to know the different applications of the gear ratios: 

Low Gear Ratio  

Fishermen casting deep-diving crankbaits, slow-rolled spinnerbaits, and huge swimbaits frequently use slow reels in the range of 5:1. 

The slower absorption makes perfect sense in these situations since it allows the bait to sink deeper into the water and since these baits are angling in the bite zone for the majority of the retrieve. 

The gear ratio lets you spin the reel at a comfortable speed, which, when combined with these lures, maintains your offering in the zone for the duration of the retrieve. When the fishing portion of the cast is completed, the bait is usually close to the boat; thus, the slow ratio doesn’t significantly delay the following cast. 

Medium Gear Ratio  

Bass fishermen commonly refer to medium reels as their workhorses. Ratios of roughly 6:1 or 6:4 are commonly utilized with square-billed crankbaits, medium-depth crankbaits in general, shallow spinnerbait presentations, and castable umbrella setups to present a broad range of baits. 

Spinning the reel at a suitable speed exposes these baits to the depth where they are most successful. Most reels in this range of gear ratio are able to display not just medium-sized baits but also slow-moving and fast-moving baits. They might be able to complete the task with a little less efficiency or effort. 

Fast Gear Ratio  

Fishermen should use fast gear ratio reels when: 

  • Presenting lures at comparatively specified target zones. 
  • Fishing a bait that is mainly worked by relocating the pole tip. 
  • Fishing baits that are ripped rapidly. 
  • Using lures that are fished in massive cover where it is beneficial to take the catfish out to open water instantly when setting the hook 

Some examples of baits that match well to a fast gear ratio are:  

  • Carolina rigs 
  • Shaky heads 
  • Jigs and big worms 
  • Texas rigs 
  • Topwaters 
  • Lipless crankbaits 
  • Jerkbaits 

Anglers benefit from fast reels’ extraordinarily fast line absorption in three ways. 

When worm fishermen are fishing cover or structure far from the ship, once the lure has been fished through the region where a bite is likely to happen, the bait could be pulled in swiftly, allowing the next throw to be made fast. This can significantly enhance the length of time your bait spends productively fishing throughout the period of a day. 

The fast reel permits rapid slack absorption in the event of lures that are jerked or otherwise fished in brief actions with a twitch of the pole, providing for better interaction with the bait as well as a greater possibility of getting a firm hookset. 

Finally, incredibly fast reels are indeed very useful in getting the bass out of the brush when flipping, pitching, or other heavy-cover techniques. 

What is the Best Gear Ratio for an Angler? 

There really is no such thing as the best gear ratio. Everything will depend on the needs and the level of experience that the fisherman has. Some will benefit more with a lower gear ratio while others with higher ones. 

To be more specific, if you are a novice, a lower gear ratio is preferable. Low gear ratios are simpler to manage and involve less effort on the part of the angler. The 6:1 gear ratio is a good choice for novices because it is considered mid-range. 

If you are a skilled fisherman looking to improve your technique and efficiency at sea, a high gear ratio is a way to go. You can choose a gear ratio of 7.4:1, which is ideal for experienced anglers. 

One interesting point to note is that the 6.4:1 gear ratio is one of the most popular. This gear ratio is in the middle range, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced anglers. 

Gear ratios in Different Types of Fishing 

Saltwater Fishing 

The ideal gear ratio for saltwater fishing is 4.9:1. Bait rigs are commonly used in saltwater fishing to maintain the lure on the hook while retrieving the fish. Anglers that use a low gear ratio, such as 4.9:1, can readily capture fish like flounder and red drum. 

Bass Fishing 

For this style of fishing, an experienced bass angler is likely to have an entire set of reels. Nevertheless, with just one lure and a 6:1 gear ratio, you could easily recreate the fishing experience. 

Worm Fishing 

When we do worm fishing, a gear ratio of 6:1 or higher is suggested. This allows users to easily reel in the fish before everything gets caught in the cover one more time. 

Other Types of Fishing

For any style of fishing, use a low to medium gear ratio of 4.9:1 to 6:1. 

The Best Fishing Gear To Use

Abu Garcia C3 Catfish

Abu Garcia C3 catfish reels are a specialist model based on their much loved and respected C3 series of round baitcasters. The best catfish baitcaster reel? For blues and flatheads, absolutely. Check them out on Amazon

Berkley Trilene Monofilament Fishing Line

It’s not that easy to find and when it’s available I tend to stockpile it! Designed to be lower stretch than most monofilaments. It comes in a fluorescent green that is easy to see in strong sunlight or when night fishing. Check them out on Amazon