I wanted to take this opportunity to break down reel ratios, what they mean, and why they are important. There are many different aspects to consider when selecting a reel, like inches per turn, line recovery, and which rod it will be going on. When I first decided that I wanted to write this I only knew about half of the information before doing a little research and this is what I came up with.
The gear ratio determines how fast the reel speed in during your retrieve. The higher the gear ratio the high your retrieve will be and vice versa. You may see numbers like 7.1:1, 6.2:1, 5.1:1, or 3.8:1, and these are the gear ratios for the reels that you are about to buy. The first number in the ratio is how many revolutions the line spool will go through in one turn of the handle. The best example that I found was comparing reel gear ratios to the gears on a ten speed bike. When you switch gears the peddling gets easier or harder depending on which gear you are in. In the small gears you can peddle easier but you will get less tire rotation per peddle and you will get more tire rotation with a larger gear, but it will be harder to pedal. The same principal applies here except you cant switch gears in you reel, you have to switch reels for a specific desired outcome in line retrieval speed.
There are many different opinions out there about which gear ratio is better for which lure. After gathering some data the general consensus is as follows:
- 3.8:1 gear ratio - Deep diving crankbaits
- 5.1:1 gear ratio - Crankbaits, slow rolling spinner baits
- 6.2:1 gear ratio - Top water, plastics, and general use
- 7.1:1 gear ratio - Burning spinner baits and buzzbaits
From the information presented, it seems that if you are on a budget and do not have the funds for situational fishing with different reels a 6:1 gear ratio (or some where around there) is best to stick with.