Choosing the Right Baitcasting Reel

May 21, 2015

Any angler who wants to use a wide variety of artificial lures will eventually need to use a baitcasting reel, also known as baitcasters. Although they take time and patience to master, these reels are perfect for accurate casting, allowing you to cast with precision and stop a lure in midair.

So when you decide to purchase a baitcasting reel, what are some of the things you should consider? Take a look at these helpful tips to get started.

Find the Right Gear Ratio

One of the first things you will need to do is find the right gear ratio—a factor that affects the speed of your lure retrieve. Gear ratio is the number of times the spool turns over when the handle is rotated once. Most reels will have the ratio listed somewhere on the body, which makes the selection process easier. Here’s how it works: with a 5:1 ratio, the spool turns five times during one handle rotation. Therefore, the higher the first number, the faster the retrieve.

Generally, 4:1 ratio is considered slow, 5:1 is average, and 6:1 or higher is pretty fast. You will need to consider what type of lures you will be using to decide what ratio you select. For diving crankbaits and large spinnerbaits, a slower retrieve is recommended, even as low as 3:1. For Texas rigs, jigs, and soft plastics, something in the area of 5:1 is a good choice. For some spinnerbaits, buzz baits, and other lures that need a fast action, you can go with a 6:1 or 7:1 reel.

Spool Size

Next, you will want to look at the reel’s spool size. If you are pursuing larger and stronger fish, you will inevitably need heavier line, which will take up more space on the spool. If that’s the case, go with a reel that has a nice deep spool that can hold all the line you need. You will also need extra line to let larger fish make runs. So keep in mind, larger fish need larger spools.

For bass fishing, you can use a lighter line, somewhere around 12-pound test will give you the strength you need without sacrificing the versatility and casting accuracy. For this reason, you can get by with a smaller spool.

Remember that Comfort is Key

Most importantly, remember that comfort is key. If you purchase a baitcasting reel that doesn’t feel comfortable in your hands you won’t be an effective angler. A comfortable grip and well-balanced rod-and-reel combination can help you cast with more accuracy, especially after you have casted hundreds of times in a single outing. Take the time to try out multiple reels, testing out the mechanisms like thumb latches, tensioners, reeling handles, drag settings, and other features. You can purchase anywhere you choose, but it may be a good idea to visit a large outdoor store that has hundreds of different models for you to try. This will give to a complete perspective on all of the available options, and help you understand the different price ranges for baitcasting reels.

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