Fishing Reel Gear Ratio


Purchasing a new fishing reel can be tough, especially for beginning fishermen. The abundance of options makes it tough for anglers to make the right decision. The fishing reel efficiency is highly dependent on the fishing reel gear ratio. For this reason, understanding reel gear ratios before purchasing your next baitcasting reel are crucial.

What is the Fishing Reel Gear Ratio?

If you have checked the fishing reel labeling in the past, you probably did notice a ratio on it. In most instances, the ratio features 2 numbers – a large number on the left-hand side and the value 1 on the right-hand side. This is what we are calling the fishing reel gear ratio.

Reel gear ratios show the number of rotations that the spool makes in a single rotation of the reel’s handle. To give you an example, let’s consider a fishing reel gear ratio of 6.4:1. This ratio means that every time the reel’s handle makes a complete turn, the reel spool, which holds your fishing line, makes 6.4 turns.

Are the Reel Gear Ratios the Same for Baitcasting and Spinning Reels?

The reel spool on baitcasting reels is generally crossed with the rod while the spinning reel spools are parallel to the rod. Due to this difference, most anglers wonder whether the fishing reel gear ratio is the same for both the baitcasting and spinning reels. The short answer to this question is Yes.

The numbers you find on these 2 types of fishing reels mark the same relationship between the spool and handle speed. How the spool is positioned is not necessarily important.

Additionally, the reel gear ratios aren’t dependent on the size of the spool. For example, a 6.3:1 fishing reel gear ratio is going to be medium speed irrespective of whether it is on a big or a smaller spool.

It is worth noting that the gear ratio range for the spinning and baitcasting reels may vary. Currently, the gear ratio for the baitcasting reels ranges between 5.0:1 and 9.1:1. Most of the spinning reels’ gear ratio lies between 5.2:1 and 6.2:1. Anglers who focus on catching bass can, however, look for the rare spinning reel gear ratio of 7.0:1.

Fishing Reel Gear Ratio Categories and When to Use Them

For you to succeed at reeling in a catch during your night fishing trip, your fishing reels need to feature the right reel gear ratios. Understanding the fishing reel gear ratio categories and the ideal time to use them can benefit you irrespective of whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing.

There are 3 main fishing reel gear ratio categories. We have outlined these reel gear ratios below:

  • Low fishing reel gear ratio. A good example here is the 1:1 ratio.
  • Medium fishing reel gear ratio. The ratio 3:1 is classified in this category.
  • High fishing reel gear ratio. A reel gear ratio exceeding 0:1 is classified in the high reel gear ratio category.

When to Use the Different Reel Gear Ratios


1. Low Reel Gear Ratios

The low reel gear ratio is ideal for:

  • Deepwater crankbaits
  • Big swimbaits
  • Deep spinnerbaits

As you have probably guessed, the low fishing reel gear ratio means that the reel spool will be rotating at a slower speed. For this reason, it will be possible for you to reel in your bass lures slowly while maintaining a normal-speed motion.

The low reel gear ratios are ideal for longer casts in fishing spots with a lot of open space. The low ratio is also ideal if you intend to play the bottom of the river or lake. According to fishing experts, a 5.1:1 ratio can make it possible for you to get the lures to the maximum depth. The low ratio will offer you the power to pull the crankbaits through the water column.

When using spinnerbaits, the low fishing reel gear ratio will make it possible for you to control the speed easily. You will be able to keep the spinnerbait at a steady pace with significantly less effort.

2. Medium Reel Gear Ratios

You can use the medium fishing gear ratio if you are casting your spinning rod with the following lures:

  • Shallow castable umbrella rigs
  • Jerkbaits
  • Squarebill crankbaits
  • Shallow running spinnerbaits
  • Medium depth crankbaits

When using a medium fishing reel gear ratio, the reel will spin at a moderate speed as you turn your handle. Medium reel gear ratios are generally what most anglers would call universal. The ratios are used by the majority of the fishermen.

A medium ratio makes it possible for the angler to imitate the actions of the low fishing reel gear ratio and high reel gear ratios. This, in turn, makes it possible for you to use a wider variety of fishing lures and fishing techniques without experiencing issues.

Although we have mentioned that the medium gear ratio works perfectly with almost any lure, some lures can increase your chances of succeeding when you put on your fishing hat. We have outlined these lures above.

3. High Reel Gear Ratios

If you intend to use the lures outlined below on your fishing trip, using a reel featuring a high gear ratio may be a good idea:

  • Shaky worms
  • Jigs and big worms
  • Lipless crankbaits
  • Topwater Baits
  • Texas rigs

A high reel gear ratio means that after you cast your bait caster, you will be collecting more fishing line on the reel spool with each turn of the handle.

Reels featuring a high speed are ideal for when you are going after fish in tight places or canals featuring a lot of vegetation or overgrowth. The main reason for this is that you are likely to make more mistakes.

For example, you are likely to cast the lure to the wrong place. If your weedless lure happens to end up in the waterweeds, you will need to reel in your lure as fast as you can. This will minimize the chances of the lure getting stuck. Using a high ratio reel will make it possible for you to reel in your lure quickly.

High reel gear ratios are ideal for flipping and pitching fishing techniques. This is because their higher speed makes it possible for the angler to make short and fast casts while turning the handle at a lower speed. Not having to turn the reel handle too quickly will allow you to fish for longer since you will experience minimal fatigue.

Globo Surf Overview

The fishing reel gear ratio can be chosen based on the style and size of the bait you intend to use. However, if you are currently on a budget or you do not want to purchase a reel for each fishing technique you use, a reel featuring a medium reel gear ratio may be an ideal choice.

When we talk of the medium reel gear ratio, we are simply referring to a ratio of about 6.3:1. This type of reel will make it possible for you to fish moderately-sized crankbaits. It will still have enough power to allow lighter and faster presentations.

If you are new to using fishing reels, you may find using low reel gear ratios a much better idea. As your experience grows, you can shift to using the medium to high reel gear ratios.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!