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#1783733 - 03/01/09 12:55 AM
explain baitcaster gear ratios?
Hoffer Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 02/05/04
Posts: 1339
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Does someone have a nice easy explanation for baitcaster gear ratios?
I am in the market for a new baitcaster and am wondering what the gear ratios represent? I know it has something to do with how fast the lure will be reeled in? What gear ratio fits best for what kind of fishing?
I currently have a shimano "bantam curado" it works fine for bass fishing = spinner baits etc...
I am looking for another low profile reel - just a little more heavy duty reel this time around for larger baits - possibly some muskie even...I dont need a really heavy duty one - as I have the round 6500c for my biggest muskie baits etc..
but the biggest question I guess is gear ratio....

Just one last cast...
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#1783761 - 03/01/09 05:57 AM
Re: explain baitcaster gear ratios? [Re: Hoffer]
Mike Wallace Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Mound, MN
Gear Ratio is turns of the spool for each turn of the handle. For example, an baitcaster might have a 5.3:1 gear ratio (decent for most mid-sized muskie baits). Every 1 turn of the handle = 5.3 turns of the spool.

The line pickup (how much line is retrieved for each turn of the handle) will depend on the gear ratio, spool diameter, and how much line is on the spool.

Just like on a bike, the lower gear ratios = more power and the higher gears = more speed. If you are going to pedal up a hill on a bike, you don't want it in 10th gear. Likewise, if you are going to throw a bucktail with double 10 blades, you don't want to use a high gear ratio.

Good Luck and have fun shopping.
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#1783842 - 03/01/09 07:56 AM
Re: explain baitcaster gear ratios? [Re: Hoffer]
shizzy Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 05/25/07
Posts: 807
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
How much difference in cranking power is there between the ratios? the reason I ask is I have problems with grip strength and pain in my hands/forarms and Im looking to pick up a bait caster of my own this season. I would gladly give up a little speed If it would allow me to toss lures for longer.

I have also seen "power handles" for some models. How useful are these?
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#1783854 - 03/01/09 08:08 AM
Re: explain baitcaster gear ratios? [Re: shizzy]
Charley Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 552
Loc: White Bear Lake
Heavy lures use lower gear ratio. Like muskie lures or fishin bigger cranks down deep. Use a top water baits use higher gear ratio.
These are general guide lines.
As far power handles its a personal thing.
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#1783857 - 03/01/09 08:10 AM
Re: explain baitcaster gear ratios? [Re: shizzy]
Esox_Magnum Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 4997
Loc: IGL's, NW Iowa
I'm on the other end of the spectrum, I prefer the high gears for double 10's on a muskie reel. With a low gear ratio you need hand speed to keep a bait moving, with high gears you just reel slower. I started last season with a 5:1:1 Okuma Induron 400, I ended the season with a 6:3:1 Shimano Curado 300 DSV for big blades. I found that having to reel faster tired me out faster than a steady slower retrieve. My bass/walleye crank reel is a 7:1:1 for twitching X Raps. I just piked up a Revo Toro in 5:3:1 for bucktails this year, time will tell how it works. I know a few other guys in our club thats running Revo Inshores for cowgirls and like them, not sure on the gear ratio on those.


Power handles are well worth the cost, helps a bunch for pulling big blades, I run them on my Okumas and the Toro came with one to that I'll put on to try. If you pull double duty with the reel the power handle may not be the best option for jerk baits or topwaters.

Founding/ Board Member, Hunters Helping Hunters
Board Member Upper Great Plains Chapter 29 Muskies Inc.



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