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Lunker

Understanding gear ratios

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I've always been a spinning reel guy myself, but am now understanding the usefullness of baitcasters under certain situations. One thing I don't understand is gear ratios. Anyone want to give me a summary of what they mean and how to use them?

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Gear ratios have to do with the amount of line retrieved for every turn of the handle. Faster gear ratios retrieve more line but have less power.

You could say that having a very fast gear ratio is a little like having a very fast car with less towing capacity. If you aren't reeling baits with a lot of drag or fishing for larger species it generally won't matter.

Musky guys or guys fishing with baits that have a lot of resistance usually like a little more torque and will sacrifice some gear ratio speed.

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A 5:1 gear ratio would mean that the spool (on a baitcaster) or the line roller (on a spinning reel) would rotate 5 revolutions to every 1 revolution of the crank. Like 92Python said, the higher ratio will result in a faster retrieve but require more power/torque from your cranking hand - think of it like the gears on a bicycle. Also keep in mind that even if two reels have the same gear ratio, the one with the larger diameter spool will have a faster retrieve (more line gets spooled up per revolution). Probably more info than you needed though!?

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