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Gear ratios on Reels
March 3, 2007
4:39 am
MI50 group
Forum Posts: 2219
Member Since:
October 14, 2005
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Can anyone explain to me the gear ratio on baitcaster reels ? When the manuf. specs. come up 6.3.1 , what exactly does that mean. I guess the higher the ratio ( 6.3.1) the quicker the reel turns ? When does that come into play. The lower ( 5.0.1 ) the slower the reel turns.
The reason I ask, is last week , I bought a bucktail with huge blades, and the vendor told me that it would be better to have a lower gear ratio with my reel . to have the lure perform correctly. Also, that it would be tiring as hell to use with a higher ratio. Do I make sense ?? Is there a difference between casting, trolling certain baits as related to the gear ratios ? Have I now totally boggled your heads...because mine is ! HELP !!!

Sometimes you've got to "jiggle' it, and sometimes you've got to give it one big

March 3, 2007
3:07 pm
MI50 group
Forum Posts: 357
Member Since:
March 6, 2005
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George- It is the ratio of turns of the spool to turns of the handle. On a 6.3:1 reel the spool turns 6.3 time for every crank of the handle. (This is the same concept for automobile axle ratios.)

I'm not sure that you need a different reel for that spinnerbait though. You can adjust your cranking speed to achieve the desired depth, or to keep the bait from breaking the surface. Most musky spinnerbaits have large blades (like Colorado style) that will tend to bulge and break the surface if they are reeled to quickly anyway. Some guys; however, who want a fast retrieve will weight their spinnerbaits for high speed trolling or casting.

A lot of guys say the gears on the high speed reels are not a strong. I personally have not seen a difference. I even use a 7.1:1 shimano for burning bass spinnerbiats in current. I'd say you could start out by keeping your spool maxed out with line. (This will let the reel pick up more line on every revolution.) Get comfortable, and then decide if you want to make the investment. -Eric

March 3, 2007
7:42 pm
MI50 group
Forum Posts: 1020
Member Since:
March 20, 2004
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The general concenus by the experts in the musky world is that when throwing a large bladed bucktail or big crankbait, you want a lower geared reel, i.e. 5.3:1 or 5.0:1. The theory is that there is more cranking power. In fact the only application they use a reel in the 6.3:1 category is for jerkbaits so they can pick up line quicker. I had a 6.3:1 reel and really felt it did not handle bucktails or cranks well at all. For smaller twitchs or jerk, it was great.

Eric made another important comment. Make sure your line is spolled to the max. More line pickup per handle turn. Very important, especially with big bucktails.

Hope this helps.


March 6, 2007
2:48 am

George,I use a seperate rod for my bucktails and spinner baits,It is actually a spincaster/st croix combo,as I like a longer rod with the bucktails.For all the other lures,jerks,plugs,cranks I use a 6:3:1 conv.I always like to bring a backup rod anyway.I also sometimes use the bucktail rod for a cast back option,usually loaded with a tigertube type bait.It works for me.bobm

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