Fishing Reel Rod


If you are new to fishing reels you are probably wondering what gear ratios are and how they impact your fishing. Fishing reel gear ratios are actually very easy to understand once you know what the numbers mean.


Fishing reel gear ratio numbers normally look like X.X:1. The number including the decimal point before the colon indicates how many revolutions the spool will make with one wind of the handle. So, if you see a fishing reel with a 7.1:1 (seven point one to one) that means the spool will rotate 7.1 times with one crank of the handle.


That’s pretty easy to understand too. Let’s say you need to retrieve crankbaits at high speed, then you want a reel with a bigger gear ratio. You will notice that many of the bigger baitcasting reels generally have larger gear ratios too.

Larger gear ratios are great for high-speed fishing when you want to retrieve fast, especially when a fast moving fish is heading right your way – you’ll need to get that line in and keep it tight if you are going to have any chance at wearing that monster down.

A bigger gear ratio will also mean that you have to crank that handle hard. You might want a slightly smaller gear ratio if you plan on cranking all day long. Those who are fishing deep with lures and jigs often go with a lower gear ratio because they want to retrieve on the slow and they want a cranking action that is not so heavy to crank up from the deep.

Fishing reel gear ratios are similar to bicycle gears, that is to say, the amount of energy you need to make a revolution changes with gear. In the case of fishing reels, a lower gear ratio will result in a lighter feeling in the handle. Remember, if you are pulling up the line from the deep for hours on end, you will want a reel you can go the distance with.

Most fishing reels come with a gear ratio that is suited to the reel and the type of fishing that it is designed for. There’s not too much to worry about but gear ratios are something that you will become more accustomed to over time and have your own preference for. That’s to say, there is normally a model in a fishing reel series that has the gear ratio you are looking for. There are just so many combinations and reasons why fishing is such a blast, and gear ratios really let you mix it up.

Many fishos have a number of reels because they want the different gear ratios, cranking performance and spool size, depending on what fishing technique they are using at the time. They like to have them all setup so they can pick and choose to suit the conditions and get on the fish.


The cranking performance or cranking rating, also known as LTR (Line Retrieval Rate) is the amount of line that the spool will scoop up per rotation of the handle. Gear ratios alone are not definitive. To really know the speed of a reel, you need to know the gear ratio and the crank rating. Some higher ratio reels will reel in less line than some lower ratio reels because those lower gear ratio reels have such a high crank performance rating.

As you can see, there is a lot of fun to be had getting to know different gear ratios, spool sizes, crank ratings and the different types of fishing techniques that suit, and most importantly, suit your preferred fishing style.


Is there anything you would like to add to this article? Share your experience with the community through the comments section below.

Robert M Davies
Robert M Davies

Robert passed the "Obsessed With Fishing Test" with flying colours. Instead of talking, Robert has turned his hand to writing about his experience in fishing all around Australia.