All About Fishing Reel Gear Ratios: The Definitive Guide

Fishing Reels, Fishing Rods, and Casting Videos
Learn about fishing reel gear ratios, inches per turn, and what is best for bass fishing.

Hey, guys, Dave the Fishing Pastor here for KastKing and, and today I wanna talk to you about gear ratio.

Every reel has a gear ratio, whether it's spinning or baitcaster, and I'm often asked, "What is gear ratio, or why does it even matter?" So today I wanna answer those two questions, as well as what kind of bait you should be throwing on different gear ratio reels. Let me start off by explaining what gear ratio is, because I'm sure you hear all the time, "I have a 5.4:1," "I have a 6.3:1," "I have a 7.1:1 gear ratio," and you're like, "What do all these different numbers mean?" So let me just talk about this for a second and kind of break it down for you.

Like I said earlier, every reel has a gear ratio. You can usually find this on the box, but usually you can actually find it on the reel itself. Now, let me break this down, because gear ratios are shown in a series of three numbers. For example, this KastKing Speed Demon is a 9.3:1 gear ratio reel. Now, again, I know those numbers can maybe be confusing, but we're gonna talk about just the breakdown of what that means.

When somebody asks you, "What is the gear ratio for your reel?" they're asking you what is the speed, and they're really asking you about that first number there. Now, that first number that's on there can range pretty much from four all the way to nine and everything in between, and that's the speed of your reel. Now, the last number, one, that's always gonna stay the same, and what that means is that it's just with one 360-degree turn of your handle. That's all that means. Now, that first one, again, is the actual speed, and then the second number is kind of minute. I'm not really gonna talk about it. You might see different reels with, let's say, a 6.2, or a 6.3, or a 6.4. That second number is so minute I'm not really gonna even deal with it, but it's really that first number.

So, with reels, the higher the number, the faster the reel. So, again, this is a 9.3:1 gear ratio reel, which is a very fast reel. It's a high-speed reel, which, again, means that with every 360-degree turn, every one turn, it's turning 9.3 times, and the more times it turns, obviously, the more line it's bringing in and the faster the reel, and all this has its application if it's a slower reel, if it's a mid-range reel. So let me just kind of break that down really quick, what I would say are the three categories of gear ratio. 

Let's begin with the slower-range reels. These are the 4s and the 5s. A really great example is KastKing's WhiteMax reel. This is a 5.3:1 gear ratio reel, so, again, 5.3 times every one turn of the handle. These really excel, in my opinion, with baits that have a lot of resistance, so some good examples of that would be deep-diving crankbaits. They have those really large bills, and they have a lot of resistance as you're bringing them back. Now, you can throw those on higher-speed reels, but you're going to wear yourself out a lot quicker. Now, these may not have the speed as higher-speed reels, but they do have power and torque behind them, and they're gonna help you fish those baits longer. So, like I said, deep-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits with large blades, and even when you get into some of those bigger swimbaits, those 8, 9, 10, 11, 12-inch swimbaits, you're using slower reels for those. 

Okay, so moving on to those mid-range, the kind of moderate fast reels, these are the 6s and the 7s, and these, in my opinion, are kind of the best all around. If I can only take one reel with me, maybe a 6, it's most likely gonna be a 7, because it's not too fast, but it's not slow, it's kinda right in the middle there, and a great example is this KastKing Spartacus Pro. This is a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel, and so this is kinda right there in the middle, that sweet spot, and you can definitely throw a variety of baits, you know, any kind of moving baits, really crankbaits, those squarebills, those medium divers, those lipless crankbaits, chatter baits, spinnerbaits, small swimbaits, even some topwater walking baits and poppers, things like that. You can really kinda just throw anything, because they have the speed for them, they have the power for them, and they're really gonna do a really great job for you. 

Last but not least, moving into those high-speed range reels, these are the 8s and the 9s, and these are a whole lot of fun. And, again, a great example of that is this KastKing Speed Demon, which is a 9.3:1 gear ratio reel, and they definitely give you a huge advantage. Now, they have their application. You can, again, throw anything on these, but where they really excel, in my opinion, is when you're getting into some place where you need to cover water quickly, you need to get your line in quickly, because you need to make another cast, things like that. So a great application would be if you're throwing a punch rig, if you're throwing a Texas rig, if you're throwing large jigs sometimes into some cover, and you really need to cover that water, get in quickly, and then make another cast, another flip, another pitch, you need to just get that line in quickly. Another great application is frogging, you know, being able to pick up that line quickly, and wherever you have to really set that hook, you wanna be able to pick up that line without that maximum effort. Now, if I'm, again, throwing it on a slower-range reel, I have to turn more times to get that line in. With this, I have to turn less times, and I can get that line in quicker to set that hook.

So let me demonstrate for you the difference in speed between these three reels that I've just shown you, and what I'm gonna do is I'm going to tie on the same bait, and I'm going to cast the same distance, and reel back, and I'm even gonna put them on the same rod so there isn't a difference in length or an advantage there.




All right, there you go. I really hope that this helps you in understanding more about gear ratio so it's not all confusing and what all the numbers mean, but please remember to subscribe to the channel. And if you're interested in any of the gear that was shown in this video, it will be linked in the description below, but thanks again for watching. Number two, pray, fish, repeat. God bless. I'll see you in my next video.