What Does Gear Ratio Mean On A Fishing Reel? Being a skilled fisherman not only requires you the right gear, but it also requires you to learn what it does, as well as the inner workings of using every fishing equipment. In this article, we will find out the important purpose of a gear ratio on a fishing reel. Gear ratio means how often the spool rotates per full turn of the fishing spinning reel handle.

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You’re about to find out more on this article if you don’t know what the gear ratio is, or what it means to fish reels. So keep reading as we find out more information about the specific types of ratios and what works the best for each fishing style.

What Is A Gear Ratio?

The gears are perhaps one of the most important aspects of any fishing reel, whether it’s a bait-caster or a spinning reel. A fishing reel’s gears connect the handle with the fishing line spindle as the gears turn when you spin the handle, and thus the spool spinning as well.

The gears that link the two will define which the spool shifts significantly with each crank revolution. You might probably notice fishing reels sold with a certain ratio of gear which could be in 4:1, 5:1, 6.4:1, or 7.1:1, anything in between, lower, higher or more or less the span of the ratio.

Fishing reels include different gear ratios, particularly baitcasting reels and spinning reels that make them the perfect fishing equipment for different purposes. To explain the ratio much further, the first figure or number before the colon symbol (:) represents the number of times the spool can turn with each complete crank revolution. On the other hand, the second number represents every manual crank revolution the fishing reel can have.

How Does A Gear Ratio Work On A Fishing Reel?

The higher the fishing reel’s gear ratio, the fewer times you’ll have to spin the crank to reach the same retrieving rate as a reel with a lower gear ratio. The best example of how a gear ratio works on a fishing reel is a ratio of 7.1:1. In this case, the spool of the line will turn 7.1 times every time you spin the handle.

Another example of gear ratios is that, for each crank revolution, a reel with a 5:1 gear ratio will pull in about 20 inches of line. So a fishing reel with a 7:1 gear ratio will retrieve about 30 inches of the line for each crank revolution.

The Importance Of Using A Fishing Reel With A Higher And Lower Gear Ratios

You might wonder that a higher gear ratio is the ideal ratio for your fishing reel as it retrieves a long line of the spool, but that’s not always the case. Keep reading as we explain further some details about the importance of using a higher and lower gear ratio on your fishing reel.

Low Gear Ratio

Having a higher gear ratio fishing reel isn’t always recommended for fishing enthusiasts. There are times that you also need to use a relatively low gear-ratio fishing reel. A low gear ratio would be anything between 5:1 to 5.4:1 for some reason. Also, there are times when a lower gear ratio is most likely to prove beneficial to your fishing activity.

The quicker you reel them in, the more tension they put on the spool, which can be the worst idea and may cause the line to tear down. Using a lower gear ratio helps slows down the speed at which you retrieve the line of spool because it keeps off the track a little friction. It is best recommended to use a lower gear ratio when searching for fish which aren’t going very quickly.

If you’re using a reel with an excessively high gear ratio, slow-moving fish may not be going for the lure. In addition to this, allowing your bait to stay in the strike zone for an extended time is a great advantage that comes with using a fishing reel that has a lower gear ratio.

High Gear Ratio

Sometimes, you need a lot of power and a very high gear ratio when having your fishing activity. Technically, a high gear ratio is anything from 7:1 to 8.1:1. You won’t generally find fishing reels with gear ratios over 8.1:1, but it’s quite impossible and rare to find. At any level, this kind of gear ratio is recommended for rapid movements, jerky actions, and accurate control of how much pressure is on the line of the spool.

Since a high gear ratio fishing reel draws in much more line per revolution than a low gear ratio reel, it is much simpler to catch a fish easily with a high gear ratio reel. This helps you to easily insert the hook into the fish’s mouth and it helps you to perform line motions quickly and accurately.

Is There A Medium Gear Ratio?

Yes, fishing reels with medium gear ratios do exist and this kind of gear ratio comes with some of the advantages of high and low gear ratio reels. However, this kind of gear ratio also comes with its disadvantages. Medium-gear ratio fishing reels are just like all-season tires. They’re doing fine in every situation but they’re not excelling at all. To be clear, medium-gear ratio fishing reels are between 6:1 and 6.4:1. For beginners who don’t know what they are doing on fishing activities and use this rod for many purposes, this is a great option to go with.


That’s it. You’ve just read all you need to know about the gear ratios in comparison to fishing reels. It is important to remember that different gear ratios succeed at different fishing methods, so be sure to learn this right before you decide what kind of fish you want to go for, and what kind of lure you’re going to purchase and use.

Having fishing equipment with the right gear ratio can make all the difference between fishing methods that are complicated into a much easier fishing activity.