Selecting the right baitcaster used to be a simple process with limited options. Now the majority of reel manufacturers offer several models of the same reel for numerous presentations. For example, the new Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon Casting Reel comes in two models, one that has a gear ratio of 7.9:1 and brings in 32.5 inches of line with each turn of the reel handle and a 6.4:1 ratio that brings in 26.5 inches of line.
Here is how to choose wisely:
High Speed – 7:1 or Higher
These high-speed reels, which pick up more line in a short amount of time, shine in several situations. Some of these include: Carolina-rigging, topwaters and flipping where you’ll need to be able to pick up the slack in your line very quickly to set the hook or make a second cast. When fishing topwaters such as frogs or plugs, like a Zara Spook, you want to have the ability to get your lure back to the boat and make a new cast as quickly as possible, especially if a fish breaches and misses.
Low Speed – 6.3:1 or Lower
Now the obvious situations where you want a slower retrieve reel is when the water is cold and the fish want a slow presentation such as slow rolling a spinnerbait, or working a jerkbait. But a lower gear ratio reel also excels when fishing deep-diving crankbaits, as you are bringing less line in with each crank of the handle as it reduces arm fatigue.