Reel Ratios

You are looking at buying a new reel. You are wandering down the aisle at the local tackle store. You pick up the box of a reel you are thinking about buying. On the side of the box is a lot of information, along with a covey of confusing numbers. You think back to high school and math class, long equations and fractions. Your mind goes blank. All you can remember of that whole experience is that big heavy ruler your math teacher had at her desk and how much it hurt when she smacked you with it when you had dozed off. You reminisce having to confide to your mom and dad you are failing math because you did not understand how to divide fractions.

Yet, here you are looking at the numbers on the reel box.

To make sure you purchase the correct reel you will need to understand what the numbers on the box are trying to tell you. Let’s talk about it.

Manufactures put the reel ratio numbers on the box so you know how much line is going to be reeled in as you rotate the reel handle.

Such as 6.3:1

What that means is; the spool is going to rotate 6.3 times, every time you rotate the reel a complete revolution. So, if we would divide the little number by the big number …….. Who am I trying to kid – we are not going to do math here!

The bigger the first number is, the more line that is retrieved for each crank of the reel handle. Depending on what kind of fishing and species of fish you are targeting, you need to make a purchase that is the best for that application.

If you are pulling buzz baits across the top of the water, you will probably want a reel with a fast retrieval rate, one with a large first number.

Catfishing, a lot of time is fishing with a stationary bait waiting for the fish to come to you. Speedy presentation and retrieval is not the most important thing catfishermen are looking for in a reel. But to bring in a big brute of a catfish, you want power. A smaller first number will give you more strength of ratio and gearing.

As with any purchase, it is a personal thing and you have to choose how to spend your money the best way you feel will fit into your situation. Some catfish reel ratios that work the best are 5.3 up to 6.3 and if you want some reel cranking power, maybe even drop down to a 4.1 ratio.

Now that you understand reel ratios, all you need to know now is, what kind of bait to use, where to go, time of day to go, fish on a full moon and no moon, should I mow the lawn or just go fishing, do I tell the wife I am going or just grab the poles and tackle box and sneak out the back door………

Fish Big or Go Home

Bryan Mellage


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