Baitcasting Reel Retrieve Ratios Explained – Ultimate Guide

baitcasting reel retrieve ratios explained

A baitcasting reel is a crucial tool in the arsenal of any angler. Its retrieve ratio, often expressed as a numerical value, determines the speed at which the fishing line is reeled in. Understanding retrieve ratios is essential for choosing the right baitcasting reel for specific fishing techniques and conditions.

In this article, we will delve into the concept of retrieving ratios, explaining how they work and their significance in angling. Here we’re discussing baitcasting reel retrieve ratios explained by the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to select the perfect retrieve ratio for your fishing endeavours.

What Is the Retrieve Ratio? 

The retrieve ratio of a baitcasting reel refers to the number of times the spool rotates with a single turn of the handle. It indicates the amount of lines retrieved in relation to the revolutions of the spool. Retrieve ratios are expressed as numerical values, such as 6.4:1, 7.1:1, or 8.3:1.

For instance, a 6.4:1 retrieve ratio means that the spool rotates 6.4 times for every complete revolution of the handle. This results in a faster retrieval speed compared to a lower retrieve ratio, where the spool rotates fewer times per handle revolution.

Baitcasting Reel Retrieve Ratios Explained

When it comes to fishing, choosing the right reel is essential for success. One of the key factors to consider when selecting a baitcasting reel is its retrieve ratio. The retrieve ratio refers to the number of times the spool turns for each complete turn of the reel handle. Understanding the retrieve ratio and its impact on your fishing experience is crucial. In this article, we will delve into the world of baitcasting reel retrieve ratios and explain why they matter.

The retrieve ratio plays a significant role in determining how quickly you can retrieve your fishing line. Higher retrieve ratios allow for faster line retrieval, which can be advantageous in certain situations. For example, if you’re using a bait that requires a rapid presentation, such as a spinnerbait or a buzz bait, a high retrieve ratio reel can help you cover more water and entice strikes from actively feeding fish.

On the other hand, lower retrieve ratios are beneficial when you need to generate more torque for reeling in larger fish or when using techniques that require a slower presentation, such as deep cranking or slow-rolling a spinner bait. The lower gear ratio provides more power, making it easier to handle heavier loads and maintain control over your lure.

It’s important to note that higher retrieve ratios are not always better. While they offer faster line retrieval, they may sacrifice torque and power. This can be a disadvantage when you’re targeting larger species that require more force to reel in. In such cases, a reel with a lower retrieve ratio will provide the necessary power to handle the fish without straining your equipment or risking a break-off.

Another factor to consider when selecting a baitcasting reel retrieve ratio is the type of fishing you’ll be doing. If you primarily fish in open water with minimal cover, a higher retrieve ratio reel can help you quickly cover large areas. On the other hand, if you often fish in dense vegetation or around structure, a lower retrieve ratio may be more suitable. It allows you to make precise casts and navigate through obstacles without getting snagged.

Additionally, the retrieve ratio can affect the presentation of your bait. A high retrieve ratio reel allows you to retrieve lures faster, creating a more aggressive action. This can trigger reactionary strikes from predatory fish. Conversely, a slower retrieve ratio can make your bait move more naturally and entice finicky or lethargic fish that prefer a slower-moving target.

Understanding High And Low Retrieve Ratios

Baitcasting reels are available in a range of retrieving ratios, each suited for different fishing techniques and situations. Higher retrieve ratios, such as 7.1:1 or 8.3:1, offer faster line retrieval. They are ideal for techniques requiring quick presentations, such as flipping, pitching, or fishing in heavy cover. These high-speed retrieve ratios allow anglers to cover more water in less time, making them effective for aggressive fishing styles.

On the other hand, lower retrieve ratios, like 5.4:1 or 6.4:1, provide slower line retrieval. These ratios are well-suited for techniques that demand a steady retrieve, like deep crankbait fishing or slow-rolling spinnerbaits. Slower retrieve ratios give the bait a more natural and deliberate movement, making them effective for enticing finicky or lethargic fish.

Factors To Consider

The retrieve ratio of a baitcasting reel is a vital consideration for anglers aiming to maximize their fishing performance. Whether you need to cover water quickly, entice finicky fish, or maintain control over your lure, selecting the right retrieve ratio is crucial.

By understanding the concept of retrieving ratios and considering factors such as fishing techniques, lure presentation, target species.

3.1 When selecting a retrieve ratio, it’s crucial to consider several factors: Fishing Technique: Different fishing techniques require varying retrieve speeds. Determine the technique you plan to employ and match it with an appropriate retrieve ratio.

3.2 Lure Presentation: The retrieve ratio affects how your lure moves through the water. Faster ratios excel in covering water quickly, while slower ratios provide better control and precision.

3.3 Target Species: Some fish species are naturally more active and require faster presentations, while others prefer slower-moving baits. Consider the behavior and feeding patterns of your target species to choose the optimal retrieve ratio.

3.4 Fishing Conditions: Environmental factors, such as water clarity, temperature, and depth, influence fish behavior. Adjusting the retrieve ratio can help adapt to specific conditions, improving your chances of success.

3.5 Angler Preference: Personal preference also plays a role. Some anglers prefer the control and precision offered by slower retrieve ratios, while others favor the speed and efficiency of higher ratios. Experimentation and experience will help you determine your preferred retrieve ratio.


In conclusion, baitcasting reel retrieve ratios are an important consideration when choosing a reel for your fishing needs. The retrieve ratio determines the speed of line retrieval, the power generated, and the presentation of your bait. Whether you opt for a higher retrieve ratio for faster retrieves or a lower ratio for increased torque and control, understanding the impact of retrieve ratios will help you make an informed decision.

Remember to consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing and the species you’re targeting. Each situation may require a different retrieve ratio to optimize your chances of success. By selecting the right retrieve ratio, you can enhance your fishing experience and increase your chances of landing that prized catch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a retrieve ratio on a baitcasting reel?

A retrieve ratio, also known as gear ratio, refers to the number of times the spool turns with each full rotation of the handle on a baitcasting reel. It indicates how quickly the line is retrieved.

How is retrieve ratio expressed?

Retrieve ratio is expressed as a ratio, such as 6.4:1 or 7.2:1. The first number represents the number of times the spool rotates, while the second number represents one full rotation of the handle.

What does a higher retrieve ratio mean?

A higher retrieve ratio means that the reel retrieves the line faster. For example, a reel with a retrieve ratio of 7.2:1 will retrieve the line faster than a reel with a ratio of 6.4:1.

When should I choose a higher retrieve ratio?

A higher retrieve ratio is beneficial when you need to quickly retrieve the line, especially in situations where you want to cover a lot of water or when fishing with fast-moving baits like crankbaits or spinnerbaits.

Are there any drawbacks to a higher retrieve ratio?

One potential drawback of a higher retrieve ratio is that it may reduce the reel’s power and torque, making it more challenging to handle large, hard-fighting fish. Additionally, higher retrieve ratios can consume more line per handle turn, affecting line management in certain situations.

What are the advantages of a lower retrieve ratio?

A lower retrieve ratio, such as 5.4:1 or 6.4:1, provides increased power and torque, making it easier to handle heavier lures, pull fish out of cover, and winch in big fish. It also helps manage line better and provides more control in certain fishing scenarios.

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