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Best Gear Ratio for Saltwater Fishing

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updated: 12/02/2020

Getting the most out of your fishing experience is what most of us are looking forward to.

For this same reason, we want to have the best fishing gear that we could possibly get.

With the right type of line and rod, there is always a need for us to have the best fishing reel we could have.

Having enough knowledge about gear ratios for fishing reels is a huge help for your effectiveness and precision while saltwater fishing.

Select A Good Rod And Reel

Having a competent saltwater rod and reel will be your foundation for a successful adventure when saltwater fishing.

It will also make sure to avoid any unexpected problems and prevent further stress when handling one.

If you’re looking for distance while surf casting then is sure to check out our write-up on long distance surf casting rods.

You may also be interested in our other write-up on long distance surf casting reels.

Having the perfect setup with your rod and reel as well as knowing your gear ratio will come in handy.

Rod Length

Considering the length of the rod, the power that you need to put on and the actual action whether it is fast or slow are essential as well when choosing your fishing tools.

Use A Quality Reel

Selecting the right gear ratio for your reel is one of the most challenging aspects when you are getting into fishing or even when you are trying to learn baitcasting techniques.

You also want to make sure that you are spending your money on a quality reel.

And before you buy, it is imperative for you to know this valuable information in choosing your best gear ratio for saltwater fishing before buying one!

Choosing The Right Gear Ratio

Effectively choosing the perfect gear ratio is valuable for your baits and techniques.

This should never be overlooked by any anglers as this is one of an essential technical aspect of saltwater fishing.

Depending On Your Fishing Style – Commonly, you choose the type of gear ratio base on your needs to whether you want one which is fast, in medium speed or sometimes, just in a slow range which depends on the type of fish you are fishing and how you usually do the process of fishing.

This is the part where you are going to get the applicable gear ratio for you.

The huge part of your success when fishing is your proper bait process and what is included here is the speed which is functioning base on the gear ratio of your reel.

Yes, you can always lower down or speed up the gear ratio by the way you crank but, it is obviously a lot of work and effort is needed from you.

Understanding Gear Ratio

Let us further understand how the gear ratio works because you might be
wondering what gear ratio is.

The good news is, gear ratios are very easy to understand and analyze.

The gear ratio helps you identify the number of times a spool turns in one rotation of its handle.

How To Read The Gear Ratio

Gear ratio typically shows numbers with a colon ( : ).

  • The first part of the ratio before the colon means the number of rotations the spool will make for each turn.
  • The first number always stands as the rotation of the spool and the second will be for the rotation of the crank.

Always keep in mind that gear ratio is always shown for the number of spool rotation in a single crank which means that the second number will never be higher than the first one.

Example Of A Gear Ratio

For instance, a reel with a gear ratio of 5.0:1 means that every time you rotate the handle, the spool inside it will turn 5 times.

With this description, depending on how fast you turn the handle, the spool rotates faster.

For the ratio, a reel with 6.2:1 gear ratio will be faster than the other with just 5.2:1 gear ratio.

High-Speed And Low-Speed Gear Ratio

High-speed and low-speed are the classifications of a saltwater fishing reels.

There are types of gear ratios that you need to know for you to identify which ones are the high-speed and low-speed reels.

High-speed Gear Ratio

High range gear ratio reels are those with gear ratio from 7.1:1 through 8.1:1.

These are high-speed reels that are strong and very fast.

This is perfect for catching up to the fish quickly while doing other techniques.

Low-Speed Gear Ratio

The low gear ratio starts from 5.1:1 to 5.4:1 gear ratio.

Low gear ratio offers more power when handling fish such as huge swimbaits, deep water spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.

This will also give you control of getting your baits.

Medium-speed Gear Ratio

6.0:1 thru 6.4:1 is considered a medium-range gear ratio which you can use for different bait with reliable performance.

This usually allows you to retrieve baits at prompt speed.

This medium-speed reels with this gear ratio give you just the right speed when you are spinner baiting.

Not too slow, not too fast. This is good for most baits like top waters, jerk baits, and others.

Spinner and Bait Casting Gear Ratio

One thing you need to know is the gear ratios range which is best for bait cast reels and spinning reels.

Baitcasting reels are perfect for those who aim for excellent accuracy and control and has available gear ratios up to 9.1:1.

Saltwater fishing reels are made to withstand the challenging environment in the water.

This is the reason why choosing a reel with quality will give you competent experience in saltwater fishing.

Most of the time, you need to spend more for your reels compare with your fishing rods which is typically a worthwhile investment because reel is the part being exposed to extreme usage and movement.

Going with the higher gear ratio is recommended for fast process especially when you want to get your line as quick as possible.

This will be a significant help in fighting those fish and hooking them.

Check Reliability And Durability

When looking for best reels with good gear ratio, it is important to check their reliability and durability as well.

Being the intricate part of saltwater fishing, understanding the gear ratio and knowing what is best for you must be an easy task for you.

Getting these basics will go a long way for a successful saltwater fishing.

Understanding gear ratio will surely increase your efficiency in the water while you are decreasing stress in it.

Again, correct gear ratio must be needed and on point, a configuration will keep you on top of your business.

High-speed Gear Ratio Most Commonly Used

The most commonly used is the high-speed gear ratio because of its benefits.

This is in high demand compared to a slower type of ratios.

Why? Why not? High-speed gear ratio for reels let you recover your lines in no time and help you fish rapidly.

These are ideal for fighting bigger fish while giving you an excellent level of control when using it.

Best Gear Ratio For Inshore Saltwater Fishing

Normally a 4:1 gear ratio is considered slow while a 6:1 is fast. So 5:1 Gear ratio is a good choice for inshore saltwater fishing.

Best Gear Ratio For Offshore Saltwater Fishing

anything over 300 ft 4:1.

Frequently Asked Questions

What gear ratio is best for spinnerbaits?

A moderate retrieve reel of about 6.3:1 ratio can work sufficiently for spinnerbaits. This velocity allows the power to drive larger bladed baits through the water, but when required, it also has the speed to burn baits.

What does gear ratio on a reel mean?

Gear ratios decide the rate at which a line is picked up by a reel. Fishing reels with a 6.3:1 gear ratio means that with every 360-degree turn of the reel handle, the spool rotates 6.3 times.

Are more ball bearings in a reel better?

Generally speaking, the smoother the reel can work, the greater the amount of bearings a reel contains. (For improved reliability and control, sealed stainless steel bearings are preferred over bushings.) Select a reel that has the most ball bearings your wallet can accommodate.


You might find it hard and confusing when choosing the right gear ratio that fits your needs but after thorough assessments of your reel, gear ratio and how it is connected to speed, you will find it easy.

You can easily find the right gear ratio that suits you well. If you’re looking for some reels and are on a budget check out our latest post on the best bait cast reels under $50 or if you’re not on a budget check out our post on the best inshore saltwater rod and reel combo

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