How to Pick a Baitcasting Reel

For several years now, baitcasting reels have been taking the market by storm. Before that, people shied away from using them due to a false belief that they are challenging to use and tough to learn. When those who tried them started stating otherwise, that’s when the shift happened, and they’re now among the best for fishing.

If you are new to the world of fishing, you may find yourself feeling confused among the diverse options you’re confronted with. While we won’t make a choice for you since it depends on your preferences and needs, we’ll provide you with an overview of the factors you need to consider before picking.

7 Factors to Consider When Buying a Baitcasting Reel 

1. Size and Weight

For many different tools, size may not be an essential factor to pay attention to, or they’re mostly chosen based on personal preferences. However, this is not the case with baitcasting reels; the size of the reel plays a significant role in your fishing experience.

How so? For one, the size of the reel will impact your fishing style and stability. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the size, the heavier the weight. Starting with the size, you will need to choose it based on what fish types you are after.

Catching large lures out of the deep waters requires reels of larger sizes than those of shallow fishing. The reason behind that is that large-sized reels are relatively tougher than smaller ones, which makes them robust and stable enough when a contact is made with large fish.

On the other hand, reels that are smaller in size are more comfortable to hold and are easier to control. When it comes to shallow fishing, you need to throw your cast and retrieve it in a faster manner since smaller fish are speedy, which is why reels of a smaller size are perfect for small fish.

While the size may affect the reel’s weight, the weight itself doesn’t have a direct impact on your fishing experience. Lighter baitcasting reels are preferable since they’re more portable, easy to carry around, and make it easier for you to press them against your core for additional control. 

However, baitcasting reels aren’t generally very heavy, so if your reel isn’t very lightweight, that doesn’t mean it’ll be extremely heavy either.

2. Shape

Baitcasting reels come in two shapes: round or low profile, and each of them serves a distinct purpose. However, both are equally efficient when used in different fishing climates. Yet, round baitcasters are more common than low profile baitcasting reels.

Regardless of the shape you choose, you need to invest in one of high-quality to ensure remarkable performance. 

In a nutshell, low profile baitcasting reels are convenient for catching bigger lures like salmon and similar types of fish. They can hold more lines, which makes it easier to catch heavier baits and bigger lures. 

As for round baitcasting reels, they’re more suitable for catching light lures found in shallow waters. They have an easier wrist-action, which is much needed given the high speed of the smaller fish.

3. Spool Size and Tension

Spools are responsible for either casting or retrieving the line of your bait caster. They are quite an essential factor to consider when you’re buying a new reel. In particular, the components that have an impact on your fishing action are the size and tension of the spool.

Spools of smaller sizes and, accordingly, lighter weights, are much easier to use since they spin and stop spinning quickly. That speed is precisely what you need to successfully make your catch. To spot the spools of smaller sizes and lighter weights, look for the ones that have holes within the body.

Moving on to the tension of the spool, that impacts the speed of the reel directly. Low tension is required with a fast-paced fishing style in shallow waters. However, a more massive fishing style requires a spool with a higher tension.

Tip: When you decide on size and tension, you may also want to take a look at the material. Spools are either made of cheap die-cast or aluminum. Aluminum is your best bet since it’s resistant to scratches, which increases the durability of your reel.

4. Gear Ratio

Gear ratio is a crucial aspect to take note of when picking a baitcasting reel. Gear ratios are numbers that determine the speed of the reel, and they describe how many times the spool rotates per turn. 

Higher gear ratios mean a faster line retrieve. When you make a catch, you need to retrieve the line rapidly so you won’t lose your catch. High gears start from 6:1 and up, while low ones are around 4:1. The average gear ratios fall anywhere between 5:1 and 6:1.

Higher gear ratios are not necessarily better than lower ones; it all depends on your fishing style. For shallow fishing, you need high gears for top speed. However, slow gear ratios are better options for luring large species from the deep.

5. Line Capacity

Line capacity is determined by the ability of the reel to hold as many lines as possible. Generally, baitcasting reels of larger sizes carry more strings than small-sized ones.

Do you require a large line capacity? That depends on whether your fishing style is a heavy one.

If you want a baitcasting reel to serve you while fishing for large lures, go for large-sized ones. They’re capable of holding several lines that won’t easily crack when the pressure of the large fish weight is put upon it. 

If you’re not interested in heavy fishing, then a low line capacity will be just fine.

6. Line Type

The types of fishing lines are crucial too. Fishing lines come in two types: titanium and ceramic. Titanium is known to be pricier than the ceramic type, given the fact that it is more robust and has excellent endurance capability. High-end manufacturers always produce baitcasters with titanium fishing lines.

7. Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are responsible for stability. Indicated by a number, ball bearings indicate how stable and smooth the baitcasting reel is. However, the quality of the bearings is more critical than the quantity.

Many people fall into the trap of believing that a higher ball bearings number promises better stability and performance and neglect the fact that no matter how high the number is, your reel’s performance will be disappointing if they’re of low quality.

Accordingly, make sure you look for ones with high quality and build regardless of the number of bearings. High-quality ball bearings are the real promise to grant you a smooth fishing experience.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a baitcasting reel can be confusing when you are still new to the world of baitcasting, and having numerous options to choose from doesn’t help.

However, hopefully, after you determine your exact needs and preferences and fully understand what we’ve mentioned in this article, you’ll be able to make your pick. So, make sure these factors stay on your mind during your baitcasting reels’ shopping day!