As with most fishing gear available on the market, baitcasting reels come in a dizzying array of options, quality, and components. There are several simple characteristics, however, that can be easily learned by the novice, and which will aid tremendously in correctly choosing a good baitcasting reel. The most important characteristics to pay attention to are body material and construction, bearing material and construction, and the turn ratio of the crank.
There is a general impression that baitcasting reels are for more advanced fisherman, but that is not necessarily the case anymore. Many of the reels available on the market today are of such high quality that even a novice fisherman can easily master the techniques and uses of a baitcasting reel. For more information, visit Fishing Reels Guide (see resource box below).
The body of a baitcasting reel is normally made of one of two types of material: aluminum or graphite. Graphite reels are lightweight and highly resistant to corrosion, which makes these reels particularly useful in a saltwater fishing environment due to the high salinity of the water. Graphite is, however not quite as strong or durable as aluminum. If you want to chase after those giant marlins or tuna, then you will probably want to opt for the aluminum reel because of their strength. On the other hand, if you are only after croppie or other panfish, then a graphite bodied reel may just be the right choice for you.
Another important consideration when looking for a baitcasting reel is the ball bearings or bushings inside the reel. These are the components of the reel that have the most direct impact on the smoothness and “feel" of the reel. As a general rule, stainless steel ball bearings are preferable to bushings. Also, the more ball bearings the unit contains, the smoother the cranking will be. Smooth cranking is essential for a good fishing reel of any type, so that you can feel the action of the line in the water and whether or not you have a fish on the line. Baitcasting rules come with a range of ball bearing counts, usually from two to six. Two bearings would be an absolute minimum, while the fisherman should purchase a reel with the most amount of bearings his budget will allow for. Obviously, the more bearings a reel contains, the more expensive the reel will be.
A further consideration for choosing a good baitcasting reel is the turn ratio of the crank. Baitcasting reels come with a variety of turn ratio’s raging from 2:1, all the way to 1:6. The first number refers to the number of turns of the crank, while the second number refers to the number of times the spool rotates. For example 1:6 means that for every turn of the crank the spool turns 6 times, which is obviously a very high cranking power. Trolling, bottom bouncing, and jig working are good application for high cranking power, while bank fishing and general line hanging are better suited to low cranking power. For a good middle of the road number, choose a 4:1 ratio.
Other factors that should be considered when choosing a baitcasting reel include the drag system, casting controls, and specialized reels for particular species of fish. For more information on these advanced characteristics be sure to visit the link mentioned above.
Allen Bohart is a fishing fan, and enthusiastic writer for about any subject that interests him. He is also co-owner of The Fishing Bobber , a site for and about fishing enthusiasts of all levels.
Fishing Reels Guide