Many anglers avoid using a baitcasting fishing reel, probably because it is challenging to use, especially when they hear of the word bird nesting or backlashing. However, a bait cast reel is essential for anglers because it provides the opportunity to utilize various fishing techniques while using a heavier line. The only necessary thing is a little practice to master the technicalities of a bait caster.

What is a bait cast reel?

When you look at a bait caster on, you realize it features a rotating spool that sits on top of a casting rod with a  trigger handle. That contrasts with a spinning reel situated underneath a spinning rod with the line guides facing down.

Bait casters come in both left and right-handed models, but the handles cannot be swapped, so establish your best fit before buying. Many right-handed anglers use right-handed reels. With this model, the reel goes to your left, and you crack the handle with your right hand after you cast. The left-handed model is the exact opposite.

The gear ratio of a bait cast reel

All types of fishing reels have a gear ratio that indicates the speed of the reel. The most common gear ratios you will encounter include 5.4:1, 6.4:1, and 7.1:1. The first pair of numbers means the number of rotations the spool makes with every single turn of the reel handle. For instance, a 5.4:1 reel will rotate 5.4time when you turn the reel handle once. Therefore a higher number means you can retrieve more lines within the same amount of effort.

The most common fishing reels in the market feature a gear ratio of 6.4:1, which allows anglers to work both fast and slow-moving presentations. But a higher or lower ratio is often recommended for specific applications and fishing techniques. For instance, a gear ratio of 7.1:1 is best suited for burning a spinnerbait, while a slower gear ratio of 5.4:1 is recommended for working a crankbait.

Higher gear ratios are well suited for fishing in an area of small strike zones because they allow your bait to get back in the boat faster and effectively in preparation for another casting.

The braking system on a bait cast reel

A baitcasting reel also comes equipped with braking systems that adjust the rotation of the spool when casting. Without the braking systems in a bait cast, the backlash would keep on happening. Backlash is the knotted mess of line when the spool continues to rotate after the lure stops moving forward.

Centrifugal brakes are based on friction in that they use pins inside the side plate of the reel to adjust. You only have to push the pins outwards to engage the brakes. Magnetic-based brakes depend on the spool and magnets to reduce the spool rotation rate but are adjustable. Learning how to thumb the spool accurately is what matters regardless of the type of braking system for trouble-free casting.


Baitcasting reels are suitable for chasing big game fish, throwing heavy lures, working heavy cover, and pitching. They make a huge addition to your fishing arsenal.



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