Baitcasting Reels

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Explore Baitcast Reels at Public Lands

Long gone are the days when a stick, string, and hook sufficed. Whether you're a new angler or you've fished since childhood, make sure your baitcasting reel performs according to your goals.

Retrieve

Retrieve determines which side a reel's handle is on. You can choose from right-handed, left-handed, or interchangeable options.

Not everyone matches their retrieve to their dominant hand. Some anglers prefer to use their dominant hand for casting while holding the handle in their other hand.

If you're unsure which retrieve to choose, go for an interchangeable option until you figure out your preference.

Size

Before choosing your reel size, think about what kind of fish you want to catch. Smaller reel sizes, like 25–45, don't weigh much. They're perfect for capturing small, light fish.

With larger, heavier fish, you'll need far bigger reels. However, there are numerous options between those two extremes.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio defines how many times the spool rotates with each complete turn of the handle. A ratio of 4.0:1 means that the spool rotates four times whenever you fully turn the handle. In comparison, a ratio of 8.5:1 means the spool rotates 8.5 times with each turn.

There are lots of choices beyond 4.0:1 and 8.5:1, so you can find the right ratio for any fishing trip.

Low-speed reels have a lot of power, and they're easier for beginners to handle. Experts often prefer high-speed reels. Experienced anglers know how to control the reel and slow it down if necessary.

Water Type

Saltwater fishing requires hardy reels that withstand salt, which is highly corrosive. They're unnecessary for freshwater fishing, but there's no harm in using a saltwater reel to catch freshwater fish.