A reel is full of moving parts, and everything works together. Bearing quality and placement, in conjunction with fine gears, truly governs reel performance and how long the reel lasts on the water. Adding lots of ball bearings to a reel might tweak smoothness and increase longevity a bit, but if they're quality BBs, the price goes up. Where ball bearings go in a reel is much more important than how many there are overall. When I collared veteran industry experts from three top manufacturers, they agreed on basic ball-bearing placement-with a few minor variations. Here's what Bill Liston of Daiwa, Jim McIntosh of Shakespeare and Jeremy Sweet of Shimano have to say.