Gear ratios are easy to understand once you have a handle on what the numbers mean. 6.3:1? 5.2:1? 8:1? The number before the colon denotes the rotations the spool makes per one complete turn of the reel’s handle. So a 6.3:1 ratio means the spool revolves 6.3 times with each handle turn. The larger the first number, the more line retrieved on each crank.

Large-lipped crankbaits dive deeply and displace a lot of water, making dredging them along with high-speed reels tiring. The Lew’s BB1, with its 5.1:1 retrieve ratio, on the other hand, excels for grinding crankbaits all day.

Swallowing 22 inches per turn, the Abu Garcia Revo Winch is a spinnerbaiting machine. Its 5.4:1 retrieve ratio allows for five percent more casts than a 5.1:1 reel, which is a big plus on tournament days when extra casts can mean more fish in the box.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 7.3:1 Pinnacle Optimus LTE offers blazing-fast retrieve speeds when using search baits. When the bite turns tough, this ratio allows anglers to cover large expanses of water quickly.

The Quantum Energy E100SPT’s mid-range 6.3:1 retrieve ratio and “flip” switch make it a great candidate when the attack plan calls for pitching or flipping. Consuming 26 inches per turn, it transitions easily from one flip or pitch to the next, yet it still has enough power to haul fish from thick cover.

See the full tackle test: New fishng rods and reels