With so many reels available on the market, how can one expect to pick just one out of hundreds? It’s a daunting task, I know, but, just like spinning reels, choosing a baitcast reel isn’t as difficult as it initially seems. While the options are nearly endless, the same basic principles apply; what are you fishing for, what technique will you use, and how often will you use it? Staying focused on these factors will help you choose a baitcast reel quickly and intelligently.
The main difference in spinning and baitcast reels, in terms of purchasing, is the fact a particular baitcast reel will often come in several different gear ratios. Baitcast users, especially those with their own boats, use different gear ratios for different techniques. For instance, many use faster reels for topwater lures, while some may use a slower speed for finesse fishing. Deciding what sort of lures you need the reel for is important. Of course, a good middle speed will work fine. If you have the means to purchase more than one reel, I suggest buying different gear ratios so you’ll have a rigged setup ready to go when you need it.
While we’re on that subject, the tactics associated with your new reel may warrant the purchase of a reel designed for one purpose. Several companies offer baitcast reels created solely for flipping and pitching, which, if you’re looking for a reel to suit this purpose, are perfect additions to your arsenal. Ardent’s Flip-n-Pitch reels are exceptional options for this technique.
While finding a reel that has good balance and weight is ideal, no matter what style you’re in the market for, baitcast reels require a little more consideration. Not only should balance factor in, but the key to finding a baitcast reel that suits you, the person, and not just a purpose, is finding one that fits to your natural grip. This ensures that the reel—and the entire setup—acts as an extension of your body, and not just a tool. Any angler can attest to the sheer fluidity and ease that accompanies a combo that balances and fits easily with one’s own style and grip.
Just like any piece of tackle, the prices of baitcast reels vary greatly and, just like any piece of tackle, a higher price tag usually means a higher quality product. Take into consideration how often you’ll use the new reel, first and foremost, and then decide how much you’re willing to spend. Unfortunately, anything lower than $70 for a baitcast reel won’t be very durable or possess much longevity, but it you’re just learning or not an avid fisherman, then there’s no need to spend more. Ask to test out the floor model on a rod to see how it feels before you buy it and don’t be afraid to basically palm the reel as you’re doing so. After all, you need to feel comfortable using the reel and when you find that perfect fit, you’ll know it.