Screaming Reels

Why today's high-speed baitcasters give you an edge.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Baitcasting reels come in slow-, medium-, and high-speed models to accommodate a variety of bass fishing presentations. Yet more and more of the best bass anglers are using high-speed reels for all their fishing. What's the hurry?

It's simple. For many fishermen, today's superfast baitcasters offer too many advantages to use anything else. Here are some of them:

Speed whenever you want it. The most obvious benefit comes with fast retrieves. A blistering pace often sparks reaction strikes, and a fast reel reaches warp speed with less effort. But that same reel can also be used for more gradual retrieves, obviously by lowering the rate at which you turn the handle. Unlike a slow reel, however, it's capable of sudden bursts of acceleration, which can lead to more bass.

Reduced slack means more fish. High-speed reels eat slack line, a major cause of missed strikes and lost fish. When you rip a lipless crankbait through submerged grass, for example, the bait bursts forward. This triggers strikes, but it also creates slack. A high-speed reel instantly gets you back in touch with the bait. With a slow one, you might not be able to remove all that slack in time to set the hook.

Eliminating slack also helps when fishing jigs and Texas-rigged baits with the typical lift-and-drop retrieve. Most anglers work these with a high rod tip and allow a little slack as the lure sinks. When a bass strikes, you must immediately drop the rod tip, crank up slack, and set the hook. A high-speed reel takes up the line more quickly, which puts extra punch into your hookset-and more bass in your boat.

Save time. No matter the presentation, extra speed eliminates wasted time when you reel in over dead water to make the next cast. This is no small matter when the fish are actively feeding and every second counts.

Fast Choices
These days, a baitcasting reel must have a gear ratio of at least 6:1 to be considered high-speed. This means the spool makes six complete revolutions each time you crank the handle one full turn. Another factor is the rate of line recovery, which should range from about 25 to 31 inches per crank.

Consider the four superfast reels above, and decide how much speed you need. From left to right: Daiwa Procaster PT33SH boasts a scalding 7.1:1 gear ratio, 31-inch line recovery, and five ball bearings. $100; 562-802-9589; www.daiwa.com Abu Garcia Torno T3006HS has a 6.3:1 gear ratio, 25-inch line recovery, six ball bearings, and a free-running InfiniSpool. $130; 800-237-5539; www.abugarcia.com Shimano Chronarch features a 6.2:1 gear ratio, 26-inch line recovery, and five ball bearings, and weighs a scant 6.95 ounces. $300; 877-577-0600; www.shimanofishing.com Bass Pro Shops Extreme ETX1000LPHB features a 6.3:1 gear ratio, 28-inch line recovery, and two ball bearings. $80; 800-227-7776; www.basspro.com