In discussing gear ratio, we’re actually talking about the speed of the reel. Gear ratio describes the number of times the spool rotates with a single turn of the handle. Consequently, the higher the gear ratio, the faster the reel retrieves line. The average baitcasting reel is around 6.4:1, and that’s a pretty good speed for most applications. If you are in a fishing situation where you need more speed, like quickly retrieving a buzzbait across the top of the water, a faster reel with a ratio of around 7:1 would work better. On the other hand, if you’re fishing a slow lure like a crankbait, or need a reel with more power to hoist a big catfish up from the depths, a reel with a gear ratio around 5.4:1 would better suit your needs for that and similar situations.