By Luigi De Rose
“I’m a bit hyper – always fidgety and jumpy. Reels with fast gear ratios are a better fit for my fishing personality.” admits TV and Bassmater star Mark Zona. Buying a reel with a super high gear ratio is not just about personal preference. There are a lot of advantages to using a high speed reel. Mark also explains, “more importantly, fast reels makes me a far more efficient angler. It’s easier to slow down my retrieve than it is to speed up, plus I find that when I have to force a reel to wind faster it’s more physically demanding.”
|Zona knows that Shimano delivers speed and power on every cast.
There has been a strong push for revered up gear ratios by anglers. Why the need for speed? Generating a reflex strike is what expert anglers can do even when fishing conditions are not favorable. As the weekend or tournament drags on, fishing generally becomes dreadful except for a lucky few. The best way to switch gears is trying to make the bass bite by forcing them to react to a quick moving lures.
Pitching plastics into heavy cover, ripping jerkbaits or burning crankbaits all work but you have to correct reel. “I use Shimano’s high speed Metanium XG baitcasting reel with 8.5:1 gear ratio for a big portion of my fishing, especially with bottom bumping lures. Because it retrieves line quickly, I can make more pitches, flips or casts in a day and feel more comfortable doing it.” Clarifies Mark.
The star of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, is a huge fan of high speed reels. “If I’m cranking deep-running crankbaits or other high-torque fast movers, I’ll opt for the Antares HG geared at 7.4:1, which is still faster than what most recommend. We’ve been told that high-speed reels add stress to wrists when cranking hard-pulling lures than do the slower reels, but that’s not the case with Shimano’s Curado, Antares, Metanium or Chronarch reels – and now also the new Alderbaran HG reels with 7.4:1 gear ratios.” insists Zona.
No Guts No Glory
The true quality of a reel is buried deep inside. Without being able to assess the gears, it’s difficult to separate the good from the great and the great from the exceptional. For decades, Shimano has been producing amazing reels but they have put tremendous effort towards creating top quality gears.
Bassmaster Elite angler Jonathon Van Dam is a strong advocate of the X-ship. JVD declares, “the pinion gear on both ends with bearings, keeps precise alignment with the drive gear even under heavy loads.” Being on Tour, you must have reels that can stand up to the abuse. Battling a winning fish in an Elite level tournament is not the place for your reel to start grinding. The benefit of Shimano’s diligence in designing the best reels is that the average angler can enjoy the same quality in their equipment.
High speed reels are beneficial to getting more bites but before you become too impressed with the high ratio, consider what lies beneath the reel frame. High speed reels need quality parts and gears.