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How and Why to Bass Fish Efficiently

When and Where to Use a Fast Retrieve 8:1 and 10:1 Reel 

Many times we hear the words, “fish efficiently.” But we really don’t know what that term means. 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Ott DeFoe, elaborates on fishing efficiently for bass.
Fishing efficiently for bass means using the right rod, reel, line and lure to solicit a strike from a bass in the shortest time and have the least amount of wasted time when you’re fishing for bass. Through the years, fishing tackle manufacturers have designed tackle to help bass anglers fish more efficiently. 

Ott Defoe

In the early days for bass fishing, a baitcasting reel was used to store line and to allow an angler to cast his lure out and retrieve it. If he wanted to fight the bass, and not have the fish break his line, he had to disengage the reel, so that it would free-spool. Then he used his thumb on the line on the reel to apply the amount of pressure he felt was required to slow down the bass and to tire the fish enough so he could reengage the reel and start retrieving line. 

The first major improvement to the baitcasting reel was the addition of a drag system. Once the drag was engaged, the angler could apply the amount of pressure on the line he needed to set the hook on the bass and to reel in the fish. If the bass pulled harder than what the drag was set at, the line would come off the reel to keep tension on the hooks in the bass’s mouth. However, today’s rods and reels have come a long way from the invention of the drag system. 

The new gear ratios available in reels have enabled the angler to take up more line with each turn of the reel handle than he ever could previously.  With an 8:1 gear ratio, each time the angler turns the reel’s handle once, the spool in the reel turns eight times. That’s a very fast retrieve. There are reels that are 10:1, which means each time you turn the reel’s handle, the spool is turning 10 times to pick up line faster. I only use an 8:1 speed reel when I’m flipping or pitching. Using those two tactics means I want to set the hook fast and hard and be able to turn the bass’s head up, coming out of the cover as quickly as possible. I’ll use an 8:1 gear ratio when I want a fast retrieve for lures like a buzzbait, a bladed jig or a lipless crankbait. The fast retrieve reel helps me get my lure back to the boat quickly, so I can make another flip or pitch. Also a fast retrieve reel like a 10:1 or 8:1 gear ratio is very efficient when I’m making short casts. 

Where and When to Use a 6:1 Retrieve Reel:

This reel turns six times every time you make one rotation with the reel’s handle. The 6:1 reel is good for fishing deep-diving and flat-sided crankbaits, and other lures you don’t want to pull too fast that will keep them from tracking the way they’re supposed to track. You can reel a deep-diving crankbait quickly to get it down to the depth you want to fish and then slow down the retrieve to keep it swimming at that depth. The 6:1 or 7:1 baitcasting reel is often chosen by most bass fishermen if they only can use one baitcasting reel with which to fish. You can use a 6:1 gear ratio reel when fishing buzzbait on the surface by reeling it fast, or you can use a 6:1 gear ratio reel to get a deep-diving crankbait down and then slow down your retrieve to fish at that depth. This reel also is efficient when working a square-billed or flat-sided crankbait. 

So by choosing the right reel for the water depth you want to fish and the speed of the retrieve you think you need, you can be much more efficient as a bass fisherman and catch more bass than you’ll catch if you don’t have various gear ratio reels to use with different lures in various depths of water.

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