Editors top choice for a balance between cost and performance
OUR 2012 BEST REEL OF THE YEAR
Shimano Strafic FJ
Click Reel to Purchase
Shimano Stradic FJ Spinning Reels
X-Ship for easier turning handle under load Propulsion® Line Management System S-A-R®
bearingsAluminum frame (graphite on 1000)Lightweight graphite sideplate & rotorColdforged-aluminum
spool®-Concept rotor, guard, and arm camMachined-aluminum handle
Fluidrive® II Floating Shaft®Dyna-Balance®Super Stopper® II Saltwater approved Rated for use with
mono, fluorocarbon, or braid X
Special gears makes the handle easier to turn under load so you can detect the lightest
bites. Features include Propulsion® Line Management System; S A-R® bearings; aluminum frame (graphite on 1000);
lightweight graphite sideplate rotor; coldforged-aluminum spool; S®-Concept rotor, guard, and arm cam;
machined-aluminum handle; Fluidrive® II; Floating Shaft®; Dyna-Balance®; and Super Stopper® II. Saltwater approved
and rated for use with mono, fluorocarbon, or braid.
FISHING REEL BASICS
It is important to understand the basics of fishing reels and what the basic terms
mean when reviewing a fishing reel that you are considering.
Here are the basics that you should know:
In order to understand the gear ratio and how they apply to fishing reels, it's
necessary to understand the basic principle of a gear-drive system. An automobile transmission has a series of
gears that dictate how fast the drive shaft turns when the accelerator is pressed. With a fishing reel, turning the
handle on the reel engages gears that turn a shaft on the spool. The faster the handle is turned, the faster the
spool rotates and the faster line is retrieved and spooled back onto the reel. Different fishing applications
require different gear ratios for achieving the desired results.
Turning the handle on a fishing reel engages a flat, circular spur gear, that
resides on the internal shaft of the handle. Teeth on the spur gear are precisely machined to interact with a
smaller gear that resides on the center shaft of the reel spool. In most reels this is a helical gear, which is
shaped like a small, hollow barrel. Disengaging the free spool lever shifts the spur gear away from the helical
gear, which allows the spool to rotate freely when casting. Engaging the lever shifts the spur gear back into
position where it interlocks with the helical gear.The diameter of the spur gear and helical gear are proportionate
to the gear ratio of a particular fishing reel.
A basic gear ratio is one-to-one--or 1.0.1--which is the standard numerical
specification for fishing reel gear ratios. With this ratio, one turn of the handle produces one rotation of the
spool. Considering the average circumference of a full spool of line is approximately 6 inches, 1.0.1 ratio would
require 60 turns of the handle to recover 10 yards of line onto the spool.
Autotropolis offers an example of low gear ratio as, "The greater number of times the
(engine) turns compared to the (transmission) output, the more torque that is available at the expense of
A low gear ratio on fishing reels provides torque, but little line is recovered with
each turn of the handle. An high 10.0.1 ratio would recover line rapidly, but without ample torque to fight sizable
fish. The optimum gear ratio for fishing reels accounts for power and the recovery rate of fishing line.
Typical Gear Ratios
North Carolina Coastal Fishing states, "Fishing reels offer differing gear ratios,
ranging from slow retrieves (2.0.1 or 3.0.1) to high-speed retrieves (4.0.1 to 7.0.1)." Many avid fishing
enthusiasts maintain a selection of reels with different ratios that provide options for deep water fishing,
trolling and casting bait or lures.
Most manufacturers produce a line of reels with midrange gear ratios from 4.0.1 to
5.0.1, which is suitable for many types of fishing. The size of reels and line capacity varies with freshwater
reels and saltwater reels. However, this does not affect the specific gear ratio that's built into a particular
High Speed Reels
Certain types of fishing require line to be recovered at a high rate. A ratio of
7.0.1 is often preferred when casting lures for species, such as tuna and wahoo. High speed reels have a
combination of speed and power that's needed to land game fish. With spools that have a circumference of
approximately 8 inches when filled with line, these reels have a recovery rate of 4 feet, or 1.33 yards of line
with each turn of the handle.
Two Speed Reels
Accounts of big game fishing often describe instances where a swordfish or large
blue fin tuna made a quick turn and headed toward the boat. This situation calls for rapidly recovering slack line
in order to keep tension on the hook.
The losses of big game fish as a result of suddenly slacked line most likely
prompted the advent of two speed reels. The fisherman can change to a 6.0.1 gear ratio for high speed retrieve,
recover the slack line and change back to the more powerful 3.0.1 setting with a flip of the selector lever located
on the reel.