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Gear ratio on Musky reels

2/20/21 @ 8:29 AM

I'm going to be getting a new musky reel shortly and was wondering what everyone does on theirs for the gear ratio. I think the one I am looking at has the 5.8:1 ratio, other options are  7.6:1 ratio. some people have told me that is too fast for bucktails, spinner baits and the occasional top water.

Opinions ??


2/24/21 @ 8:28 AM
USER SINCE 5/21/03

I've had the Beast on my "go to" rod for two seasons.  No issues with it and it's caught some pretty big fish.  As stated, the only issue concerning the Beast is the power handle.  If you try to cast hard, and overhead, the weight of the power handle will cause it to move forward and snap closed on the cast.  All I had to do is cast softer, which is fine, or simply turn the reel on it's side when trying to caster harder and farther.  

I bought the Beast and the Tranx 400 HG at the same time.  Thought the Tranx would be my "go to" reel.  And that just hasn't been the case.  It's too fast for how I reel in bucktails and topwaters.  Feels strange when I try to reel slower.  But, it is excellent for big rubber baits.

Overall, I'd say that both reels are smooth.  But the Tranx is smoother.  Tranx probably casts farther and a little easier than the Beast.

Before dropping money on any reel, I'd see if any of your buddies have those reels laying around.  See if you can cast them for a while and see which one sets up best for you.

I know I was shocked when I put that power handle on the Beast and how easily it can burn 10's.  Even more shocked with how that gear ratio and handle setup on my glide baits and smaller bucktails.

2/23/21 @ 4:54 PM
USER SINCE 2/24/13

Have 2 Tranx 400A's with the 5.8 -1 gear ratio ( 30 ipt ).  I bought a optional

power handle for 1 of them. Very happy with what they can do. A true multi-

purpose reel. I also bought a Tranx 200 7.2 - 1 paired with a Falcon Super Duty

7' 5" for early season 'ski fishing. Can't put that thing down, once in hand.

2/23/21 @ 3:33 PM
USER SINCE 8/16/14

How have they held up overall--for those that have the beast? Are they the old models or new ones? My issues came from the brass gearing. I changed that out once they got sloppy (the spoil would click and clank when using it for jerk baits) and it was fine. I will say they have a really good drag system. The Tranx 400 class are really smooth but are more like a 300 class reel with a 400 class spoil. I have a new Komodo SS that I cannot wait to use... they are relatively cheap and have a stainless steel main gear and just as light as the beat. I think it might be a killer combo for big bull dogs in the higher gear ratio.

2/23/21 @ 9:53 AM
drummer boy
drummer boy
USER SINCE 3/14/08

I have a beast also like it a lot, with the faster gear ratio I thought more for jerk baits and topwaters.But it has become my most used reel.Also spool diameter makes a difference in power.

2/23/21 @ 8:05 AM
USER SINCE 5/21/03

Yah, I prefer to palm my reel, so the profile, size and weight matter.

On the Tranx 500 PG, well, I couldn't really palm it, so I had to hold the rod on the foregrip.  Even then the weight of the PG was something I couldn't get used to.  I even put a jig ripper handle on the rod with that reel and didn't like how that worked.

The 400B's are round, but they palm just fine for me.

It is personal preference for reels, for sure.  The Beast just sets up nicely for me with that power handle.  It is a great all-around reel, despite the high speed gear ratio.

2/22/21 @ 5:38 PM
USER SINCE 8/16/14

Vegas makes a good point. I do not palm I hold the fore grip so size doesn't matter to me as much as weight does. I will say my personal experience with the Abu reals are just personal experience... I am not sure how others view them but for the price point the Shimano reels have been bullet proof for me. 

2/22/21 @ 1:44 PM
USER SINCE 5/21/03

Okay, so I've bought countless musky reels to find the "right" gear ratio.

5.0 to 5.2 is my sweet spot.  It is the best all around gear ratio for doing anything you want.  Put the right power handle on there and you can burn double 10's or 12's if that is what you want to do.  Great overall gear ratio.

That being said, my favorite reel is the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast.  High Speed.  It has a 6.2 gear ratio.  It was tough getting big blades going, but then I put their power handle on the reel.  And now it is amazing.  I can burn bucktails, twitch crankbaits, finesse glidebaits,  straight reel topwater, or rip bulldogs.

I had the Shimano Tranx 500 Power Gear.  Reel was too big.  But it pulled everything in easily.  Just hated holding onto it.

I still have a Shimano Tranx 400 high speed.  To me, it burns baits in too quickly.  I'll be selling this reel for another Beast High Speed.  But as of now, it is my big rubber reel because it picks up line just so fast.

So that is where I'm at.  I'm in love with the Beast.  But, that power handle makes the reel close when you cast hard and overhand.  You have to turn the reel on it's side so the handle doesn't whip over and close on you.  That's the only adjustment I make.

My "other" reels in the boat are the Shimano 400B's.  Bullet proof and easy to use for any baits.  I did put power handles on them so they pull 10's like nothing is there.

2/22/21 @ 9:21 AM
USER SINCE 8/16/14

It depends on what you are wanting to with it and how much you want to spend. If money is not an issue I would recommend the Calcutta 400D (401D if you want a southpaw reel). They are smooth and have a good balance of power for larger double bladed bucktails yet fast enough at about 30 inches per crank pick up for jerk baits. 

I have a few toro beats (the older on that is like a 4.9:1 which works great for D10 and D12s with the power handle... but you are not going to burn them). I also have the high speed toro which works fine for top water and cranks but would not do the best on the larger blades. I should also note that the newer Abu Toros are not as good as the older models. The gears do wear out on them and I have had my fair share of problems. 

I just picked up a Komodo that seems really smooth and for the price it is a well put together reel. I will say that is more of a guest reel as I love my Shimanos. If it were me and I wanted a good all around reel would look at that Calcuatta or the Tranx 400A. They will have the right amount of torque for pretty much everything but a big D10 and they cast a country mile. I have one Calcuatta  and have not done any service on it just to see how long it will go before breaking. I got that reel in 2014 and have used it almost every trip to LOTW and Lac Suel… two years ago it boated it 27th muskie over 50 inches. No lube, no grease, no anything just pick it up and fish... I don't know when it will go out on me but when it does it can get retired as I just got the new Conquest 400 and am really looking forward to Canada opening back up to break that reel in. 

A 5:8:1 would do you just fine. Money no option go for a higher end Shimano... if you are on a budget I was really impressed with the Komodo (has a stainless steal main gear).

2/22/21 @ 6:48 AM
USER SINCE 9/24/03

7.6:1 is way too fast for bucktails. Blade baits put a lot of pressure on the gears of a reel. Using that fast of a reel with a bucktails would be like pulling your boat by starting out in 4th gear. It would work for crankbaits because you aren’t using the reel to pull the bait. Your reel picks up line with crankbaits whereas with a bucktail the reel is doing the work and all the pressure is transferred to the gears.

5.3:1 is sort of the industry standard for your baseline reels. Even with that gearing in a reel the bigger bladed baits can be a chore and you’ll feel like you are pulling a dead elephant through the water. 

2/21/21 @ 6:44 AM
Timmothy A
USER SINCE 5/17/09

I look specifically at inches retrieved per revolution, the gear ratios can be deceiving. We've caught fish on 23 all the way up to 40.  It depends on a lot of factors but really depends on lure selection.  If you are doing a snap/pause walk the dog style then you want to pick up a lot of line per turn to keep the line tight and not wear yourself out.  Top water you typically go on the slower end.  Burning bucktails you want to pick up lots of line.  I know I've seen Bucher do a video on this topic and on the Musky 360 app there is a whole episode devoted to this topic.  I'd check those out before buying anything.  

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