Chatterbaits and bladed jigs have taken the bass fishing industry by storm recently, and for good reason these lures flat out catch fish. An often-overlooked component to fishing a chatterbait is the retrieval speed. The speed and action of your chatterbait can have a big impact on the effectiveness of this lure. The best way to accomplish the ideal retrieval speed is to use a reel that has medium to fast gear ratio.
The best overall gear ratio to use when fishing a chatterbait or bladed jig is a 6:8:1 to 7:1. These gear ratios give anglers the perfect combination of speed and power. It’s fast enough to catch up to fish and slow enough to work your lure at just the right speed.
With that being said each angler or situation may call for a different type of real and gear ratio. For this reason, I have put a ton of time putting this chatterbait and bladed jig fishing gear ratio guide together for you to help make sure you select and fish with the right gear ratio in each bass fishing scenario.
Chatterbait Gear Ratio Recommendations by Experts
Every angler tends to have their own personal preference when it comes to the gear ratio they like to use when fishing with a chatterbait. What do the pro’s use? I spent a lot of time researching what gear ratio the top professionals’ anglers are using. I found that most professional bass fishermen use a reel that has a gear ratio between 6:1 to 8:1.
Here is a list of some of the top fishing professionals and what gear ratio they prefer to use when fishing with a chatterbait/bladed jig.
|Experts & Professional Angler’s||Preferred Gear Ratio|
|Cody Myer||6:3 to 7:1|
As you can see by the results above the chatterbait reel gear ratio that professional anglers prefer varies from angler to angler. One thing that they all agree on is that a good chatter bait reel has a medium to fast gear ratio. This higher speed allows anglers to cover water efficiently and catch up the bass that tend to run with it.
How to Choose the Right Gear Ratio
Many anglers that are new to bass fishing often ask me why reels have different gear ratios and why they shouldn’t just use one for everything. My answer to them is that they can get away with just using one gear ratio. However, matching the right gear ratio to the right technique will help you catch way more fish and be much more efficient.
Ideally, you’ll want to have a different reel gear ratio reel that has the right power & speed needed for each bait, lures, and technique. Or at least a few different speeds that can cover most of your fishing needs.
There are three basic gear ratio categories: low, medium, and high geared fishing reels. With each category having its own applications, strengths, and weaknesses.
Let’s take a look at each category and when you should use each gear ratio.
Best for: deep diving crankbaits, big swimbaits, Alabama rigs, big spinnerbaits
Fishing reels that have a lower gear ratio will turn the spool less per handle turn and are built more for power rather than speed. I would consider any gear ratio that is between 4 or 5 to be in the lower gear ratio category.
In bass fishing low or slow gear ratio reels are best for throwing baits that generate a lot of torque or have resistance like deep diving crankbaits and big spinnerbaits. They are also ideal for throwing large baits and rigs like a big swimbait or an Alabama Rig.
The slower speed helps keep these baits in the strike zone for a longer period of time and are much easier on the angler turning the reel. You can throw deep diving crankbaits on a higher gear ratio reel but it’s not ideal.
Best for: Most versatile gear ratio that can be used for pretty much anything in bass fishing
What I consider to be a mid-ranged or moderate fast reel is anything between a 6 to 7. This is typically the middle ground for most reel manufacturers. A moderate reel speed will pretty much allow you to do most everything in bass fishing.
It’s a great speed for throwing moving baits like a crankbait or chatterbait, but you can also use it for your bottom contact presentations like a jig or Carolina rig. If I could only have one reel to fish with I’d make sure it had a 6 or 7 gear ratio.
Best for: Texas rigs, punch rigs, frog, pitching and flipping
A super high-speed reel like an 8 or 9 gear ratio really shines when you need to cover water quickly or when pulling fish out of cover.
When you are throwing a frog or are pitching or flipping a lot of the time your bait will be out of the strike zone and you’ll need to quickly reel it and get ready for your next cast. A higher speed gear ratio makes this a lot easier, and you can go much faster and cover water.
The other advantage a high-speed reel will give you is that you’ll be able to quickly catch up to any bass and get them out of dangerous cover where you could break off.
Most professional bass fishing anglers will use a 7:1 to 9:1 gear ratio for most applications, because they know how much more efficient they can be, and they can always slow down how fast they crank the reel.
Bass Fishing Gear Ratio Chart
|Bass Fishing Lures & Techniques||Best Gear Ratios|
|Top Water||6:1 to 8:1|
|Buzz baits||6:1 to 7:1|
|Chatterbaits||6:1 to 7:1|
|Spinnerbaits||5:1 to 7:1|
|Swimbaits||5:1 to 6:1|
|Jerkbaits||6:1 to 7:1|
|Jigs||7:1 to 8:1|
|Soft Plastics||7:1 to 8:1|
|Texas Rig||7:1 to 8:1|
|Flipping & Pitching||8:1 to 9:1|
|Punching||8:1 to 9:1|
|Senko’s||6:1 to 7:1|
While fishing a chatterbait or bladed jig, selecting and using the right gear ratio on your baitcasting reels can make a big impact on your fishing success.
For more insight on how to select the right gear ratio for each bass fishing bait and technique check out this article: Bass Fishing Gear Ratios [Ultimate Reel Guide]