What Do The Numbers On Fishing Reels Mean?

Not you own the most expensive, best, your fishing trip will reach the highest efficiency. The important thing here is to understand how your reels operate and master them.

No one can deny that understanding and mastering it is a complex problem. There are so many things you have to know; you will have to take a long time to understand all the reel numbers. From there, combine fishing styles, lures, budgets, and so on to decide the most suitable reel for you.

Not in your first reel, I’m sure that. Nobody can find a reel most suitable for yourself right from the first choice. It is a long process and constantly changing. And as a result, experienced anglers will not only have a reel for themselves; they will combine many types to handle different cases.

what do the numbers on fishing reels mean?

So, what do the numbers on fishing reels mean? They can be numbers in different types of reels. Still, common include Reel Size & Line Capacity, Gear Ratio & IPT (Inches Per Turn), Bearing Count, Model Number, Additional Letters & Numbers.

All of them are quite a lot and quite complicated to know all. I will try to explain briefly and be easy to understand for you. I won’t go into detail about those numbers. However, maybe I will have later articles about it, but you need to search yourself. You can refer to the article below.

Reel Size & Line Capacity

Reel Size & Line Capacity

These numbers tell you the diameter of the spool. This is probably the first thing you care about when choosing to buy a reel. You need to remember that the bigger the size, the greater the reel and more lines. The large size reels are the first condition to fight with the sea monsters.

Different manufacturers will have other numbers, 3000 or 300 or 30, but they all have an ordinary meaning, i.e., the same size.

Look at the conditions, where fishing, the size and weight of the fish you plan to catch to choose a suitable size reel.

When selecting a specific reel size, it will usually come with the line capacity, monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braid. Combine the most suitable suit to achieve high efficiency during the trip.

I only presented the sessions about the meaning of the size of the reel. However, if you want to learn more about these, you can refer to this article “What do Spinning Reel Sizes Mean?

Gear Ratio & IPT

Gear Ratio & IPT

The number of gear ratio shows how many times the spool turns with one reel crank. It’s pretty simple to understand; for example, a reel with a gear ratio is 6.1: 1, meaning spool turn 6.1 times when you finish one crank, 4.1:1 is 4.1 times a crank.

You need to note this is a significant number; it dramatically affects your fishing trip performance. It depends on the fish you are aiming for and the lure you are using.

The reel with a higher gear ratio means the ability to recover lure as it’s faster, suitable for bass fishing in deeper water. But with the lower gear ratio reels, the greater your reel capacity, it fits the battle with larger fish.

Gear Ratio is the numbers that show the power of your reel. Note that no gear ratio is better, simply higher or lower; different uses depending on the usage you target.

You cannot just look at these numbers and think that the reel has the same gear ratio is the same. Depending on the manufacturer, the size of gears, and spools, they can be different.

Since then, a number has been born, none other than IPT (Inches Per Turn). It indicates precisely the inches of line you retrieve each crank. If there is a difference in the IPT ratio between the two same ratio reels, look at the size of your spool, the cause is there.

Bearing Count

ball bearing

This number indicates the number of bearings in the reel. For example, if a 5+1 reel, the first number is the number of ball bearings in the shaft, the rear is for the rolling bearing. It shows the ability to reduce friction and increase your reel speed. The less friction, the smoother spinning, and the distance can also increase significantly.

When buying bearings, you should especially note the quality of ball bearings, not the number. I had a separate post on the number of ball bearings that your reel should have; you can refer to”How many ball bearings should a fishing reel have?

Model Number

Next are the usual characters everywhere; it is simply the abbreviations of the reel, indicating its name and model. For example, CUDC is the CURADO DC.

You don’t need to care too much about it. Anglers, including me, often omit these numbers; I have never thought about it.

Additional Letters & Numbers

Besides the digits I mentioned above, there are some letters and other numbers you can refer to.

  • 150: Right-handed baitcasting reel
  • 151: Left-handed baitcasting reel.
  • 2000+: Bigger spool on a spinning reel.
  • PG: Power gear (lower gear)
  • HG: High gear reel
  • XG: Extra high gear reel
  • FA/FB: Front drag
  • Ends with “S”: Shallow spool
  • Ends with “PGS”: Power gear shallow spool
  • Ends with “PGSS”: Power gear super shallow spool
  • Ends with “HGS”: High gear shallow spool
  • Ends with “SDH”: Shallow spool double handle
  • Start with “C”: Compact
  • Start with “SW”: Saltwater


That’s all numbers to note on your fishing reel. If you only rely on the above explanations to buy the most appropriate reel, it is impossible. It would be best if you learned, refer to my posts or on other webs to understand them better.

I hope it’s useful for you. Are there any numbers I forgot?

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