With all the different reels and options in today’s market, it can seem needless and overwhelming to have so many features, speeds, and designs. There are so many options for good reason. As with any tool, it takes the right one to get the job done most efficiently. Can I drive a nail with the handle-end of a screwdriver? In some cases, sure. But it’s the hammer that does the job better and quicker. And, even more so, the correct size and shape of a hammer can make a world of difference. The same is true in fishing. When choosing a reel, there are certain features I look for depending on the application. Here is what’s at the top of the list when I’m choosing a reel for cranking.
Low – Medium Gear Ratio
The very fist thing that comes to mind whenever I’m choosing a reel specifically for crankbaits, particularly deep diving crankbaits, is reel speed (or gear ratio). I’m still in with the old school crowd of preferring a low gear ratio reel for cranking. In most cases, a 5.3:1 Bruin ELS is my go-to pick. Yet, I will say, many anglers are starting to use more mid-speed reels like a 6.2:1, which I have begun to use more when throwing shallower running baits. In either case, it will boil down to personal preference and either will get the job done. My reasons for liking the lower gear ratios on my deeper cranks is it seems to be less fatiguing with baits that create a lot of resistance, and it helps keep me from getting too excited and trying to get a big fish to the boat TOO FAST and ultimately losing the fish
One reason a crankbait is so effective is it’s ability to cover water. And, even when targeting specific areas offshore, you want to be able to make long casts past the target to allow the bait to get down to depth. Thus, a smooth reel that casts a mile is an absolute necessity when cranking. In fact, if the budget is tight and you can’t afford higher end reels for all applications, this is one scenario where I would tell you to save a little extra and be sure to get a quality reel. Not only is the Bruin ELS a great choice for the price, it casts as good or better than many much higher priced reels on the market and the brake adjustments make it easy to fine tune for maximum casting distance.
In conjunction with long casts comes the need for more line to accommodate those longs casts. The last thing you want is to spool the reel down to the bottom and have a fish eat your bait near the end of the cast. The Bruin ELS 5.3:1 reel is equipped with a deeper spool specifically for this reason.
Of all the features that you’re bombarded with when trying to choose the right reel; when it’s time to go cranking, these 3 features are the most important. And, while there are many great options on the market, the Bruin ELS was designed by a cranking legend, Paul Elias, in order to meet the expectations a legend would have in a cranking reel!