A mistake anglers commonly make is the determination of the appropriate gear ratio for each style of fishing. One of the biggest factors that plays into this mistake is knowing what gear ratio even means. For example, take a reel that is labeled to be a 7.3:1 gear ratio. For each full rotation of the reel handle, the spool will turn 7.3 times. See the breakdown below for important information when considering which reel to use for different applications.
5:1 and 6:1
These gear ratios are slower and are great for moving baits. The slower gear ratio will help you retrieve the bait at a proper speed and not overwork it. Also, the slow gear ratio reels have the most power per turn of the handle. Applications like deep crankbaits inherently put a lot of resistance on the reel. Slower gear ratios will help eliminate the resistance felt when reeling in the bait.
This is considered the most universal gear ratio due to the fact that it is the happy medium between too fast and too slow. Jigs, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, swimbaits and topwater can all be effectively fished on a 7-speed gear ratio.
8:1 or faster
These speed demons are made for applications when quickly picking up line is critical in order to set the hook. Applications include flipping, punching, or frogging. All of these styles typically use thicker gauge hooks and require there to be no slack in the line, otherwise your hookset will lack power to successfully land the fish.