No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Bearings

    Pretty good article here from Bass holes on reel bearings.
    On a recent post, the amount of bearings in reels was discused. One member pointed out that many older reels only had a few bearings and they worked just fine. Many new reels will have anywhere from 10 to 12 bearings, while other top end reels still only have 4 or 5. Where do those extra bearings go and do they help the reel cast better or run smoother than other reels? This is a common question and the answer varies from reel to reel. Although the amount is very small, bearings do add weight, so you can have a lighter reel with less bearings. The most important bearings in a reel are the spool bearings. I like a reel that has 3 bearings associated with the spool, but some reel designs work just fine with only 2 bearings in the spool area. I have used some reels that only have 2 bearings in them, they worked very well and cast very smooth, both bearings were on the spool shaft ends. I have also seen some that had no bearings in them at all, and yet they still cast and cranked quite well. On those reels, what would normally be a bearing was a highly polished brass bushing. With proper maintenance and some good oil, brass bushings will work just as good as a bearing in most instances. There are many reels that use plastic rings in place of a bearing as part of the spool support system. I don't like the plastic bushings in spool areas at all. Plastic bushings will work fine in some areas of a reel, but I want to see bearings in the spool area. The next area that no one can agree on is the crankshaft. Some reels have a bearing at the bottom of the shaft, some have a brass bushing there, and some have a plastic bushing there. If you were do a blind cranking test, most anglers would not be able to tell any difference between them, as long as they were new. Some reels also have another bearing at the top of the reel frame for the crank. I personally don't think this does any good at all. Next you have the worm gear / line guide area. Most reels use plastic sleeves or collars at both ends of the worm gear. That works fairly well as long as they are oiled. If they add bearings to this area, it does seem to help the reel crank smoother, but the effect is slight. If you have a bigger reel that has a moving line guide during the cast, then adding bearings to the worm gear will help that quite a bit. Some reels have gears that turn on a post, placing a small bearing in those gears makes them run smoother, but again, the effect is minimal. The final area that I will address here is handles. Handle bearings are a major source of disagreement. Many handles are very smooth with no bearings in them, some are not smooth at all. I want a handle to have knobs that spin with almost no Resistance, therefore I prefer handles that have 4 bearings in them, but thats my preference and it has no effect on how well a reel casts. In closing, the more bearings a reel has, the smoother it may be overall, but other design elements are just as or more important and can make a 5 bearing reel work better than a 10 bearing reel.
    2013 Frog Only Tournament Winner
    2010 Tie for VA-Outdoors Angler of the Year
    2009 Caroline County Rotary Club Tournament Winner
    2007 Tuesday Night Classic Champions
    "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

  • #2
    Nice post on an under-addressed topic . Long way towards explaining my eternal question about the difference between a $150 reel and a $600 reel.


    • #3