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Is there a big difference between a baitcasting reel with 7 or 8 ball bearings opposed to one with 10. I understand that more ba

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  • Is there a big difference between a baitcasting reel with 7 or 8 ball bearings opposed to one with 10. I understand that more ba

    Is there a big difference between a baitcasting reel with 7 or 8 ball bearings opposed to one with 10. I understand that more ball bearings makes for smoother easier casts and retrieves (correct me if im wrong). but will 2 or 3 more make that much of a difference? Also what is the purpose of a rolling bearing?

  • #2
    Ncarl, I hate to bust any bubbles, but the number of ball bearings is just a sales gimmick. Many of the reels with all the extra ball bearing just put them in the handles and other places where they do not really help the function of the reel. The spool only needs two ball bearings on it, one on each side. Some spools have three ball bearings because one extra is added out board where the spool tension nut is located. But in reality, it does not have very much affect on the performance of the reel one way or another. Then on the main drive shaft (where the main drive gear and handle is located), a ball bearing is needed at the bottom of the shaft and a one way needle bearing is needed at the top. There are two types of one way bearings used by reel companies, one which can stand side loading and one which can not. The one way bearings that can not stand side loading requires an additional ball bearing to take the side loads. So depending which type of one way bearing is in the reel, you may have just two bearings on the main drive shaft or three. The levelwind can use two ball bearings with one on each end of the worm shaft, but reels without ball bearings there last just as long as those with them. So in short, a reel with just four ball bearings will work as well as one with 12 ball bearings. Now for the real scoop on how the ball bearing work on the spool shaft: During the cast, the spool has to reach maximum RPM almost instantly. The ball bearings on the shaft do not spin up as fast as the spool shaft so the shaft actually spins inside the inner race of the bearing until the bearing catches up to the speed of the shaft. I have high speed photographs to prove this. That is why the ball bearings on the spool shafts are a loose fit instead of a press fit. I built up my personal long distance casting reel that I use for demonstrating how to make extra long casts by starting with an 800 series US Reel SuperCaster. I bored out the reel housing to fit a 40.54mm diameter spool instead of the 37mm spool it came with. At first I tried casting the larger spool with ball bearings and averaged a good 10 yard gain in distance over the smaller diameter spool. Next I tried replacing the ball bearings with oilite bronze bushings. The bushings added about 15 yards more distance to the casts. Then I tried carbon bushings instead of the bronze and got another yard. I settled on the oilite bronze bushings because they were water proof and the carbon was not. This modified reel has been used in both salt water and fresh water under hard test conditions without any problems or undo wear and I can cast some very impressive distances with it.

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    • #3
      As always thanks Santa for the insight. I though the more bearings on a bait caster the better. I spent more cash then I should have on the last one.

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      • #4
        santa, you just saved me from spending more money than I needed to. So what am I looking for in a good baitcaster for the money?

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        • #5
          Santa great advice couldn't agree more!

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          • #6
            Learn something more every day!

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            • #7
              I have owned, used, or worked on almost every reel that has been on the market for the past fifty or more years years and Abu has been consistent with quality during all that time. As a matter of fact, when we first designed the BB1 reel, our target market was to beat the Swedish built Ambassadeur 5000 with our better reel design but built in Japan by a bicycle company called Shimano. That first BB1 baitcaster put Shimano in the bass fishing reel business big time. Most of the reels today are all assembled in China or Korea. Korean built parts such as ball bearings seem to be just a little better quality than their Chinese counterparts. So a reel assembled in China, but with Korean bearings and gears, in my personal opinion, would be just a little higher quality. I have bought quite a few Pinnacle LP 100 reels to use for teaching baitcasting classes because they were cheep and held up extremely well in the hands of students who were very hard on them. At the end of the class, the student ended up with the reel and the rod which they learned on. But some years back, I changed from the Pinnacle reels to the 1000 series US Reels for baitcast classes because the first US Reels turned the spool backwards. The turning of the spool backwards made learning to cast much easier, but the reels were much more costly at that time, so I could not afford to let the students have the reel which they learned on at the end of the class. I still own several dozen of the 1000 series reels and they still are my favorite to teach beginners how to baitcast with. Note that later series reels by US Reel have spools that rotate in the normal direction and lose that ease of thumbing advantage of the reverse rotation spool. I fish a lot of salt water with my baitcasters and for years the old worm and pall levelwind has been one of the problem areas. The guide block has to slide back and forth very easily or it puts undue pressure on the pall. Salt build up in the guide block ends up causing that premature pall wear, so I always carried a small tube of reel oil in my shirt pocket to lube the levelwind several times a day while fishing. The levelwind system on the US Reels cures this problem. But there still is a problem with the one way bearings in every manufacture's reels that use a one-way bearing. Many of the one-way bearings themselves are stainless steel and do not rust in saltwater, but the inner race which the one-way bearings run on is made of sintered metal which rusts like crazy. Oiling of the inner race of this bearing is very necessary when used around salt water.

              I do not know if I have helped you any, but here is what I personally would look for. A metal frame with metal side covers which have less expansion problems when laying on the floor of a bass boat out in the hot sun. A metal frame but with plastic side covers of a different expansion ratio will not be as precision when it is in the hot sun. In other words, make sure that the frame material and the side cover materials match even if they are plastic or composite. Also get a gear ratio of at least 6.5:1 or larger for bass fishing. I even use a 7.1:1 on 30# redfish. Get the longest crank handle that you can. I like a 95mm aftermarket power handle myself to replace the 80mm handles on most reels. And finally, you will be palming the reel for hours on end when fishing so make sure the reel is comfortable in the palm of your hand. I like to wrap one finger around the front of the reel to lightly touch the line. The line is in direct contact with the lure on the other end and just like a tin can telephone, the line is what carries the vibrations from the other end where Mr. fishy is. I have several reels that have ridges right where they hurt my left hand when I palm and wrap my finger around to the front of them. They look real nice but are a pain to fish with.

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              • #8
                Thanks santa, That was very helpfull. Like I said You saved me from spending a lot more for a reel with more ball bearings.

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                • #9
                  Thanks Again Santa. When I see one of your posts, I always stop to read it. Wisdom learned from experience is a wonderful thing.

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                  • #10
                    Its not how many ball bearings that matters so much but the quality of them. If you want to get a massive difference in performance and casting get better bearings. Most manufacturers say so and so reel has 9 ball bearings...its awesome.
                    What they don't tell you is the rating on the bearings used. Most suck and are stainless and greased resulting in drag loss that retards rolling. But..it feels sooo smooth. If you want to cast a country mile contact Boca bearings for ceramic bearings and they will send you a chart to size the spool bearings you need for your baitcaster. Install them dry, no oil no grease. For like 30 bucks you are going to be like this is totally awesome like I did.

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