There’s nothing more frustrating than fishing with someone who casts their lure twice as far as yours. It’s downright demoralizing. Even though they may have paid top dollar for equipment that is far better than yours, it’s still hard not to get an inferiority complex. Fortunately, you have the ability to remedy your shortcomings. It might be as simple as changing out the stock bearings in your reel, which is a lot simpler that you’d ever expect. YouTube has a bunch of videos to show you how.
The overwhelming choice in fishing reel bearing replacement for the past two decades has been Boca Bearings, a company out of Boynton Beach, Florida. For reasons I’ll explain in a moment, they use ceramic bearings to reduce rolling resistance. And they have a full range of aftermarket fishing reel bearings for brands like Shimano, Daiwa, Penn, Abu Garcia and others.
It used to be that fishermen looked for the quietest spinning reel. But, that’s no longer the case because ceramic bearings, which are virtually frictionless, still create a little humming sound. Ceramic bearings are the key to distance and spin. They’re about 70% lighter than steel, yet harder when they’re in ball form and, best of all, they never corrode or rust.
If you’re wondering how ball bearings became a standard part of fishing reels, you should know that early “bearings” were really nothing more than a guide with a rotating component through it. Fisherman had to clean and lubricate those reels a lot because the guides wore out quickly. So over time, reel manufacturers integrated more robust designs to reduce friction, corrosion and wear.
What started out as a hobby for Allen Baum, who was selling bearings to kids who raced radio controlled cars, Boca has now grown into a company that offers 8,000 different types of bearings and keeps 10 million bearings in stock. In 2006 the company broke into the fishing market. They brought in pro bass fisherman Jeff Brooks in 2014 to help grow the fishing division. Founder Baum is in the process of passing the the wheel to his son Jason, who is pushing further into the fishing market and is focused heavily on customer service. “We’re constantly trying to improve our company and our products,” Allen said.
If that means I can outcast my fishing buddies, sign me up!