What's New In Fishing Reels (2006)

Science and engineering continue to modify reels to achieve better performance in the field. Here are some examples.

Word is getting around: 2006's new batch of fishing reels includes some of the finest fish-catching equipment ever available to American anglers. No matter what you enjoy most, whether it's fishing fresh water for bass, panfish and other species or plying the salt water for tuna and other blue-water fish, you'll find a new reel that allows you to tailor your equipment to your distinctive fishing requirements.

ABU GARCIA

One of the most stunning new reels for 2006 is Abu Garcia's Ambassadeur Record, a rock-solid beauty manufactured of stainless steel and brass components. The Swedish-built Record features a Sensi-Brake Spool Bearing that provides smoothness and sensitivity during the retrieve. The mechanical brakes only engage on the cast, so no resistance is felt during the retrieve. Record reels also are equipped with a Carbon Matrix Drag for better control. High-performance gearing and an adjustable six-pin centrifugal brake provide a broad adjustment range for any situation while lengthening casting distances and decreasing the chance for backlash. Three models are available, each with a different line capacity.

Abu Garcia also has redesigned its popular Ambassadeur C3 and C4 series of baitcasting reels. The series now features the Carbon Matrix Drag and an improved Chemical Nickel Coated Level Wind system, a corrosion-resistant Six-Pin Centrifugal Brake Spool Control System to maximize casting distance and minimize backlash, plus a larger star wheel for increased drag leverage. (www.abu-garcia.com)

DAIWA

Daiwa's new TD Viento (Spanish for wind) introduces their revolutionary Twitchin' Bar feature that helps keep line under control with just one hand. Located on top of the reel, the small bar is in handy reach of your thumb, there when you need it but out of the way when you don't. Press it slowly to pull in up to four inches of line. Press it quickly and it lightly spins the spool to pick up even more slack line. In cold-water conditions or other times when fish are inactive, the Twitchin' Bar also can be used for stitching a bait slowly along. It's also perfect for popping jigs along the bottom in short, consistent hops.

Other key features of the Viento include a Free-Floating Spool; six stainless-steel ball bearings, plus roller bearing; Magforce magnetic anti-backlash control; Infinite Anti-Reverse; micro-click, precision drag adjustment; and Titanium Nitrided line guide aperture. (www.daiwa.com)

EAGLE CLAW

The "Colorado," the first reel in Eagle Claw's new River Series, has an all-aluminum body, making it more rigid than graphite designs for smoother performance. This spinning reel also has four stainless-steel ball bearings, plus a one-way clutch for solid hooksets. It comes with two aluminum gold-lipped anodized spools and a quick-fold, machined-alloy handle with soft-rubber knob. It's available in three sizes (20, 30 and 40).

Also part of the River Series is the new Gunnison spinning reel, offered in sizes 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50. It features an aluminum spool plus a spare graphite spool and balanced rotor. Seven ball bearings and a one-way clutch allow effortless retrieves. The brass gears will provide years of service. The high-performance oil-impregnated felt drag washers create a noticeably smoother drag. (www.eagleclaw.com)

MITCHELL

Available last year in Europe only, the Mitchell Avocet Pro spinning reel now is available to American anglers. The Avocet Pro has the same classic styling as the Mitchell 300 but features instant anti-reverse and is built around classic aluminum hardware, giving it the appearance of a much more expensive reel. With a wooden handle knob, 10 bearings and aluminum quick-change spool, it also performs like an expensive reel. It is available in three models, each with a different line capacity and a 5.1:1 gear ratio. (www.fishmitchell.com)

QUANTUM

Quantum's latest, the new 11-bearing Tour Edition PT baitcasting reel, not only has a new design and shape, but there's also a super-high-speed model in the line, featuring "Burner Gears" for a blistering 7.1:1 gear ratio that gobbles up 28.8 inches of line per turn. Although the signature Quantum low-profile shape is still prominent, you'll see an extended gear box on the crank side to allow for the new Burner gear system. You'll also notice the recessed reel foot, which allows the reel to sit even lower on the rod to provide a perfect palming fit to the hand. The spool opening has been opened up for greater thumbing control.

Another new feature is the Dual-Bearing Continuous Anti-Reverse Clutch, which eliminates the slightest backward movement of the handle for rock-solid hooksets. Quantum also has added a new saltwater version to its popular Accurist baitcaster line. The AC500PTs features critical components created from stainless steel to provide optimum saltwater corrosion protection, including crankshaft, handle, screws, nuts, pins and more. Already up for the task in the brine are the reel's CNC machined aluminum frame and crank-side cover, MaxCast skeletal aluminum spool, corrosion-resistant polymer-stainless hybrid 5 PT bearing system, ceramic drag and Ceramic-Zirconia level-wind system. On the outside, a six-layer Saltgard corrosion-protection finish makes for easy cleanup and keeps the reel looking good. The gear ratio is a quick 6.18:1. (www.quantumfishing.com)

PFLUEGER

Pflueger continues engineering top-quality low-profile baitcasters. The new Supreme LP reel features the UBS (Ul

timate Brake System) dual magnetic and centrifugal cast-control system. With this design, an adjustable six-pin centrifugal brake system is combined with an externally adjustable magnetic brake system to provide a virtually limitless range of spool-control settings. The centrifugal brake system controls spool speed and prevents backlash at the beginning of the cast when spool RPMs are greatest. The magnetic brake system slows the spool near the end of the cast to prevent line overrun. Both systems are easily adjusted for the setup that best suits your fishing needs. Stainless-steel ball bearings and a lightweight ported spool give long, smooth casts. It is available in right- and left-hand versions, each with 6.3:1 gear ratio.

Also new from Pflueger this year: the Criterion Low Profile baitcaster; the new five-model President Fly Reel Series; the new 14-pound- and 17-pound-class President saltwater spinning reels; a new 40-pound-class saltwater reel in the Contender Lever Drag Series; and two new reels for light-tackle enthusiasts, the Microspin Ultralite and the Microspin Underspin. (www.pfluegerfishing.com)

SHAKESPEARE

Anglers have come to expect more bang for their buck when buying Shakespeare products, and the new reels Shakespeare has introduced for the 2006 season won't disappoint in that regard.

Consider the Agility Low Profile baitcaster. It's packed with features such as a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing, machined and anodized aluminum spool, graphite frame and sideplates, adjustable magnetic cast control, 6.3:1 gear ratio, and an E-Z Cast thumb bar spool release.

Also new is the Agility Spinning Reel series, available in four standard sizes and an ultralight, perfect for virtually any 4- to 12-pound-test spinning applications.

Saltwater anglers will find exceptional value in Shakespeare's 2006 Prius Bigwater Spinning Reel series. These reels are engineered to withstand the rigors of the saltwater environment.

Features include a long-cast anodized aluminum spool, hard chromed brass line roller, corrosion-resistant reinforced graphite body, smooth multi-disc drag system, left/right convertible retrieve with fold-down handle, and on/off anti-reverse. Available in four models encompassing 10- to 30-pound-test line, these reels will tackle a large array of species and applications.

Also new from Shakespeare: the Synergy Supreme spinning reel, available in four front-drag models and three rear-drag models to handle a myriad of freshwater situations; six super-tough reels in the Tidewater SS Spinning Reel Series; two line-counter models added to the Tidewater Conventional Reel Series; three completely redesigned models of Synergy Steel spincasting reels; and the new Synergy Classic 1002 spincaster. (www.shakespeare-fishing.com)

SHIMANO

Shimano's new Torsa Lever Drag Reels won "Best of Show" and "Best New Reel" honors at the 2005 ICAST Show, where manufacturers introduced their 2006 products. The four models in this saltwater series offer both high speed and high power, with drag curves that can be changed for specific fishing situations with eight available Rapid Fire quick-change drag cams. The helically cut drive gear on the Torsa is the largest ever made by the company, creating a reel that's extraordinarily powerful. Also contributing to this power is a Super Stopper one-way roller bearing with Assist Stopper backup ratchet anti-reverse system. The system has no backplay for solid hooksetting power.

Shimano's new Curado D baitcasting reels include a 200 size model that also features HEG (High Efficiency Gearing) to provide more leverage. This series also includes Shimano's fastest retrieve reel, the CU200DHSV, with a 7.0:1 gear ratio; a power version CU200DPV, with a 5:1 gear ratio; and smaller capacity CU100D and 101D, with 6.2:1 gear ratios.

The completely redesigned Citica -- the Citica D -- has been modernized with HEG, Shimano's Lo-Mass drilled spool, a dartanium drag, and a completely aluminum frame and drag star. Models available include the Citica 200D, 201D and power version 200DPV.

Also from Shimano are the new Cruxis baitcasting reels (models 200 and 201). And Shimano brings its new Varispeed oval oscillation gear and S-Arm Cam to rear-drag spinning reels with the new Spirex and Solstace 1000, 2500 and 4000. (www.shimano.com)

ZEBCO

For over 50 years, the Zebco 33 has been America's favorite spincast reel. Now, there is also a Zebco 33 spinning reel, offering the same reliable, affordable performance of its push-button counterpart. The Zebco 33 spinning reel, Model 33SP, is an attractive black-and-silver medium-sized ball-bearing-drive spinning reel. It features a precision-machined brass pinion for extra durability and long life. The reel's anti-reverse is selective multi-point and can be disengaged for back-reeling. The drag is front-adjustable. And the reel sports a strong die-cast handle, convertible to right- or left-hand retrieve. The gear ratio is 5.2:1. Line capacity is 225 yards of 8-pound-test line.

New in Zebco's spincast line are the 808 Magnum and 808 Salt Water reels and the redesigned 888. (www.zebco.com)

VAN STAAL

Van Staal, the fishing reel manufacturer well-known for its bail-less spinning reels, just introduced its first bailed spinning reels. The VSB100 holds 225 yards of 10-pound-test mono or 320 yards of 20-pound braided line. The larger VSB150 holds 340 yards of 12-pound-test monofilament or 330 yards of 30-pound braided line. Both models feature bails fashioned from titanium for strength, durability and lifetime corrosion resistance. The body and spool are machined from 6061-T6511 aluminum to make them among the toughest in their class. The water-tight, sealed body protects the gears and drag system cartridge from sand, salt and water.

Both models feature an oversized rotor clutch that gives strong, continuous anti-reverse and delivers solid hook-setting power. Gear ratios are 4.75:1, with the smaller reel retrieving 29 inches of line with each turn of the handle and the larger one cranking in 32 inches per turn. A machined co

unter-weight removes wobble while cranking. Each reel is balanced within a fraction of a gram. (www.vanstaal.com)

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