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10 Top New Reels

10 Top New Reels

Unless you're noodling catfish, dependable reels are most likely an integral part of your fishing strategies. Thankfully, manufacturers each season churn out new and improved round, low-profile, and spinning reels that cast farther, manage line more efficiently, and feature silky yet line-stoic drags that are smoother than we ever dreamed possible.

The latest year-class — unveiled at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades in Las Vegas July 9-12 — is no exception, as engineers and product developers once again managed to raise the bar in gear ratios, durability, and overall performance. Following is a rundown of 10 of the new reels we look forward to fishing most in the months and years ahead.

Abu Garcia Morrum ZX

With the redesigned Morrum, Abu takes the performance and durability of traditional round reels to new heights. Available for lefties and righties, the lightweight baitcaster is exceptionally smooth, thanks to 10 stainless steel bearings, plus one roller bearing. Its Carbon Matrix drag applies smooth, even pressure throughout battles with big fish. And the proven IVCB-IV externally adjustable brake system facilitates distance, control, and accuracy — even with light lures. Although it's amazingly light, weighing in at just 7.34 ounces, the Swedish-built Morrum also features a machined-aluminum frame and sideplates. Finally, the titanium-coated line guide keeps your string flat, orderly, and ever-ready for the next cast. With a gear ratio of 6.3:1, it holds 135 yards of 12-pound mono or 30-pound braid.

Daiwa Tatula

Billed as a hybrid that offers the durability of a traditional levelwind with the lure-slinging properties of Daiwa's T-Wing casting aperture, the Tatula undeniably delivers a smooth performance. Amenities include an unflinching one-piece aluminum frame, UT Drag, Magforce-Z cast control, seven ball bearings plus a roller bearing, Air Rotation, infinite anti-reverse, corrosion-resistant clutch, and 90mm swept power handle. It's available in two forms, the standard Tatula, along with a fine-tuned Type-R model. The latter adds a Zaion swept star drag, lightweight A7075 aluminum spool, and tweaked bearings to the mix. The Type-R also offers the option of a Hyper Speed 8.1:1 gear ratio. Otherwise, all Tatulas are available with 5.4:1 to 7.3:1 gearing.

Lew's BB1 Pro Speed Spool

With a 10-bearing system featuring double-shielded stainless steel bearings, this new reel is one smooth operator. Plus, it's lighter than the original BB1 design, and sports an all-new SpeedCast 6-Pin ACB adjustable centrifugal braking system, which lets you toggle from freespool to the parking brake by simply clicking through 27 settings on an external dial. Other features include a die-cast aluminum frame; aircraft-grade aluminum gears and spool; oversize titanium line guide that boosts casting distance; and a carbon composite star drag. Available in five models, with gear ratios ranging from 5.1:1 to 7.1:1.

Mitchell 300 Pro

Mitchell blended the bulletproof dependability of its legendary Mitchell 300 with futuristic materials and design to create the new 300 Pro. High-performance features include an extremely strong polymeric body, and the innovative Bail Halo, which supports the rotor to lay line evenly, while preventing your string from sneaking under the spool. Other nice touches include a durable aluminum spool, hybrid carbon fiber drag, 10 bearings, instant anti-reverse, and tough, double-anodized aluminum reel handle with a no-slip EVA grip. Available in three versions: the 300 pro has a 5.8:1 gear ratio and spins 33 inches of line on the spool with each turn of the reel handle; the 308 Pro has the same gearing, and swallows 30 inches of line per stroke; the 310 Pro retrieves over 20 inches of line with its 5.2:1 ratio.

No. 8 Candy Apple

We admit, this striking red-and-white reel is eye candy. But it's also a solid performer at a price point under $50, which is reason enough for inclusion on the must-fish list. Available in casting and spinning options. The baitcaster comes with six ball bearings, a 6.3:1 gear ratio, aluminum spool, and magnetic brake system. The spinning version is equipped with four bearings, a 5.1:1 gear ratio, aluminum spool, and high-density EVA knob that's easy to grip, even with slippery fingers.

Pinnacle Primmus Xi

Hand-tuned at the factory for out-of-the-box performance, the Primmus Xi is a featherweight at just 5.8 ounces. But don't let the paltry poundage fool you. It packs serious punch with an X-Bone 2.0 metal frame, lightweight REF2 carbon sidecovers, plus a spool and drivetrain forged from aircraft-grade Duralumin. The company's traditional 6-pin centrifugal brakes provide a wide range of cast-control settings, while the multi-stack carbon drag resists slippage and chatter under pressure. Ten double-shielded stainless bearings, plus one roller bearing, are standard. With a zippy 6.3:1 gear ratio, it fits the bill for a variety of techniques.

Quantum Energy

Whether you're dragging tubes for smallmouths, drifting Lindy rigs for walleyes, or casting any one of a million other multispecies presentations, Quantum's totally redesigned Energy spinning reel commands serious consideration. Anchored by an aluminum frame and gear cover, its many merits include: aluminum main shaft; graphite Hybrid Razor Rotor; carbon stainless ceramic drag; bend-resistant, nickel-titanium bail wire; 11 stainless bearings; and balanced handles. As a plus, each Energy includes a braid-friendly spare spool, dressed with a rubber 'braid band ' that binds superlines without fear of slippage. Available in three sizes.

Shimano Chronarch CI4+

Shimano won an ICAST Best of Show award in the freshwater reels category for this noteworthy addition to its baitcasting lineup. Features abound, but high points include the SVS Infinity braking system, which relies on inner friction to apply consistent force. It also has Shimano's X-Ship technology for engaging gears more efficiently; seven S-ARB anti-rust ball bearings; a one-way roller bearing for zero backplay; and a rigid, yet lightweight carbon frame. Available in two left- and two right-handed models, with gear ratios of 6.2:1 and 7.6:1. The latter option takes in a whopping 32 inches of line per crank, while the 6.2:1 gear ratio hauls in 26 inches.

Wright & McGill Skeet Reese Victory Magnum

Building on the success of the Skeet Reese Victory line, Wright & McGill bestowed the clan with a brawny big brother, the Magnum. Wide-set for extra line capacity, the reel's one-piece aluminum frame cradles a smooth brass main gear capable of churning out a speedy 7.0:1 gear ratio. Ten ball bearings ensure smoothness, while centrifugal brakes enable easy casting with a variety of baits. When a fish is on the line, the strength-sapping drag exerts up to 25 pounds of stopping power. All that, and this heavyweight Victory tips the scale at a svelte 9.9 ounces.

Zebco 33

It's hardly the most expensive, frilly reel on the block. But after six decades of service under some of the harshest fishing conditions, the classic Zebco 33 is entrenched in American angling culture. To celebrate the reel's 60th birthday, the company tweaked its looks and feel, without sacrificing its trademark simplicity and reliability. On the inside, a new, tangle-free pick-up pin bans bird's nests, while a unique T-ring makes it harder for the line to slip behind the spinnerhead. As part of the makeover, the ubiquitous thumb button now touts the tightest tolerances since 1954. On the outside, an industrial-grade, brushed stainless steel cover lets the world know this push-button is no pushover.

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