February 08, 2018
Game & Fish reviews: These 8 new baitcasters for 2018 deliver high performance, affordable price.
By Pete Robbins
Fishermen are on a perpetual search for the perfect reel.
One that casts farther, retrieves faster and is virtually bullet-proof.
For those shopping for their next reel, there's no shortage of $300-plus reels that can do it all without compromise. However, for those of us on a budget, we must have value-priced performance.
The good news is there are plenty of baitcast reel options on the market for those wanting to get the most bang of their money.
Game & Fish reviewed the following eight new baitcasters for 2018, each with affordable prices and high-performance features:
Abu Garcia's Revo X, Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP, Quantum Smoke S3, Cabela's Arachnid, Shimano Curado 200K, BPS Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0, 13 Fishing's Concept Z, and Daiwa's Lexa WN 300
Check out our reviews of new baitcasters for 2018 in the gallery below
(click on the headlines for full reviews)
The bright red finish is a giveaway this reel offers something exceptional, but its appeal is not just cosmetic. For years, there has been an arms race among manufacturers to maximize or optimize the number of ball bearings in their offerings. Oddly enough, the Concept Z actually has no ball bearings. The bearing-less Z casts like a dream, and is also a thing of beauty, with an aggressive looking star drag and skeletal handle that looks like it's straight out of a reel customization shop or a sci-fi movie. The Concept Z has a dramatic look. But beyond its visual appeal, the Concept Zero Bearing technology, one which eliminates the need for bearings by replacing them with a proprietary polymer, sets this reel apart from the field. If you've had problems with bearings getting gunked up or corroded, consider that problem eliminated. Click the headline to read the entire review
For years some manufacturers have treated swimbait fanatics like second class citizens, offering them reels from their saltwater platforms or musky lineups without making a reel that works for big bait bass freaks. The Lexa WN 300 bridges that gap and more, putting healthy line capacity into a package that weighs a skinny 10.5 ounces, and wears custom Winn Grips. Click the headline to read the entire review
For well over two decades, the Curado has been the stalwart of tournament anglers everywhere and the anchor of the Shimano baitcasting lineup. This newest version is $179.99, no more than reels of a decade ago, and it features technological advantages previously available only in the brand's highest-end showpieces. The Curado is available in both left- and right-hand retrieve, and in three different gear ratios, all of which guarantees you'll see both tournament pros and weekend anglers headed out in the early morning with an arsenal of nothing but Curado K's. Click the headline to read the entire review