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Big Tech, Small Price: 8 New Baitcasters for 2018

Big Tech, Small Price: 8 New Baitcasters for 2018
Abu Garcia's Revo X was one of eight new baitcast reels reviewed by Game & Fish magazines,

new baitcasters for 2018
Abu Garcia's Revo X was one of eight new baitcast reels reviewed by Game & Fish magazines,

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 XLew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLPQuantum Smoke S3Cabela's ArachnidShimano Curado 200KBPS Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.013 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  
The Arachnid is built by Daiwa, so you know immediately it's a quality piece. The blue accents on an otherwise black reel are eye-catching; however, it's what's inside that make this $149.99 workhorse a thing of beauty. The Arachnid is lightweight, with that palatable Daiwa smoothness. The T-Wing casting system performs flawlessly, arguably increasing casting distance while helping manage line efficiently.The reel has an appealing ergonomic feel, one which seems to melt into the palm. This pleasing feel is welcome on those long days spent endlessly casting to tight-lipped fish. Click the headline to read the entire review  
The Smoke S3 is a lightweight package, weighing in at just 6.9 ounces. The ultra-low-profile reel fits snugly in the palm of your hand, yet carries an oversized spool for additional line capacity. The Smoke is available in four gear ratios ranging from 5:1 (for torquey crankbait techniques) all the way up to 8:1 for burning whatever baits you decide require that kind of extra pace. Attention to detail is seen in the line indicator on the hub of the oversized paddle knobs — one which means you won't forget what class of line you've spooled on your reel. Click the headline to read the entire review  
Tested recently at Lake El Salto in Mexico by Game & Fish staff, Abu Garcia's new addition to the Revo line blends performance and style at an affordable price ($99.95). With features matching reels priced considerably higher, the Revo X is a solid performer, and at 7.8 ounces, it fishes comfortably and has more than enough grit to battle fat line-stretchers. At El Salto, a legendary big-bass destination, this reel stood up to an onslaught of giant bass weighing 5 to 8 pounds. Click the headline to read the entire review  

Lew's is the comeback kid, having gone from essentially a mothballed brand into a widely-respected player in this highly competitive market. The new Lew's are functional, durable and dependable. The Crush is an orange-accented beauty, one which makes a statement. The flashy Crush will appeal to anglers who like a bit of style with their substance, sizzle with their steak. At $159.99, this Lew's turns smoothly on 10 bearings with a fast 7.5:1 gear ratio. With its bling, you may find yourself the talk of fashion conscious tournament anglers. Click the headline to read the entire review  

Bass Pro Shops' Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0
The aluminum frame of the CarbonLite allows for an overall light package, with all models weighing in at a mere 6.7 ounces. Stout carbon fiber side plates prevent flex, while keeping all the internals in perfect alignment and sync. The nearly flex-free chassis will easily tackle a cartwheeling smallmouth or a bulldogging muskie when tasked to do so. The latest BPS offering is evidence of their commitment to produce some of the most feature-rich casting reels available, while keeping the prices astoundingly low. Click the headline to read the entire review  

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