If you are currently a fisherman, chances are you began your fishing hobby with a spincast reel. The large, covered spool held the line, and with a click of the button on the bottom of the reel, you could cast with relative ease. There are a myriad of spincast reels available on the market, and the Internet, particularly Amazon.com, has made finding these reels easier than ever. There is, however, a fundamental problem with buying on the Internet: If you are unsure of what the best spincast reel is for your needs, you may end up with a reel that will be ill-suited to your specific purpose.
The following article will review five of the best spincast reels on the market from one of the premiere manufacturers of the spincast reel, Zebco.
The Zebco 33, the reel that most fishermen learn to use on a regular basis, is a three piece reel, constructed of two cast aluminum pieces with a black plastic center. Each reel has a single ball bearing drive with 3.6:1 gear ratio, anti-reverse, adjustable drag and right hand retrieve with dual-paddle crank handle. The release button is also black and plastic. Each 33 comes prespooled with 10-pound monofilament line.
Most Zebco 33 reels are sold as a part of a rod and reel combination for the freshwater angler. The reel will comfortably work just as well for panfish or most freshwater species. It is the best spincast reel for teaching youth the fundamentals of casting and retrieving lures as well as landing fish. The top portion of the reel attaches with a small twist, and the line hole can fray line over time. The small line pickup inside the reel can snap, and this will leave the reel unusable.
The Zebco 202 is another medium weight freshwater fishing reel. This reel is a two-piece model with a plastic bottom and top. The 202 is also pre-spooled with 10 pound test line and has all metal gears, a 2.8:1 gear ratio, an adjustable drag behind the crank handle and anti-reverse. Unlike the 33, the 202 has a single paddle crank for line retrieval.
The 202 is equally at home in medium freshwater fishing, and this reel can be a suitable substitution for the 33. Moving the drag dial to the side behind the crank is a plus, since this gives drag adjustment a more innate feel for the angler. The top portion screws on tightly, and the plastic line hole at the top is less likely to fray line.
The next in the Zebco spincast line moves away from medium weight fishing, although this spincast reel will work well for medium weight. The Zebco 404 is appropriate for medium to heavy weight freshwater and light saltwater fishing. The 404 is a two piece, plastic body design like the smaller 202. The 404 comes pre-spooled with 15 pound test line, anti-reverse behind the crank, adjustable thumb drag and 2.8:1 gear ratio. The 404 features a dual paddle crank for line retrieval.
The 404 is best designed for medium to medium-heavy freshwater species, but the reel has its drawbacks. The reel is bulky for small hands, so small children will struggle casting this model.
Anglers who target large, freshwater species such as muskies and large catfish or inshore saltwater species will appreciate the sturdy nature of the 733 or 808. These reels represent the largest of the Zebco spincast line and the largest of the spincast reel family in general.
A larger version of the standard 33, the 733 is a slightly smaller version of the 808. The 733 is another three piece reel with an aluminum top and bottom. Sandwiched between the two pieces is a plastic center. The reel is pre-spooled with 90 yards of 20 pound test line, an ample amount for most large freshwater species and small saltwater species. The 733 has a 2.58:1 gear ratio for live bait or heavy lures. Like all Zebco products, anti-reverse and adjustable drag are featured on the 733. Like the 33, the potential drawbacks are similar with the possible frayed line, awkward location for drag and chance of the top portion of the reel separating when fighting a large fish.
Saltwater anglers who are looking for the best of the best spincast reels turn to the 808, a larger version of the 404. This largest of the Zebco line has all of the same features of the 404, including the two-part plastic body, and the 808 is pre-spooled with 150 yards of 15 pound test monofilament line. The 808 will also function well for large freshwater species or times when a standard baitcasting reel with heavy line is ill-suited or inappropriate. Professional bass angler Woo Daves won a tournament in 1991 using a Zebco 808, flipping plastics into heavy cover where a conventional baitcasting reel would not suffice because of backlash. The 808 proved to be the ideal solution for the balance between no backlashes and wrestling fish out of tight spots.
Anglers looking to cast repeated will fatigue because of the size of the 808. The large body design makes the reel difficult to store in tight spaces. Large saltwater fish capable of long runs into open ocean will strip the reel bare before tiring, leaving the angler with nothing to show for the effort.
Zebco remains the premiere manufacturer of the best spincast reels on the market. Those who are looking to introduce a new angler to fishing will be very pleased with a Zebco spincast reel.
Reel Pros and Cons Summary:
- reel piece construction, dual-paddle crank, user can cast the smallest lures up to medium-sized baits.
- Pre-spooled line can twist and snarl. Large fish can easily snap line. Thumb drag is awkward for new users.
- Solid plastic body, drag behind crank like a baitcaster.
- Single-paddle crank, smaller retrieve ratio than the 33.
- Larger version of the 202, capable of medium to heavy freshwater fishing.
- Single-paddle crank, low retrieve ratio. Bulky body design.
- Heavy freshwater fishing reel or light saltwater.
- Metal body could rust with overexposure to saltwater, line capacity is limited for some saltwater species. Thumb drag on the face of the reel is awkward in the beginning.
- Heavy freshwater or inshore saltwater fishing, two piece plastic body design.
- Large body and weight can fatigue angler quickly, difficult to store in small places.