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SPINNING REELS

We put the newest rods and reels through a drag-testing, line-flipping, rod-bending casting contest. Here are the results.
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Cabela's Fish Eagle
Tournament II TFD 1000




($49.99; 800-237-4444)

Best For: Medium fresh water

Weight: 9.5 oz.

Drive: 4 ball bearings, 1 roller bearing

Line Capacity: 8/145 yards

Gear Ratio: 5.3:1

Materials: One-piece aluminum body,
aluminum spool, die-cast rotor, titanium-coated spool lip




This is an upgrade of a model that scored highly in our test last year. The news is that the reel's graphite rotor was replaced with a stronger die-cast aluminum rotor-there's little chance of torque-caused misalignment. The reel spool and line roller are coated with titanium to reduce friction. We found that the reel cast easily and that it has smooth line retrieval. The bail was a bit stiff at times, and the reel's workmanship was a trifle rough, but overall, it was a solid performer.


Mitchell 300X



($44.95; 877-502-6482)

Best For: Medium to light fresh water

Weight: 11.6 oz.

Drive: 5 ball bearings

Line Capacity: 8/240 yards

Gear Ratio: 6:1

Materials: Graphite body, aluminum handle and spool



The old classic Mitchell spinning reel has been modernized (more than 25 million Mitchell spinning reels have been sold since its introduction in the early 1950s). The 300X is still a bit retro in appearance (its sleek handle, for instance), but its look is blended with great new features like a fast rate of retrieve, five ball bearings and more precise line spooling.



Pinnacle Alyssa AL35CR



($109.99; 888-281-2278)

Best For: Medium to heavy fresh water

Weight: 9.6 oz.

Drive: 8 stainless-steel ball bearings

Line Capacity: 12/100 yards

Gear Ratio: 5.3:1

Materials: Chrome-nitride-reinforced graphite body, vented aluminum spool
with titanium-coated lip, ClickLock FatWire bail system


"When you have your photo taken with a fish, you want this reel in the picture, too," declared one of our testers. The Alyssa AL35CR is a beautiful reel, if you like them flashy. It's also a great choice for all finesse presentations. For a reel with such a big price tag, though, there was a little too much "slop" in the handle, and one of our team members would have preferred a flat-sided knob to its slippery round metallic handle.



Pflueger Trion 4740 (OL Editor's Choice, Great Buy)


($39.95; 800-334-9105)

Best For: Medium fresh water

Weight: 13.6 oz.

Drive: 6 stainless-steel bearings

Line Capacity: 10/180 yards

Gear Ratio: 5.2:1

Materials: Fiberglass-filled nylon frame and body, aluminum spool, rosewood handle


This reel has a six-disk stainless-steel drag and a classy rosewood handle. Our testers felt that the Trion 4740 was a rugged model that could be used for freshwater or nearshore saltwater fishing. You pay for that in a little extra weight, however. Overall, this reel received our highest rating. Because of its excellent Price/Value rating, it was also named a "Great Buy."

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