BAIT-CAST REELS

We put the newest rods and reels through a drag-testing, line-flipping, rod-bending casting contest. Here are the results.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 4600 C5 Mag-X

($99.95; 800-237-5539)
Best For: **General fresh water, light salt water
**Weight:
10 oz.
Drive: **5 stainless-steel bearings
**Line Capacity:
10/170 yards
Gear Ratio: **5.3:1
**Cast Control: **Magnetic and centrifugal
**Materials:
Aluminum frame and handle, aluminum spool

This year Abu Garcia added a magnetic cast control to its Ambassadeur bait-casters. Compared to more modern reels it was a little "noisy" when cast, and it wasn't as smooth as some newer reels in this price range. But if you're an Ambassadeur fan who likes the magnetic anti-backlash feature, it's worth considering.

Cabela's Megaroyal Plus

($89.99; 800-237-4444)
Best For: General bass fishing
Weight: 10.5 oz.
Drive: 6 ball bearings
Line Capacity: 12/125 yards
Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
Cast Control: Centrifugal
Materials: One-piece aluminum frame, titanium-coated spool

The Megaroyal Plus is similar to a model that scored high in our tackle test last year but has better internal parts. We found this reel to be a workhorse with no unnecessary frills. The start-up drag was jerky, however, which might cause anglers who use light line to worry, but it should work well for anglers who go after big bass or northern pike.

**Daiwa Procyon PC 103HSD **(OL Great Buy)****

($119.95; 562-802-9589)
Best For: Medium to heavy fresh water
Weight: 8.8 oz.
Drive: 4 ball bearings, 1 roller bearing
Line Capacity: 12/120 yards
Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
Cast Control: Magforce-V
Materials: One-piece anodized aluminum frame and spool
Everyone liked this reel's sleek profile and superb casting characteristics-the company's Super Speed Shaft does a great job. The reel can handle any freshwater casting assignment, and very light saltwater ventures. Because you're paying for solid performance, not hype, your bang for the buck is on target.

Pflueger Trion LP

($99; 800-334-9105)
Best For: Medium fresh water
Weight: 9.8 oz.
Drive: 5 stainless-steel bearings
Line Capacity: 12/120 yards
Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
Cast Control: **6-pin centrifugal
**Materials:
One-piece low-profile aluminum frame, aluminum spool
Our tackle test team gave the Pfleuger Trion LP high marks across the board because of its casting performance and overall ruggedness. One tester, however, whose roots are definitely bass-oriented, disliked the fact that he could not "lock down" the drag to a full stop. This while another tester, who leans more toward open water, light-line fishing, claimed that this reel had one of the better drags in the lineup because it was very smooth and was adjustable in small increments-preferences definitely vary with technique.

Spidercast Scl 500

($74.95; 877-502-6482)
Best For: General fresh water
Drive: 5 stainless-steel bearings
Line Capacity: **12/110 yards
**Gear Ratio:
5.1:1
Cast Control: 6-position centrifugal
**Materials: **Aluminum frame, die-cast aluminum handle, cartridge quick-change spool system, flipping switch

The Spidercast SCL 500 has a unique quick-spool change system: The entire side pops free of the frame for spool access. We found that it worked smoothly. Distance casting required more effort, insisted one of our team members, though he liked the light weight. The flipping switch is difficult to engage, claimed another tester. All hands agreed that the reel's soft handle knobs are very comfortable.

<Pinnacle Scion **OL Editor's Choice Sc10mg**

($199.99; 888-281-2278)
Best For: Light to heavy fresh water
Weight: 6.9 oz.
Drive: 7 stainless-steel bearings
Line Capacity: 12/110 yards
Cast Control: Centrifugal and magnetic
**Materials: **Magnesium frame, machined-aluminum spool, titanium-shielded line guide, graphite access side plate

Our entire team praised the Pinnacle Scion SC10MG with comments like: "Just swing your arm and it nearly casts itself"; "it has the nicest drag of the bunch"; "all this reel's adjustments are easy to make"; and "it is extremely comfortable." One tester, however, said that the thumb bar was annoyingly hard and needed to be pushed down with gusto. The magnesium frame that gives this bait-caster its light weight can't hack salt water-don't even use it in brackish areas.

[XLINK 234534 "Spinning Reels"] | [XLINK 234537 "Bait-Cast"] | [XLINK 234539 "Spin-Cast Reels"] | [XLINK 234664 "Casting Rods"] | [XLINK 234666 "Spinning Rods"] | [XLINK 234525 "Tackle Test"]