Outdoor Life Online Editor

Abu Garcia 275U

($29.95; 800-237-5539)
Best For: Light fresh water
Weight: 8.5 oz.
Drive: 2 steel bearings
Line Capacity: **8/110 yards
**Gear Ratio:
Materials: Graphite composite spool and gear box, metal front cover, dual stainless-steel pickup pins

The Abu Garcia 275U is an under-spin model with a trigger release that keeps the reel to a reasonable size. Initially, we began testing the 275 standard spin-cast model (which has the same specs as the 275U), but its anti-reverse failed. There were no problems with the 275U, however. Testers who normally fish spinning reels preferred the reel’s under-spin design, and gave this model praise for casting and drag adjustment and performance. There were a few comments about poor material quality and some thought it was noisy during casting, but the price is good and Abu Garcia is synonymous with reliability.

Johnson Javelin Gold JG-SC

($24.95; 877-508-3474)
Best For: Light to medium fresh water
Weight: 9.2 oz.
Drive: **3 bearings
**Line Capacity:
10/65 yards
Gear Ratio: 3.3:1
Materials: Graphite-filled nylon frame, zinc gears, dual stainless-steel pickup pins

Here’s a spin-cast reel that’s dressed like a bait-caster. That said, the reel’s bait-caster “looks” aren’t just gimmicky cosmetics. The reel’s low profile makes the reel far more comfortable in hand (it can actually be palmed) than standard spin-casters that typically sit up high on the rod. It has a low power-retrieve ratio, which means it is just right for working big-lipped diving plugs, and its thumb release allows excellent feathering or slowing of the cast to control the lure (something that doesn’t always work well in spin-casters). The reel’s drag was poor, however. It starts and stops with serious jerks that could mean lost fish. But the concept has great potential. The reel’s triple-bearing system gives the Javelin a smooth retrieve. With some investment in components, this reel’s design could be the start of something good.

Daiwa Silvercast SC 100 ** **Ol Editor’s Choice, Great Buy

($19.95; 562-802-9589)
Best For: Light to medium freshwater applications
Weight: 9.7 oz.
**Drive: **Bushing

Line Capacity: **10/80 yards
**Gear Ratio: **4.3:1
Metal body, aluminum nose cone, rotating titanium-nitride line pickup

This is the best spin-cast reel we’ve seen in a long while. It casts beautifully, has a smooth drag, is good looking, has a comfortable thumb-release button and is an incredible bargain. One panel member said he’d even use it in a bass tournament. In the negative column, one tester thought that the reel’s profile was a bit too high, and another thought the handle was too long. However, the bottom line is that the Daiwa Silvercast SC 100 puts quality in the hands of startup anglers and could even satisfy some hard-core vets.

[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”]