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Sometimes fish turn finicky, refusing ­normal-​size baits or becoming line-shy. When the bite turns tough, too many fishermen keep pounding the water with the same rig.

Savvy fishermen, however, recognize the problem and adapt, swapping out traditional offerings for micro-size baits and downsizing their line and tackle. And, for the most part, when the bite turns thin, spinning gear is in.

We tested three downsized spinning reels that were adept at managing light baits: the Shimano Saros 2500FA, the Okuma Helios Hx-25, and the Castalia Magic Flight XT 2000. All three are a touch smaller than conventional spinners–making them nimble options for light liners.

The redesigned Saros (left) has a graphite frame, rotor, and sideplate; we were impressed with the rigidity of the chassis. The quick 6:1 retrieve ratio gobbled line at 34 inches per turn while featuring a reasonable 120-yard capacity of 10-pound-test mono. The 5+1 bearings are tight, and the drag, with its easily adjusted oversize knob, is trademark Shimano quality.

The Okuma Helios Hx-25 (middle) surprised the team with its agility and ridiculously light 7.1-ounce weight (almost 2.5 ounces lighter than one competitor). One tester felt it was the most comfortable reel in the field, with its great grip and nicely tapered stem.

The Castalia Magic Flight XT 2000 will carry 340 yards of 8-pound-test and features 7+1 bearings inside a strong-yet-light aluminum alloy frame.

See the full tackle test: New fishng rods and reels

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