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Reel Review

 

SLIDE into the Next Phase of CZB Equipped Reels with the 13 Fishing Concept Z SLD (continued)

 

Real World Tests: Matt Baldwin, head of 13 Fishing reel design, sent us a set of Concept reels right before ICAST 2019 and I have been fishing all three reels for nearly an entire season. I wanted to really put the reels through the paces this year to see just how well the new reels would hold up versus the last generation, and to also see how beneficial the new cast control system was in real life applications.

 


The reels have an integrated hook keeper to stow baits. The system works for everything from jigs to swimbaits

 

I've fished the Concept Z SLD on a large assortment of rods, and across wide range of applications ranging from fishing lightweight jigs to bombing swimbaits all day long.

 


Skull Cap off and ready to cast. The Skull Caps retail for $14.99 separately and do a great job protecting the reels from any boat rash or damage during transport and come on and off quickly and easily

 

Casting: When I originally fished the original Concept Z reel I felt that the reel was designed around maximum casting distance, but over time I started to feel like the core of the reel's design was simply to prove the "concept" that using polymer bushings like CZBs could deliver a competitive casting distance, and feel, to the traditional bearing loaded reels that we are all so used to fishing. In this regard the original was a success.

 


Equipped with CZB bearings the Concept Z SLD feels very similar to the original reel and delivers strong distance casts

 

Similarly to the last generation reel the Concept Z SLD barely freespools when you attempt to spin the spool with your finger, and yet when you cast the reel the momentum pushes beyond the startup and delivers a surprisingly free and smooth feeling cast. If you liked the feel of the CZBs in the company's previous generation reels the Z SLD doesn't feel much different.

 

I would argue the Concept Z SLD is more about casting "control" than maximum distance, and this time around the company is looking to make a point that not only can you cast far with CZBs but you can better control each and every cast at the same time.

 


Attempting to make an adjustment to the SLIDE lever mid-cast

 

The SLD feature works by shielding, or exposing, magnets to the inner side of the spool. Working in unison with the pre-set centrifugal system on the outer side of the spool this system applies less, or more, force throughout the cast. By pressing the slider all the way up a shield hides more of the magnets and reduces force, while pulling the slide back does the opposite.

 


Pressing the SLIDE forward reduces magnetic pressure on the spool

 

The effect becomes more noticeable the lighter the lure you have tied on, which makes the system very effective for pinpoint casting, pitching, and skipping lighter baits when you desire more control. When fishing open water max distance is preferable you can simply dial the setting back, which is what I found myself doing with larger baits like deep diving crankbaits and swimbaits where I want to achieve maximum depths, or simply want to cover more water to draw followers.

 


The system works by shielding magnets directly adjacent to the inner side of the spool

 

13 Fishing talked about the possibility of adjusting the system during the cast itself, and while it is possible to switch the slider right before, or when thumbing the spool, this did feel more like a novelty to me. In most cases anglers will likely make their adjustments prior to the cast.

 


The spool weighs in at 17.1g and is relatively deep and can hold 125 yards of 12lb. line

 

Overall I found the SLIDE casting system to be functional, a little gimmicky, but also a lot of fun. There were some days that I fiddled with the system a lot when fishing plastics, and there were other days when I had heavier hardbaits tied on that I never made a single adjustment. Ultimately how much you use the system will boil down to your fishing style, and how much you game-plan your casts, but I do like how the Concept Z SLD gives anglers just a little more freedom to tweak their on the water strategy.

 


The SLIDE feature is good for applying more pressure when making controlled casts like one handed flips or skipping docks

 

Next Section: Smoother and More Powerful?

 

   

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