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Reel Review

aking Victory affordable, Skeet Reese’s signature W&M baitcaster (continued)


There were no parts of the reel that failed during testing and the reel continues to perform well after a season of use. The reel’s finish has also held up well and the only paint that is starting to come off is the actual “Victory” logo on the non-handle sideplate. (Note: To test for long term durability and boat rash we did not use the bundled neoprene reel cover which can be used even when the reel is mounted on a rod. Use this cover and you should experience even better long term durability of the finish.)


The non handle sideplate is made out of plastic


Price and Applications: While the Victory reel is certainly not among the most sophisticated reels it is absolutely on par with the competition when you consider the price. At the $99 dollar price point the major competition comes from the Shimano Caenan 100 which retails fro 10 dollars less but is only available in a 6.5:1 retrieve, the Daiwa Exceler which retails for 20 dollars less, the new Abu Garcia Orra SX which is the same price and is available in 6.4:1 and 7.1:1 retrieves and the equally priced Quantum Accurist PT series which also features two retrieve speed options of 6.3:1 and 7.0:1. When evaluated side by side with rivals the Victory actually has one of the best specifications on paper, and the real world performance confirms that this reel does have what it takes to compete at this very highly contested price point.


Adjustments to the anti-backlash system are made quickly by rotating the dial back and forth


Both the 6.2:1 and 7.0:1 retrieve ratio reels feature the same line capacity and deciding which reel you want really depends on what style of fishing you prefer. There are many anglers that simply stay away from high speed reels opting to stick with the well rounded traditional 6:1 gear ratio and there are others that feel like they can always slow down and prefer to have a higher speed reel to really get reaction baits moving or crank back lures through unproductive water quickly. At the end of the day it really comes down to your personal preference and your preferred applications. 


The reel foot could have been ported for further weight reduction


The Victory reels come backed with a one year warranty and if anglers have any problems they just need to send the reel into W&M for replacement. Note that the warranty only covers workmanship and does not cover damage from wear and tear caused by use under normal conditions.


The reel pairs well with W&M's Skeet Reese signature rods in terms of weight and styling


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Wright & McGill Skeet Reese Victory Baitcaster Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great overall construction that makes use of an aluminum frame sideplate for a more solid overall feel 8
Performance Good overall performance. While not the most refined reel this offering gets the job done and delivers in all the key areas. It is a competitive offering with other reels in the same price range 7.5
Price A great price and overall value 8.5
Features Quite a few features for such a reasonably price reel including a long handle for extra leverage, oversized grips, a soft touch clutch and even a bundled neoprene cover 8
Design (Ergonomics) Surprisingly good overall ergonomics. W&M and Skeet did a great job making a reel that is easy and comfortable to palm all day long 8.5
Application There are two choices in retrieve speed and kudos to W&M for making both right and left handed versions 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Excellent ergonomics - Lacks some refinement including the fluid retrieve and play in the clicking drag star
+ Has all the "clickies" - Making adjustments to the anti-backlash system require sideplate to be completely removed
+ Good for pitching and accurate casting  
+ Comes bundled with neoprene cover  
+ Excellent price and overall value, this is a reel that doesn't skimp on features yet is affordable for all anglers  


Conclusion: Today victory goes to the most consistent and dominating Pro Bass Angler on Tour, none other than KVD, who just locked up his forth Classic title… but victories come in all forms, big and small, and Skeet’s little yellow and black baitcaster is also a winner. Abu fans that are Skeet supporters will no doubt miss the custom tuned Abu Garcia Revo, and in many ways that original offering is a better overall reel than the W&M Victory, but was it really 2.5X as good, because that is how much more it cost anglers.


Skeet uses these very reels on tour. not some souped up version of them


The W&M Victory stays true to Skeet’s philosophy, to build quality tackle that mainstream anglers can afford. If these reels are good enough for Skeet then they certainly should be good enough for weekend warriors, right? But are these really the reels that Skeet is using on tour? I can answer that with a definite yes. Skeet isn’t using some souped up version of the Victory. I checked out his rigs at the West Coast stops on the Elite Series and sure enough he was using the very same reels (and rods) on tour.


Overall the reel represents a major "Victory" for W&M and Skeet and deliver quality features and ergonomics at a very reasonable price point


While the W&M Victory is not the most refined reel it is a solid offering at the 100 dollar price point. The fact that the company was able to get so much right on the first introduction is commendable, with just a little refinement this reel can certainly challenge other offerings positioned at the 150 dollar price point, but as it stands now the Victory reels are definitely worth the money and competitors should definitely watch their backs. Building an ergonomic feature rich reel that can stand up to the rigors of tournament fishing is tough enough, but making it affordable for everyday anglers… well, that is a Victory in itself.  


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