13 Fishing CONCEPT Z SLD Review

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The 13 Fishing concept Z Slide presents a solution for the never-ending troubles caused by overrun or backlash.

The unique thumb-controlled magnetic brake offers a fine-tuning solution to help anglers mitigate this enduring problem easily and conveniently.

While the Z slide system is the standout feature of the series, it’s not all about the cast, and the 200-size reel packs the sort of punch you would expect in a larger class of reel.

The reel targets the inshore angler looking for a hardworking go-to, where refined performance and a lightweight feel combine perfectly with brute strength and endurance.

Let’s take a closer look at the 13 Fishing Concept Z SLD.

13 Fishing Concept Z Slide Review

Even though the price will exclude a few keen anglers, there’s enough good stuff in the Z slide to warrant its more aspirational price point.

If I only had one descriptor to sum up the Z slide, I’d have to go with versatile. The sad thing about that is that this feature is attributed to so many reels that don’t really deserve it.

13 FISHING - Concept Z SLIDE - 8.3:1 Gear Ratio - Right Hand Retrieve (Fresh+Salt) - ZSLD2-8.3-RH

The Z slide series would appear to have versatility at the heart of its design.

And the key to versatility is to balance peak performance across a range of applications while ensuring fundamentals such as strength and endurance are covered.

The Z slide is a good-looking reel. 13 Fishing appears to recognize the importance of aesthetics and eye-catching design – anglers like to fish good-looking kit.

The 200 size is the perfect allrounder. It’s compact, palmable, and has the refinement required for finesse stuff, with the power needed for wrestling larger fish from deep cover.

The Ti-Armor Aluminum Hamai Cut Drive Gear seems like a weight compromise, as one might have expected brass.

The crank feels light, free, and smooth. It’s pretty quiet inside and there’s no movement or slop to speak of, suggesting tight well meshed gears.

They’re nicely protected in the strong and rigid cast iron carbon body/frame, that offers the corrosion resistants and lightweight feel of alloy, with the strength properties of steel.

Versatility starts with the gear ratio options, with a speed suitable for all applications. I’m not sure why the lefty only gets the one speed option, but I expect it’s all costs related.

This is very common in baitcasters.

The centrifugal brake system is one of the better ones based on access and user-friendly ergonomics.

Adjustment is easy, and mastering settings takes little time to achieve, making it a good option for baitcaster beginners.

The Z slide is a unique addition, indeed giving the reel series its name. I don’t think it will help the average angler solve backlash issues, that’s up to the angler’s skill.

However, it allows for very easy refined adjustments at speed, without having to remove the side cover and fidget with the dial. This is where I believe it will reduce instances of overrun.

A lot of anglers will cast upwind, downwind, crosswind, long and short on the same pass. Often, we’ll not refine settings to adjust for this, because it takes too long and interrupts our rhythm.

With the slider, all we need to do is move the slider with our thumb to get the perfect resistance for the cast we desire. With the appropriate brake setting, we have far less chance of backlash.

When we hook up, we have 20 pounds of smooth, even, and predictable drag power, we can lock up hard for getting larger fish out of gnarly cover.

The same reel allows us to spool up light, tossing lighter soft plastics in difficult conditions, without stressing over backlash.

I think the Z slide will suit the year-round bass angler who employs a litany of techniques, in all conditions and contrasting locations.

The bonus is that the materials and construction quality ensures peak performance is assured over many seasons with a basic cleaning and maintenance routine.

Features at a Glance

  • Slide Magnetic Cast Control System
  • CZB Bearing Technology
  • Hi-Tech Cast Iron Carbon Frame and Side Plate Construction
  • Ti-Armor Aluminum Hamai Cut Drive Gear
  • 20 lb Advanced Polymer Drag System
  • Alert Drag Clicker
  • Zero Ball Bearings (6 CZB Bearings, 1 Dead Stop Anti-Reverse)
  • Arrowhead Line Guide
  • Reinforced Clutch Cam
  • KeepR Integrated Hook Keeper
  • Generation II Hard Anodized Worm Shaft
  • Low-Friction 6-Way Braking System
  • Beetle Wing Rapid Access Side Plate
  • Trick Shop Compatible

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

13 Fishing Concept Z Slide Main Features

Slide Magnetic Cast Control System

It might take a little while to get the positions onto autopilot, but it appears to work as promised.

I’m not sure if there will be a problem with dirt and grime slipping down the gaps, but those with a regular cleaning routine shouldn’t have an issue.

Careful watching promotional videos where pro anglers are saying they get no backlash at all. It’s not the final solution for backlash, we’re yet to conquer the reality of physics.

However, it does encourage you to tweak your cast settings so that you’re less likely to encounter problems.

Hi-Tech Cast Iron Carbon Frame and Side Plate Construction

While the name is a little bit misleading and a little bit ‘marketing speak’ the bottom line is a sturdy, rigid body that allows you to tackle tough fish in tough cover while providing good corrosion resistance.

Importantly, the lack of twist and flex ensures your gears will remain in perfect mesh, especially under load. This is good for reel endurance.

Ti-Armor Aluminum Hamai Cut Drive Gear

While many will prefer brass, the alloy gear cuts weight and seems more than capable of heavy loads. Endurance is often the main question with alloy gears, but out of the box, it feels great.

20 lb Advanced Polymer Drag System

The drag system is reliable and predictable. It’s smooth on start-up and throughout its settings, but also allows you to lock it off for dragging bigger fish out of the cover when allowing them any run at all spells doom.

20 pounds is more than enough drag ensuring those using a heavy line class can use every ounce of drag for subduing monsters.

Generation II Hard Anodized Worm Shaft

The anodized worm is likely responsible for the tight, perfectly meshed feel and reel sound (or lack thereof).

It’s fantastic out of the box but I’m concerned about the prevalence of gear coatings across manufacturers.

Ultimately, these coatings will wear, chip, or crack over time. When the coatings fail, you will lose that tight, perfectly meshed feel.

And as play gradually appears, it will increase over time. Prefer better metals to coatings.

Beetle Wing Rapid Access Side Plate

While it’s not necessarily the most solid feeling plate, and I expect a week point, at least you won’t lose it altogether by dropping it overboard.

This is a good idea, ergonomically sound, and makes brake changes so much easier.

Reinforced Clutch Cam

As an angler who has lost plenty of reels to damaged clutches, I’m a big fan of making these things super sturdy.

It feels great out of the box. There’s no back play at all, and I’d be inclined to speculate that the assembly has the strength to endure.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Well-constructed
  • Innovated ideas that appear well executed
  • Excellent casting manners
  • Powerful/Strong
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Anodised coating on worm gear may wear
  • The rapid access plate might be a weak point

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Alternatives

This is a hotly contested market segment that presents plenty of alternatives. Even cheaper reels will present as an option to the Z Slide.

Interestingly, I’m not aware of any similar braking mechanism, which makes the Z Slide stand out with a unique feature. It is also very powerful for its size, again making it stand out amongst its competitors.

For an alternative, you’d be looking at the Shimano Tranx 300 or the Daiwa Lexa 300. Both of these reels are top-shelf and would make great alternatives to the Z Slide.

Shimano Fishing Tranx 300Hg A Low Profile Reels [TRX300AHG]
  • HAGANE Body
  • Super Free Spool
  • Viable Brake System
  • CoreProtect
Daiwa LX-HD300H-P Lexa 300 Hd Baitcasting Reel, 6 Crbb + 1, 6.3 : 1
  • Stainless Steel Drive Gear & Pinion Gear
  • 7 Bearing System (6CRBB +1RB)
  • EVA Custom Handle Knob
  • Extra line capacity for strong lines, powerful fish

Last update on 2022-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Concept 13 Reels Good Quality?

In short, yes, concept 13 reels are good quality. Out of the box, most of the Fishing 13 reels feel like quality. 

They appeal to a broad range of anglers, generally inshore, and generally those interested in investing in gear that will last.

Their top-shelf range appears to have the endurance you’re paying for. They appeal to the more discerning angler looking for versatility, endurance, strength, and power.

Is The 13 Fishing Z Slide Reel Good For Saltwater?

Every reel is good for saltwater. The question should be – Do you have the cleaning routines that are suitable for taking reels into the saltwater zone?

The Z Slide has good corrosion protection, but few protections will save a reel from poor cleaning and maintenance.

The Z slide is promoted as being suitable for saltwater work. I would agree. It should never be dunked, and should always be wiped down following every session.

It’s not really a reel that is likely to see much surf and sand, but it will encounter spray in the wind and from a moving boat.

While anti-corrosion and sealing features assist anglers to keep corrosion and water ingress at bay, cleaning and maintenance are the main keys to reel longevity, 

NOT its sealing anti-corrosion features.

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