Best 13 Fishing Reel Reviewed – Top Choices For 2022

We hope you love the products we recommend. Just so you know, Fishing Command may earn an affiliate commission from the links on this page, at no extra cost to you

There’s no doubt 13 Fishing is on the rise. The company has now been with us for 10 years, and its profile, at least in the US, illustrates a strong market entry. 

Sales of over 25 million dollars a year provide plenty of evidence for rapid market success.

The brand is slick, clever, and quite obviously targets the young modern angler. 

It’s competing on its own terms rather than competing against the two biggest Japanese brands, which have an unbeatable history of staying on top.

Do your own thing is working for them. It is anyone’s guess how long that independence will last since Rapala just purchased a 49% stake in the newcomer.

However, the question is – does 13 Fishing make good kit?

Do their reels perform relative to price point? I think the answer is yes. And I’m not alone.

Let’s check out a few of their reels in an attempt to back up this claim.

What Is the 13 Fishing Brand?

This might be an easy enough question to answer superficially but is better suited to a college thesis for marketing students. 

For our purposes we can rephrase the question; Is 13 Fishing just brand perception and marketing gloss, or is there substance in their product?

The short answer is yes and yes. 

Clearly, 13 fishing has thought hard about its target and they’re managing consumer perceptions to a point where they have already carved a unique identity, and are growing in market presence.

All aspects of the branding speak to sleek, aesthetic, technologically advanced products. 

Customer involvement, and unique product customization options, I.E. Trickshop, set them apart from competitors.

13 Fishing is supplying a good fishing kit, and its identity (brand) is quite appealing to a new breed of performance-focused anglers. 

But how will a possibly fluid company status, with buyouts, acquisitions, and takeovers, impact the product and, therefore, the end-user?

I could wax on for pages about this, but this is a fishing article, not a deep dive into the corporatization of fishing.

I’ll just note the Van Staal story to illustrate potential here. Van Staal has brilliant, unique performance reels. Since Van Staal was acquired by Pure Fishing, we’re yet to see any significant development.

Van Staal reels weren’t perfect and weren’t without room to improve. Yet have we seen that potential realized?

When smaller start-ups do well, they attract the attention of larger companies. 

With the promise of huge money, smaller companies are sold, often in part, yet nearly always relinquishing control of their company’s future.

Will this be the case for 13 Fishing? Was this the intention all along? Fishing giant Rapala now has a 49% interest in 13 Fishing.

And Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm that owns Pure Fishing, have a 20% interest in Rapala. What a tangled web we weave.

The fishing landscape has changed. And the involvement of private equity firms in the ownership of many fishing brands makes me worry.

I don’t feel private equity firms have the desires of anglers first and foremost. And I’m concerned that brands such as 13 Fishing might become just another brand guided by the demands of better shareholder dividends.

Yes, Rapala is huge, and the quality of their lure never falters? But remember PENN? Are they as trusted as they once were when they were an independent brand?

Enough on this. In time we’ll look a little closer at doing an article on the corporatization of fishing. In the meantime, let’s check out the 13 Fishing Reels worth putting on a shortlist.

Best 13 Fishing Reel Reviews

Last update on 2022-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. 13 Fishing Concept A3 GEN II – Best Baitcaster

This baitcaster is a standout for 13 Fishing. While compact and relatively lightweight, the A3 packs a punch making it a highly versatile reel, suitable for a broad range of fishing applications.

There are 3 gear ratios, 5’5, 6.3, and 8.1. Each ratio is available in left and right-handed configurations, which is rare. 

13 FISHING - Concept A23 - Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel - 5.5;1 Gear Ratio - Left Hand Retrieve (300 size) (Fresh+Salt) - CA3-5.5-LH

Usually, the right-handers get a choice of one, maybe two ratios of a multi-speed series. This is a standout feature.

Most will be impressed by the 40 pounds of Carbon Bull Drag. This is whopping stopping power for a low-profile reel and will suit those targeting a larger class of fish.

It’s a feature of the drag system that you can hammer it on when wrestling huge fish from cover, preventing them from peeling line off, wrapping you around gnarly structure.

The H.A.M. Japanese Hamai Cut Hardened Brass Drive Gear is perfect for a reel designed for big fish. 

While alloys are a gear trend currently, there’s no substitute for brass when chasing a larger class of fish.

Not only does it give you the strength to pull hard, but ensures your gears will endure over plenty of heavy fishing seasons.

The Reinforced Clutch Cam demonstrates its durability credentials, preventing early failure from impacts and heavy loads.

Internals are housed in an HD Aluminum Frame with Ocean Armor 2 Treatment Process; the reel is light and has plenty of corrosion resistance.

Importantly, the frame/body keeps its form under load, ensuring all the power goes to the fight and that your gears are protected from wear-causing slop and movement.

The A3 is great for wrestling trophy bass from cover, drum, stripers, monster muskies, and any other fish with aggressive fighting tactics.

Features

  • HD Aluminum Frame with Ocean Armor 2 Treatment Process
  • H.A.M. Japanese Hamai Cut Hardened Brass Drive Gear
  • 40 lb Carbon Bull Drag System
  • Dead Stop Anti-Reverse
  • 7 BB (2 High Spin Corrosion Resistant BB, 4 Stainless BB, 1 Dead Stop Anti-reverse)
  • Arrowhead Line Guide
  • Reinforced Clutch Cam
  • Alert Drag
  • KeepR Integrated Hook Keeper
  • Generation II Hard Anodized Work Shaft
  • Low-Friction 6-Way Braking System
  • Beetle Wing Rapid Access Side Plate
  • Trick Shop Compatible

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

2. 13 Fishing SOURCE K – Best Budget Spinning Reel

The Source K is a great-looking reel you can fit to a decent rod for less than dinner out. 

For around 30 bucks, depending on where you buy it, you can get a 1000 or 3000 size spin reel that looks fantastic and performs great in various inshore applications, saltwater and fresh.

13 FISHING - Source K Spinning Reel - 5.2:1 Gear Ratio - 1000 size (Fresh) - SORK1000

At this price point, a Carbon Drag System is pretty rare indeed – usually you’re faced with oiled felt. 

Add 4 stainless bearings, a fat bail wire, and striking cosmetics, and you have a great entry-level spin reel.

The slick black and white features are a look the kids will go for. However, it’s an entry-level fishing reel, not a toy. 

Anglers of all ages and skill levels will find the Source K great fun and useful against a host of inshore species.

With only 8 pounds of drag on both reels, it’s not designed for wrestling monsters. But the drag is smooth and durable, and all you need for the fish the reel is designed to target.

Holding 145 yards of 12-pound line, the 3000 is ideal for the weekend angler to bring home a feed of panfish from the lakes, ponds, rivers, and estuaries. Ideal from a boat or land, it’s easy and fun to use, with decent casting manners.

In many respects, it exemplifies the ethos on which 13 Fishing was founded – great fun fishing with sleek styling that stands apart from others. 

Add quality performance to the mix, and you’ll wonder why you spend more.

I like the 1000 for those wanting to try their hand at finesse fishing without spending the big dollars that you would usually pay for a precision spinning reel.

The graphite body and rotor will hold up to the fish it’s designed for in total lightweight comfort. There’s enough twist resistance should you hook something larger than you were chasing.

At around 30 dollars, you’re not out to get a fist full of flagship features or high-end precision performance

But what you’ll get is a spinning reel that will cover the needs of a huge range of casual anglers with all the performance they need and durability you expect commensurate with the price point.

Put one in your hands and take it for a spin. I think you will be surprised by a reel that punches above its modest price tag.

Features

  • 4+1 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Aluminum Spool
  • HTS Handle
  • 5.2:1 Gear Ratio
  • Soft Touch Knob
  • HTS Frame and Rotor
  • 6 Disc Carbon Drag System
  • 8 lbs Max Drag
  • Fat Bail Wire

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

3. 13 Fishing CONCEPT Z SLD – Best Innovation

The Concept Z SLD is another example of 13 Fishing looking to stand out with unique features. 

The 200-size baitcaster is consistent with the Concept series technology, but with the addition of the Z Slide casting technology.

13 FISHING - Concept Z SLIDE - 6.8:1 Gear Ratio - Right Hand Retrieve (Fresh+Salt) - ZSLD2-6.8-RH

Z slide is a magnetic cast control mechanism with a control slider placed in the thumb range just beside the spool.

Working in concert with the centrifugal main system, the Z slide allows for speedy cast adjustment without having to remove the side plate and adjust the dial.

The system allows anglers to avoid backlash by refining cast settings easily. No, it does not eliminate backlash. 

What it does is allow anglers to make convenient setting changes on the run.

Often we’ll not bother about opening the side plate to make minor adjustments for slight wind, distance, and weight changes. 

This opens the risk of backlash.

With an easy flick of the thumb, quick adjustments can be made, therefore mitigating the chance of backlash without fuss.

It takes a few sessions in different conditions to dial it in, but once you have, you’ll find it a very useful casting aid.

With 20 pounds of drag, there’s more than enough wrestling power for most fish you’ll chase inshore.

6 bearings and an anodized worm shaft deliver a light and noiseless crank. 

The carbon frame and side plate offer lightness, strength, and rigidity, ensuring plenty of backup in a tough fight and protection for the alloy gears.

The Z Slide will appeal to those inshore anglers chasing big bass in variable, tough conditions, where a strategic, dangerous cast into cover rapid-fire.

Features

  • 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<<

4. 13 Fishing KALON C 4000 and 5000 – Best Spinning Reel

The Kalon C is available in sizes 500 to 5000. Designed for inshore waters, the 4000 and 5000 allow for light surf and rock fishing, as well as larger fish targets.

With a change out of a hundred dollars, the Kalon provides reasonably priced access to a broad range of fishing targets and applications. 

13 FISHING - Kalon A Spinning Reel - 5.4:1 Gear Ratio - 0.5 Size (Salt+Fresh) - KLA-5.4-.5

Sizes 500 through 3000 have the inshore covered with the 4 and 5000 giving genuine access to the surf and some rock/rock wall applications.

With seven stainless bearings, reasonable spool capacities, and 20 pounds of “performance” drag, the 4k and 5k have the grunt to take a mixed bag from any sea wall or surf gutter.

I like the 4000 for its faster 6.2 gear ratio as it suits a more rapid retrieve for metal slices – a special from the beach and rocks.

With everything 13 Fishing, there’s a feature or two that stands out. 

Firstly, the GLIDE oscillation system delivers a consistent, uniform line lay, which is ideal for those casting long distances into the breakers, retrieving rapidly, then doing it all over again rapid-fire.

The second feature of note is the sealed rotor. This gives the Kalon great surf credentials, as the beach is one of the most demanding fishing locations for gear.

I’d still not recommend dunking and dropping in the sand, but it will work to keep grit, salt, and water out of critical rotating parts.

Like most of the Fishing 13, the Kalon is a great-looking reel. The silver with gold highlights adds a touch of class not usually seen at this price point.

The carbon body keeps things reasonably light, which is a bonus when fishing with a longer, heavier rod.

If you want confidence chasing a larger class of fish from tough locations, the Kalon gets you there confidently without hurting the bank balance.

Features

  • Ultimate Cut Aluminum Drive Gear
  • Performance Drag
  • 7 Total Bearings
  • Rotor Sealed
  • Instant Stop Anti-Reverse
  • GLIDE Oscillation System

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

5. 13 Fishing Freefall Carbon – Inline Ice Fishing Reels

Dressed to please and to turn heads, the Black Betty freefall carbon 10th-anniversary trick shop edition is made for the ice angler who has everything but still wants more.

The reel is known as the Golden Snitch in 13 Fishing ranks and was designed to celebrate its 10-year birthday.

13 FISHING - Freefall Carbon - Inline Ice Fishing Reel - 10th Anniversary Trick Shop Edition - 2.5:1 Gear Ratio - LH Retrieve - BBCFFWTS10A-2.5-LH

The series is available in left and right-hand models, so nobody is left out. There are 4 bearings with a dedicated anti-reverse and a lightweight carbon washer max drag of 6.6 pounds.

At only 6.75 ounces, the Snitch is pretty light thanks to its ultralight yet incredibly strong carbon frame.

Distinctive features include a FreeFall Performance Window and a FreeFall Trigger – Instant Hook-up System.

Magnetic Drop Speed Adjustment is particularly convenient and easy to operate, and the Instant Stop Anti-Reverse has no hint of back play.

TrickShop features include the spool and handle design, with the star drag being particularly easy to adjust even in mittens.

Holding 80 yards of 8-pound line, you won’t be targeting too many monsters, but the panfish and rainbows you hook will be landed in style.

I like the ergonomics of the pistol grip and star drag. I also like the predictability of the drag and the sensitivity of the free-fall system.

At roughly 150 bucks, this isn’t the cheapest ice reel, but you’ll certainly cut a stunning picture when your buddies see you dripping in gold.

Features

  • FreeFall Performance Window
  • FreeFall Trigger – Instant Hook-up System
  • Lightweight Carbon Frame
  • TrickShop Spool and Star Drag
  • TrickShop Handle Design
  • Magnetic Drop Speed Adjustment
  • Instant Stop Anti-Reverse
  • 4 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Carbon Drag System
  • 2.5:1 Gear Ratio

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Are 13 Fishing Reels Made?

13 Fishing is a US company. However, it’s difficult to ascertain where the gear is manufactured.
 
Are they assembled in the US from foreign components? 

Price points of the cheaper gear suggest Asian construction. And 13 Fishing doesn’t make a big deal of being “made in the USA” which you would expect they might if they were.

Is 13 Fishing a Good Brand?

13 Fishing isn’t a top-shelf reel brand and is unlikely to live up to the expectations of more discerning anglers its marketing suggests. 

However, there are some good products many young anglers find appealing and suitably performance-driven, and durable relative to the price point.

Are Concept Reels Good?

This is a pretty subjective question and not easy to answer. For middle-of-the-road reels, they’re competitive with several models and series. 

The Concept A3 Gen II is definitely a competitive reel for those wanting strength and grunt in a compact low profile package. 

Sharing is caring!