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Most keen American anglers will know of Pflueger fishing gear. Many of you will have Pflueger in your arsenal.
Highly affordable, reliable fishing reels will always remain popular. And this is where the modern Pflueger has found its niche.
It’s getting to the point where only your grandparents, or perhaps their grandparents, understand the significance of Pflueger in the evolution of fishing reel technology.
Apart from a stellar reputation for old-school quality and performance, they’re credited with the first anti-backlash baitcasting reel and the first spinning reel with a drag system.
These technologies were such a revelation that they shaped the fishing gear industry for years to come.
Quick Overview of Pflueger as A Brand
Pflueger was founded in the USA in 1881 by Ernst F. Pflueger.
They were quickly recognized for their craftsmanship and innovation, earning market trust in the angler community.
It’s more than 120 years since Pflueger began. And while its current status under the wing of Pure Fishing Inc. might not reflect its glory days, the brand has survived.
The brand has survived and remained relevant – continuing to replenish its fanbase, inviting anglers from all walks into the world of cost-effective, affordable fishing gear.
It’s been quite the journey since Ernest F. Pflueger began making fishing hooks in 1881. Gone are the days of American-made and home-grown family business initiatives.
Pflueger is part of the new America, firmly in the hands and at the whims of private equity firms.
Pure Fishing Inc, and therefore Pflueger, is currently owned by Sycamore Partners and is subject to mergers, hostile takeovers, and other plans of the corporate world.
We could argue if this has been detrimental to some of our most famous fishing brands – I suspect that it has been.
When fishing companies outsource manufacturing to China and greater Asia, one gets very nervous about quality assurance programs.
But let’s forgo the corporatization debate and look at the proof in the pudding.
Let’s check out the 6 Best Pflueger Fishing Reels.
Top 6 Best Pflueger Fishing Reel Reviews
Last update on 2023-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Pflueger President Spinning Reel
The President is Pflueger’s most popular spinning reel. It strikes a great balance between performance, affordability, and durability, making it a favorite among thrifty anglers.
It’s an inshore series suitable for saltwater and fresh applications, onshore or afloat. Sizes include the 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40.
Key features include a lightweight graphite body and rotor with a braid-ready alloy spool. The 30 weighs in at just 8.8 ounces – relatively light for this modest price point.
There’s a 10-bearing system with the 20 featuring 7 bearings.
Again, at this price point, this is a big compliment of bearings that bodes well for longevity – with appropriate care and maintenance.
There’s an instant anti-reverse bearing that eliminates back play. I expect you should take care to keep this bearing clean and dry.
The drag system is oiled felt. This will require maintenance if worked frequently and heavily. It’s smooth enough and also sealed.
Although the drag system is sealed, this reel should be dunked or fished in heavy rain. It’s not a great choice for kayak anglers.
The Pflueger President is a great-looking fishing reel with a performance that will impress your average weekend angler.
Durability is likely commensurate with the price point but is likely to endure many seasons if given regular cleaning and maintenance.
For a reel that gets a lot of change from 100 bucks, it should be on the list of all angels seeking reliable performance on a tight budget.
2. Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Reel
The Supreme XT is one of Pflueger’s 2 flagship spinning reels, along with its stablemate the Patriarch.
The Supreme XT’s main feature is the rigid, strong, and very lightweight magnesium body.
With a carbon rotor, handle, and alloy main gear, the weight in the 30 is kept to only 6.5 ounces.
The series includes sizes 25, 30, 35, and 40. It’s an inshore reel suitable for fresh and saltwater applications, onshore or afloat.
At this price point, the drag system graduates to carbon. While there’s no discernible difference in smoothness, durability and predictability are vast improvements.
The drag system is sealed, but dunking should still be avoided. Given such a mishap, the carbon drag is better placed to survive watery encounters than its felt counterpart.
Drag power is quite good, with the 20 having 8 pounds and the 40 having 15 pounds. Sure, it’s not Penn, but this is more than enough drag in these reel sizes.
Pflueger’s Slow Oscillation system also improves line lay and therefore casting manners.
Add 11 bearings to the mix, and you have a reel that feels more expensive than its retail price suggests.
The 150 to 170 price point is the high end of Pflueger’s staple market segment. In that regard, it’s more of a fan’s reel. This price point has some stiff competition from bigger brands.
The competition may not be offering mag bodies and 11 bearings, but Pflueger are doing the basics – strength, quality, predictability, and durability, a lot better.
The Supreme is a fantastic-looking reel. It will suit most regular inshore anglers chasing a variety of our common favorites.
Most who handle it will be sold on its out-of-the-box smoothness and great looks.
3. Pflueger Patriarch Spin Reel
The Patriarch is Pflueger’s flagship spinning reel. The series includes 25, 30, and 35. It’s a capable inshore reel ideal for lure anglers chasing freshwater species.
While a handy bass and trout reel, and quoted a freshwater reel, I’d be more than happy to use this reel in salty inshore applications from the banks or afloat.
While it’s jam-packed with Pflueger features, the flagship Patriarch is a huge winner in the looks department.
The crafty designers at Pflueger have recognized the popularity of the high-tech stealth, and precision tool aesthetics, and nailed it with the Patriarch.
The magnesium body and skeletonized alloy spool are painted stealth black with chrome accents and livery.
Add the alloy plate handle and a cork knob connected with 3 silver screws, and the look is complete and compelling. The cork knob adds a touch of class.
Great looks are unquestionable, but it’s what’s inside that really counts. And it would appear that Pflueger has at least attempted to match looks and performance.
The Patriarch features 10 XCR bearings plus anti-reverse. Great quality, improving corrosion resistance, smoothness, and longevity.
The main shaft is titanium, keeping things particularly strong and keeping the weight very light for this price point. The 25 weighs in at just 6 ounces.
The carbon drag system is fully sealed, with drag power being standard and more than acceptable for reels of this size.
The 6.2 ratio is a nice neutral balance for lure anglers. I feel it’s a better speed than the relatively slow 5.2 of the Supreme.
I like the Patriarch, whichever size, for targeting bass and trout. However, there’s some serious competition at this price point.
While the Patriarch offers more bells and whistles than bigger brands at this price, I do question build quality consistency.
This is billed as a precision reel, and I’m not sure this is achieved consistently across all units.
With 11 bearings and a magnesium body, one wonders what might be compromised to keep the price accessible.
This is a fan’s reel. But interestingly, I feel that the Pflueger fans will likely be the most discerning critics.
The Patriarch concept is fantastic – all the ingredients are there. It all comes down to quality control and manufacturing consistency.
That said, it’s definitely worth a look.
4. Pflueger Lady President Spin Reel
Apart from the color scheme, the Lady President is identical to the President’s spinning reel.
For specs and performance, just read the review on the President, which appears first on this list of 6.
The Lady President is a fishing reel conceived in the marketing department – use words and an angle to turn one product into two.
Given the current state of identity politics, one might wonder if contemporary gender attitudes might compromise this marketing tool.
Maybe, or maybe not. One could argue that the recreational fishing industry stands some distance from the harsh intensity of political correctness.
For me, the bottom line is that if it encourages more women to fish, then happy days. I’m not sure it’s that sort of motivator, however.
I bought an Okuma spin reel designed specifically for the ladies. It was a gift for my 6-year-old daughter to encourage her to embrace fishing.
She loved the reel, but her response to fishing was lukewarm at best. Eventually, I stole it back from her, and I still use it now and love it – even with pink and purple accents.
The Lady President is a marketing thing only. It’s a President. If you like the color scheme, go for it; it’s a cool, affordable reel – Pflueger’s niche
5. Pflueger Trion Spin Reel
The Trion is Pflueger’s entry-level spinning reel. While Pflueger’s entire fleet might be considered entry-level, this is their cheapest.
It’s an inshore series with sizes 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40. While it’s promoted as a freshwater reel, I see no reason not to use it in saltwater.
For change out of 50 dollars, there’s not much to criticize. While it may not have all the high-end features of pricier models, the Pflueger Trion spinning reel will catch fish reliably.
Not only can you expect to catch fish reliably, but it’s also fun to use. It is efficient in the key areas of drag, crank, and casting, and will back you in a decent fish fight.
This reel will suit any weekend angler looking for access to panfish and is slightly better for recreation and a feed of fresh fish.
I would argue that this reel will feel great in the hands of the majority of recreational anglers.
For any angler hunting bass with lures in the local pond, canal, or river, you’ll catch just as many standard 2-pounders as those using premium reels.
And the Trion offers better than standard features, such as a 7-bearing system, including corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings.
The aluminum spool is braid-ready and allows for fuss-free line management.
The reel also incorporates Pflueger’s Slow Oscillation system, delivering a great line lay for easy, consistent casting.
The Trion offers excellent value for your fishing dollar. I applaud any manufacturer that gets you on the water with a reliable fishing reel for under 50 dollars.
This is an excellent reel for anyone on a budget, new anglers, kids, or for equipping a family affordably with fishing reels they can depend on.
6. Pflueger Monarch Ice Spinning Reel
While the Monarch may lack some advanced features of higher-end models, it remains a dependable and affordable choice for ice anglers on a budget.
The Monarch Ice features a smooth 5-bearing system, a lightweight graphite body, 6 pounds of oiled felt drag, and an aluminum spool.
The reel also includes an extended reel stem, making it easier to handle while wearing gloves.
To say the ice is a harsh environment is a terrible understatement. Despite its pocket change price, the Monarch laughs in the face of extreme cold.
This is what Pflueger does best. And the Monarch’s popularity is a testament to their competence in budget reel manufacturing.
It’s a comfortable reel to hold – even in heavy gloves. It has a smooth crank that stands up under the pressure of a decent fish.
I’m a fan of a thick bail wire, and the Monarch has one of the thickest relative to its diminutive proportions.
Ice can be expensive. By the time you’ve kitted up so you won’t perish in the atrocious winter conditions, you’ve already spent a lot of money.
It’s nice to know we can purchase a reliable spinning reel, suitable for most conditions, and fish for a relatively small outlay.
And unless you’re chasing trophy fish, the Monarch provides all the fight you need at a price suitable for all budgets.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Pflueger Fishing Reel
Pflueger caters to the average recreational angler. Its focus is on affordable fishing products for the less experienced angler.
However, this doesn’t mean that their products are toys, incapable of catching fish, or will fall apart on the first decent fish fight.
On the contrary, Pflueger creates reliable reels that look fantastic. They’re suitable for the small to small-medium/ medium fish most recreational anglers encounter.
When I purchase from budget-driven brands, I consider 3 critical things – do I need it to last, will it encounter trophy fish, and what are my chances of buying a lemon?
I’m comfortable with Pflueger fishing reels with fish up to 6 pounds. It’s not a reel I’d use daily chasing 6-pounders; the endurance isn’t there for this.
However, it’s certainly there for those inshore anglers who manage to hit the water several times each month, who use natural baits and lures, braid, and mono.
I’m content if a 50-dollar reel sees out a season or two. However, I’d expect a lot more from Pflueger’s two flagship spinning reel models.
My only criticism of Pflueger is its product quality assurance. What’s the chance of my reel being faulty from out of the box or failing early in its life?
My understanding is that it’s not common, and as far as you can trust any consumer product, Pfluger is pretty reliable.
The bottom line is to be aware you are purchasing a product from the budget range and that your expectations should be aligned with the market segment you have entered.
Pflueger doesn’t entertain the custom of advanced sports anglers. But they do look after their budget-driven fishing fans, delivering great-looking reels that will perform admirably.
How to Match the Pflueger Spin Reel to the Type of Fishing
Pflueger fishing reels cater to inshore anglers, with the maximum size topping out at 40 or (4000).
The simplest way of selecting a reel size is to consider the size of fish you’ll be targeting and from where you’ll be fishing,
Those hunting bass as big as they can find, casting from a bank, are probably better suited with a 4000. It has the drag strength, line capacity, and casting distance.
For anglers casting from a boat at trout hugging the banks, you will be well served to go as light as you dare with a 20 (2000) or 25 (2500).
If you’re in doubt or want some versatility, you should look at a 30 (3000).
Grab an extra spool or two, pack them with light and heavier line, and you have all bases covered.
Rule of thumb? The bigger the fish you’re hunting, the bigger the reel you should get.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Company Makes Pflueger Reels
Pflueger reels are made by Pflueger. Pflueger is owned by Pure Fishing Inc., which is owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners.
Are Pflueger Reels Made in China
Yes, Pflueger reels are made in China and other parts of Asia. Originally American-made, Pflueger has outsourced manufacturing for a long time now.
How Do I Clean and Maintain My Pflueger Fishing Reel?
Wipe down with a damp cloth after every session. Spray with reel oil to prevent corrosion, and always monitor corrosion development.
Where you see corrosion taking hold, remove it immediately. Although simple, this process is undertaken after every session and can add years to the life of your reel.
Reels with oil-felt drag washers may need replacing occasionally, depending on the number of heavy battles they see.
Are Pflueger Spinning Reels Any Good?
For their price point, Pflueger sells budget-driven fishing reels that perform admirably in all key performance areas.
What Type of Line Should I Use With a Pflueger Fishing Reel?
A good fishing line to use with a Pflueger fishing reel is mono. However, their flagship models will perform well with braid. Most Pflueger reels are braid-ready.