Van Staal VR50 Reel Review 2021

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The VR50 is unlikely to hit the radars of a lot of anglers. The price is, by and large, pretty up there. 

When reels start punching over the $500 mark, a large portion of even the most dedicated anglers gets a little giddy and wallet shy.

Having said that, the premium spin reel market is well patronized and very well supplied. Indeed, competition between manufacturers in the top-shelf spin reel category is phenomenal. 

This is great for those anglers with discerning tastes in spin reels and a little extra cash on hand.

The Van Staal VR50 stands out as a unique member of the prestigious top-shelf spin reel club. 

For my money, this is the one reason it should be at the top of every spin angler’s list for serious consideration.

It stands apart from all the big brands. It was designed that way, and it genuinely offers something special.

Adding a VR50 to a reel arsenal is guaranteed to increase said arsenal’s potency and versatility. 

If ever there was a military-grade spin reel, it’s the Van Staal. The VR50, and its black stablemate the VR50B, are the perfect spin reels for fisherfolk who mix fishing sessions with equal parts adventure and exploration.

Let’s see why in this Van Staal VR59 Review

Construction of The Van Staal VR 50

The size is surprisingly compact given that VR50 implies 5000. It’s not a 5000. It’s comparable to the 3000 / 4000 in other brands. 

That’s fine, there are no consistent standards in fishing reel sizes, buyer beware… it can be a little misleading.

At 9 ounces, it’s heavier than competitors but there’s nothing in an ounce or so, and for the incredible rigidity, strength, and inclusions, it’s nothing to carry. 

For such strength, the extra ounce is no sacrifice, and you don’t even feel it.

Construction and construction materials are what separates the VR50 reel from competitors. They are built to last. 

I don’t mean that in a marketing cliché sense, it’s quite literal.

It has a stainless-steel spiral-bevel gear system, a fully machined 6061 aluminum body, and an alloy spool.

It’s all-alloy, except for the knob at the end of the alloy handle that inspires an aggressive crank.

The Van Staal VR 50 spinning reel is built to last. And it’s constructed to handle the sort of punishment that would kill most of the high-end models out of Asia that cost twice the price.

It can be fully submerged in saltwater. It will handle getting buried in mud and a sandy slurry. 

It will take the impacts and knocks…then still allow you to cast a light soft plastic for your dinner, performing as if straight out of the box.

This is the unique feature of the Van Staal. It’s truly robust. It’s the construction of the VR50 that will set it apart from its competitors. 

When our much beloved and famous Japanese models have failed under the rigors of impact and submersion, the Van Staal will power on.

The VR50 is completely sealed – nothing gets into the internals including the drag. The trade-off is that the crank feels a little tight. You will get used to this. 

The crank is smooth, however. There are 14 bearings to support every aspect of movement, and you can feel it (or not feel it?)…you know what I mean.

If you have used an Exist, Certate, a Saltiga or Stella, you will notice the Van Staal doesn’t have quite as refined a feel. This is a trade-off. 

There’s no way in the world I’d bury any of those models in mud and sand and then chase fish before an overhaul.

There’s a huge 25 pounds of carbon fiber drag. This is awesome head-turning power for such a small reel. Spooled up with 360 yards of 20-pound braid – you’ll stop monsters.

If geographical circumstances allowed, I’d confidently tackle sizable fish from the ocean rocks with this reel. That’s saying something considering its size.

The 6.3 gear ratio is perfect. There’s enough speed for ripping metal slugs, yet you won’t have any trouble working a crank with controlled, deliberate action.

Van Staal VR 50 Review: Who is This Reel For?

The VR50 is true to its promise and delivers. Fussier anglers may find it a little tougher to select a rod. This may be just me, however, as I worked hard to find the perfect travel rod to balance.

It seemed to me that you might have to fuss a little to find a rod that had the best guide size and position and braid brand. My advice would be to experiment. 

The Van Staal seems to invite plenty of refinement for application and user preference.

This is an inherent contrast to what the reel is all about, i.e, go anywhere do anything under any circumstances. 

Van Staal VR Series Spinning Reels
  • Waterproof, durable performance
  • Light weight
  • Fast retrieve rates
  • High line capacity

Last update on 2021-02-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While you can string the VR50 up with anything and strap it up to anything, the VR50 will perform better with a conscientious effort to refine and balance the rig.

The VR50 would make an outstanding go-to, all-terrain, daily drive for any angler.

For me, the VR50 is the sort of reel you throw in a backpack with a travel rod and a few day’s supplies, for a jungle fishing adventure.

VR50 Specifications

  • Fully machined 6061 aluminum body
  • Fully sealed body and spool design
  • Stainless steel spiral-bevel gear system
  • Bearings: 14
  • Ratio: 6.3
  • Retrieve: 37”
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Drag: 25lb
  • Braid: 360 / 20 lb
  • Mono: 240 / 10 lb
  • VR50: Silver
  • VR50B: Black


As I stated in the intro, the VR50 reel is unlikely to make it into the kits of the fishing masses. 

However, it’s fishing brilliance with a military edge that many anglers would love should they try it. 

The key takeaway is that the VR50 is incredibly strong, rigid, and powerful in a beautifully crafted lightweight package.

The VR50 might be sitting firmly in an aspirational price point. In my opinion, however, the VR50 earns its hefty price tag. 

An excellent reel for all spin fans, an absolute must-have for the angling adventurer who likes to travel light.

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