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Low End Reel Manufacturers


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26 replies to this topic

#1 airborne_angler

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Posted April 26 2013 - 10:29 PM

I've often wondered who actually builds some of the reels for the low end companies. In todays market, there are lots of products made by other companies that have several different labels on them but are actually, at the core, the same item built by a specific company.

Example being the Renegade Worm sold by WalMart. You might think its a low end, no name worm, but look on the back of some packages, you'll see they are manufactured for WalMart by MANNS bait company. Manns has in the past and continues today to make a reputable product.

There can't be THAT many reel manufacturers out there. Theres gotta be some major manufacturers that make product for other companies...some reels just look too similar.

Like who builds reels for the Johnny Morris (Bass Pro Shop) line of reels?

I know Mitchell used to build the reels for the "Spider" brand back in the day and Mitchell has a parent company that's known as "Pure Fishing" that also owns Abu Garcia. We all know Pure fishing includes Berkley Products...

See what I'm getting at...I'd like to know the parent company on some low end reels.


Anyone have the inside scoop?
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#2 backcast88

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Posted April 26 2013 - 10:39 PM

I am pretty positive that Browning Fishing is now owned by BPS and they manufacture their reels. 



#3 Fishwhittler

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Posted April 27 2013 - 01:50 AM

Ardent, Shimano, and Daiwa make their own reels.  Abu Garcia makes their own round reels from the C3 on up in Sweden.  The Kalex and BCX are produced in another country, I believe China or Korea.

 

Pure Fishing owns both Abu Garcia and Pflueger.  These two as well as Bass Pro Shops, Browning and Lew's contract with the same Korean manufacturer to produce their low-profile baitcast reels.  Bass Pro Shops also has some reels built by Banax (see note on Quantum below).  I don't know if Bass Pro or Pure Fishing owns the Browning reel brand.  These reels are built by Dawon Engineering Co., LTD and Doyo Fishing.  Few of those reels should look familiar.  Incidentally, Penn also has some low profile baitcasters built by these companies. 

 

I'm not sure if Pinnacle Silstar corporation manufactures their own reels or hires a contractor, but the same company also produces reels for Wright & Mcgill and Evercast.  The new Halo baitcasters are also built by this company.

 

US Reel is based in the US, but the reels are now built overseas.  The design is similar to that used in the Silstar reels though not identical.

 

Quantum's lower-end reels are produced by Banax, a Korean company.  Some of the same reels are branded and sold under the BPS name.  Don't know about their higher-end offerings such as the Smoke, Energy, and Exo.  I'm pretty sure they're not built by Okuma, though some have said Okuma does contracting for other companies.  I don't know how Okuma is related to Banax, but the Banax Syren and the original Okuma Helios LP baitcaster are identical other than the colors.  The other Okuma baitcaster schematics look the same as the one for the Helios, so I guess they're built by the same company.  Only question is which one owns which.


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#4 airborne_angler

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Posted April 27 2013 - 02:47 AM

That's what I suspected...some reels just look too similar.So for example...if you buy a low end Shakespeare branded reel...you may actually be getting the exact equivalent of a higher end reel like lets say...Pflueger, Since Pflueger is owned by Shakespeare (surprised? I was) Although Shakespeare is more likely to be an entry level product.

http://www.shakespea...ory/index.shtml

So basically in some cases all you really are paying for is the name.

Kinda funny how that works. Years ago I purchased some low end Renegade fishing line sold by Wal Mart.Peel back the label and you've actually bought Eagle Claw line...which Eagle Claw is the parent company of Wright and Mcgill,a sponsor of Skeet Reese...so if Wright and Mcgill sponsors SR...and the same company that sponsors SR falls under Eagle Claw...must mean Eagle Claw isn't THAT bad of a product...right?

People look down on Zebco...Quantum and Zebco are one in the same...
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#5 5fishlimit

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Posted April 27 2013 - 06:26 AM

They may be owned by the same companies, but are usually not using the same parts/materials as a higher end brand.

General Motors owns many brands, but to say that a Chevy Cobalt uses the same parts as a Cadillac CTS is wrong.

#6 0119

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Posted April 27 2013 - 06:34 AM

You bet they share many parts!  Thats business, they wouldnt make as much money if they didnt.  Talk to mechanics that work at a dealer and you discover high end often lays on the surface and in the buyers mind.  The Korean factory that makes the parts for the Cobalt and Spark makes much of the parts that fill up a Caddy.  And they dont have a 1st class parts line and a 3rd class parts line, just one BIG parts line.



#7 Dyerbassman

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Posted April 27 2013 - 06:39 AM

Which is why you don't have to spend hundreds to get a decent set-up. Sometimes people buy just for the name value, not actually the performance value. I can't fathom spending $300 for a combo that will catch the same fish as a $125 combo. I use lower end Shimano reels and can still catch fish just fine. I am not trying to impress the world with my pricey gear, nor am I impressed by other's gear. It's all about catching fish, isn't it?

#8 5fishlimit

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Posted April 27 2013 - 06:44 AM

Perhaps with screws, nuts, and clips. The engine, suspension, and transmission - you know.... all the important parts - are not. The Cadillac is put together using much more quality components than a Cobalt, and same applies for reels.

The gears, bearings, and materials are very different. Low end baitcasters will have plastic gears, a graphite/plastic frame, and poor bearings.

Pick up a low end and high end baitcaster and you will feel the difference.

#9 Fishwhittler

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Posted April 27 2013 - 07:32 AM

That's what I suspected...some reels just look too similar.So for example...if you buy a low end Shakespeare branded reel...you may actually be getting the exact equivalent of a higher end reel like lets say...Pflueger, Since Pflueger is owned by Shakespeare (surprised? I was) Although Shakespeare is more likely to be an entry level product.

http://www.shakespea...ory/index.shtml

So basically in some cases all you really are paying for is the name.

Kinda funny how that works. Years ago I purchased some low end Renegade fishing line sold by Wal Mart.Peel back the label and you've actually bought Eagle Claw line...which Eagle Claw is the parent company of Wright and Mcgill,a sponsor of Skeet Reese...so if Wright and Mcgill sponsors SR...and the same company that sponsors SR falls under Eagle Claw...must mean Eagle Claw isn't THAT bad of a product...right?

People look down on Zebco...Quantum and Zebco are one in the same...

 

Not exactly.  Regarding Shakespeare and Pflueger, $25 reel is still a $25 reel.  I don't believe Shakespeare offers any reel models with an aluminum frame—for which reason I'd avoid them like the plague.

 

These companies contract with the same manufacturers, but they don't get exactly the same products.  Here's the best way I can describe it, copied and pasted from another site (it's my write-up, I didn't borrow it and claim it as my own):

 

 

 

There's a lot of talk going around that the reels sold by Pflueger are the same as the ones coming from Lew's, Abu Garcia, and Bass Pro Shops.  Just how true is that? Let's see:

 

The clutch in these reels is the same, or almost exactly so; there are actually two slightly different versions, both pictured below.  The upper reel is a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier, the lower reel is a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series baitcaster.  You can see that the only difference is in the upper clutch spring.

 

 

Below is another comparison pic, this time between a Johnny Morris Signature reel and a Pflueger President WLPL baitcaster.  This is the discontinued model.

 

 

Apart from the orange plastic instead of white in the Pflueger reel, the design is a mirror image.  If you check the schematics for the Abu Garcia Revo series, you'll see the same clutch in use once again.  Having seen pics of the insides of the new Lew's reels, I can tell you that they also use the same clutch and are in fact produced in the same Korean factory.

 

So, are they all the same?  I'd say no.  The clutch has nothing to do with the gear material used, the bearing quality, braking, or the even the reel's tolerances.  Abu Garcia uses their "Duralumin" aluminum for the gears.  The Lew's reels up to the Tournament Pro make use of brass gears, according to the official specs.  The Pro Qualifier and Johnny Morris Signature baitcasters use brass gears (the old JMX; according to the BPS website the new JMX has aluminum gears) and have dual braking.  The bearings in some of these reels may very well be different—the bearings in the more expensive Revo's are HPCR, not the typical steel bearings, so why not different bearings in the less expensive reels?  Lew's, Abu Garcia, Pflueger, and BPS, they may all request different bearings for their reels.  Not easy to tell.

 

I prefer to think of all of these reels as different models from the same company—which is, after all, exactly what they are.  Some of them are better than others.  If you look, Lew's has far and away the lowest percentage of negative reviews.  You actually have to go through the reviews and pay close attention to find a bad one.  Pflueger has few reviews but almost all of them are positive, my own included (Pflueger President WLPL).  The BPS Pro Qualifier has over 700 reviews on the BPS website and gets 4.8 stars.  Yes, many of those should be taken with a grain or pound of salt.  However, BPS is a very large chain and no other reel on their website or anywhere else has such an overwhelmingly positive rating.

 

Other BPS reels have fared more poorly, most recently and notoriously the Johnny Morris Carbonlite.  BPS ranges from ridiculously good (PQ) to a bit iffy (JM Carbonlite).

 

Abu Garcia actually has the lowest rating among those four companies.  This is from my own observations, not cold hard facts, but I've noticed the most reports of problems with Abu Garcia reels.  The Orra SX baitcaster was initially plagued with anti-reverse troubles; the Revo SX's braking in all three generations is either wonderful or impossible to use, depending on who you talk to; the Revo MGX also had some reports of rough or grinding reels early on; and now the Revo G3 gearboxes are the subject of controversy.  Those are the biggest issues, but there were others.

 

I'm curious, so I went through and counted the positive/negative reviews for the four companies mentioned above.  I used the reviews on Tackle Warehouse, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabelas.  For the latter two I counted 5-star and 4-star ratings as positive, 2-star and 1-star ratings as negatives, leaving 3-star reviews entirely out of the picture.  On TW, I just went through and checked how many reviewers were happy with their reels.  Only reels with metal frames were included, and any reel with less than 15 reviews was dismissed as having insufficient ratings.  This survey was completely unscientific and some of the negative reviews were related to user error, and a lot of the positive reviews were by guys who had just gotten their reel and loved it—no long-term testing involved.  With that firmly in mind, here's what I found:

 

Lew's - 287 qualified reviews, 98.8% positive rating - Best reel:  Tournament MG @ 39+/0-, 100%.  Worst reel:  Tournament Speed Spool @ 32+/1-, 97.0%.  Most reviews:  Speed Spool @ 109 with 97.2% positive

 

Pflueger - 131 qualified reviews, 93.5% positive rating - Best reel:  Patriarch @ 98+/3-, 97%.  Worst reel:  President @ 27+3-, 90%.  Most reviews:  Patriarch

 

BPS - 962 qualified reviews, 89.8% positive rating - Best reel:  Pro Qualifier @ 694+/24-, 96.6%.  Worst reel:  Extreme @ 30+/6-, 83.3%.  Most reviews:  Pro Qualifier

 

Abu Garcia - 484 qualified reviews, 86.0% positive rating - Best reel:  MGX @ 127+/11-, 92.0%.  Worst reel:  Revo STX @ 28+/12-, 70.0%.  Most reviews:  Orra SX @ 181 with 84.5% positive

 

That's exactly in line with what I guessed.  Some notes:

 

The Revo Winch had 100% positive ratings, the highest in Abu Garcia's lineup, but only 17 votes.  For that ranking category I left out any reel with fewer than 25 ratings.  The MGX had eight times that number and scored the highest of any other Abu Garcia reel.

 

Lew's had a pair of 100% reels, the Tournament MG and the BB1.  The BB1 had only 18 ratings.  The second-highest rated Lew's reel was the Tournament Pro Speed Spool, coming in at 98.9% in 88 reviews.  Incidentally, no Lew's reel scored less than 97.0%, with the Tournament Speed Spool coming in at exactly that (33 ratings).

 

Of the ratings for BPS, 75% were for the Pro Qualifier alone.  The Pro Qualifier also had 38.5% of the 1,864 qualified ratings.

 

There were only seven reels with 100 ratings or more:

 

Lew's Speed Spool - 106/3 (109) = 97.2%

Pflueger Patriarch - 98/3 (101) = 97.0%

Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier - 692/24 (718) = 96.6%

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature - 99/5 (106) = 95.2%

Abu Garcia Revo MGX - 127/11 (138) = 92.0%

Abu Garcia Orra SX - 153/28 (181) = 84.5%

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Carbonlite - 89/17 (106) = 84.0%

 

I was more than a little surprised at the Revo STX G3 (70.0%).  With 40 ratings, it scored the lowest of any qualified reel in the comparison.  The next lowest was the Revo Premier at 82.4% positive, but it had only 17 ratings.

 

The reels that were left out due to not having enough ratings were the following:

 

Abu Garcia Revo Inshore (4 positive votes, 0 negative votes)

Abu Garcia Revo Toro NaCI (4 positive votes, 0 negative votes)

Abu Garcia Revo MGXtreme (3 positive votes, 0 negative votes)

Lew's Super-Duty (7 positive votes, 0 negative votes)

Lew's Team Gold (2 positive votes, 0 negative votes)

Lew's Team Pro (8 positive votes, 0 negative votes)

Pflueger Trion (4 positive votes, 4 negative votes)

 

Again, this comparison is certainly not perfect, but it fits with what I've seen everywhere on forums.  Below is the entire list of reels that I compared.

 

 

Bottom line, I'm not recommending any one of these brands or reels over another.  If you use one of them and are happy with it, more power to you!  This isn't intended to convince anyone or change any minds—I did it to satisfy my own curiosity and have some fun.

 


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#10 0119

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Posted April 27 2013 - 07:56 AM

$89 Abu 4600C3's clutch, simple, stamped, cheap, never recalled by manufacturer.  $99- $249 Revo, any model take your pick, clutch slightly more complicated, formed out of white metal, soft, a more expensive part, silently recalled by manufacturer after hoardes of broken reels.  Whats that term college folk use about the law of diminishing return for your money?



#11 TRYTOFISH

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Posted April 27 2013 - 07:57 AM

they are built to spec from whoevers name is on them. example; you can go to wallmart, buy a 42" sony tv for $300 dollars. you can go to best buy and see the exact tv for $500. thedifference will 1 or 2 #'s in manufactuers #. i was told thats whats the difference. as for which is better, you would think the more expensive would be better quality. but how do you really know. i personally dont care, if it feels good, works good, and it catches fish thats what i want. i still use " old zebco 33's" for most my crappie and panfish poles.



#12 Fishwhittler

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Posted April 27 2013 - 09:00 AM

$89 Abu 4600C3's clutch, simple, stamped, cheap, never recalled by manufacturer.  $99- $249 Revo, any model take your pick, clutch slightly more complicated, formed out of white metal, soft, a more expensive part, silently recalled by manufacturer after hoardes of broken reels.  Whats that term college folk use about the law of diminishing return for your money?

 

I've never heard of the Revo's being recalled.  A while back there were issues with the Abu Garcia Orra baitcasters having defective anti-reverse bearings, which may be the recall you're thinking of.  I believe the issue has been resolved in the current Orra generation.

 

The clutch in these reels is nylon plastic, not metal.  It's a proven design and has stood the test of time.  The reels built on this design don't often wear out due to clutch failure, though certain models may have their own set of issues.

 

Many of the "hoards of broken reels" got that way by being mistreated or abused by the owners.  Apparently the need is for a reel that is cheap, light, performs well, and needs no maintenance whatsoever.  The first three are doable and have been done thanks to design and manufacturing advancements, but so far the "maintenance-free" reel has yet to be created.  The closest it comes is the Abu Garcia C3, and even that reel will perform a heck of a lot better after a cleaning and tuning.

 

Modern reels have more parts than older reels, so there's more that can go wrong inside one.  They also blow older reels out of the water when it comes to all-around performance.  By and large, they are cheaper than comparable older reels, weigh much less, are more comfortable to use, and perform better.  You can keep them working smoothly by taking them down and giving them a cleaning once in a while.  If a reel needs to be fixed once in a while, that's no strike against it.  I don't buy the argument that a reel should never need to be repaired.  No one expects a car to do that, and a car costs thousands of times more than a reel.  Only difference is, people see reels as semi-disposable because they're "only" a hundred dollars or so.  So they complain when a reel breaks and send it back for a replacement, and when the next one wears out due to neglect it's the same old story.

 

The law of diminishing return for your money has more to do with inflation.  According to inflation calculators, the Shimano Citica D (introduced in 2005 @ $119.99) would now cost $145 new and the Curado D (introduced in 2005 @ $199.99) would be selling for something like $240.  An $80 reel in 2005 would now cost $95.  Reels aren't getting worse for the price—I think they're getting better overall—but the value of the dollar is decreasing.

 

There are reels with poor track records for reliability and longevity.  Such reels usually have graphite frames and are in the sub-$80 price bracket.  Most modern baitcast reels above that price range are going to be fine with routine care.  If you abuse your gear, you've no reason to be surprised when it breaks.  Try running a car without ever changing the oil or oil filter.  Sooner or later something's gonna go.


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#13 smalljaw67

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Posted April 27 2013 - 09:02 AM

they are built to spec from whoevers name is on them. example; you can go to wallmart, buy a 42" sony tv for $300 dollars. you can go to best buy and see the exact tv for $500. thedifference will 1 or 2 #'s in manufactuers #. i was told thats whats the difference. as for which is better, you would think the more expensive would be better quality. but how do you really know. i personally dont care, if it feels good, works good, and it catches fish thats what i want. i still use " old zebco 33's" for most my crappie and panfish poles.

 

From all the reels I currently own to the ones I've had in the past here is how I look at it. The reels I have that are in the $120-$150 range are what I call work horse reels, these have some good features and perform very well day in and day out, if you are hard on equipment that is the best bet to buy, the downside is they aren't buttery smooth as the high end reels and while you will get great casting distance out of these reels they will fall short of their hier end siblings. The $180 -$220 reels are the gold standard, these reels have features that won't take a beating but they are still solid and will take a little abuse, but the performance you will get is noticable on first cast. These reels are smoother, cast with less effort and make even high pressure fishing a little more enjoyable, guys that buy these reels have a hard time going even slightly less expensive. Reels in the $250 - $300 are on a different level, these reels will be extremely smooth, braking systems when dialed in will make it close to impossible to backlash and the bearings will be of a very high grade. These reels will have tight tolerances and are precision instruments that don't take too much abuse but at thise level you are more likely not to throw it on the deck 15 times a day either, most who can afford these never go back unless they are forced to by finacial situations. Finally we get to the 300++ reels, these are the platinum reels and just picking one up you feel the difference, they feel like they are sculped and fishing with these make everything easy as the smoothness of retrieve and ease of casting is on a level not many ever experience. I left room in the numbers as there are some that fall between the price ranges but it is what my experience has been over 30 years of buying and using tackle. I know ther are multiple reels built by one company but they are built to the companies specs, not their own and I have found that in fishing products more than any other type of product, you do get what you pay for 99% of the time. Are their cheap reels that go beyond their price point? Yep the same for rods but these are the exceptions and not the rule so choose the best you can afford and you'll have a good set up.



#14 Fishwhittler

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Posted April 27 2013 - 09:12 AM

BTW, I have no problem with reel companies trying to make a profit.  Their business isn't philanthropic development of super-cheap fishing reels for the masses, it's marketing a product and making a profit at it.  If they don't, belly-up goes that company.  Prices are controlled by the economy.  In a stable economy with little to no inflation, prices stay the same.  As soon as inflation comes into play prices skyrocket.  If Company XYZ is selling a product at $25 and it costs them $15 to produce, they can't keep selling it for a loss if the production cost suddenly jumps to $26.  Up goes the retail price to $35, and so on.

 

If you don't want to pay full MSRP, look around and find some decent used gear.  If you look hard enough you can even find new-in-package equipment for much less than retail cost.  I've paid MSRP for exactly one reel I currently own.


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#15 Maico1

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Posted April 27 2013 - 09:39 AM

BTW, I have no problem with reel companies trying to make a profit.  Their business isn't philanthropic development of super-cheap fishing reels for the masses, it's marketing a product and making a profit at it.  If they don't, belly-up goes that company.  Prices are controlled by the economy.  In a stable economy with little to no inflation, prices stay the same.  As soon as inflation comes into play prices skyrocket.  If Company XYZ is selling a product at $25 and it costs them $15 to produce, they can't keep selling it for a loss if the production cost suddenly jumps to $26.  Up goes the retail price to $35, and so on.

 

If you don't want to pay full MSRP, look around and find some decent used gear.  If you look hard enough you can even find new-in-package equipment for much less than retail cost.  I've paid MSRP for exactly one reel I currently own.

Amen....really enjoy "The Hunt".






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