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I’m wondering what the difference is between a $50,$100, and a $200 spinning reel are?  I know about baitcasters but have a hard time seeing much difference between my Stradic and a $50 Lews reel I won.  I get the difference is size of the reel but for all around performance I’m at a loss.  Is it the drag system?

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Fish the Lews $50 reel for the same amount of time as the Stradic and compare them after the same amount of use. In my experience, my expensive reels outlast the less expensive ones. When I was buying lower end reels, they generally were worn out after one season. I haven't bought any cheaper reels recently so I'm not familiar with how long they hold up today.

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Michael, I use both Stradic Ci4+ and NASCI Shimano reels, both superb.

 

Hmm? The Stradic has an exceptional drag system so I prefer it for LMBs, larger fish in general.  And, I actually prefer the material it is made of over various metals.

 

For panfishing, I use 1000 reels. A NASCI 1000 is very nice and I just don't see any huge advantages when fishing for smaller fish to spend $200+ for a Ci4+. A strong drag isn't as important but the drag it has is very smooth.

 

I have two other brands: one is the 4000 series 13 Fishing ***, then another is an inexpensive Daiwa that came paired in a St. Croix rod set. Both of these reels operate nicely . . . but do some strange things. The Creed manages to get line caught behind the spool somehow on occasion. I haven't used the inexpensive Daiwa enough yet to know much about it except that it doesn't feel as solid as my Shimano reels.

 

A mix? That's my approach!

 

Brad

 

P.S. I see Scott posted while I was typing. I agree that the higher end reels likely end up being less expensive than seemed just because they last so long. A little drop of oil and a regular cleaning keeps a high end reel in top notch working order for a very long time.  br

Edited by Brad Reid
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   All reels feel smooth out of the box (well ... almost all). Like Scott said, compare them 2 years later. And certain things are more difficult to manufacture better/longer than others. Like:

 

The line roller. Bearings here cost a lot more to make than bushings, but greatly reduce twist and inefficiency under load. And under load is where the better products aim to be.

 

Main gear tightness. The smooth feel that you have in a cheaper reel when new can abruptly go bye-bye.

 

Quiet operation. Better reels stay quiet longer, or sometimes cheap reels aren't quiet at all, even when new. Some people care about this, some don't. If everyone were sensitive to this, no cheap reels would be on the market.

 

More expensive reels SHOULD react better to stresses, take higher degrees of stress, and do so for a longer span of time. Remember; in a spinning reel, you can hit the hookset when the spool is fully extended. Lotta stress there.

 

One of the weakest parts of a spinning reel is the bail. The bail on some cheap reels bends easily.

 

Weight. For light reels to be great quality all around, costs of material goes way up.

 

Last but not least; if a company makes 10,000 cheap reels and 10,000 expensive reels, the consistency of quality control on the expensive ones should be greater. That costs.

 

 

 

I probably forgot a few things. Hope this helps.   jj

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Thanks all!  Yes my Stradic is about 15 years old I think and still doing strong all through I really don’t use a spinning reel that much either.  I’ve started to use it more the last couple years just for a change of pace and trying more finesse methods.  

 

I didn’t know if better reels reduced line twist.

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9 minutes ago, mheichelbech said:

Thanks all!  Yes my Stradic is about 15 years old I think and still doing strong all through I really don’t use a spinning reel that much either.  I’ve started to use it more the last couple years just for a change of pace and trying more finesse methods.  

 

I didn’t know if better reels reduced line twist.

 

A better reel may reduce line twists but good quality line and proper maintenance will go much much further.

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There is barely any difference between a $120 reel and a $500 reel. The difference between a $50 reel and a $100-150 reel will be the most drastic. I just got two baitcasters a Tatula and Aldebaran. The aldebaran costs 3-4x more, it is only 10-15% better. Tops. With spinning reels, where bearings do not affect casting, the difference between reels by price should be even less. This is why I get mad every time I feel like something more expensive is that much better. In hand, the difference isn’t usually worth the price to me. I dont get happy knowing they added a tiny variation to the reel specs. As someone who grew up without money for all the things I wanted any time I wanted (or even if I needed), if I didn’t get half off the aldebaran from my credit card rewards points, I’d feel like I got robbed.

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When I retired and got into bass fishing in 2000 I did not know a thing about spinning reels and saved to buy a Stradic 4000FE in a local tackle shop in 1996 for $120 and it does not get used much.  From there I have only purchased three more and all are going strong, but not used much except by my daughter and grandson when he was younger..

The other three are : Sahara 2500FB in 2006 for $60 at BPS

                               Daiwa Capricorn CA2500A in 2006 for $100 at dicks

                               Daiwa Exceler 2500A  in 2007 for $60 at dicks

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Long as it's well maintained, even a 'cheap' reel will last a long time. My Cardinal is 40 years old and still going strong. It might not be as smooth as a $200 Revo STX, but it still gets the job done. My Avocet and my Trion (both under $50 reels) served me well last season and are still as smooth as new. Decent branding, regular maintenance and not asking the reel to do something it's not equipped to handle - like asking my Avocet to cast/retrieve 3/4oz spinners/chatters - will let you enjoy it for a long time.

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Best plan is to buy a $200 reel on clearance or when a new model is coming out.

 

As with all products there is a diminishing incremental improvement vs price.  Meaning that going from a $50 reel to a $100 is probably going to get you a lot of improvement, but going from $100 to $150  will get you improvement, but not as much.  I think going from $200 to the even more expensive reels will get you very little unless you are fishing salt.  

 

I've only worn out a couple of spin reels and they were priced less than $100.  I have a lot of $150 to $200 reels that are getting quite old, but still fish like new.

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Drag system, rotar wobble, bail roller, drive shaft gears, frame materials and workmanship are are superior as the price goes up.

If you use your spinning reels for finesse bass fishing a reliable drag is critical if you catch bass or trout over 3 lbs using 6lb to 8 lb line. 

I don't know about the newer Daiwa spinning reels, my early 90's era TD1500 SS is still going strong and late 90's Shimano Stratic 1000 & 2500 are in perfect condition and use them nearly every outing. 

Tom

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"Drag system, rotar wobble, bail roller, drive shaft gears, frame materials and workmanship are are superior as the price goes up.

If you use your spinning reels for finesse bass fishing a reliable drag is critical if you catch bass or trout over 3 lbs using 6lb to 8 lb line. "

 

:fishing-026:

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50 minutes ago, WRB said:

 frame materials and workmanship are are superior as the price goes up.

 

Tom

I'll take exception to the carbon framed reels of many higher end reels being better than an aluminum or magnesium framed reel often found on good mid-priced reels.

 

oe

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with regular maintenance a spinning reel can last a very long time ... got this old friend back in the late nineties ... still performs well ... $50 Mitchell gold 300x ... going to the reel man next wk. ... good fishing ....

 

Mitchell 300XG 300X Gold 10 Ball Bearing Spinning Reel (New in Box)41XEH6EBP4L._SY450_.jpg

 

 

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23 minutes ago, greentrout said:

with regular maintenance a spinning reel can last a very long time ... got this old friend back in the late nineties ... still performs well ... $50 Mitchell gold 300x ... going to the reel man next wk. ... good fishing ....

 

Mitchell 300XG 300X Gold 10 Ball Bearing Spinning Reel (New in Box)41XEH6EBP4L._SY450_.jpg

 

 

I have 30 year old $20 Shimano trigger bail spinners that still work as good as when I was a kid, with zero maintenance.

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1 hour ago, OkobojiEagle said:

I'll take exception to the carbon framed reels of many higher end reels being better than an aluminum or magnesium framed reel often found on good mid-priced reels.

 

oe

Spinning reels due to their design require molding processes, either die cast or investment casting using aluminum or magnesium metals. The difference in quality is in the tooling design, process controls, metals used and how many times the metal has been recycled. The enemy of die casting is porosity and contamination do to using recycled metals in lieu high quality virgin metals that increase cost of production.

Carbon fiber or composite engineering thermoplastic with carbon fiber fillers require very close process controls when molding and no or very little regrinds.

You don't always get what you pay for but higher end price range usually equates to better quality control.

Tom

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6 hours ago, greentrout said:

with regular maintenance a spinning reel can last a very long time ... got this old friend back in the late nineties ... still performs well ... $50 Mitchell gold 300x ... going to the reel man next wk. ... good fishing ....

 

Mitchell 300XG 300X Gold 10 Ball Bearing Spinning Reel (New in Box)41XEH6EBP4L._SY450_.jpg

 

 

That $50 reel back in the 90's, would probably cost over $150 today. Back in the 90's, there were almost no $100 spinning reels

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I used a Shimano spinning reel with a trigger to pull bail back, think it was the IX for $12.00 for years, even learned how to fish from kayak with. Caught lot of bass and Pike with this reel. Traded them at BPS fishing classic still going strong at that time. 

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