I recently managed to get my hands on 13 Fishing’s new Concept C baitcasting reel … it made on heck of a first impression.
The reel is sleek and very comfortable to palm. The cork handles are large and very comfortable to grip. Like everything else in their product line, it is obvious that a great deal of time and effort was put into maximizing comfort and ergonomics when designing the concept c.
Another aspect of the reel that jumps out at you when it is in your hand is that it is very light, weighing only 6.1 ounces. Despite being light, the reel does not have a cheap and plastic feel. After a couple turns of the handle, it is apparent that this reel has a very solid and well connected feel. There is also no perceivable play in the system, when the handle moves, line is instantly picked up.
I tried casting a variety of lures, from plastics to plugs. With only a couple adjustments of the centrifugal brakes, the Concept C casted everything I tried with ease.
I knew the Concept line of reels is rated for 22lbs of drag and I was anxious to spend some time with it on the water for a real world test.
I know most saltwater anglers, especially those in florida equate baitcasting reels with bass fishing and believe that baitcasters have no place in the saltwater world after the introduction of braided lines. I would agree with them that for many situations on the flats, a spinning reel is hard to beat; but I still believe that there are a few situations in saltwater where a baitcaster is a better tool…given that the angler can proficiently use one. One of these scenarios is when pitching baits in tight quarters where I need to use heavier lines and need stopping power. And that is why I chose back-country snook fishing as the real world test for the Concept C.
It only took a couple of hours on the water before I hooked up to a snook that would really put this reel to the test. One of the things I have noticed in some of the lighter reels I own is that their frame will flex when the drag is tight and I am engaged with a big fish. This was not the case with the Concept. Its aluminum frame kept the reel feeling solid as a rock the entire time. I had the drag tightened down to pull the fish out of cover as it is important to create as much distance as possible between the snook and structure when you first hook up, especially in heavy cover. The drag worked flawlessly, even though it was set pretty tight; when snook surged, it smootly ceded line avoiding a break off.
Overall I am very impressed with this reel. I currently own a couple other reels that are 100-200 dollars more expensive than the Concept, but they are heavier and do not come even close to having the fish stopping power.
I give the Concept a snookthumb up in my book.