Spincast reels conjure images of prepackaged toy fishing setups or kids fishing for Bluegill at a local pond. Because of that stereotype, a large number of fishermen consider spincast reels as nothing more than mechanical junk. Brand names like Zebco and Pflueger beg to disagree with that assessment, and we’re going to show you that they’re right. Spincast reel design concentrates on ease of use which makes them perfectly suited for children. Our 6 choices go way beyond youthful playtime. These “big boy” models handle more than minnows and rate as the best spincast reels on the market.
1. Zebco Omega Z03 Pro Spincast Fishing Reel Review
In 1947 a watchmaker named R. D. Hull must have been dreaming about fishing. This idea for a new kind of fishing reel comes to him as he observes a meat clerk pulling string off of a fixed spool. Hull takes his idea to a company that builds bombs for oil drilling, and 2 years later the first spincast reel is born. It was this partnership between Mr. Hull and Zero Hour Bomb Co. that not only gave rise to spincast reels in America, but also saw the creation of the classic fishing company known as Zebco.
A far cry from 1949 and those first Zebco reels, the Omega Z03 Pro sets the bar for spincast reel technology today. The Omega Pro stands alone as the only spincast reel to use 7 bearings and the difference can be felt when you turn the handle. Oh, this is not a toy. It weighs 10.6 ounces with its metal gears and has a decent 3.4:1 gear ratio. The Omega Z03 Pro holds up to 85 yards of 10 pound monofilament line and can easily be switched over to right or left handed use. It easily makes our list of the 6 best spincast reels.
Known for never backlashing, the Omega Pro spincast reel employs an oscillating spool that moves up and down when line is brought in. This ensures even line lay instead of the bunch up that causes problems in other spincast reels. Zebco uses aircraft grade aluminum in the cover construction and an ergonomic rubber grip button on the bottom fits any thumb comfortably. A ceramic line guide on top prevents any line abrasion and the drag dial on front adjusts the triple cam system. An angler using 8 pound test can hook and land 12 pound bass easy with the Zebco Z03 Pro. I told you it’s a big boy reel.
Starting with what could be better, it would be nice to see a double grip handle. They grab easier when a fish bites and you need them quick in your hand. A better drag control than just the dial on front would be suggestive of the improvements they did make on the inside. Looking at critical reviews shows complaints mostly in manufacturing. That is a disappointment, but not unexpected out of a mass produced product. Many sub par customer reviews admittedly failed to take advantage of the 1 year manufacturer’s warranty.
2. Daiwa Goldcast
Easily recognized by their gold covers, Daiwa Goldcast spincast reels come in three sizes. Choose from the GC80, GC100, or GC120 models which range in line capacity from 8-12 pound mono and hold 75-100 yards of line. Operating on one strong bearing, all Goldcast models use metal gears with a ratio of 4.1:1. Daiwa Goldcast spincast reels weigh an average 9.2-12 ounces and have one of the smoothest drag systems known in spincast reels. It’s for this reason the Goldcast joins our 6 best spincast fishing reels.
Daiwa is famous for packing special features into their fishing reels and they don’t miss a beat with Goldcast models. They put an advanced triple carbon disc drag system into Goldcast reels and a dial that fine tunes the setting. Line lay plays an important role especially in spincast reels and the Goldcast uses two features to ensure an even wrap. An oscillating spool makes sure the line doesn’t lay in exactly the same spot and a rotating line pickup pin guides the line onto the spool.
The Daiwa Goldcast features a spectacular drag and 3 sizes to match your fishing needs. Gold covers employ a wider line ring which reduces line friction for longer distance casting. Daiwa takes measures to address the line to spool lay, a common issue with spincast reels. The oscillating spool makes a difference, but the addition of a Tungsten carbide line pickup roller pin (that’s a mouth full) perfects the system. Daiwa also makes the Goldcast easily interchangeable for left or right hande anglers.
Some unhappy customer comments exist out of a great majority of positive reviews. Once again these complaints fall mostly on the side of manufacturer and assembly error. There were reports about the drag dial slipping resulting in a useless system. The use of 1 bearing comes as a disappointment and we wonder what held Daiwa back from adding more. We also see the use of the single instead of double handles which we wanted in the Zebco Omega Pro. No difference here.
3. Zebco Spincast Fishing Reel 33K Review
With 71 years of design practice, it comes as no surprise that Zebco dominates our list of the 6 best spincast reels. We’ve got Zebco down again with their 33K spincast fishing reel. It’s an old model made new with added features and a light 8.5 ounce graphite frame. This beauty is made to hold up to 110 yards of 10 pound monofilament line and comes built with instant anti reverse. The 33K spins on one drive bearing propelled by metal gears with a ratio of 3.6:1. The features don’t stop here.
Dual ceramic pick up pins guide the line effortlessly back onto the spool through a brushed stainless steel cover. The drag features a fine tune dial for precision setting and the bail button has its usual bottom placement. Zebco 33K spincast reels make the easy switch to left or right hand by switching the handle to the other side and have a bite alert system. They hardly dent the wallet and with so many improvements earn a spot in our 6 best spincast reels.
Zebco puts the double handle on the 33K which makes it so much easier to grab when a fish starts running. The precision drag dial also makes a big difference when battling bigger or lighter fish. An interesting fact about the 33K spincast reel is that it goes for just about the same price as that original 1949 model. We aren’t complaining about that. The lighter weight graphite frame adds an attractive quality and the reel still holds good line capacity. The Zebco 33K can be brought along for a day at the lake or be used on camping trips by the whole family.
We did hear one report of the line snagging inside the cover when casting lighter weights, and the occasional manufacturing defects apply. Concerns fall more along the lines of what the reel is missing, which may be tit for tat at the price point. We do miss a more advanced drag system and an oscillating spool. Instead the 33K uses the dual ceramic pickup pins which aren’t quite as effective. Lastly, the graphite frame does help to keep the weight down, but doesn’t provide near the durability of metal versions.
4. Zebco Omega Z03 Spincast Reel Review
Zebco makes it back on our list of best spincast reels again with the Omega Z03. Just a slight step down from the Pro model, many customer reviews actually prefer this reel. The Omega Z03 maintains the use of 7 bearings, an impressive feat among spincast reels. It also keeps the full metal gearing though suffers a loss in ratio at 2.9:1. Zebco puts a little more weight on the base Omega Z03 which sits at 13 ounces, almost 3 ounces heavier than the Pro model. As far as line capacity is concerned, both models carry 85 yards of 10 pound monofilament.
The Omega Z03 makes use of the dual handle we love so much and it does the standard switch for left or right hand use. In fact, all other features are virtually identical to the Pro model. It has the oscillating spool and ceramic line pickup pins. The die cast frame and cover comprise of aircraft grade aluminum as does the rod clamp. A triple cam drag with the front turn dial setting puts the pressure against medium to larger Sunfish, Crappie, or Bass. A sealed rubber bail button keeps dirt and grit out of the reel which also features stainless steel bearings for corrosion resistance.
Perhaps the best spincast reel for its value, the Omega Z03 offers nearly all the features of the Pro model with a bit of a price reduction. It’s well suited for tougher conditions with its aircraft grade aluminum material and stainless steel bearings. Speaking of bearings, 6 supporting spin bearings and one drive bearing make an astounding build in a spincast reel. The use of dual ceramic pickup pins and an oscillating spool make line lay as even as could be possible. Finally, the continuous anti reverse and triple cam drag make this honey a steal for any all purpose use.
Three extra ounces of weight might not seem like much, but it can make a difference after a long day fishing. What hurts a little more is the loss of gear ratio. The 3.4:1 of the Omega Z03 Pro retrieves faster than the 2.9:1 of the Omega Z03. Customer complaints again come down to manufacturing and defective assembly. Reports of line nicks which snap off lures and fish happen due to loose ceramic pickup pins. We also see reports of line bunching and knots occuring inside the cover. This could again be the line slipping off the pickup pins, but it’s often just due to improper use.
5. Pflueger President Spincast 10 Reel Review
We all know Pflueger from their famous President line of spinning reels. Put that same President style craftsmanship into a spincast reel and Presto! Pflueger makes our list as one of the best 6 spincast reels available today. Featuring an aircraft grade aluminum frame, cover, and handle makes the President spincast reel more than durable. Pflueger splits the difference with the Zebco Omega spincast reels using a 5 bearing system. Titanium pickup pins help reduce line wear which wraps on at a maximum 65 yards of 12 pound test.
The President spincast 10 is the largest of three models and weighs 11.2 ounces. The reel gears have a respectable ratio of 3.8:1 and the single handle offers a soft grip knob. The drag on President spincast reels uses a disc system which pulls from the spool and easy setting adjustments come from the front dial. The soft rubber thumb grip bail button makes line release and casting a breeze.
The Pflueger President spincast reel splits a nice middle ground between the Zebco Omega Z03 Pro and the Zebco 33K. It’s use of 5 bearings and gear ratio of 3.8:1 make it a better reel than the 33K and we do like its use of titanium pickup pins. They tend to secure better than the ceramic pins. The durability of the Pflueger matches that of Zebco’s Omega Pro but it drops the price for anglers. Easily identifiable as a President reel, the Pflueger spincast matches the color and look of its famous spinning reel line.
Pouring over the few amounts of customer complaints that exist reveals more manufacturing defects, bunched line, and pickup pins that don’t work. Unfortunately, most of these problems could have been minimized or avoided entirely if the users had access to a few tips on spincast reels. We’ll go over those in our conclusion. We do the lack of a dual handle and the President spincast reel doesn’t take advantage of an oscillating spool. There’s a lot of give and take to think about between the price of the President and the performance of the Zebco Omega Pro.
6. Zebco 33 Platinum Spincast Reel Review
We finish our run of the 6 best spincast reels with a Zebco. I know it’s a huge surprise. The 33 Platinum spincast reel puts up a good match against Pflueger’s President. It puts 5 ball bearings right into the mix and weighs in at 9.7 ounces. Very similar in appearance to the 33K with its silvery look, the 33 Platinum packs a lot more punch on the inside. It makes a switch to a stronger brass pinion gear and gear ratios of 4.1:1 give it one of the fastest retrieves among spincast reels. Anglers can put up to 95 yards of 10 pound monofilament on the 33 Platinum reel.
Other features of the Zebco 33 Platinum include a full metal body and cover, dual handle and knobs, dual ceramic pickup pins, and the right or left hand option. The drag dial clicks into the finest tune settings and continuous anti reverse stands ready to put the disc drag into action. A raised grip push button bail and smooth plastic handle knobs provide finishing touches to a sleek little unit.
Much like the Pflueger President, the 33 Platinum fills an important middle ground when it comes to the 6 best spincast reels. It makes a great choice for those who trust the name and design of Zebco products, but don’t want the full featured models. The 33 Platinum brings hard metal durability while still keeping the weight under 10 ounces. It’s use of 5 bearings also provides more confidence in reeling stability than those one bearing models. Keep these spincast reels lubricated and filled with fresh line for years of use.
We still see complaints of manufacturing defects though very few among many customer reviews. It does seem like an unfortunate trend when we pay for cheaper mass produced product. The warranty provides some assurance, but it sure can be a hassle when and if it happens to you. It would be nice to see Zebco go with the titanium pickup pins and put the oscillating spool into the 33 Platinum spincast reel. It would likely require a higher asking price to do that. Finally, a more advanced triple disc drag system would also give this reel added value.
Final Thoughts & General Spincast Reel Tips
Many of the problems we’ve read about while researching critical customer reviews could have been avoided with some understanding of spincast reels. Spincast reels were first designed to get rid of backlash problems so frequently encountered in baitcasting reels. Of course, spincast reels came along with some issues of their own. Some of these perhaps are unavoidable like those manufacturing defects. Others we recognized as simple user error, and could be avoided all together. A few helpful tips can make your time on the water so much more enjoyable while using a spincast reel.
Spincast reels tend to tangle inside the cover. Make sure to always keep the line tight when reeling in. Slack line that’s brought into a spincast reel causes these problems 90% of the time. Thoroughly rinse your reel and inspect the line after each use. Line on spincast reels can get pinched and abrade from the pickup pins, and should be changed more frequently than spinning or baitcasting reels. Finally, enter your purchase of one of the best spincast reels with the understanding that these reels are made to make casting easy for beginners. This doesn’t mean that with proper use they can’t handle some incredibly strong fish.