13 Fishing Concept C Baitcaster – Product Review

13 Fishing Concept C Baitcaster – Product Review

13 Fishing Concept C Baitcaster – Product Review

by June 15, 2014


13 Fishing Launches New Line of Concept Baitcasters

13 Fishing has some exciting news; they are launching a

February 6, 2014

Well, it’s no surprise that we were eager to start beating on these new reels as soon as we heard about them. 13 Fishing is a new player in the low profile baitcaster market and we are curious about how their Concept reels will fare on the water. From looking at the specifications sheets we were all impressed.This review will find out if the 13 Fishing Concept C baitcaster can cut the mustard with our team!

13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

Concept C Reel First Impressions

For starters let me say that 13 Fishing was a great company to work with. They are committed to interacting with consumers and it is not uncommon to have senior executives from the company interact with anglers. They see value in doing this because it is “instant” research. What better way to get feedback on your product than to talk with anglers who are using it? I think 13 Fishing got it right here and their out of the box thinking impressed us before we even laid eyes upon our new reel.

Concept C palmable - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel ReviewThe Concept C came in a cool black box and was packaged nicely. When I opened the box I quickly took inventory and noticed that the reel didn’t come with any reel oil from the manufacturer like many other reels do. The reel looked and felt amazing. It was very smooth and solid. I really liked the small profile of the reel and it was very palmable.

Aesthetically the finish on the reel looked sharp. It had a nice pearl white finish that was smooth. The cork grips and silver accents on the handle made this reel look like a million bucks! The aluminum frame and carbon sideplates made the reel feel light yet solid.

It was great to see that 13 Fishing put in a fine cast control clicker assembly on their reels. This makes fine adjustment easier and allows the angler to know exactly how much they’re adjusting the drag. I think 13 fishing got it right here!

Like so many of the other reels on the market the Concept C is manufactured in Korea. Anglers who seek the “made in Japan” stamp will be disappointed here.

Concept C Reel Price

The Concept C reel is the mid level offering by 13 Fishing. At $229.99 this reel is competing with the Quantum Tour KVD ($229), Okuma Helios Air ($249) and Lew’s Team Gold ($239). All these reels are extremely capable and from well known manufacturers; so 13 Fishing has a lot to prove. We’ve put together a quick comparison chart so you can see how these reels stack up on paper:

13Fishing ConceptC Comparison Reel Chart Specifications - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

From glancing the figures, you can see the Concept C beats all the other reels in drag pounds and ratio offerings. It comes in a close second when considering weight as well. Where it appears to fall behind is in the area of line capacity and bearing numbers. Don’t let bearing count fool you though! From testing numerous reels we can tell you that bearing count is not as important as bearing quality and proper placement.

The Concept C clearly falls behind in the area of line capacity. It holds 20-45 yards less than the other reels we compared it to. Ultimately it won’t come into play unless you are making super long casts, otherwise it won’t be an important factor. Anglers should consider this when thinking about what technique they want to purchase this reel for.

Concept C Reel Internals

We dismantled the reel to get a look at its internals. 13 Fishing designed these new reels from the ground up, so we were curious how this reel’s components stack up to the competition. We found that he handle assembly is pretty much standard. The dragstar is a super light aluminum, which took me by surprise. At first glance I thought it was chromed plastic.

Concept C Handle side - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

The dragstar is super light weight aluminum

Concept C handle Assembly - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

When dismantling the handle assembly be very careful! There is a tiny click spring and click pin (part #88, 89) that can fall out. If you are not careful they may be lost and your reel won’t function properly. Set them aside where they wont go missing if you ever open up the gear side of your reel.

Clicker pin - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

Watch out for this little pin if you dismantle your reel

When I opened the reel up, I noticed was the blue grease that was used. Most other reels don’t have “blue” grease so we asked Matthew Baldwin, Lead reel designer for 13 Fishing, about this.

He told us, “We have flown a very special anti-corrosion, high spin lubricant to our facility at a huge expense to mix with our grease and oil.  This lubricant has really made a performance difference, and will massively increase longevity-durability in very tough saltwater and brackish water.” 

This special lubricant is very evident throughout the reel and as you can see in the photographs below, it’s used liberally to keep the reel lubed to the max.

We’re hoping that eventually 13 Fishing will offer this special grease for sale separately so anglers can service their own reels and keep them as smooth as day 1.

At first, I was a little disappointed with the amount of grease used in the reel because I thought it might be too much.

Matt explained further, “we certainly feel the reel is lubricated correctly, no need for added lubrication.  We have worked extremely hard with our factory teaching them exactly how each part of the reel should be lubricated.  This is in our opinion the best lubricated reel in fishing for use in both fresh and saltwater.  The grease is in the proper places to protect the parts in harsh environments, and oil is used properly to keep the moving parts moving without over doing it.”

This makes sense, and as the lead reel designer for 13 Fishing, we think Matthew is right. You have to remember that this reel is saltwater approved. In a recent conversation with FLW pro Stetson Blaylock he told us that anglers in Australia have been testing these reels in saltwater for some time.

Conceptc2 halves - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

The Concept C was well lubed from the factory. The special “blue” lubricant is very visible here

When inspecting the Concept C’s internals I noticed that the pinion gear was brass and the main gear was aluminum. This may be an issue with long periods of usage as aluminum is not as strong as brass. As far as I have seen on almost every reel I have inspected the main gear is always brass. Of course there are some drawbacks to using brass in that it is very heavy and it also corrodes. Perhaps the aluminum main gear’s weight savings and anti corrosion properties outweigh any durability concerns? The main gear being aluminum is necessary to make the reel corrosion resistant for use in saltwater as well as freshwater.

ConceptC maingear - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

An aluminum main gear lightens the reel and increases its corrosion resistance making it saltwater approved!

The drag disks were pretty standard and the Bulldog drag system seems up to snuff. We’ll do an independent drag test on this reel later on to verify the 22-lbs of drag 13 Fishing claims.

ConceptC Dragdisks - 13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

The spool on the Concept C is not as wide as its competitors and this impacts its line capacity. Out of all the reels we compared the Concept C to, it has the least line capacity. Holding only 100 yards of 12-lb test line is not really that bad when you think about bass fishing applications. I think that this may only become an issue when you spool on something like 25-lb mono or any heavy line for thick cover with a large diameter. The Concept C may be better suited to light pitching or topwater finesse techniques when you consider line capacity. The super light weight of the spool would be ideal for throwing finesse baits as well!

13 Fishing Concept C Reel Review

Concept C Reel Features

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Airfoil carbon sideplates
  • Upgraded stainless gear shaft
  • 8 ball bearings (4 anti-corrosion, 3 stainless steel)
  • Dead stop anti-reverse bearing
  • Arrowhead line guide
  • 22-lb Bulldog drag system
  • 6-way centrifugal braking system
  • Lightweight aluminum handle
  • Concept cork handle knobs
  • Saltwater approved

Concept C Reel On The Water Testing

Thinking about the strengths that this reel has, I wanted to try it out on some techniques where it would excel. I chose to take this reel out and use it for some light pitching and spring jerkbait fishing. I think that thie would give the Concept C a good workout and showed its performance under heavy loads as well. We had the 8.1:1 ratio reel, so the speed of this reel was just right!

For jerkbaits I paired the Concept C up with 12-lb. flourocarbon and a 6’8″ medium power fast action St.Croix Legend Tournament. The reel was nimble when light bass jerkbaits were used such as the IMA Flit. I think that anything heavier may be too much for the Concept C to handle, but that may have to be tested later on…

For my second technique I originally wanted to use the Concept C for pitching, but its casting was so smooth that I decided to use the reel for precision spinnerbait casting. On a roll cast the Concept C got astonishing distance and control. I started with the heaviest drag setting and eventually found that setting 5 worked best. On the day of testing there were strong wind gusts so this required me to adjust the centrifugal brake a little on the heavier side. I paired the Concept C with my usual spinnerbait rod, a 7ft medium/ fast  St. Croix Legend Extreme.  I found that again the Concept C reel did really well and was super smooth. Since this is my usual spinnerbait rod, I was able to be super accurate with my casts, but with the increased casting distance I was able to stay further away from my target. I think this gave me a definite advantage since I was able to fish cover without getting too close and possible spooking weary fish.


For 13 Fishing to jump into a market that is so dominated by name brands such as Diawa, Shimano and Abu Garcia is a display of grit, ambition and entrepreneurship. I’m impressed with 13 Fishing’s entry into designing and manufacturing a line of quality baitcasters and I think they will become a major player in this industry.

The Concept C is a good mid-priced reel but lacks some attributes that some anglers look for in favor of others. This reel is super light, has tonnes of drag, is offered in many different gear ratios and is very corrosion resistant. It lacks the line capacity of other reels. However, for an angler that is serious and is looking for something to throw finesse baits as well as precision casting, this is the reel for them.

The various offerings in different gear ratios of the Concept C  is another attractive feature because it allows an angler to have several reels that are all identical, but have different speeds. This makes the reel familiar and predictable- no matter the technique and allows an angler to focus entirely on the task at hand;  a huge benefit for tournament anglers. To be able to put down one combo and pickup another one for a different technique that feels and weighs exactly the same is a big deal.

The Concept C is a fantastic choice for anglers looking for a light weight reel capable of throwing various baits at different speeds. I feel that the Concept C reels is at the right price point and offers features that anglers will want.  The reel has some minor limitations when you consider line capacity, but its performance far outweighs any drawbacks this may have.

13 Fishing has produced a capable freshwater reel with their Concept C model. Anglers should seriously consider the Concept C  when choosing their next reels.

Tight Lines!

Review Summary

Details about this item
5out of 5
Construction/ Quality
4out of 5
4out of 5
4.5out of 5
4.5out of 5

The Concept C is an amazing reel that raises the bar. Weight, features and gear offerings are all factors that put this reel ahead of others. Although 13 Fishing has done extensive testing on the Concept C, even in saltwater conditions, some anglers may shy away form this reel because 13 Fishing is a new player. The company is on the right track and they are eager to prove they can hang with the big manufacturers.


4.4 out of 5

3 Comments so far

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  1. Tony Maxedon
    #1 Tony Maxedon 24 June, 2014, 16:22

    Looks like a fantastic reel!

    Reply this comment
  2. Phil
    #2 Phil 15 February, 2016, 18:16

    13 fishing now offers replacement spools with greatly increased capacity, and there are 2 more bearings in the newer model.

    Reply this comment
    • Grant Pentiricci
      Grant Pentiricci Author 18 February, 2016, 21:08

      Thanks for mentioning that – you are correct. 13 Fishing has made several improvements since the reel launched in early 2014. I think it says a lot about a company who takes the idea of consumer feedback and continuous improvement that seriously. Also, Stetson Blaylock told us more about switching out the spools and other cool parts with 13 Fishing’s Trick Shop, back at the 2014 iCast-> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFXbbRTDBME

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