December 16th, 2013
13 Fishing Launches New Line of Concept Baitcastersby Grant Pentiricci February 6, 2014
13 Fishing has some exciting news; they are launching a new line of low profile baitcasters. These new baitcasters have been in development for some time and have been fished by pro anglers such as FLW’s Stetson Blaylock with success.
“I’ve been testing these reels for almost half a year now…I’ve fished them in every condition you can imagine.” Stetson explains, “Also, several other guys have been testing them on bigger fish then bass. A really good torture test has been put on these reels.”
For those less familiar with 13 Fishing, they pride themselves on being founded on the principle of corporate regression. As stated on their Twitter page, “a fishing company that believes in…fishing…go figure. Our most important asset is you, the angler.”
13 Fishing is a young, aggressive company based in Tampa, FL, who have created their own style in the tackle industry. Since their start in the freshwater and ice market a few years ago they have grown rapidly and are now found in over 350 retailers in the U.S., Canada and Australia. They are very active in social media and interact frequently with customers to evolve their offerings to relevant products for anglers.
The official release date for these reels is March 17th, 2014. There’s a lot of interest in how they will perform; our team is really looking forward to getting our paws on these babies and giving our readers a detailed review!
Here are the Concept reel specifications:
A close-up of the spec sheet can be viewed here: 13_Fishing_New_Concept_Reel_Specifications
There will be 4 models of low profile baitcasters available. They are the Concept A, C, E and KP reels. The reels use materials like Airfoil Carbon and Magnesium to obtain light weight and frame rigidity. These Concept reels boast a 22-lb drag system as well to handle all your heavy cover needs. Looking at the specification sheet, it is clear to us that 13 Fishing is going to challenge the industry with this new line.
We spoke with Matthew Baldwin of 13 Fishing, the lead designer of the Concept reels, to understand more about the new line. One of the first things we noticed and really liked was the use of cork on the handles. Matthew told us, “Everyone loves the handle design on the Concept reels. We wanted to use cork from day one…we went through quite a few shapes and finishes to get it right. The cork has a sealer on it to give it as much durability as possible. It is comfortable in your hand, light, and looks great! Obviously, after a period of time they should develop reasonable wear. But the comfort and overall performance far outweighs the negatives in our opinion”. We couldn’t agree more. It’s one of the main reasons that some anglers prefer cork on their rod handles.
Our team was also curious about the term “Airfoil Carbon”. We’ve never heard of it and asked Matthew about it. “Our Airfoil Carbon is exceptionally strong, has zero corrosion, and is light as a feather. This allowed us to create a ultra slim sleek side plate design. Some of the competitors’ bloated side plates are uncomfortable to cast. We worked extremely hard to create a material that allowed us to get a light, palmable reel.”
This is their entry level reel and is offered at US$170.00. It comes in a super slow 5.3:1 ratio, 6.6:1, 7.3:1 and 8.1:1. We would bet that the Concept A will be the most popular reel as it is very competitively priced and balanced with performance. With 22-lbs of drag and a weight of 6.7-oz this reel is going to be hard to beat.
Looking at this mid-level reel we were asking ourselves “where’s the B??”; but the C is no slouch. At US$230 it is definitely going to appeal to the serious angler as well as the tournament guys. Improvements in the C reel are weight reduction, bearings and spool improvements. This should translate into a meaner, leaner reel that can cast farther and keep up during a tournament. The Concept C is also offered in 4 gear ratios and has 22-lbs of drag as well as a weight of 6.1-oz.
Stetson feels strongly about all the Concept reels he tested. “Even the A and C models have a high-end feel. The casing/the hull on all the models doesn’t change. The shape, the form, the feel the fit is all exactly the same. The only difference is components that are in the reel. They are all extremely well-built.”
We have no doubt the E is going to be a really nice reel. At US$380, upgrades include Hybrid Ceramic Bearings, a lighter Magnesium frame/side-plate and improved anti-reverse bearing. This reel is undoubtedly going to be a beast and many anglers will want to see if it can keep up with them. Weight is really light at 5.78-oz and the drag rating remains unchanged at 22-lbs.
When we studied the specs sheet we noticed that the Concept E had a drop in bearing count. Matthew Baldwin explained, “It (the bearing count) drops because we had no need for the additional anti-corrosion bearings. The placement of the anti-corrosion bearings is very specific to the bearing locations that show corrosion when used in brackish or saltwater. The spool bearings that were anti-corrosion bearings on the A and C models are replaced with incredibly durable Hybrid Ceramic bearings on the E and KP Models.”
This makes sense to us and also shows that 13 Fishing is really thinking outside the box. There is nothing on these reels that you don’t need.
Stetson Blaylock was particularly impressed with the craftsmanship of the Concept E, ” The Concept E is absolutely the smoothest reel I’ve ever held in my hand!”
Very little information has been released on this reel. 13 Fishing has released some of its specifications and at 5-oz flat its stats look impressive. One of the things our team was curious about was the drag rating drop to 13-lbs from 22-lb on the other models.
We asked Matthew about this and he explained to us, “the Special Edition KP Model is built to be incredibly light, yet of a quality that no other 5-oz reel has ever been able to achieve. The giant 6 disk 22-lb drag would add a substantial weight to the reel, so we gave the KP an ultra-smooth 13-lb drag using 2 disks instead of 6. Almost every low-profile on the market has approximately 12-lbs of drag, this is enough drag to do almost anything in freshwater recreational and tournament fishing. The A, C, and E models are all rated for saltwater and have been given enough drag to handle the beasts from the deep”.
From what we’re told, the KP model will also feature a special KP Alumite spool that weighs .5-oz less than the A, C, and E models, as well as a special KP gear shaft design that is approximately 20% lighter than the already light aluminum E model shaft. Every aspect of the KP has been designed with weight and strength in mind. Even the screws in the KP model have been upgraded to eliminate weight.
The team at 13 Fishing managed to avoid making parts out of plastic to achieve a 5.08-oz reel. This is the best quality ultra-lightweight reel ever made, it isn’t just a finesse reel. Matthew told us, “The KP is capable of fishing any technique on any lake in the North America”.
13 Fishing revealed to us that the KP Model final specifications were just approved and the reel will go into production in a few weeks (as of the time this article was posted). Images and more information will be released when it is available. The KP’s launch is currently estimated for mid April 2014.
Stetson Blaylock is clearly impressed with all the Concept reels. “In my opinion, the fit, finish, comfort, quality, just the overall concept made – everything about the reel screams top of the line.”
Tight lines and stay tuned for updates!
FEB 15/2014 Update: Win it before you can buy it! We just launched a giveaway of the Concept A, courtesy of 13 Fishing. Click –>here for contest details.
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud member of State Apparel and Gambler Lures’ Am Pro Staff, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation, B.A.S.S. and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters. Follow AnglingAuthority on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
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Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci