Gear Review: 13 Fishing Concept Z Reel

What is it?

13 Fishing Concept Z Reel

What sets it apart?

13 Fishing bills its newest creation as the first ever high-performance reel manufactured with no ball bearings. Instead, the Concept Z uses American-made CZB (Concept Zero Bearing) polymer technology, which is designed to deliver significantly greater casting distance than ball bearing reels. For fighting a fish, the Concept Z boasts a 22-pound Bulldog drag and Japanese Hamai cut gearing, while the brilliant red finish adds stylish flair.

How do I use it?

The Concept Z features 13 Tech EVA handle knobs, a 6-way centrifugal braking system, arrowhead line guide, beetle wing rapid access side plate, dead stop anti-reverse and Ocean Armor 2 Saltwater Protection, which means it’ll stand up to the harshest environments. Weighing 6.1 ounces, this reel is available in right hand models with 6.6:1, 7.3:1 and 8.1:1 gear rations; or a 7.3:1 left hand version. Also, the CZB bearings are available to retrofit all current 13 Fishing baitcast reels.

How much?

$199.99 (available Spring 2018)

More Information:

13 Fishing 

Angler’s insight:

Having spent many years in the reel repair business prior to joining the 13 Fishing crew, Concept Z product engineer Matt Baldwin said ball bearings accounted for about 80 percent of his jobs. You invest in a nice reel, love it for the first year or so (depending on use level), but then you see a noticeable decline in casting distance, noise level and overall performance — typically the result of worn bearings. You can trash any reel if you abuse it and forego basic cleaning/maintenance, but 13 Fishing has replaced the source of common problems with what looks to be an effective alternative.