Can a Twenty Dollar Spinning Reel Be Any Good?

Sometimes a Budget Reel is All That's in the Budget

This One Has Blown Away My Expectations


 Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a purchase you made?  Especially one that you feel you underpaid for?  Well if you've used Atko Leviathan Braid the answer is yes!  But that's not what I'm here to tell you about.

    I was gathering gear for our Spring Break trip to Florida and came across a couple spinning reels I always travel with. I was reminded of just how surprised I've been by their performance over the past couple years.  So I thought I'd share my experience with you.

   Don't get me wrong.  I love high end gear and in many situations it is required.  Other times however, it is not necessary to get the job done.  At the same time, I hate paying for something and not getting my money's worth.  This purchase has far exceeded my expectations

   A couple years ago we were going to Mexico in January and I wanted to try to get some beach fishing in.  We had a charter booked for sailfish, but I just get a kick out of shore fishing and trying to get it done on my own.  I knew luggage room would be tight and probably worse on the way home.  So I came up with an idea to buy some cheap fishing gear and then if I had to leave it, or came across a local kid fishing, I could easily leave it behind.


   So I began searching the web for a low priced spinning reel that wasn't complete garbage.  One model kept showing up over and over and that was the Quantum Optix. Even better, it can be had for about $20!!!   I read tons of reviews, even guys who said they battled 4 foot bull sharks on them and it survived.  I ordered 2  of them in size 40 and a couple budget travel rods to pair them with.

   I filled the spools up with 20lb Atko Leviathan and packed them up for the trip.  We managed to get a little beach fishing in while we were there but it was mostly too crowded.  I never found anyone else shore fishing.  Had I found a local kid I would have left the rods with him.

    In March we headed to Florida and I wanted to do some serious surf fishing.  I had one nice set up of an 11' Penn rod and Daiwa Saltist reel, but I needed a couple more.  I found a some 11' Daiwa fiberglass surf rods on sale and I decided to grab a couple Optix 80's to go with them.  I honestly didn't expect much from them, but family vacations have budgets and I wasn't sure how much I was going to like surf fishing anyway(that was dumb! Of course surf fishing is awesome!).

click on the image to check them out on Amazon

    I ended up using both sizes of Optix quite a bit on that trip and caught some great fish!  I even had a hard pulling shark on once but due to leader failure, I lost him.  We caught bluefish, bull reds, three giant black drum and some pompano all on those reels.  I didn't baby them either, they probably still have some of that salt and sand in them.

    Since then they have made even more trips with me.  All in all I have fished with those Quantum Optix in Mexico, Washington D.C., Florida, Ontario, and home here in Missouri.  They have always performed perfectly and have lead to some great fishing memories.  I have had zero failures from any of the four and the 40's still have the original 20lb Leviathan on them.  Here are Just a few of the memories we've made with them

We even used them on the surf rods for snagging spoonbill in the rivers around here the last two springs with 50lb braid on them.  Again they got abused and lived to tell about it.  Catching 50lb fish in flooded, snag filled rivers with ripping current really tested out the drag and let me tell you they passed! They will going to go back to Florida on Spring Break this March for the third year. So far that amortizes to just over 10$ a year for the size 80's.  I can tell you I've had $100s of dollars of fun from them, probably much more.

   There's really not much to say about the reels other than the fact that they perform well above their pay grade.  They aren't super smooth, they are a 3 ball bearing reel, but they aren't terrible either.  I've handled some of those cheap  reels that feel like the bearings are square.  These are not those.  The Optix doesn't look like a Van Staal, or Shimano Stella either, but that's not their purpose.  They are a  lightweight, composite frame,  aluminum spool budget reel.  They come in sizes 10 to 80 and have a  4.9:1 or 5.2:1 gear ratio depending on size.  Price ranges from $20 to under $40 on Amazon .  I can say that they have left me pleasantly surprised and I would recommend them to anyone needing a reel on a budget.  

   Lets face it, sometimes you just can't afford the high end stuff.  Sometimes having family means its not in the budget, but don't let that keep you off the water.  Get our there and make memories anyway!


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