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Reel Preview


Cast Control Unlike Any Other: 13 Fishing Launches the Innovative Z SLIDE Baitcaster (continued)


Zander (TT): How about in terms of casting how do does the Z SLD compares with previous CZB based reels? Same, Better? More control?

Matt (13 Fishing): Over the last three years we have refined the CZB bearing systems. It’s a polarizing technology and admittedly when first introduced we were still learning how to perfect it. The Concept Z SLD is the most refined reel we have ever made with CZB’s, and the performance speaks for itself. I think the more anglers that take the time to see the benefits of the technology the more acceptance we will see. The original Concept Z was a ground breaking product, the new Z SLD is the next evolution. Reels outfitted with CZB’s offer the consumer on average half the maintenance cost, as verified by countless customers in our service center. The bearings offer no performance loss over time, and they will always be 100% corrosion proof.


Under the quick access Beetle Wing rapid access sideplate is the familiar easy to set 6-way centrifugal braking system


Zander (TT): Let's talk more about the materials used in the frame and construction in the new Concept Z SLD. What does "Cast Iron Carbon" in the Z SLD's frame describe?

Matt (13 Fishing): We consider ourselves the industry leader in development of proprietary carbon, polymer, and composite materials. CAST IRON CARBON was something we have had in development for a while. It was our desire to create a 100% corrosion free frame that would have all the performance attributes of fishing a metal frame. We combined state of the art engineering with our cutting edge material to offer a insanely lightweight frame that has an absurdly low amount if flex. If we didn’t tell you it wasn’t metal, you would never know.


The SLIDE magnetic cast control makes use of a shield that covers, or exposes, magnets and corresponding magnetic force onto the other end of the spool


Zander (TT): Digging deeper into the guts of the new reel I understand that the new Concept reels, including the Z SLD, also feature improved gears. Can you tell us more about the Ti-Armor treatment on the aluminum drive gear? Was this change made primarily for performance/feel, or durability?

Matt (13 Fishing): We spent quite a lot of time analyzing comments, feedback, and our service and warranty records. Anglers wanted more gear durability. Our original aluminum gears were light and smooth, but we needed to deliver A LOT more durability. This was one of the top goals of the re-design. Our original gears when not protected by enough lubricant showed surface corrosion when introduced to tough environments (specifically saltwater). We hit on an incredible new Ti-Armor process that increases the corrosion resistance by more than 3X. Typically treated or coated gearing feels terrible, and no matter the quality of the CNC cut it always feels inferior to a raw cut material. Our new Ti-Armor finish process is beautiful, butter smooth, and durable as hell.


The Concept Z SLD makes use of a proprietary carbon and alloy polymer that is designed to be strong, light, and 100% corrosion resistant


Zander (TT): How about the worm shaft? Have there been any improvements made to the Concept "Generation II" in this area?

Matt (13 Fishing): All the Concept Worm Gears are now hard anodized for maximum durability. We actually started doing this a while back with the original concept models and the Inception SZ as well. We have seen worm gear failure drop to an all-time low.


The Concept Z SLD, as well as all of the new Concept reels, are designed to be saltwater capable, and a new Gen II TX reel will take things even further by pairing the zero corrosion Cast Carbon chassis with a BOSS Japanese hamai cut brass main gear, and also including Black Seal ball bearings matched with CZB Comp spool bearings. 


No traditional ball bearings within the Concept Z to corrode. Additional refinements in the Concept Z SLD include a reinforced clutch cam and audible drag clicker


We now have two Concept Z SLD reels in the lab and will be putting these reels, and the other new Concept Gen II baitcasters, through the paces in complete reviews. Initial observations are that the new reels definitely up the refinement level up from the originals, everything is tighter, and the components look and feel higher quality. The Concept Z SLD in particular is immediately identifiable with the Destroyer Grey paint and bright orange knobs and slider.


The new reel weighed in at 6.78oz. and as we are starting to weigh the individual components we are observing just how light some of these new parts are


The new frame is light, and the entire Concept Z SLD weighs in at only 6.78oz., which is not bad for a completely new integrated second cast control unit. I can tell that the company put a lot of thought into the design. For example I have no doubt that Matt designed it so that the minus (off) position is pushed all the way forward, which makes it more intuitive, and easier, to disengage any magnetic force during the cast to maximize distance. Want to switch to a more controlled pitch, or simply cast into varying wind conditions? Dialing up the magnetic force is just a quick "slide" away.


The Concept Gen II form factor looks very similar to the original, yet improves all tolerances, makes use of improved components, and still remains Trick Shop compatible


13 Fishing's official launch is happening this week, and both right and left handed reels will start shipping over the next few days to e-tailers, and will be priced at $275 dollars. Even before the pandemic altered the ICAST show, and has now made it a virtual event, 13 Fishing's plan was always to have these reels in stock and shippable at ICAST. While many companies are pushing back their launches, given the Covid-19 challenges, 13 Fishing decided to pull things in as fishing is one of the activities that outdoor enthusiasts can partake in.


Find out more about the 13 Fishing Concept Z SLD and availability at the company's site









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