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Reel Review


 

Living up to the Hype? The Zero Ball Bearing Concept Z from 13 Fishing

 

Date: 2/25/18
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: 13 Fishing
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 8.46 - INNOVATION AWARD

Introduction:
Probably the most talked about low profile baitcaster to be introduced in the last year, the 13 Fishing Concept Z has been the subject of much debate since this zero ball bearing reel was launched this past ICAST. Utilizing what is billed as a “space-age” polymer in place of traditional bearings this reel is designed to offer anglers improved cast and retrieve while also improving longevity and durability in harsh saltwater environments. Sounds too good to be true? It’s time to see just how much of the hype is warranted.

 

 13 Fishing Concept Z Baitcaster Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/135
Frame/Sideplates Aluminum/Airfoil carbon
Retrieve Ratio
6.6:1
 
7.3:1
 
8.1:1
7.3:1 (Left)
Weight 6.4 oz
Ball Bearings 0 (CZBs instead)
Tested Max Drag 23.7 lbs
Origin Made in Korea
MSRP $199.99

 


The Concept Z looks like a normal 13 Fishing Concept reel with a bright orange finish

 

Impressions: The Concept Z is built on the same platform as 13 Fishing’s other Concept reels and makes use of all the latest upgrades including the Japanese Hamai cut gearing, arrowhead line guide, 6 way centrifugal braking system, Bulldog Drag, and the Beetle Wing rapid access sideplate that stays connected to the frame when opened.

 


What makes this reel so unique is that it has no ball bearings and instead makes use of polymer bushings that the company calls CZBs (Concept Zero Bearings)


What makes the reel so different, besides the bright orange (officially called Tequila Sunrise) finish are the Concept Zero Bearings (CZBs) which are essentially bushings that make use of a new polymer material that is designed to enhance casting performance, while making the reel quieter smoother and more corrosion resistant. Those are some big claims and soon after the reel hit the market the internet was flooded with videos with some very diverse takes. Some claimed that reel delivered exceptional, even mind blowing, casting improvements while others described the casting performance as simply average or even disappointing.

 


Is this reel a hero or a zero? There has been much debate since it was introduced


Testing reels is far from an exact science, and each and every one of us has a different casting motion, and while there are many elements that can be controlled including the types of line, weights, types of lures individual casting distance can be affected by the elements and even the type and state of your line. That being said there are a lot of performance characteristics that you can extract from test such as how a reel will perform in various applications, where it excels or fails, how it feels and just how refined the reel is.

 


Time to see how the Concept Z performs on the water


The reason that I feel it is important to highlight this is because the Concept Z has been the subject of so much debate. With opinions forming across the entire spectrum we spent the last two months fishing the Concept Z, putting it through the complete range of tests and then dissembling the reel to see just well it, and the CZBs, held up.

 


Though the Concept Z doesn't fare well in the traditional thumb-spool spin test but casting is a different matter altogether

 

Next Section: Time to see what the hype is all about?

 

 

   

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