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Reel Review


Performance at a professional Level? Bass Pro Shops' Pro Qualifier Casting Reel

 

Date: 6/18/14
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Bass Pro Shops
Reviewer: Wolbugger






Total Score: 6.96 - FAIR

Introduction:
Products from large-scale retailers like Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops don't get a whole lot of press here at TackleTour, but that doesn't mean we don't keep an eye on what they are producing. Though reviews can be pretty mixed on some of these offerings, the Pro Qualifier from Bass Pro Shops has always had a noticeable following. We wanted to find out for ourselves how this reel stacks up to similar reels from more mainstream manufacturers like Shimano, Daiwa, and the like.

 

Bass Pro PQX10HD Pro Qualifier Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 120 yards of 12 pound
Frame/Side Plates Aluminum frame/graphite side plates
Gear Ratio 6.4:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated 26 inches per turn
Measured Weight 8.7 ounces
Spool Weight 22 grams
Handle Length 83 mm
Bearings 6 + 1
bearings per knob 1 bearing 1 bushing
Levelwind bearings None
Measured Max. Drag 20.7 pounds
Origin China
MSRP $99.99


The Pro Qualifier exhibits a silver and gunmetal color scheme

Quality/Construction: If you're a fan of high-end equipment the PQX10HD won't thrill you too much, however the reel is constructed well. Most tolerances are all fine, with no nasty edges or unsightly gaps to be found. There are a couple spots where the precision lacks a little bit, but those areas are hidden and are quite minute. The vast majority of folks won't have a problem with the way the reel is put together.

Quality Ratings for PQX10HD Pro Qualifier Casting Reel


Finish
(1-5)


Construction Tolerances
(1-5)


Handle Tolerance
(1-5)

 
Knob Tolerance(1-5)


Total


Possible


Rating(=Tot/Poss * 10)

4

4

4

4

16

20

8.0


The reel features nice tolerances and overall build quality.

 Sweet Drag Performance for PQX10HD Pro Qualifier Casting Reel (2.25 turns to lockdown)

 

Full
Turn

 Full + 2

 Full + 4

Full + 6

Lockdown

 

 

Avg % Change

Start-up

1.8

2.6

4.9

11.2

10.3

Sustained

1.6

2.2

4.3

8.2

15.9

Lowest Value

1.3

1.8

3.4

6.3

10

Change in Start-up vs. Sustained

 

9.8%

 

15.1%

 

11.6%

 

26.4%

 

53.7%

 

23.3%

Biggest Drop From Sustained

 

17.3%

 

17.84%

 

22.7%

 

23.37%

 

37%

 

23.6%

To measure the drag on this reel, the drag star was backed all the way off, then engaged with one full turn and strapped to the machine for the first test. With each successive test the drag was increased two short pushes with the thumb. After six pushes, the drag was locked down finger tight.

Performance: The performance rating of a reel ranges from its ability to cast and pitch, to the drag system, to the sheer power on tap for reeling in water-resistant lures and big fish. This reel came along with me to Lake Okeechobee and Lake Chickamauga to see how it would hold up.


The swept handle provides a hint more power

Retrieve/Power: This particular Pro Qualifier boasts a moderate 6.4:1 gear ratio. Upon retrieval its smoothness is good with just a tiny amount of noise audible. It also feels nice and solid with no discouraging looseness or that dreaded disconnected feel. The reel also displays ample power for all-around usage, but with the 83-millimeter handle and modest gearing setup in place you'll be better served with a gutsier reel like a Zillion Crazy Cranker or Revo Winch for techniques like deep cranking.


The brass main gear and drag stack...

Drag: Well, one great thing about the drag is the fact that it's quite powerful. The Pro Qualifier exhibited a lot of guts in the lab with a maximum setting of 20.7 pounds. This was quite astonishing since the reel's manual lists the maximum drag at just 10 pounds. Unfortunately, this is where the praise comes to a halt. The drag is quite bumpy and jerky, even at the lowest settings. This reel is far from being ideal if you intend to target species that require a smooth drag system.


The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier reel. As witnessed by the erratic behavior of each curve, the drag performance was far from sweet.


Pull the pin and slide the side plate to access the centrifugal brakes. This was an easy task when mounted on a rod, but was frustrating at times when off the rod due to lack of proper grip and leverage.

Casting Range: Despite some very positive feedback I've read regarding this reel's casting ability, I was neither impressed nor disappointed. I consider it an average caster, but for me it truly lacked the “free” feeling that boosts confidence when flicking lighter offerings—even with all the brake settings off. I didn't go too light with the Pro Qualifier, but it threw three quarters of a battle-worn Senko and a small popper decently enough. For the most part I always kept two of the centrifugal brake shoes engaged and had the Dual Braking System set between a two and three.


Taking a peek at the internal magnets (controlled by the Dual Brake System dial) and the centrifugal brake shoes.

Next Section: A dual braking system


 

 

 

 

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