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Reel Review


 

Is ICAST's Best Freshwater Reel of 2016 Still Relevant?

 

Date: 6/19/19
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Lew's
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.75 - GOOD

Introduction:
It's more than a badge of honor when a manufacturer wins Best of Show during the industry's biggest trade show, ICAST. Voted upon by members of the media and buyers, ICAST's annual best of show awards serve as validation. Lew's was the beneficiary of this validation back in 2016 when they introduced their Custom Pro SLP casting reel and took top honors for Best Freshwater Reel. It's been a few years since that introduction and award, and Lew's has since introduced two reels above this former flagship. In a category where a three year old product could mean it's over the hill, does the Custom Pro SLP still hold up today? Let's find out.

 

Lew's Custom Pro SLP Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/110
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 15 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
6.8*
7.5
8.3*
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
12.5 - 27
14 - 30
15.5 - 33.5
Weight 5.7 oz
Spool Weight 11 g
Handle Length 95 mm
Bearings 10+1
Bearings per Knob 2 bearings
Levelwind Bearings 2 bearings
Rated Max Drag 20 lbs
Origin Made in Korea
MSRP $259.99

* = Right Hand Only


Introducing Lew's Custom Pro SLP casting reel

Impressions: Lew's Custom Pro casting reel marks the introduction of their "SLP" (super low profile) design initiative creating a casting reel that is ten percent smaller than their traditional Speed Spool designs. The Custom Pro SLP is made with a one-piece aluminum frame and carbon sideplates and tipped our scales at only 5.7 ounces. That's really light for an aluminum framed reel.

 


The Custom Pro SLP won Best Freshwater Reel honors at ICAST 2016

 

It is offered in three different retrieve ratios but only one of those is made in both right and left hand retrieve. For our tests, we acquired a TLCP1H - that's a right handed Custom Pro SLP with a 6.8:1 retrieve ratio.


The Custom Pro casting reel marks Lew's introduction of their "SLP" (super low profile) design initiative

Real World Tests: I spooled this reel up with some 14lb Sunline FC Crank, and keeping it all in the family, mounted it on a Lew's 7'-10" Custom Speed Stick cranking rod for our real world tests.


Mounted on a Lew's Custom Speed Stick cranking rod and ready for action

Casting: Lew's equips the Custom Pro with a 4-pin, externally adjustable centrifugal braking system. There is not a provision to turn these 4-pins on the reel's spool on or off, but the external dial does have twenty seven (27) points of adjustment. This means the dial's enumeration from one through ten is sort of like the lane markers on the freeway of a third world country - the marks are only a suggestion.


The Custom Pro SLP really does sit low on the rod

Unfortunately, the Custom Pro SLP and I got off on the wrong foot as I failed to remember to adjust those very free brakes to a high setting before unleashing my first cast. The good news was recovery only took a few minutes as I picked out the professional overrun and we were back in business.


The Custom Pro features a Duralumin spool

As mentioned, the Custom Pro SLP's brakes are very free and allow for a wide range of adjustment while providing excellent casting performance. This system is no where near as restrictive as the magnetic brakes found on the company's Speed Spool LFS casting reel. Matched with the right line and rod, I've little doubt this reel can handle baits down to at least one quarter of an ounce.


Casting brakes are centrifugal

Next Section: Multiple retrieve ratios...

 

 

   

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