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Reel Review

Budget-Minded Performance with the new Mitchell 300 Pro (continued)

Retrieve: This reel is relatively smooth when retrieving a lure. It does make a bit more noise than average, but nothing obnoxious or unnerving. Upon turning the handle, there is slightly more resistance than most reels. It's really not an issue at all, just something you'll likely notice right away. After fishing it for a bit, you become used to it and don't even think about it. If you are extremely picky, it may be a minor annoyance when working a slow-moving lure like a shaky head worm or drop-shot rig across the bottom.

An inside look at the main, oscillation, and reduction gears

The instant anti-reverse works great for helping to provide solid hook sets. Handle back play is absent throughout the full range of the retrieve. The anti-reverse can also be turned off with a small switch on the bottom of the reel for those few that still prefer to back-reel.

The aluminum handle is ported for a slight weight reduction

The 300 PRO doesn't feel like the most powerful reel out there. Under heavier drag settings and loads (or just plain small, but very hard fighting fish) I noticed the reel didn't seem to have quite the cranking power I've experienced with other small spinning reels. The bit of frame flex I mentioned earlier likely comes into play here, thus hurting the reel a touch in the power department.

The hybrid carbon fiber drag stack of the 300 PRO

Drag: The 300 PRO features a satisfying drag for it's price range, but in the grand scheme of things when compared to all other reels out there it does lack a bit of refinement. Starting on a positive note, the drag kicks in without any sign of start-up inertia, except for just a hint around the highest setting. This was a pleasant surprise to me for a reel costing so little. It's also pretty smooth across the range of settings, and there's no abrupt hesitation or jerky feeling. My “unrefined” comment stems from the fact that the drag exhibits a slight bumpiness, most notable under moderate to high drag settings. It's enough to barely make the rod tip pump a bit as line is being taken out, but it's not the silky smoothness you'll find with higher-priced reels. The drag does make a very pleasant tone as a fish runs. For the price, I don't think you'll be disappointed in the least!

Performance for Mitchell 300 PRO

Retrieve (1-5)


Power (1-5)

Bail Operation (1-5)

Line Twist (1-5)



Rating (= Tot/Pos* 10)









A look down the main shaft

Ergonomics: Despite the polymeric body and porting, the 300 PRO remains on the heavy side. Compared to similarly-sized aluminum spinning reels the weight difference is about an ounce or so on average, but interestingly this reel is lighter than some other Pure Fishing reels including all of the Abu Revo reels minus the Premier. When you think about it the weight isn't so bad once you realize how much less the Mitchell costs than some of its rivals! Mitchell's Brand Manager, Matt Kitchen, brought up a interesting point during our dialogue that the reel sizing may throw some people off when considering the weight since the Mitchell 300 is comparable to a 40 or 4000 size reel yet is occasionally referenced alongside 2500 reels. 

The aluminum handle features a flat EVA foam knob that feels comfortable and is nicely sized. I'm glad Mitchell didn't opt for a round EVA knob, as the flat shape feels much more comfortable and secure, especially when reeling rapidly. It's very easy to grip, firm, never gets slippery, and compliments the rest of the reel nicely.

Features Ratings for Mitchell 300 PRO


Spool Bearing (1-2)


Line Roller Bearing (1-2)


Water Resistant Drag (1-2)





Spare Spool (1-2)


Reel Cover (1-2)









(=Tot/Pos* 10)










Durability: A ton of time wasn't spent with the Mitchell 300 PRO, but in my experience with it I didn't see any problems with durability. The drag remained smooth and retained its like-new consistency even after several saltwater fishing trips and post-fishing freshwater washdowns. The retrieve also remained just as it was out of the box.

The bail spring was rather difficult to re-seat after being taken apart

The Mitchell does lack that real rock-solid feel I like to see in any reel. The reel feels good, but that really firm, rigid, connected feel is somewhat absent. If a reel is super light I consider it a trade-off, but since this reel is no lightweight it leaves a little to be desired. As I previously mentioned, the frame/rotor flex and an extra bit of sound during retrieve adds to the overall sensation that this reel is definitely not the most solid reel out there. With that said, it will still be just fine for most anglers, particularly ones shopping at this price point.

I decided to try and scratch the Mitchell in a spot that wasn't totally obvious. The polymeric body proved to be quite scratch resistant, as it took some decent effort to make just a light mark

Price & Applications: Carrying an MSRP of $69.95, I feel that is a very fair price for this product. Overall it lacks a little refinement here and there, but compared to other offerings around the same price it's a worthy competitor. If you are looking for a high level of refinement, you are not going to be shopping in the sub-$100 price range anyhow.

The 300 PRO is a versatile reel for a multitude of applications. Freshwater anglers will find a place for it when targeting species like bass, walleye, and steelhead. Saltwater addicts should see it being good for smaller inshore species like snook, redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and bonefish. The body of the reel should also do a very good job resisting corrosion, just as it did for me during testing. There is no sign of corrosion or rust anywhere inside or out.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Mitchell 300 PRO Spinning Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A well-executed reel for the money. Not surprisingly, it lacks high-end features and materials found in more expensive reels. 7
Performance A solid performer that will get the job done for most people, but the drag and retrieve lack a little refinement, and the frame lacks rigidity. 7.6
Price A good product at a great price. This reel should appeal to younger anglers looking for a cool reel to spend their allowance money on, or those people on a budget. 8.5
Features A decent set of features for the money. 6.66
Design (Ergonomics) I like the soft-touch coating on the reel, as well as the nice EVA knob. The reel is a bit heavier than expected. 7.5
Application A versatile reel suitable for many fresh or saltwater species. 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Nicely put together - A bit heavy
+ Sweet price - Drag has a slight bump at higher settings
+ Looks great - Frame flexes under heavier loads
+ Decent drag system - Not a super rock-solid feeling reel
+ Smooth retrieve  

Snook! Thanks to local captain and friend Steve Dall for putting me on some gulf-front snook during testing. You can check out his website at


Conclusion: Despite a few minor gripes, the Mitchell 300 PRO is an attractive offering by the legendary Mitchell company. It gives anglers some nice features and satisfying performance at an extremely fair price, which in turn puts this reel within the sights of just about anybody.  Mitchell continues to hang in there after all these years and seems to continue what they have always done: deliver good products at fair prices. Despite the low pricing of their products, it would be awesome to one day see them break into a higher-end reel segment to compete with reels like the Stradic Ci4 or Daiwa Ballistic. Abu Garcia (another Pure Fishing company) now offers some ultra high-end reels, so perhaps Mitchell is next to follow? At any rate, this reel is certainly no Steez, but it certainly is a huge leap forward compared to those old Excellence reels I fished as a kid. Perhaps this will be the beginning of a huge push of new products from Mitchell....I guess we'll have to wait and see!










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