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Tool Review

Bring the power of your local tackle shop home with the Berkley Cyclone Spooling Station

Date: 12/16/04
Tackle type: Tool
Manufacturer: Berkley
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.16

Looking for a more convenient way to load up your fishing reels with different types of line between trips? Ever wish you had a quick way to re-spool your favorite reel while on the boat or out on the road? Until recently, anglers who prefer to spool and re-spool their own gear had to rely on either low cost, make-shift tools or very high dollar professional spooling stations. Berkley fishing products out of Spirit Lake, Indiana makes a consumer sized spooling machine that is both portable and powerful and almost indispensable to any angler with more than a handful of reels – the Berkley Cyclone.

Berkley Cyclone Specifications

Power 12V
Accessories AC to DC power converter, 12V DC vehicle adapter, hand controller, spool holder, line stripping spool, chuck key
Compatibility Freshwater sized reels
Dimensions 18”w x 15”d x 8”h
MSRP $250

Impressions: Our first impression of the Cyclone Spooling Station by Berkley Fishing Products was how solidly the unit is put together and how well the case that encloses the unit is organized. Granted, while a lot of plastic is used in the case itself, once opened you get a real sense of having purchased a solid-state product. There are no loose fitting pieces or questionable materials inside. In fact, most all the accessories that come with the unit have their own, convenient stowing position within the framework of the machine. The only slightly limiting feature of the Cyclone is the fact, due to its compact nature, that it is more suitable for servicing freshwater sized reels.


Open the case to the Cyclone one discovers it comes complete with a hand held remote(front left), AC adapter (front right), DC accessory plug (front middle), line stripping spool (in back, to the right of the yellow orange face plate), and bulk spool holder (on the underside of the lid) all packed within the neat carrying case.


Real World Tests: Setting up our Cyclone spooling station in our workshop at TT Headquarters was a breeze. Just flip open the lid, plug in the wired hand held remote and separate power source, and the station is ready to go. We immediately put ours to the test spooling and stripping lines from various baitcasting and spinning reels in our vault.

The Cyclone easily supports both left and right hand retrieve baitcasting reels of varying sizes through the highly adjustable reel seat bar shown above.

Casting Reels: The Cyclone easily supports both left and right hand retrieve baitcasting reels. The adjustable reel seat bar at the front of the unit adjusts up and down on each side independently and also slides back and forth to accommodate different width reels. Right hand retrieve reels face left while left hand retrieve reels face right. Clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of the machine is easily selected through a button at the top of the hand held remote. The bulk spool holder fits into receiving slots on either side of the base to support spooling on either side of the machine. To gain spooling control of the reel, there are recessed sections within the rotating face plate of the Cyclone where each reel’s knobs are held during operation. With all these adjustable features, fitting a single baitcaster into the machine for spooling takes only a matter of seconds. All of our reels fit snuggly and securely in the unit and were easily adjusted to gain centered, non-vibrating performance. This was a very well thought out design. Once our reels were mounted and the machine adjusted for proper rotation, spooling a reel takes only a matter of minutes.  


Mounted and ready to go, this reel is prepped for new line provided by the large bulk spool mounted on the right side of the machine.


Spinning reels: Spinning reel spools mount onto the Cyclone’s faceplate through two opposing rubber lined brackets. These brackets adjust easily through an allen-wrench key stowed on the unit itself. Centering adjustments for different sized spools are made quickly and easily as the brackets move in and out in unison to squeeze each spool and hold them in place. During spooling, control to evenly distribute new line on the spool is handled manually by guiding the supply thread for line back and forth along the length of the target spool. The Cyclone does not come with a tool to help with this guidance, and this is one feature we’d like to see included on future models.


Top: Bulk line is secured to the Cyclone through spring-loaded locking nuts shown above. Bottom Left: Recessed sections of the faceplate enable rotation control of baitcasting reels for spooling. Bottom Right: Spinning reel spools are held securely within the faceplate by two opposing rubber line brackets

Bulk Spool Handling: Spools of up to five or six inches in diameter to about five inches in length are easily supported on the bulk spool holder supplied with the Cylcone. This holder is a simple, shaped, 1/4” metal bar that slides into receiving slots on either side of the machine. Tension on supply spools is provided by two spring-loaded locking nuts that secure to the 1/4” bar on either side of the spool. We found performance to be most consistent when the tension from these locking nuts was minimal and actual resistance on the spool was provided by our free hand. Otherwise, after several rotations, the lock nuts do begin to dig into plastic spools increasing tension and eventually locking the machine up. If the lock rings are too loose, however, and your free hand is not monitoring the bulk spool during rotation, the spool can over spin when you stop the motor spilling line off the spool in all directions.


What we would ideally like to see is some type of line counter / spool tension accessory added to the Cyclone along with an optional foot control pedal. The addition of these two items would move this machine right up there in features alongside the professional spooling stations costing anywhere from twice to four times as much as the Berkley Cyclone. Those machines possess huge footprints and are by no means as portable as this product.


Top Left and Right: Both the power supply and hand held, wired remote plug into the base station in conveniently located, out of the way locations. Bottom Left: The line stripping spool is held in place by two opposing brackets located on the face plate. Adjustment of these brackets is made by an allen-wrench type key visible in the upper left of this photo. Bottom Right: The line stripping spool conveniently stows away on the back side of the spooling station in it’s own little slot. To the right of the spool is visible, the right side receptacle for the bulk spool holder.

Line Stripping: Stripping of line is performed quickly and easily by the Cyclone. One improvement we’d like to see, however, is a faster, more convenient method of attaching the line from your reel to the stripping spool. Right now, this is accomplished either by tying the line to the spool similar to how one would start filling the line on a reel, or by pinching the line between the mounting brackets and the actual stripping spool itself. While hardly cumbersome, a small notch, slot or similar holding device on the stripping spool would greatly facilitate matters. The only thing to be cautious of when stripping line with this machine is to slow down and moderate the motor when all the line from your reel or spool is almost gone. Otherwise, if you’re not paying attention, the Cyclone will pull the reel right out of your hand and parts will be sent flying in all directions.


Another enhancement that would really make this machine great is if the stripping spool were able to mount onto the bulk spool holder itself so that one could easily re-use line that was stripped off of a reel. This would be a most exciting feature for those who like to change lines often experimenting with different brands, pound tests, or types of lines all together while not wanting to waste what they were using previously.


Power: We found the 12V motor of the Cyclone to provide plenty of torque and speed for the tasks at hand. We’ve used other consumer targeted spooling machines that were severely underpowered. So much so one could lock them up by simply grasping the rotating head or faceplate. The Cyclone offers no such lack in power. What’s more the machine spins true and easy with minimal vibration and no burning odor further speaking to the quality of construction.

The Berkley Cyclone Spooling Station comes in its very own carrying case for maximum portability

While we value the portability of this unit, we found it a little impractical to bring with us for single day trips. But, where we see a true value add is during extended vacations or tournaments where you might be away from home base and even a competent tackle shop for several days at a time. The simple fact that you can take this machine along with you on the boat and simply plug it into any 12V accessory outlet speaks to the versatility this tool possesses, and we think the folks at Berkley Fishing Products deserve bonus points for designing the unit with this portability in mind.



Berkley Cyclone Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly crafted with the consumer in mind with quality components throughout. 9
Performance Surprisingly effective for its size power source 8
Price Cost of ownership might be a bit daunting at first, but when compared to professional spooling stations, this unit is quite the bargain. 8
Features Providing the basics, this machine could greatly benefit from added features such as a spool tensioner / line counter device, standard or optional foot control, re-usable feature for line that has been stripped but is still in good shape, and a tool to guide line back and forth as you are spooling a reel. 7
Design (Ergonomics) A small footprint, convenient carrying case, portable construction, solidly crafted and highly adjustable components. Very well done. 9
Application Not quite large and powerful enough to service larger saltwater reels, but for freshwater reels, this machine is perfect. Any larger and the portability factor would be eliminated. 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J The power and capacity to spool any number of reels at your convenience L A little pricey
J Powerful and durable motor L No line counter
J High degree of adjustability for reels of varying sizes and configurations L Freshwater reels only
J Great portability L Bulk spool tension devices are not very effective

The consumer market has long been missing a tool such as this. Most consumer targeted spooling tools are make-shift devices mounted to your rod, held  between your feet, or clamped insecurely to a table. While fine for occasional use, most are limited to small size spools and do nothing to minimize line twist or provide proper tension – not to mention the difficulty in setting up for multiple reel runs. The Cyclone, by Berkley Fishing Products brings the power of local tackle shops into your home, boat or vehicle by providing the consumer with a real, solid state, and portable spooling machine. Although there are features and enhancements we’d like to see added to this device, it is the first real, widely available, and fully functional machine of its kind that we’ve seen on the market. As we mentioned in this article, if you look hard enough, there are one or two other products available but we’ve yet to find one that matches the quality and durability of the Berkley Cyclone.









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