Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Reel Review

Redefining a Classic, the Lew’s BB1 Baitcaster (continued)


Ergonomics: The standard BB1 weighs in at only 7.1oz. and the multi-stop anti-reverse models weigh in just .1oz. heavier. All of these reels share the same profile which I found very comfortable to palm. The non handle sideplate feels natural in hand, and while the gold badge is cool an externally adjustable system would be even cooler. Just a month ago at ICAST 2013 Lew’s did exactly that, and unveiled the BB1 Inshore and BB1 Pro, both with externally adjustable cast controls.


The BB1 paired with a Loomis Edge Rod


Lew’s doesn’t skimp on the clickies and all of the knobs including the spool tension knob have audible micro-click adjustment, something not always found on reels of this price point anymore. The BB1 also features a bowed handle design and rather flat looking soft-touch knobs that provide plenty of surface area for really cranking down on the reel. These knobs also stay relatively tactile even when wet.


Application Ratings for BB1

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Even the spool tension knob has a audible micro click adjustment


Price and Applications: The BB1 comes in many different flavors and yet each and every model retails for the reasonable price of $159.99. When compared with the competition this reel matches up with other mainstream reels like the Shimano Curado G, Daiwa Lexa, Abu Garcia Revo SX, and Quantum Energy. The Daiwa Tatula retailing for 10 dollars cheaper is also a new competitor in this mainstream workhorse segment. Compared with all these reels the BB1 not only can hold its own but represents one of the best overall packages when it comes to smooth retrieve, low overall weight and overall refinement.


Need a quick tune up? The BB1 has a maintenance port under the gearbox


This reel may be pigeonholed by some as a great cranking reel due to the BB1’s pedigree but it can and should be used for so much more. With a complete range of retrieve ratios and a quality drag system this reel can be employed for everything from tossing reaction baits to finesse fishing with fluorocarbon, and there is nothing stopping this reel from being utilized in light inshore applications as well. 


The BB1 is good for cranking but can do so much more


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):

Lew's BB1 Speed Spool Casting Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A quality frame made out of aluminum and even though the sideplates are composite the tolerances are very good. The knobs are excellent and the use of metal throughout the reel components is a plus, there is no skimping on the "clickies" here 8.5
Performance Great overall performance. The BB1 excels at long distance casting but is also good at general casting applications as well. The zero anti reverse versions exhibit a unique feel when there is pressure on the line 8.4
Price This price point is extremely crowded but the BB1 definitely has what it takes to compete 8.8
Features The BB1 is more about refinement of a quality design than groundbreaking features. The reel doesn't have an externally adjustable cast control but the new Pro version will 7.8
Design (Ergonomics) Great overall ergonomics. This reel is comfortable to palm, reasonably lightweight and the grips feel great. Again the only major improvement in ergonomics would be the ability to adjust the cast control without taking down the sideplate 8
Application This reel will probably find the most use as a cranking reel, especially the lower speed models but make no mistake this series is good for so much more and is a great choice for an overall workhorse reel in your arsenal 8.4

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

+ Excellent long distance casting - The badge on the side looks cool but an externally adjustable cast control system would make on the fly changes quicker
+ Multiple models available. There is a standard model and a zero anti reverse model for fans of the classic - The zero anti-reverse isn't for everyone, but give it a try and you might just be surprised. I was.
+ Very good overall ergonomics  
+ Like the badge says "Lighter, Faster, Stronger"  
+ Great overall value  

Conclusion: So does the BB1 live up to the legend? Yes. But maybe not in the ways you might think. In no way is the new BB1 as innovative as the original as at the time, but when you look at how far Lew’s has taken the performance, refinement and feature-set while keeping the price very reasonable there is no doubt that they have done the legacy proud. I compare the BB1 to a ford Mustang. The original pony car is a legend and while the modern day Mustangs barely resemble the original they still carry that same DNA when it comes to design priorities and subtle attributes that link them to the past.


The new BB1 lives up the legacy and is a great choice for a reasonably priced workhorse reel


Lew’s wanted to make the new BB1 excellent casters and very reliable and they succeeded. The company also stayed true to the die-hard cranking purists like David Fritts by releasing zero anti-reverse models. This was a risk as many modern anglers simply won’t understand or appreciate the benefits of this design. Lew’s should be applauded for giving anglers more choices and when compared to other reels that seem to continue to downgrade materials at this highly competitive price point the BB1 is a force to be reckoned with, delivering the kind of performance and quality that anglers should expect in a mid-range workhorse reel. When it comes to mainstream reels the BB1 delivers in so many key areas and we look forward to seeing how the new Pro Model further cranks it up, but for now the BB1 is a worthy recipient of our “Best Value” Award and should definitely be on your short list at the $159 dollar price point.


Looking for the Lew's BB1 Reels? Try Tackle Warehouse.









Copyright © 2000-2023 TackleTour LLC All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy information