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Reel Review

The Speed Spool returns – Lew’s Tournament Pro baitcaster


Date: 5/1/11
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Lew's
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.58 - BEST VALUE AWARD!

Introduction: The Speed Spool series returns with four new reels from legendary tackle manufacturer, Lew’s. We take a look at the Tournament Pro, an aggressively priced fully featured baitcaster that is designed to address the needs of both weekend warriors and professional anglers. Does this new baitcaster have what it takes to introduce a new generation of anglers to the brand?


Lew's Tournament Pro Speed Spool Baitcaster Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 12/120
Gear Ratio 6.4:1
Line retrieve per crank 28 inches
Weight 6.7 oz
Bearings 10BB, 1RB
Additional Features Aluminum frame, machined duralumin drilled and anodized spool and gear system, ZeroReverse one way clutch bearing, audible click drag and spool tension knob, external lube port, titanium coasted zirconia line guide
Origin Korea
MSRP $199.99 (We found it for $179.99 online)


The Lew's Speed Spool series is back


Impressions: Lew’s has a long and storied history going back all the way to the 1940’s when Lew Childress was unhappy with the inconstancies from one bamboo pole to the next and soon after began experimenting with his own homegrown bamboo to design superior products. He tested different cuts and how to best temper the poles so they would better keep their shape. At the time is was difficult to obtain a quality supply of bamboo in the US so he traveled to Japan where he met a number of partners, including Fuji, which was specializing in rod components. Lew and Fuji formed a friendship and partnership that brought many components which anglers had never seen before to the American market.


We take a look at the Tournament Pro Speed Spool baitcaster


Lew’s bamboo pole business thrived and over the years the team has been involved in many innovations including introductions with Fuji that included hand carving concept rod grips that were ultimately made by Fuji.  By 1970, anglers had access to a robust line of casting rods with the Lew’s/Fuji handle, performance-rated blanks, non-welded guides, and aluminum oxide guide rings.


The reel features an externally adjustable dual magnetic/centrifugal cast control system


At this time the company also really started to become a player in the reel market with the Lew’s Speed Spool baitcaster. At the time the reel was viewed as oddly shaped but few could dispute just how well the reel casted. Domestic anglers quickly grew fond of the reel’s low profile, narrow spool, and fully disengaging levelwind. Unfortunately just as the business was ramping Lew, an experienced pilot, was killed in a plane crash in 1977, but his two passengers survived, one of which was his son Casey.


The reel is inspected in the lab


By this period the entire family was involved in the business and Casey pulled everyone together to drive forward. Today the Lew’s brand is under the ownership of Do Outdoors Inc. and Lynn Reeves, a longtime family friend of the Childre family.


The Tournament Pro features an aluminum frame and graphite sideplates


While a new BB1 reel is in the works for later this year, Lew's initial product lineup consists of four baitcast and two spinning reel series, ranging in price from $49 - $249, and four new series of rods with price points from $69 - $239. The four Speed Spool baitcasters feature very similar profiles and differ from one another in feature-set, bearing count, finish, and quality of materials used.


The reel has an external lube port for easy oiling of the main gearing

Next Section: Kicking off the real world tests









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