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Reel Review

The Speed Spool returns – Lew’s Tournament Pro baitcaster (continued)


Price and Applications: The Lew’s Tournament Pro is available at Tackle Warehouse for 199.99 and the primary competition for this reel is the venerable Shimano Curado 200E which retails for the same price, the Abu Garcia SX and STX reels that are 30 dollars less and 40 dollars more respectively, and the increasingly popular Quantum Smoke 100 which retails for the same amount. The Curado is the most popular of these competitors but the Quantum Smoke probably represents the biggest competition as it features an all aluminum construction and is ultra light at only 6.2oz.


...to reveal the cast control system which features both magnets...


Based on the balance of specifications and price I believe the Tournament Pro is probably the sweet spot in the company’s lineup. The Lew’s “Team” reel features very similar specifications as the Tournament Pro but has a silver titanium deposition coating with red highlights, and while it is certainly a lot flashier it also retails for seventy dollars more.


...and centrifugal weights


Below the Tournament Pro the “Tournament” reel is 40 dollars cheaper but does not have the carbon fiber handle and weighs 2.4oz. more. The standard “Speed Spool” lacks some of the refinement of the other reels and weighs in at a very reasonable 8.1oz. but is very aggressively priced at only $89.99. This reel represents the workhorse reel of the bunch and on paper the reel may not be as feature rich but it definitely looks like a great value.


All the adjustment knobs feature audible clicking mechanisms


The Tournament Pro 6.4:1 reel is available in both right and left hand retrieve and the faster 7.1:1 is currently available in right handed models. This series of reels blends both power and refinement into a reel that is well suited for both power and finesse fishing techniques. We pitted these reels up against both Peacock and Smallmouth bass and not only did these reel’s survive, they excelled.  


Overall the Tournament Pro is an impressive new reel for under 200 dollars


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 Tournament Pro Speed Spool Baitcaster Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Tournament Pro makes use of good overall materials including an aluminum frame. Though the sideplates are graphite they do the job nicely. The carbon handle is a nice touch but the Lew's decal comes off easily 8
Performance The reel performed very well in terms of casting and smooth retrieve. The drag delivers excellent max pressure but had a slightly hesitant start up at certain max settings 8.5
Price The Tournament Pro is reasonably priced at $199.99 (used to be even more aggressively priced at $179.99 until around Jan 2012) and delivers on both features and performance at this price point 8.5
Features A well rounded reel that has all the clickies. The external MBS cast control is a nice addition as is the carbon fiber handle which helps reduce the reel's overall weight 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Excellent ergonomics, this reel is lightweight and palms beautifully 9
Application Good for the complete range of freshwater applications, this small lightweight reel proved it could handle powerful species as well as lightweight finesse applications 9

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

+ Good at casting both lightweight and heavy baits - Drag is powerful but could be more refined at the top end pressure settings
+ Very smooth retrieve  
+ Powerful drag  
+ Excellent ergonomics  
+ Great balance of performance for the price  


Conclusion: Lew’s has a long history but will have to work hard to garner interest from younger anglers that have grown up fishing other brands. The good news for the company is that it has kicked things back up again with quality reel offerings and the Tournament Pro is absolutely worthy of representing the storied history of the brand.


The reel is manufactured in Korea


The only issue we had with the Tournament Pro was the slightly hesitant drag startup in certain extreme drag settings and while this proved to be a replicable issue in the lab it really was a corner case that most anglers will never see. The drag’s sheer stopping power helped move this reel back up in the ratings, as did the rest of the metrics including performance, refinement, durability, and excellent ergonomics. 


The Tournament Pro feels equally at home working finesse jigs for smallies and casting Woodchoppers for Peacock Bass


Lew’s did a great job with the Tournament Pro and few reels can match this baitcaster when it comes to overall performance at the 199.99 dollar price point making it a “Best Value” for anglers looking for a quality baitcaster with plenty of refinement and robust features. The Tournament Pro signals the return of Lew’s to the reel market and we can’t wait to see what the brand has in store for anglers in the coming seasons. 


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