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Reel Review

Compact and Strong: The Lew's Super Duty SD1H Baitcaster


Date: 12/4/13
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Lew's
Reviewer: Wolbugger

Total Score: 8.15 - GREAT

Lew's sure has come a long way recently since the late founder Lew Childre began offering rods and reels over 40 years ago. I still remember seeing their old casting reels in catalogs and being used by David Fritts on television. While those old reels were popular among anglers, their design was undoubtedly old fashioned and never really appealed to me. Fast forward to present day, and the lineup of Lew's reels are compact, attractive, and come equipped with nice features. In my over 20 years of fishing I have fished countless reel brands, but never a Lew's. That all changed when I had the opportunity to test the new Super Duty model SD1H casting reel. There has been a good amount of buzz regarding the refreshed lineup, so I was excited to see if it was indeed the truth or nothing but a bunch of bologna. Let's dive in as I give my impressions on this slick reel!


Lew's Super Duty SD1H Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12/150 (mono) 30/160 (braid)
Gear Ratio 6.4:1 (5.4:1 and 7.1:1 also available)
Inches Per Turn (IPT) 28 inches
Measured Weight 8.0 ounces (measured)
Measured Max. Drag 11.9 lbs measured max drag
Spool Weight 21 Grams
Number of Bearings 10+1
Origin Korea
MSRP $179.99

Quality/Construction: From afar, the Super Duty appears to be a well-made reel, and up close the quality doesn't disappoint. The reel utilizes an aluminum frame, aluminum handle-side plate, and a graphite outer side plate. The majority of the finish is smooth and free of cosmetic flaws. On the bottom of the reel adjacent to the foot, I found a couple faint lines and one minuscule little surface imperfection, but this is really nit-picking on my part as those things were barely noticeable and out of view when mounted on a rod. All the reel tolerances are tight, and there's no flexing or movement apparent. Overall, the quality of construction surely won't disappoint.

The reel matches up well to a stealthy rod like the Phenix Recon 2

The 95mm swept and ported handle is gloss black and features the familiar Lew's flat paddle knobs. There is the slightest hint of handle back play at the lower range of drag settings, but that goes away as tension is increased.  Like the body, the handle assembly feels strong overall and ready to do battle.

The Super Duty on the California Delta.

Quality Ratings for Lew's Super Duty SD1H

Finish (1-5)
Construction Tolerances (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Performance: The Lew's Super Duty SD1H filled vacant reel seats on the Megabass Orochi XX Extreme Mission Type-F, Phenix Recon 2 PHX-C766H, and a prototype Airrus Stargate. I used it solely with 40lb Sufix braided line. This is supposedly a heavy duty reel after all!

A compact body, and long handle for supreme leverage

Retrieve: The Super Duty is equipped with a modest 6.4:1 gear ratio. The reel has ample power for fishing very water-resistant or heavy baits, however retrieving them in isn't quite as effortless as it would be using a reel with lower gearing. The SD1S Super Duty model with it's 5.4:1 gearing would likely be the real powerhouse in the lineup if looking for a serious tool for deep cranks and the like.

The main drive gear and pinion gear meet

Nonetheless, this is a great choice if you are willing to give up a touch of power in favor of versatility. Turning the handle is indeed a pleasant experience. The retrieve is smooth and refined, with a solid feel. Don't you just hate reels that feel weak, sloppy, and disconnected? Those sensations are absent here.

Sweet Drag Performance for Lew's Super Duty SD1H (~2.25 turns to lockdown)


Full Turn

 Full +2

 Full +4

Full +6




Avg % Change













Biggest Drop






Change in Startup vs. Sustained













Biggest Drop From Sustained













Drag: The Super Duty SD1H was able to achieve 11.9 lbs of drag pressure on our machine. At lower drag settings, the drag is quite smooth and consistent. At higher settings it does lose some consistency, and as you can see by the chart below the line becomes erratic at the highest mark. It's not what I'd classify as a “jerky” drag by any means, but you'll definitely feel the bumps and irregularities, most notably when pulling line off slowly.

Power: The reel feels plenty capable, but as I mentioned, the Super Duty SD1S model with the 5.4:1 ratio is likely the one you'll want for the most extreme cranking torque. Though not THE total powerhouse in the series, this SD1H model with it's high strength brass gearing performs admirably with a variety of baits. Deep diving cranks are reeled in with relative ease, and the large handles help you gain extra winching power and reduce fatigue. What makes the 6.4:1 ratio of this reel so nice is that it's speed is more versatile for other applications, yet it still retains enough power to wind in bulkier baits.

The drag stack consists of carbon composite and metal washers

Casting Range: This reel continues to delight me with it's casting performance. It's by no means a Steez (my favorite casting reel), but I find it extremely easy to quickly dial in for whatever bait I'm using. For your average offerings ranging from Senkos to medium swimbaits it handles them all quite well, even with the somewhat hefty 40lb braided line. The spool is a bit deeper than many reels nowadays, but that makes it perfect for casting far with heavier line. While it throws quite well, because of the deep spool don't expect it to have extreme performance when casting or pitching the lightest baits.

Inside the outer side plate and the MCS

Next Section: Super Duty Performance Ratings









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