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Reel Review


SPRO's Very Affordable Vortex-E Casting Reel


Date: 10/15/23
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: SPRO USA
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.67 - GOOD

As a company that is perhaps best originally known for their series of hollow body frogs, SPRO has been expanding on their versatility in recent years introducing new fishing line, terminal tackle, swimbaits, and tools. 2023 marks the year they complete the transition from a bait company to full blown creator of just about everything you need to go fishing with the introduction of their own rods and reels. Today's focus is on their brand new Vortex-E casting reel priced at just $89.99.


SPRO Vortex-E Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/120
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 13.7 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
10.5 - 25
11.5 - 28
Weight 7.9 oz
Spool Weight 17 g
Handle Length 90 mm
Bearings 3 + 1
Bearings per Knob 2 bushings
Levelwind Bearings 1 bushing
Rated Max Drag ~12lbs
Origin Made in China
MSRP $89.99

Introducing SPRO's Vortex-E casting reel

Impressions: There are many price points of entry for a manufacturer introducing a new line of fishing reels. Market reaction ultimately determines whether or not decisions were correct. The risk at coming in too low is the fishing public will not take you seriously. Too high and you'll be disregarded as greedy and overachieving. SPRO has chosen the former approach and are really keeping things rather simple with the Vortex-E. Their casting reel is available in both left and right hand retrieve and with just two options in retrieve ratio, 6.6:1 and 7.3:1. Really very standard, run of the mill specifications.


Sits pretty low on the rod


The reel itself has a comfortable, if not familiar shape and profile with lime green accents, a large 90mm length handle with big, oversized knobs made of a rubberized compound and shaped to welcome your grip. The reel's capacity is typical of a 100 sized reel with a spool rated to hold one hundred twenty yards of twelve pound nylon monofilament.

Braid plus a heavy leader and ready for some big bait duty

Real World Tests: I actually had two copies of this reel to test paring one with a matching SPRO Slayer B74MH casting rod and the other with the SPRO KGB collaboration swimbait stick made to fish with the popular SPRO KGB Chad Shad 180. Apparently, I've been on a recent kick of keeping my combos all in the same family of brands. That kick went sideways in this case though, when it came to spooling the Vortex-Es up with line. On one reel, I spooled Sunline's new Siglon AMZ braid in 50lb topped with a leader of 8lb Sunline FC Leader, and on the other I spooled Sunline's FX2 braid in 50lb topped with a leader of 18lb Sunline Shooter.

Brakes are simple, no nonsense magnets...

Casting: Removing the Vortex-E's non-handle sideplate reveals an array of five magnets that serve as the casting brakes for this reel. Degree of assistance is controlled via an easy to turn dial located on that non-handle sideplate. The majority of reels in the Vortex-E's price range have a similar braking system that for all intents and purposes is perfectly suitable for the great majority of bass fishing techniques. It's a no-nonsense, reliable, and very predictable braking system.

... and adjustable from the outside via this dial

Lure weight range for the Vortex-E comfortably begins at three eighths of an ounce (3/8oz) and up. My line strategy allowed me to get plenty of braid on the Vortex-E for use in casting that Chad Shad 180 which weighs almost two and a half ounces (~2.5oz) and the reel handled slinging duties for that bait perfectly fine. This is a very capable little reel.

Ready for some action

Retrieve: Click the handle over after your cast to engage that main gear reveals more, good, solid performance. SPRO uses a brass pinion and main gear to power the Vortex-E, so there's little to no grinding or geary feel in the retrieve and really nothing to raise any questions or second thoughts. In fact, while fishing that Chad Shad 180, I had to look down a few times to remind myself I was fishing such a small reel.

Bushings beneath those oversized knobs

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