I’ll come out of the gate right now and admit that it’s tough to find a quality spinning reel for under $100. You can find a few that’ll work for some situations but if you finesse fish frequently, it’s mighty hard to find a good reel for a decent price. Every time I get my hands on a new, well-priced spinning reel, I make sure to put it through its paces and see if it can hold up to the rigors of bass fishing.
I’ve been fishing with the 13 Fishing Kalon C Spinning Reel for the past several months and it’s one of the better spinning reels I’ve tested under $100. I’m a big wacky rig guy, so I’ve certainly skipped a lot of docks with it but I’ve also used it to make longer casts to deep brush with shaky heads in these hot summer conditions. It has performed wonderfully in every situation I’ve put it in and I can guarantee you it will be rigged and in my boat at all times throughout the rest of the year.
Let’s run through the highlights of this reel and as you read this, don’t let the affordable price tag mess with your head.
Is this drag going to perform like some of those $700 reels out there? Probably not. But if you’re a normal person looking for something that’ll work well for wacky rigs, shaky heads, weightless soft plastics and things like that, I think you’re going to be very pleased with this reel. I’ve hooked a bunch of bass with this reel throughout my testing and have purposely played ‘em a lot at the side of my boat; I want to see how this drag reacts to sudden surges and what not.
Long story short, I’ve been very happy with the performance of this drag system. It dispenses line smoothly and there are absolutely zero “catches” or surges while you’re fighting a fish. I would have full confidence to fish a big-money tournament with this reel. That’s saying a lot because as I mentioned earlier, it really is a booger to find a quality spinning reel in this price range.
I know it might kind of a weird thing to point out about a reel, but the 13 Fishing Kalon C Spinning Reel has a somewhat oversized paddle handle that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s not obnoxiously big to the point that it adds a bunch of awkward weight. It’s just big enough to allow you to “find” the handle if you get an unexpected bite. The material is tacky and sheds water and fish slime very well.
I’ve tested a bunch of spinning reels in the sub-$100 range and my biggest sticking point has always been the lack of smoothness. You don’t want to hear your reel throughout the retrieve and you certainly don’t want it to sound like a coffee grinder.
When you’re fishing this reel, you don’t hear any noise. There’s no grinding, squeaking or anything of the sort. You’ll enjoy an exceptionally smooth retrieve that you might expect from a much more expensive spinning reel. If you were to blindfold me and have me fish this reel, I would expect it to cost a lot more than it actually does.
I used this reel with braided line, monofilament and fluorocarbon. It handled each line type wonderfully and I didn’t have a single issue with line management. I was most interested in the fluorocarbon test because as you probably know, it can be a nightmare on spinning reels. But man, this reel handled it great. I didn’t experience any looping or random tangles. The line comes off the spool smoothly and allows for both long and short skip casts.
If you’re a regular person who likes to throw some finesse rigs every now and again, I’d absolutely recommend this reel. Heck, even if finesse fishing is one of your favorite things, I certainly wouldn’t sway you from this reel. I’ve been very impressed by it and honestly wouldn’t mind having a few more. Don’t let the affordable price scare you away; this is one you’d be proud to have in your collection.