Spincast Rods and Reels: Not Just for Kids

Don’t underestimate the number of anglers — adults included — who prefer simple spincast (push-button) reels with matching rods.

Spincast Rods and Reels: Not Just for Kids

Most anglers are introduced to fishing with either a cane pole or inexpensive fiberglass casting rod matched with a spincast (push-button) reel such as the iconic Zebco 33. While it’s true that avid anglers will quickly graduate to spinning or baitcasting combos, it’s a mistake to think your tackle shop should skimp on spincast offerings.

One of the top-selling fishing reels of all time, the Zebco 33.
One of the top-selling fishing reels of all time, the Zebco 33.

Today, perhaps more than any time in America’s history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new anglers of all ages are trying fishing for the first time — or at least for the first time in decades. Sure, these beginning anglers can master a spinning reel with a bit of practice and proper instruction from a patient teacher, but as we all know, sometimes the worst instructor is a spouse. For this reason, a simple spincast rod-and-reel combo is the perfect solution.

Many new anglers will make their first cast during summer 2020. Will you have a decent selection of spincast reels and rods available in your store and on your website?
Many new anglers will make their first cast during summer 2020. Will you have a decent selection of spincast reels and rods available in your store and on your website?

I was recently reminded of the value of a spincast system when I introduced a new angler to fishing. Claire had fished a couple times in her life, but it had been more than 10 years. And all of her previous fishing had been done with spincast gear.

While I own a couple dozen spinning and baitcasting combos, the only spincast outfit I had in the corner of my garage wasn’t functioning properly. It was a combo I’d purchased almost 15 years ago when my first son was 2. He’d used the Zebco combo a bunch up until age 12, with much of its use on the banks of a small local river for carp, suckers and catfish. I think part of the reason the spincast reel didn’t work correctly was the amount of dirt embedded in it! 

Claire picked up on the spinning reel concept fairly quickly, but I could certainly see that a spincast reel would’ve been much simpler and equally effective for casting small jigs under bobbers for panfish. Lesson learned.

The author’s fishing partner, Claire, with spring crappie caught during her first outing on a lake in more than a decade.
The author’s fishing partner, Claire, with spring crappie caught during her first outing on a lake in more than a decade.

As spring turns to summer in 2020, keep in mind that many new anglers will be shopping in your store — or perhaps ordering online and then picking up items curbside. Regardless, offer a decent selection of spincast outfits. The reels don’t vary much in size, but stock different powers when it comes to rods: ultra-light, medium-light and medium. The Zebco Z-Cast rod series is a good place to start. For spincast reels, look at Daiwa, Lew’s and Zebco.

Spincast reels and rods can be effective tools for species other than bluegills and crappies.  Matched with the right line, lures and/or live bait, they work well for bass, walleyes, pike and many other larger gamefish.
Spincast reels and rods can be effective tools for species other than bluegills and crappies. Matched with the right line, lures and/or live bait, they work well for bass, walleyes, pike and many other larger gamefish.


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