It’s pretty difficult to find a casting reel that can withstand the rigors of both fresh and saltwater fishing. I’ve had a lot of reels in the past that were advertised as “saltwater friendly”, only to seize up and corrode after my annual saltwater fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico.
For the last few months I’ve been using the Lew’s BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel and have been totally impressed by several of its features. I’ve used it for fishing topwaters, jigs and even finesse rigs with outstanding results.
Lew’s reels are quickly earning a reputation for being some of the most castable reels on the market and the BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel doesn’t disappoint by any means. I’ve used it in every situation imaginable and have been blown away by the results.
A lot of casting reels are very finicky and take a long time to tune to each angler’s preference. I can honestly say, however, that after several months of use I have had less than 5 backlashes with this reel. It features an externally adjustable braking system as well as an adjustable centrifugal brake, allowing for very small adjustments on the fly. If there’s no wind, you can back off the brakes for super long casts or easily increase your brake settings to avoid backlashes in a stiff wind or with lightweight lures.
In addition to its excellent castability, the BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel is very quiet. I have some reels that “whine” when you try to make a long cast, but this reel is very quiet and smooth throughout both the cast and retrieve.
Drag ‘em out of the thick stuff
The drag on the BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel is beastly, to say the least. I used this reel on a recent trip to Lake Guntersville while flipping big jigs into deep vegetation and I was able to wrench 5-pounders out of the slop with no problem at all.
I like to tighten the drag of my casting reels as much as possible in order to give myself more control over the fish. Upon a big hookset, you won’t notice any type of drag slippage with this reel. Even when you’re stuck on a log or a dock and pulling as hard as you can, the drag won’t give up. There have been several instances in which I’ve actually pulled my 21-foot boat to the cover on which I was caught on—that’s pretty darn impressive if you ask me.
This reel also has a stainless steel crank shaft and a 95-millimeter bowed aluminum cranking handle that gives you plenty of leverage when you’re cranking on a big bass. I’ve been using the 6.4:1 gear ratio model and haven’t had any fish wrap me around cover—after a few hard cranks of the handle, they’re ready to land.
I did a little experiment with this reel a few weeks ago. I had been hearing so much about its durability and smoothness that I decided to leave it outside, on my front deck, in a two-day rainstorm.
I’ve inadvertently left reels outside in inclement weather in the past which resulted in an awful decrease in performance, but I was very pleased with what I found this time. The reel performed like brand new—the spool engaged nicely, it reeled like butter and there was no noticeable increase in unwanted friction whatsoever.
When you’re on the water with the BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel, you’ll notice an extremely smooth retrieve, regardless of the application. The oversized rubber paddle handles make it easy to crank at high speeds, whether you’re burning a squarebill through cover or fighting to keep a bass away from a cross beam.
Works with all line types
Some reels seem to hate fluorocarbon while other reels seem to have an issue with braided line. If you’re an angler on a budget, it’s important to find a reel that can handle each type of line in order to increase its versatility.
I’ve tested the BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel with 12-pound monofilament, 17-pound fluorocarbon and 30 and 50-pound braid with great results. The aluminum spool promotes excellent line management and the line lies flat on the spool every time.
When using it with braided line for topwater fishing, I haven’t had any problems with the line digging into itself and I didn’t need to use any tape or special knots when spooling.
Strategic drain placement
The diecast Aluminum frame of the BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel has three external drain ports located in strategic positions. This allows you to rinse it with fresh water after saltwater use to avoid any type of salt buildup or corrosion. Because the ports drain every bit of the water, you don’t have to worry about unwanted water collection or corrosion.
If you’re looking for a beast-of-a-reel that will work for every application under the sun, I recommend looking at the Lew’s BB-1 Inshore Speed Spool Casting Reel. Priced at $199.99, whether you’re a finesse angler or power angler, you’ll be able to put it to good use throughout the entire year.