Reels are simply better now. Time will tell if they withstand the wear and tear of a lifetime of angling adventures like the old Abu Garcia 4600 or a Lew’s BB1N, but generally speaking, they are better. They are lighter, more compact and smoother. They have better gearing and materials, and they cast further with less effort. Reels have caught up with space-age technology, and to be honest, we like the look and feel of the reels we are seeing now.
For most of this year, we have had the opportunity to test an assortment of Lew’s Reels. The Team Lew’s Speed Spool TL1H reel is the latest to go under the microscope. We have used it on various rods but settled on both the St.Croix Legend Xtreme and the Kistler LTA 7-footers for topwater fishing for our recent tests as both rods balanced nicely with the reel.
We fished a Rapala X-Rap Pop and a Cotton Cordell Boy Howdy, respectively, in our tests. We feel very confident that this reel will pass the test of time, and durability will never be an issue. Although we fished topwater for our tests, this reel would be perfect for flipping and pitching, spinnerbaits and dragging a jig or a big worm. The 6.4:1 gear ratio is a perfect middle-of-the-road retrieve speed for all of these applications making this a very good all around choice. This is one finely tuned instrument of angling.
The Team Lew’s Speed Spool feels sturdy due to its one piece aluminum frame and weight but isn’t too heavy at 7.1 ounces. The cosmetics are sweet with the titanium deposition finish. It features a carbon fiber handle and red piping that really sets the detail off. This reel looks sweet, but the attention to detail internally is the differentiator.
The Team Lew’s Speed Spool TL1H doesn’t stop with the way it looks on the outside. It’s a Mercedes with a heavy duty truck chassis. Built with 11 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings, the reel flows smoothly and quietly when cast. The small profile is perfect for both regular and micro-guided rods and can be palmed comfortably even by anglers with small hands. The side plate is easily removed for adjustments to brakes, and it has a carbon composite drag system which means it’s very smooth as well.
The precision in the design and build of this reel is hard to beat. Simply put: it’s the great components and workmanship combined in one product. The aircraft grade Duralumin spool, drive gear, crankshaft and worm gear all work like a finely tuned watch. There is no slop. Catching topwater fish on a Rapala X-Rap Pop takes long casts and quick engagement, and the Team Lew’s Speed Spool was up to the challenge.
There were no corners cut on this reel, and we recommend it’s a purchase for both durability and dependability. We believe this is one fine reel with top-of-the-line components that fit the price of $279.99.
MODEL RETRIEVE BEARINGS GEAR RATIO IPT* LINE CAP.* MAX DRAG WEIGHT MSRP
TL1H RH* 10+1 6.4:1 28 120/12 14 lbs. 7.1 oz. $279.99
*IPT = Inches Per Turn, Line Cap. = Line Capacity (yards/lbs.), RH = Right Hand