I’ve had some time to fish the new 13 Fishing Inception Sport Z baitcaster this spring. It was announced this winter and I’ve been wanting to see how the lower price point reel in their Z lineup fished. Here are my experiences with this new fishing reel for anglers shopping in the $150 price point.
Small form factor
The 13 Fishing Inception Sport Z has a small form factor which makes it very comfortable to fish all day. The lime green color makes this an eye-catching option for anglers that like the flash and flare. But 13 Fishing packed a lot of features into this more affordable Zero Bearing technology baitcaster.
The Sport Z reel offers 7 bearings (2 CZB, 5 SSBB), 7.3:1 gear ratio in both left and right options with 18 pounds of drag and large precision cut gearing and large handle and beetle wing easy access plate to set your braking options. It additionally features an Ocean Armor 2 coating making it good for fresh and salt fishing applications.
Hook hanger idea is smart
One of my favorite features on this reel is the hook hanger on the top of the frame. I always hook lures there on my reels. Now you can hook lures to the top of your reel without scuffing up the reel’s finish or putting a jagged edge on the reel.
The thumb bar on the Sport Z works well and stayed solid over the last couple of months of use. The tension knob offers micro adjustments to dial in the casting on this reel.
Very good line management
The casting and retrieve performance on the Inception Sport Z has been probably the most impressive feature on this new mid-tier baitcaster. The line management is first rate with their Arrow line guide. This reel casts impressively. I actually like the way this reel handles better than the original Z. Maybe it just fits my style of fishing better, but I have been very happy with the distance and accuracy afforded by the good line management and free spinning spool on this reel.
The Sport Z can skip, pitch, and bomb long casts equally well. And the retrieve has been really smooth. It has loosened up a bit in my couple months of using it. But it has not gotten overly sloppy with too much play in the fight. I actually think it’s casting better now than when I first started using it.
Matte finish and solid frame
fThe bright green on the Sport Z is married to a matte finish. It’s not glossy like the original Concept Z reel. The matte finish has not shown any signs of chipping, so I think the finish might be a little more durable in that regard. It will get scuffs on it from boat rash because of the nature of a matte finish. But I have been able to just rub them off thus far.
The reel feels solid in your hand. Partially because it’s not slick but also because it has a little weight to it comparatively speaking. It’s still only 6.7 ounces so again it’s relative to what you compare it to.
Good overall operation
I think the Sport Z is a good reel at the $150 price point. It has solid drag power for wrenching on fish in heavy cover. But it also handles casting, skipping and pitching lighter baits regardless of the technique or situation.
Very good micro adjustments throughout the reel with easy access to the brake control inside the side plate. The handle is strong and handled a lot of torque while wrenching on fish buried up in heavy cover with the high water we have had this spring.
I have had some good fish on this reel already in some of the most demanding situations on a reel, i.e. flipping into dense woody cover and having to pull fish out and up and over log jams and thick willow bushes.
I’ve pitched baits as light as 1/4 ounce with it and thrown swimbaits up to 1 ounce on it without issue.