There’s always a lot of talk about bass fishing reels in the $120 price range. This seems to be the sweet spot for both anglers and manufacturers alike. That’s why I put so much time into testing the Lew’s Mach I Speed Spool. I figured if it passed my tests, it was certainly something our readers would be interested in.
I’ve used it for several months for my bottom-contact presentations such as Texas rigs, jigs and Carolina rigs. I’ve beat it up, left it outside and caught a lot of nice bass with it.
Below are my thoughts on this reel.
The Lew’s Mach I Speed Spool Casting Reel is a high-speed, 7.1:1 gear ratio reel that’s designed to be a workhorse reel. It also has smooth a 9+1 bearing system and a one-piece graphite frame which aids in weightlessness. Weighing in a 7.5 ounces, it’s not the lightest reel you’ll find on the market, but it’s still plenty comfortable to use for an extended period of time.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature of this reel is the white and bright green color scheme. It may be a little edgy for the traditionalist, but let’s face it; this is a hot color option these days that attracts a lot of anglers. The exterior has a matte finish which is a little less flashy, but I really like it because it conceals boat rash and small scratches quite well. Lots of anglers sell their reels each year in order to upgrade and this exterior durability may help resale value.
Other features include an external magnetic braking system, a 10-pound multi-disc max drag and a zirconia line guide. Anglers will also enjoy the 95mm bowed handle with the popular Lew’s custom paddle knobs.
Now let’s get down to my experiences with this reel.
This reel is just as castable as most high-dollar reels in my collection. It may take a few more casts to get completely dialed in, but its casting distance is excellent once this process is complete. I’ve made long casts with it to open water and skipped a lot of jigs and soft plastics and thus far, I have zero complaints in regards to its castability. Very impressive, in my opinion.
It’s only available in a 7.1:1 gear ratio, so I could certainly recommend it for pitching, flipping and frogging. It handles both braid and fluorocarbon exceptionally well and I’ve experienced no line management issues throughout my testing. I’d be interested to see if Lew’s will eventually expand this Mach I lineup to perhaps include a 5.4:1 and a 6.3:1 gear ratio to service anglers looking for reaction-lure reels.
As always, the paddle knobs on this reel are quite helpful when executing abrupt hooksets with bottom-contact presentations. Your hand will rarely slip off, even when wet, so you can save your knuckles from crunching into the drag star.
The retrieve is smooth for a $119.99 reel and is certainly no cause for concern. It is, however, noisier than some of my other Lew’s reels, but it doesn’t seem to negatively affect the performance.
This is a solid purchase for the price point. You may not be blown away by its weightlessness, but it absolutely stands toe-to-toe with other reels in this price point. I have been quite happy with its performance and castability, and I think other anglers will agree with my assessment.