The newest trend of ultra low-profile casting reels has been an up-and-down ride for me, to be honest. I’ve tested most of the newest models over the past few years and have had very mixed opinions. Most of them are definitely lightweight, but very few have the “guts” I expect in an expensive reel. If someone is paying a bunch of money for a casting reel, it should be near-perfect.
With all of that being said, I’ve had an opportunity to test the Team Lew’s Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP for the past few months. Weighing only 5.1 ounces and boasting an ultra-slim frame, it’s the smallest and lightest casting reel in the Lew’s lineup. Thankfully, it also has more than enough shoulders for heavy cover, close combat bass fishing.
I’ll explain the most noteworthy features of this high-end casting reel.
First things first: It’s the lightest Lew’s reel yet
When you put the Team Lew’s Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP in your hand for the first time, you’ll immediately notice its weightlessness. As earlier mentioned, it’s 5.1 ounces and the frame is quite small, but don’t mistake its subtle profile for weakness. This reel can handle just about anything you put it through.
Featuring a sturdy, one-piece Magnesium frame and C45 Carbon side plates, you won’t feel any flex in the frame of this reel, even under a heavy load. A large part of the weight reduction actually comes from the new spool design, which is pictured above. It’s made from aircraft-grade duralumin, which increases its strength and longevity while decreasing the overall weight of the reel.
This is certainly one of the more comfortable reels I’ve tested in recent years. I was actually pretty surprised how noticeable the weight difference was when compared to some of my other casting reels in the 6-ounce range. It might sound like I’m splitting hairs, but you’ll absolutely be able to tell the difference. It balances most rods quite nicely and makes those long days on the water even more enjoyable. I’ve been really impressed by the way it makes your rod and reel feel like one, cohesive unit.
Plenty of drag for all situations
This has often been my biggest gripe when testing these ultra low-profile reels: The drag systems often aren’t up to par. I can’t tell you how many similar reels I’ve tested that will slip 2 to 3 inches on the hookset, even with the drag cinched all the way down. With the way I fish, I don’t think that’s acceptable.
The Team Lew’s Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP has a carbon fiber drag system that kicks out a hefty 20 pounds of drag. I always keep my drag cinched down regardless of the technique, so this is a big deal for me. I can set the hook in the middle of a grass mat and this reel won’t budge a single centimeter, which helps me take control of the fight from the second I set the hook.
I realize not everyone keeps their drag cinched down, so I did loosen it for some of my testing in order to test its smoothness. It dispenses line beautifully with practically no surging, even when a bass makes an unexpected boat-side run. If you’ve been burned before by the drag on similar ultra low-profile reels, you’ll quickly gain a strong confidence in this reel.
Crazy casting distance
I’m not very good at estimating distances, but I can comfortably say that you’ll probably out-cast your buddies with this reel. I’ve tested it with weightless soft plastics, lightweight crankbaits and everything in between and have been incredibly impressed by its casting distance. I even had a stranger troll up to me on the water and ask which reel I was using: He said I was pitching further than he can cast.
The 4-pin, 27-position SpeedCast Adjustable Centrifugal Braking system makes quick lure changes a breeze, too. This isn’t a temperamental reel by any stretch of the imagination. Just one or two quick “test casts” and you’ll be able to enjoy backlash-free casting with just about any lure in your boat.
The handle and knob combination is excellent
I’ve become a big fan of oversized casting reel handles, so I was glad to see that Lew’s put a 95mm carbon fiber handle on this reel. It gives you just a bit more leverage, especially when you’re fishing bottom-contact techniques such as jigs and Texas rigs.
The handle knobs may take a little getting used to if you’re accustomed to paddle knobs, but after a few hours you’ll be right at home. The Team Lew’s Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP is outfitted with Winn Dri-Tac knobs that provide outstanding grip, even when your hands are covered in water or fish slime. They have a very tacky feel to them, which I have found especially useful when making abrupt hooksets. Some handle knobs don’t have quite enough grip, which has resulted in a few bloody knuckles for me after smashing ’em into the drag star. You won’t have that problem with this reel.
The Speed Dial is always a welcomed addition
I’ve tested a few Lew’s reels with the Speed Dial line indicator and I can’t emphasize enough how convenient it is. On the face of the tension knob, you’re able to select between three line types (monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid) and choose the pound-test that’s currently on the reel. I used to make spreadsheets so I could remember which line was on which reel, but all of that seems so silly now. If you have a lot of reels in your garage or boat, this is a great little tool that’ll certainly save you some hassle when you’re rigging your gear.
Speed Keeper keeps scratches away
I have a bunch of buddies who sell their reels every few years so they can upgrade to the newest models. If you repeatedly clip lures to the face of your reel, you’re going to end up with a bunch of scratches which, of course, significantly hurt your resale value. The Speed Keeper fixes that problem.
It’s going to take a while to get in the habit of using this integrated hook keeper, but I think people will find it to be a very practical addition. When you’re fishing with the reel, you can stow it and you’ll never know it’s there.
Available at Tackle Warehouse
If you’re considering a high-end casting reel to add to your current lineup, this one deserves careful consideration. It has the shoulders to handle abuse and the casting distance is something to behold. And for you lefties out there, both the 7.5:1 and 8.3:1 gear ratios come in left-handed models.