If I’m really honest, we’ve always struggled to sell Spro reels in the shop. Previously, when you picked them up side by side with a Shimano (or whatever), the Spro model always felt heavy in comparison. No matter how smooth they might have felt, weight is a vitally important factor when customers are physically handling and comparing reels before making a purchase. Buying blind too, we sell far more Shimano and Daiwa reels than anything else we have ever stocked – just because they’re names that people know they can trust in. Buying something that you just don’t know much about, or haven’t read positive reviews for, just isn’t something that people do all that often. It’s the same across the board with all kinds of products really. Sometimes it’s a shame because while I may have tracked down or found a new product that I think is amazing, it can sometimes take customers a year or more to twig that something really is worth giving a go. The brilliant OSP DoLive stick (soft lures) is one example. We’ve stocked them for 5 years, and although we sold just about enough to make it worth our while keeping them in stock, it is only in the last two years that people really began to trust and believe in how brilliant they are. It is a completely random process sometimes. Sometimes all it needs is Henry’s say-so. Other times popularity for a product will come completely out of the blue. I can absolutely guarantee though that there are heeeeelluva lot of amazing products out there that people just aren’t aware of and will never know about because of a general (and natural) reluctance to spend hard earned monies on something they’re not 100% sure will be a good buy.
We will always sell more Shimano reels than anything I think. Particularly online when people don’t necessarily have the benefit of playing with some of the reels mentioned below in the shop.
For those that do venture down to the shop one day, there are some brilliant new reels available this year that will sell themselves upon physical examination!
Spro have actually had an epic evolutionary advancement this year. Many of their older models remain (and I know we won’t be selling many of these), but their new models are lighter, smoother and better looking than any of their previous reels. All of a sudden, we have an extra range of reels in the shop that I expect we will sell as many of as the Shimano’s and Daiwa’s I already love.
Springing straight to mind are the Custom and Addiction models. Both are similarly priced actually, and for around Â£45-Â£60 they are both excellent reels. I like the handle design on each, and they’re certainly lighter in the hand than older Spro models. They may be harder to get hold of to begin with, but well worth looking at if you’re after a new reel in the price range. I think they’ll sell very well along side the likes of the new Addiction rods. Sizes run from an ultralight 1000 model, through to some larger 5000 sizes. Sizes I suppose are quite similar to the Shimano versions – just so you know what you’re looking for. Although I think the 1000 is perhaps just a smidgen bigger than the Shimano equivalent.
You can get your hands on these models here: SPR
There’s not actually too much more to say about them actually. They feel very well made, impressively smooth and are much lighter in weight than any of their previous models. Apart from the Hyperlite…..
The Hyperlite range of reels isn’t actually new. They were available last year too but it wasn’t until now that I had a proper play with one. Like I said, my impression of the Spro range (and almost anything not Shimano to be honest – under Â£100) was that they must surely be quite heavy. This is a really, really, really lovely reel though! Again, they’re not expensive either. I’ve only just checked the price list actually, and I’d convinced myself they were selling for around about Â£120. I’ve only just realised that they’re less than Â£80!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These could actually be the best value reels available at the moment. They look more expensive and feel it too!
The Hypalite competes sits roughly in between the Shimano Aernos and the Exage. Although I think it feels lighter than either. I probably wouldn’t buy one if I was spending all of my time getting splashed in salt water due to the open spool design, but freshwater anglers will struggle to find better reels for the money! It’s also got some competition from the brilliant new Daiwa Exceler models. which will probably sell for about the same. I don’t know which I’d pick to be honest. It would have to come down to your own personal styling preferences I think. Both are super light and smooth. The fact that I am comparing the Spro with the Daiwa and Shimano’s though is credit enough.
These reels can be purchased here: SPRO HYPALITE
There is also a brilliant new model called the Soraia (the idiot I am, I forgot to get a picture). This is officially a saltwater model – although anybody who has chatted to me in the shop about “saltwater” models will know how dubious I generally am. I really think that most of the time, the more you spend the more corrosion resistant the materials become. That aside, this is a really nice reel. Again, lighter than previous models, and better looking too I think. There is actually something that differentiates it from “normal” reels though. There is no anti-reverse lever or option. the idea is that it means there is one less place for water and/or salt to get in! A good idea. The drag is a big one too. Inshore anglers should really like these. They’re all around the Â£45 mark! I think we’ll sell loads to be honest.
I keep stopping to think about which other reels I liked. The truth is that every one that springs to mind is a new model for 2015.
The last one that is lure relevant I think is the Venura. This is a top, top reel. Subtly stylish I think. Again I didn’t know how much they cost when I was playing with them. Retail is around Â£95. They are well worth it too. Very light and smooth, as by now I’d come to expect. It has quite a wide spool and big drag and head on I think it looks a really lovely reel! The design is subtly classy and black.
It doesn’t blow me away with the way it looks to be honest, but when I picked one up I was so, so impressed!
Oh, one other. In the much cheaper ranges, their new Reset range was impressive for around the Â£20 mark. Easily as good and better than anything I’ve seen for that money. And also the Urban reels are well worth a mention. I’ve started selling a few of these already as they actually give us something that is as good as the brilliant little Shimano Catana. The Urban is about the same money and every bit as good. We’ll sell squillions of these in 2015. However, if you can afford an extra Â£15 or so, upgrade to the Custom!
Their baitcasting reels are worth a mention too. I don’t think too many of them are new models necessarily, but one which is brand new is the RUFF. This one actually intrigues me hugely just because it’s priced so cheaply but feels a really, really nice reel. Time will tell how they fish when they become available early in 2015, but it’s looking likely that it may be possible to pick one of these up for under Â£40! The rods carrying the same name are also superb value. So you could be fully set with a brand new baitcasting setup for well under Â£100!
Certainly there is a lot to consider within the range. Getting a good look at them this year has changed my impressions of them completely. I wasn’t a massive fan. Now I am. And I don’t mean that just because I’ve met the guys. I’ve actually remained impartial, despite sounding like I just love everything! There’s a lot that I’m not mentioning too. It’s not at all that it was bad kit, just kit that isn’t what I think we need right now in the UK.
So, in conclusion, we’ll concentrate in the shop this year around the models which I think are right and best suited.
In conclusion, these are:
- Urban: Amazing value starter reel for less than Â£30.
- Soraia: Saltwater reel. Again, just brilliant value for around Â£45. Will win lots of fans.
- Custom & Addiction: These will be Spro’s biggest sellers this year I think. They’re easily the best value reels I’ve seen. Very evenly matched, you can take your pick pretty much on whether you prefer black and red or silver in your colour scheme! Â£45-55.
- Hypalite: Freshwater loveliness. Super light and smooth. Â£75.
- Venura: Very classy. Smooth and light. Brilliant. Â£95.
- Ruff: Brilliant value baitcaster for anybody who wants to invest in either a setup they won’t use often, or doesn’t have the cash to spend big. You won’t be disappointed! Â£40.
To sum it up, I’m with everyone who has an understandable reluctance to try something new. Especially if you’ve experienced older models from Spro. They have always made some lovely reels, but I noticed the weight and people’s preferences just through being in the shop. 2015 is definitely different though. Do check some of these out! All of them come in sizes from 1000 to at least 4000 so they cover pretty much all of our lure fishing needs.
In part 4 I’ll be running through some of their lures for the upcoming year!!!! 🙂