by Craig Ritchie
It takes a lot to impress the judges at the ICAST Best of Show awards, but these five new baitcasting reels all made a mark.Lew's Super Duty Wide Speed Spool E040 MSRP: $199
Designed for inshore saltwater fishing, the Super Duty Wide Spool impressed judges with its potential for freshwater salmon, stripers, muskie and sturgeon. With a line capacity of 190 yards of 14 pound mono, it uses a sturdy one-piece aluminum frame and handle side plate, high strength solid brass gears, crankshaft and worm gear, and a braid-ready anodized U-shape forged aluminum spool. A premium 11-bearing system with double-shielded stainless bearings and Zero-Reverse anti-reverse, MCS magnetic cast control and carbon fiber drag system give it the credentials to tackle the toughest customers. 13 Fishing Concept TX (Special Edition) MSRP: $300
A reel constructed "for the extreme demands of the gulf coast angler," 13 Fishing's Concept TX is built to handle the extreme salinity of the Gulf Coast
with corrosion resistant sealed bearings and Ocean Armor 2 saltwater protection. It accommodates 135 yards of 12 pound mono, and features 10 sealed ball bearing construction and a 25 pound maximum drag setting. Abu Garcia MGXtreme MSRP: $499
Abu Garcia's all-new, superlight MGXtreme weighs just 4.5 ounces, but don't let its diminutive form fool you. This tough little reel features 11-bearing construction, one-piece X Mag alloy frame, Abu's Carbon Matrix drag system for smooth, consistent drag pressure, infinitely variable centrifugal brake system, Infini II spool design, aircraft-grade aluminum main gear and Ti-coated line guide that reduces friction and improves durability. If the cork handles aren't for you, then swap them out for the included spare flat EVA knobs.Team Lew's Custom Pro SLP D047 MSRP: $259
This is a big year for Lew's, with the all-new Custom Pro SLP winning the coveted Best of Show award in the freshwater reel category. This compact Super Low Profile (SLP) design is said to deliver a 10% overall reduction in size and a reel weight of only 5.8 ounces. Features include a one-piece aluminum frame, premium 11-bearing system, 4-pin 27 position SpeedCast ACB external adjust centrifugal braking system, and 95mm power handle with WINN Dri-Tec knobs. Its innovative 32mm fast-start spool casts light and heavy lures with ease. Sitting super low on a rod, balance is unreal. Shimano Metanium MGL 150 MSRP: $419
Sleek, agile and powerful best describes the new Metanium MGL. Features include an all-new MAGNUMLITE spool that is said to deliver up to a 15% improvement in casting distance, a redesigned SVS Infinity braking system that provides a wider range of adjustability and the all new Silentune design that reduces vibration for incredible casting smoothness. When combined with Shimano's Metanium magnesium Hagane body, Micromodule gear system and X-SHIP, these new features "ensure you remain the ultimate predator on the water."