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13 Fishing Concept Z Review: A Top-Notch Baitcasting Reel

As a former fisherman with over 20 years of experience chasing everything from largemouth bass to giant trevally, I know how important having reliable gear is. After taking a break from work recently to enjoy some fishing in Hawaii, I had the chance to test out the 13 Fishing Concept Z baitcasting reel in a challenging inshore environment.

After several weeks pitting it against feisty fish in the Pacific surf, I’m thoroughly impressed by the Concept Z’s innovative features, durability, and performance.

13 Fishing Concept Z – Key Takeaways

  • Concept Zero polymer bearings provide corrosion-free, smooth performance in saltwater
  • Ocean Armor 2 treatment gives enhanced saltwater protection inside and out
  • Generates up to 22 lbs of smooth, consistent drag pressure
  • Lightweight at just 6.4 oz to prevent fatigue during all-day fishing
  • Arrowhead line guide and tuned brakes allow excellent casting control
  • Eva knobs provide a secure, comfortable grip even when wet
  • Easy-access side plate makes maintenance and adjustments simple
  • Precision Japanese Hamai cut gears give buttery smooth retrieves
  • Innovative technologies make it ideal for inshore saltwater fishing
  • Withstood extensive real-world testing in Hawaii inshore fishing
  • Impressive longevity and corrosion resistance compared to metal bearing reels
  • Provides high-end performance and features at a reasonable price point

First Impressions

13 Fishing built their reputation on thinking outside the box and implementing unique concepts in their tackle. The Concept Z baitcasting reel epitomizes that forward-thinking approach. It packs a range of space-age features tailored specifically for inshore fishing into a compact, lightweight package.

As an old-school angler, I’ll admit I was skeptical at first. But after subjecting the Concept Z to real-world testing, I’m a believer in its benefits. The advanced polymer bearings, corrosion protection, and other design elements came together to create the ultimate inshore fishing reel.

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Cutting-Edge Concept Zero Bearing System

The most unique aspect of the Concept Z is its use of patented Concept Zero bearings made from an advanced polymer rather than metal balls. These bearings are completely impervious to salt, sand, or rust.

After extended surf fishing where salt spray coated the reel daily, the Concept Z operated just as smoothly on day one as day seven. No muss, no fuss. The polymer bearings eliminate any corrosion concerns that plague metal bearing reels.

Despite their unusual material, the CZB bearings have an incredibly smooth rolling and spinning action. Combined with the precision Japanese Hamai cut gears, the Concept Z operates with that buttery feel anglers love.

Protection from the Harsh Effects of Saltwater

In addition to the self-lubricating CZB bearings, 13 Fishing utilizes their Ocean Armor 2 corrosion protection process on the Concept Z. This gives a protective coating both inside and out to repel salt, moisture, and grime.

No matter how many times I was dunked by feisty fish or had salt spray coat the reel, the Concept Z kept on ticking without any issues. The long-term durability is clearly evident after intense real-world testing.

Between the polymer bearings and advanced corrosion protection, the Concept Z is purpose-built for the harsh saltwater environment. You can fish hard without worrying about longevity.

Serious Stopping Power Up to 22 Pounds

The Concept Z’s drag system utilizes carbon fiber and stainless steel components to generate an impressive 22 pounds of silky smooth drag pressure.

When hooked up to powerful fish like jacks and trevally that peel line fast, I could easily dial in heavier drag settings to turn their runs and gain control. The Concept Z has muscle when you need it.

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Yet the drag remains smooth and consistent rather than jerky. I never experienced any jarring sensations when a big fish made a sudden run. This allowed me to use finesse when required without fear of drag anomalies.

Designed for Performance and Endurance

Several other thoughtful touches make the Concept Z an ideal inshore fishing reel. Its lightweight 6.4 ounce design reduces arm fatigue during all-day sessions. The EVA knobs provide a secure and comfortable grip, even when wet.

The arrowhead line guide and tunable 6-pin centrifugal brake gave me greater casting control and accuracy when tossing a variety of lures. And the easy-access side plate made maintenance and adjustments simple.

After long days of battling fish after fish, the Concept Z kept performing consistently with zero issues. For a demanding angler who puts their tackle through its paces, it inspires confidence.

Final Thoughts After Extensive Testing

As someone who is admittedly old-school when it comes to fishing gear, the Concept Z’s innovative polymer bearing system and other hi-tech touches took some getting used to. But after truly putting the reel to the test on a range of Hawaii inshore species, I’m sold.

The Concept Z is simply on another level when it comes to corrosion and water resistance thanks to its unique Concept Zero bearings and Ocean Armor 2 treatment. Combine this with impressive casting performance, buttery smooth retrieval, and up to 22 lbs of drag, and you have the ultimate reel for conquering the inshore saltwater environment.

For anglers seeking a reel that can withstand years of intense saltwater fishing, I can’t recommend the 13 Fishing Concept Z enough. The innovative design delivers exactly what savvy inshore anglers demand. This reel has secured a permanent place in my tackle box for future fishing adventures near and far.