As an avid angler, I’m always on the lookout for reels that can stand up to the demands of big game fishing. After testing out numerous models on the water, I’ve found the 13 Fishing brand to be a cut above the rest. Known for their innovative features and unrelenting durability, 13 Fishing Concept reels are built to last season after season.
In this review, I’ll share my hands-on experience with the top 5 best 13 fishing reels on the market. Whether you’re hauling in massive catfish from the lake or wrestling marlin offshore, these reels have the smooth drag, brute strength, and corrosion resistance needed to reel in your prize catch.
1. 13 Fishing Concept Z Gen II SLD
Stop Fish Dead in Their Tracks
The Concept Z Gen II SLD has quickly become my go-to reel when I’m targeting heavyweight freshwater species like sturgeon, catfish, and pike that make long, powerful runs. This reel features an ultra-durable anti-reverse system that allows it to Dead Stop with no backward handle movement when you set the hook. It’s among the fastest and most reliable anti-reverse systems I’ve tested.
Once you’ve hooked into a monster fish, the Concept Z’s Bulldog Drag System proves its might. With an astounding 22 pounds of max drag, it offers more stopping power than any other low profile baitcasting reel on the market.
During an epic battle with a 50+ lb sturgeon on the Fraser River, I was amazed at how smoothly the Concept Z’s drag responded. The beast made several long runs peeling off line, but the smooth star adjustment let me carefully increase resistance. Despite its brute strength, the drag remained cool and consistent applying pressure until I finally gained control and brought the giant fish along side the boat.
The Concept Z owes its smooth-as-butter performance to premium Japanese Hamai Cut Gearing. The precise machining and quality materials make it feel almost effortless when reeling in your line. And with 7+1 stainless steel bearings, each crank engages smoothly without looseness or play.
- Dead Stop anti-reverse for immediate hook sets
- 22 lbs max drag to stop fast runs
- Premium Japanese Hamai gearing system
- 7+1 stainless steel bearings for smooth action
For hardcore freshwater anglers needing a reel with the power and durability to land true river monsters, the Concept Z Gen II SLD is hands-down the best 13 Fishing reel you can buy. Read full review here.
2. 13 Fishing Concept A Gen II
Built Like a Tank for Big Game Battles
Chasing massive lake sturgeon and saltwater species like sharks and GTs requires a reel built like a tank. That’s where the Concept A Gen II shines. This workhorse is crafted from solid aircraft-grade aluminum for unmatched strength. The rigid one-piece aluminum chassis eliminates frame flex even when battling heavy fish capable of 600+ pound test line.
I’ve put my Concept A through the wringer from the Amazon to the Great Lakes. Despite getting dunked in the surf and scraped on rocks, the rugged construction has held up flawlessly. The sealed aluminum frame is highly resistant to saltwater corrosion. And the beefy Beetle Wing side plates give added torque resistance when really leaning into a big fish.
With its ability to handle heavy braided line beyond 100lb test, the Concept A has become a staple in my offshore arsenal. Its 22 pounds of smooth drag combined with a machined brass gear system gives you the power needed for stopping hard charging billfish and bottom-hugging grouper. When a 350lb goliath grouper inhaled my bait near an offshore wreck, I could feel the reel’s raw strength as it methodically gained line against the fish’s plodding head shakes.
While the Concept A is built burly to handle heavy loads, the dual-force drag system remains surprisingly smooth. The carbon fiber drag discs provide exceptional heat dissipation so the drag stays cool. And with 9 stainless steel bearings, each turn of the handle feels smooth whether battling a 100lb tarpon or simply retrieving your line.
- Durable machined aluminum frame/sideplates
- Corrosion resistant for saltwater
- Ultra-strong 22lb max drag
- 9 stainless steel bearings
For tackling big game inshore and offshore, the Concept A Gen II brings the strength and durability needed to subdue the ocean’s strongest fighters.
3. 13 Fishing Concept C Gen II
Lightweight Finesse Focused Finesse
Sometimes subtlety wins out when targeting finicky fish like trout, redfish, and snook in clear water. That’s when I turn to the Concept C Gen II for its low profile finesse and sensitivity.
At just 6.7oz, the C feels feather-light at the end of your rod. The lightweight aluminum frame coupled with carbon fiber sideplates makes repeated long casts effortless. As an inshore sight fisherman, the C’s easy-casting low profile helps me make pinpoint casts to tailing redfish along the mangroves.
Beyond casting, the reel’s low moment of inertia also improves sensitivity for detecting bites. When drifting live shrimp in the grass flats, I can feel the slightest tick against the line through the reel. This tuning in to subtle takes is key for tempting picky seatrout in clear water.
While designed for finesse situations, the Concept C has some hidden muscle thanks to its Carbonite washers and a 22lb max drag. Its capable of pulling in much larger fish than you’d expect if needed. Last season, I was shocked when a 40+ inch snook crushed my bait intended for schoolie reds. Despite peeling off a long sizzling first run, I managed to halt its momentum and gradually work the beast along the mangrove edges to the waiting net.
The Concept C utilizes corrosion-resistant alloy gears and durable carbon fiber construction ideal for the saltwater inshore environment. And with an ultra-smooth 9 stainless bearings, each fine retrieve feels glassy and free of roughness.
- Low profile finesse design
- Corrosion resistant carbon fiber build
- Lightweight 6.7oz frame for easy casting
- 22lb max carbon fiber drag
For stalking wary species where a delicate presentation is key, the 13 Fishing Concept C Gen II perfectly blends sensitivity, smoothness, and lightweight strength.
4. 13 Fishing Origin TX
Built Salt Strong for Offshore Domination
Heading offshore means battling hot sun, heavy current, and salty brine – the perfect storm for corrosion damage. That’s why top captains running seasoned sportfishers rely on reels like the Origin TX built to thrive in harsh saltwater environments.
The Origin TX stands apart with its unique composite frame that is completely resistant to saltwater corrosion. The low-torque design eliminates frame flex and alignment issues under heavy loads. Its innovative construction allows for a lighter feel without sacrificing strength.
During an overnight charter out of Venice, Louisiana, we battled stiff winds up to 30 knots and rolling 6-8 foot seas. Despite getting continuously drenched in salt spray, the Origin TX performed flawlessly during multiple hook-ups on jack crevalle, blacktip sharks, and big tripletail.
This reel packs plenty of heavyweight stopping power thanks to its carbon fiber multi-disc drag system delivering 18 pounds of smooth resistance. Its 7+1 shielded stainless bearings stayed buttery smooth despite the contaminating saltwater and allowed me to gain line steadily even on bulldogging sharks.
The Origin TX utilizes 13 Fishing’s proven Arrowhead line guide roller system to lay line cleanly off the spool. This prevented troublesome backlashes and wind knots even when tossing big live baits on heavy 50lb braid. The stainless gearing also remained corrosion free after repeated submersion during multiple hook-sets.
- Zero-corrosion composite frame & sideplates
- Lightweight low-torque design
- Carbon fiber 18lb drag system
- 7+1 shielded stainless bearings
If you spend much of your time battling offshore bruisers, the Origin TX offers the ultimate combination of corrosion immunity, strength, and smoothness to stand up to the elements.
5. 13 Fishing 2022 AL13
Corrosion Resistant Workhorse
Another great option for tackling both backcountry and offshore waters is the 2022 AL13. This versatile reel boasts a number of corrosion-fighting features to thrive around saltwater.
The highlights include a sealed aluminum gearbox and spool housing that prevent water intrusion. The main shaft and drive gear are specially treated to resist salt corrosion. And the ceramic line roller stays smooth after repeated dunking during hooksets near the boat.
During a fishing charter in the Florida Keys, the AL13 handled everything we encountered from barracuda to permit. Hauling fish out of the turtle grass, the sealed body prevented any issues. And the handle continued to turn smoothly after multiple hookups in the slick saltwater.
The Coolstop carbon fiber drag allowed me to apply steady tension once connected to a feisty 20lb jack crevalle near the mangroves. Despite sizzling runs stripping line, the drag stayed cool and consistent eventually allowing me to work the fish boatside.
For casting, the arrowhead line guide eliminates friction and backlashes when tossing artificials like topwater plugs and jigs along the flats. And the larger ergonomic handle knob provides increased leverage for putting the hurt on bigger predators.
- Sealed corrosion-resistant aluminum housing
- Ceramic line roller prevents wear
- Coolstop carbon fiber drag system
- Large ergonomic handle for leverage
Whether battling bull redfish in the marshes or sailfish offshore, the 2022 AL13 has the rugged saltwater protection needed to perform in harsh conditions.
Key Factors When Choosing a 13 Fishing Reel
With such a diverse lineup of reels purpose-built for different situations, it helps to consider these key factors when deciding which 13 Fishing model fits your needs:
Drag Strength – For chasing heavyweight predators and big game offshore, look for models with a higher max drag like 22lb on the Concept Z and Concept A. For inshore finesse fishing, a lower drag in the 10-15lb range gets the job done.
Corrosion Resistance – Saltwater anglers need reels designed to resist rust and deterioration like the composite Origin TX frame or the sealed aluminum housing on models like the 2022 AL13.
Gear Ratio – Pick a higher speed 7.3:1 or 8.1:1 reel for working topwater baits, cranking, and burning jigs. Go with a lower 5.3:1-6.3:1 for finesse presentations and fighting big fish.
Weight – Look at the overall reel weight and balance on your rod. For fatiguing all-day fishing, lighter reels around 6-8oz prevent wear and tear.
Bearings – More stainless steel or shielded bearings generally translate into a smoother casting and retrieving reel. But more bearings also add cost.
Price – 13 Fishing reels range from around $100 for basic models up to $300+ for premium selections like the Concept Z and Concept A.
Evaluating your fishing needs based on these key factors will help narrow down and find the best 13 Fishing Concept reel for your budget and style of fishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of fishing are 13 Fishing reels designed for?
13 Fishing Concept makes reels suitable for everything from ultra-light freshwater finesse fishing to battling marlin offshore. With patented innovations and quality components, their reels stand up to the demands of both heavy freshwater and extreme saltwater fishing.
Are 13 Fishing Concept reels better than Shimano or Abu Garcia?
While Shimano and Abu Garcia make quality reels, 13 Fishing models offer key advantages like superior drag systems, ZeroReturn anti-reverse, and corrosion resistance. Their unique features and durable American-made construction gives them an edge over the competition.
How do I know which 13 Fishing reel to choose?
Base your decision on target species, fishing environment, line strength needed, and desired features. Lightweight low profile models like the Concept C work well for inshore fishing, while heavy duty options like the Concept A are built for offshore battles against big game.
What is the max drag on 13 Fishing reels?
Their highest drag models like the Concept Z and Concept A top out at 22lb max drag to stop powerful runs by fresh and saltwater giants. Other models have more moderate 10-15lb drags suitable for smaller species.
How do I clean and maintain a 13 Fishing reel?
Rinse reels in freshwater after each saltwater trip. Occasionally oil the bearings and apply grease to the gears. Take apart and deep clean periodically. Avoid soaking reels for long periods. Check and replace any corroded components.
Get Hooked Up with a High-Performing 13 Fishing Reel
If you’re looking to step up your fishing game with a precision-engineered reel, 13 Fishing Concept delivers innovative designs built to excel in both fresh and saltwater. Their unique features like strong carbon fiber drag systems, ZeroReturn anti-reverse, and corrosion-resistant frames offer big advantages when battling heavyweight fish that tear lesser reels apart.
While they offer a range of models, their Concept Z, Concept A and Origin TX stand out as the most powerful and durable options for conquering big game. If you spend time battling bulldogs on the flats or chasing offshore giants, investing in one of these battle-ready 13 Fishing reels will give you the edge. Equipped with one of these high-performance reels, you’re sure to get hooked up on the fish of a lifetime.