Pflueger Supreme XT spinning reel review

Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Reel Review: 3 Months Testing

If you spend your days on the lake battling feisty smallmouth bass or drifting for weary trout in cold rivers, having a lightweight and silky smooth spinning reel can make all the difference. The Pflueger Supreme XT nails the sweet spot, delivering exceptional performance without the premium price tag. After putting it to the test on some hard fighting fish, I’m thoroughly impressed by this reel.

Keep reading for a comprehensive review detailing the Supreme XT’s capabilities based on months of hands-on fishing. I’ll cover everything from construction and features to real-world casting, drag, and cranking power. You’ll understand why it’s one of the top options for freshwater anglers who value smooth retrieves and lightweight comfort during all-day fishing adventures.

Pflueger Supreme XT Review: Feather-Light Magnesium and Carbon Construction

It’s clear Pflueger built the Supreme XT from the ground up to achieve lightweight strength and precision performance. Several of the components utilize exotic materials to shed ounces without sacrificing durability:

  • The frame incorporates magnesium, which is lighter than aluminum yet incredibly strong for its weight.
  • The rotor utilizes carbon fiber for exceptional rigidity and responsiveness while minimizing rotational inertia.
  • The braid-ready spool is machined aluminum for reduced mass while still being rigid enough to prevent line digging.
  • The drag system features sealed carbon fiber washers that dissipate heat and provide smooth adjustable tension.
  • The handle and star drag knob are also carbon fiber, once again optimizing the strength-to-weight ratio.

These thoughtful material choices make the Supreme XT feel incredibly light in hand. Yet as I’ll cover shortly, it still has plenty of cranking power and drag strength to handle feisty fish.

Silky Smooth Retrieves and Casting

Two things that immediately stood out to me were how smooth the Supreme XT feels when casting and cranking, along with how quietly it operates. Let’s look at a few of the engineering feats that enable this:

  • 10 Bearing System – Nine shielded stainless steel ball bearings plus an instant anti-reverse bearing provide exceptional rotational smoothness. They are corrosion-resistant so you can fish in saltwater or brackish estuaries. After months of use, zero roughness.
  • Slow Oscillation Gearing – This specialized gearing improves line lay and minimizes line twist and loops coming off the spool. The result is tangle-free casting and flawless line winding during retrieves. No frustrating bird’s nests and knots.
  • Carbon Fiber Handle and Knobs – The reduced weight balances perfectly and allows palming line without fatigue. Their sleek shape turns smoothly with zero rough edges or friction points.
  • Quiet Gear Engagement – The precision cut gears mesh cleanly for quiet operation. No loud grinding or whining when putting stress on the drivetrain. I could finesse wary trout without making excessive noise.
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The overall smoothness and refinement really shined when I needed to make delicate lure presentations like twitching weightless stick baits over a shallow spawning flat. No unnecessary disturbances in my tactics.

Powerful Retrieve and Carbon Fiber Drag

While ultralight performance was a clear focus for Pflueger, the Supreme XT still packs impressive power for a reel of this size. Let’s look at retrieval strength and drag:

  • Machined Aluminum Main Gear – This robust gear transmits torque efficiently to quickly gain line on runs. The machined precision keeps it engaging smoothly under heavy loads.
  • Carbon Fiber Drag Washers – Maximum drag ranges from 7 pounds in the 25 size up to 20 pounds in the 40 size. Plenty of tension for big bass, walleye, trout, and more. The drag remains steady and consistent.
  • Large EVA Handle Knob – Increased leverage for cranking power. The grip feels good even when wet. My hands never slipped when putting the pressure on bulldog smallmouth.
  • Strong Gear Ratios – All sizes but the 25 have a fast 6.2:1 gear ratio to quickly pick up slack and regain line. When that trout bolts downstream or bass makes a break towards cover, you can respond immediately.

So despite its finesse-focused design, the Supreme XT generates enough strength and speed for handling respectable fish. I never found myself overpowered.

Sizing and Line Capacity Options

One thing I really appreciate about the Supreme XT is the range of sizes available to match specific types of fishing:

  • 25 – The ultralight option geared for panfish, small trout, and light inshore fishing. Lower max drag and slower gear ratio provide finesse and control with diminutive baits and line.
  • 30 – A nice middle ground for crappie, walleye, catfish, bass, and more. Light enough for casting crankbaits and Texas rigs accurately. My go-to for many freshwater species.
  • 35 – Ideal for targeting larger gamefish like pike, largemouth bass, catfish, and salmon. Increased line capacity for longer casts and controlling hard runs. Handles heavier lures well.
  • 40 – Specialized for pursuing big bass, stripers, muskie, and large salmon. The highest max drag, increased line capacity, and faster gearing are built to battle bruisers.
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The spools accommodate 4-8lb mono on the smaller models up to 12-20lb on the 40 size. Braid ratings range from 30-65 lb. test across the sizes. Plenty of capacity for most freshwater fishing applications both light and heavy duty.

Durability and Corrosion Resistance

Considering its ultralight design, I wondered if the Supreme XT would hold up to real-world freshwater use. After subjecting it to some abuse, I’m convinced it has the ruggedness to withstand years of fishing trips:

  • Magnesium Frame – Although feather-light, I found the magnesium alloy frame to be very dent and bend-resistant. No issues when keeping it stashed in a tackle bag rattling around boats and trucks.
  • Stainless Steel Components – Shafts, main gear, bail wire, and all other metal parts utilize stainless steel. They show zero corrosion and wear. The machined aluminum spool resisted dings and scratches as well.
  • Sealed Bearings – Keeping water and grit out of the stainless steel ball bearings likely contributed to their flawlessly smooth performance season after season.
  • Carbon Fiber Drag – The sealed carbon fiber drag remained smooth. It never once stuck or slipped unpredictably even after complete submersion in water.
  • Braid-Ready Spool – No need for mono backing to prevent braided line dig-in. The spool lip is specially machined to prevent braid slippage and damage.

For a reel this lightweight, the components certainly stood up to constant fishing trips and being tossed in bags and trucks with all my other gear. Perfect for the angler who values both durability and packability.

Possible Improvements

While the Supreme XT quickly became my go-to for chasing most freshwater species, a few very minor gripes emerged:

  • Bail closure could snap shut more crisply and consistently for improved casting control. Mostly noticeable with ultralight lures.
  • Some friction occasionally felt in the handle when cranking under maximum drag pressure. Likely just needs a quick lubrication.
  • Finish is not as flashy and polished as pricier competitors. No effect on performance.
  • Gear disengagement not quite as smooth as with costlier reels. A very minor nitpick.
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Considering the Supreme XT’s reasonable price point, these are very forgivable and didn’t negatively impact performance. Just a few opportunities to improve an already excellent reel.

Comparable Models

How does the Supreme XT compare against other popular options in its class? Here is a quick rundown:

  • Shimano Nasci – Smoother at high speeds but harder to dial in lighter drag settings. Twice the price.
  • Daiwa Regal LT – Equally lightweight with a beautifully smooth feel. Prone to corrosion over time. More expensive.
  • KastKing Sharky III – Outstanding value for performance similar to the Supreme XT. Noticeably bulkier.

As you can see, the Supreme XT balances performance, durability, and cost about as ideally as you’ll find in any spinning reel for freshwater fishing. It’s a notch above reels costing twice as much.

Final Verdict

After several months of fishing with the Pflueger Supreme XT, I’m thoroughly convinced it’s one of the top options out there for freshwater anglers who value a silky smooth lightweight reel.

Here are a few final pros and cons based on my first-hand experience:

Pros

  • Remarkably lightweight magnesium and carbon construction
  • Smooth and quiet performance
  • Sensitive and efficient gearing
  • Durable components resist corrosion
  • Reasonable price for excellent quality

Cons

  • Bail closure could be crisper
  • Minor friction at extreme drag settings
  • Not the flashiest looking reel

For a spinning reel with such a lightweight finesse-oriented feel, I was continually impressed by its stand-up-to-abuse construction and pleasing castability and cranking power. The Supreme XT really does it all for freshwater fishing.

Anglers looking for superb comfort and performance without breaking the bank will appreciate what Pflueger packed into this well-designed reel. It delivers those gratifying silky smooth retrieves we all love without costing a small fortune.

The Supreme XT goes toe-to-toe with reels double the cost when it comes to precision construction, drag power, and reliability. If your idea of a perfect day is chasing trout in a secluded stream or battling lunker bass from the comfort of your kayak, this reel will allow you to do it all in comfort and style without shattering your budget.