13 Fishing Wicked Long Stem Spinning Reel Review

     My recent purchase of the new St Croix Gold Series ice rod left me with a perfectly good rod that needed a reel.  Since I don't own a dedicated combo for deep water panfishing I decided that my old St Croix ice rod would be a good fit, if I could find an ice fishing specific spinning reel.  Ice fishing reels have came along ways in the last few seasons.  New features like offset spools, longer stems, composite bodies, and smoother drags, have changed the way many look at ice fishing reels.  
     This brings us to the 13 Fishing Wicked long stem spinning reel.  Having used the 13 Fishing Black Betty reel with much success I knew that they made a great product.  Even though I had never personally used there spinning reels.  I grabbed my Christmas gift card and drove over to Gander Mountain to pick one up.

     The specs on this reel are as follows:
  • Composite Body with Aluminum Spool and Handle
  • 4.8:1 Gear Ratio (Spools goes around 4.8 times for each turn of the handle)
  • Instant Anti-Reverse
  • 5 Stainless Steel Bearings
  • Compact Offset Spool
     First thing I noticed right out of the box is that the reel had a quality feel.  You know what I mean?  Some reels just have a cheap feel to them.  This reel feels like a solid product.  The composite body feels good to the touch.  Under regular fishing conditions I haven't noticed any more flex than you would experience with a standard metal body reel.  Using a composite body gives obvious benefits when it comes to weight.  The reels weight balances well with the short length associated with ice fishing rods.  
See the how the spool turns up?
Having the spool offset (angled) slightly allows for a more direct line path through the guides.  This helps cut down on unnecessary line twist.  When fishing deep water line twist or "loops" can be a real issue when trying to deliver a set jigging cadence.  It just makes sense if you think about it.  The less your jig is spinning on the drop the easier it will be for the perch to hit it.  As far as the gear ratio is concerned 4:8-1 is more than adequate for the depths I am fishing.  It is fast enough that I can easily take up excess line on the take, but not so fast that I am reeling in a couple feet at a time when I miss a bite.  Stainless bearings are pretty much standard in the industry these days and it reels nice and smooth for the price.  Having the long stem is a game changer for fishing with a gloved hand.  Normal length stems make it harder to operate the reel.  Your gloves can have a tendency to get caught in the bail while reeling and the long stem solves this issue.
     That's the positives for the reel, as for the negatives I only have a few.  First is the drag adjustment on the reel.  I find I constantly have to fiddle with it each time I am on the ice.  It's smooth, it just isn't the most consistent.  It may have to do with the temperature, maybe tighter when really cold and looser when warmer.  I'm not 100% sure why it changes, but the fact that it does could be a turn off for some users.  Also when fishing without a shanty the ice on your line freezes to the bail when reeling in line.  This has caused what I feel is an excessive amount of line freeze.  I just don't like to spend this much time trying to fix my line or chip ice off my reel.  If you fish in a shanty this shouldn't be an issue.  If your an outdoors in the open kind of ice fisherman keep this in mind if you purchase the 13 Fishing Wicked reel.
13 Fishing Wicked Long Stem Spinning Reel
      All things considered I would recommend this reel for deep water perch fishing.  In fact I like this reel for most styles of panfishing.  Yes it has a couple of minor issues, but if you fish from a shanty most of these issues will never show themselves on the ice.  The long stem for gloved fishing and the offset spool for good line delivery easily make up for any problems I have with the reel.  Considering it's price at only $34.99 you really get a lot of ice fishing reel for your money.  You can pick them up at most retailers that sell 13 Fishing products or just order it directly here.  The 13 Fishing Wicked Long Stem spinning reel will perform as advertised and make quick work of any panfish you'll find under the ice.  They look pretty sweet when paired with a St.Croix ice rod too.

     Tight Lines.
     

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