From the 1970s onward, Lew’s has built up a reputation for producing high-caliber and durable fishing products. Carrying on this legacy in stellar fashion is the Lew’s Tournament MB Baitcast Reel. With its buttery smooth casting and its lightweight design, Lew’s has added another jewel to its crown.
Right off the bat (or fishing rod), let me just say that I love this product. I have been using it for the past several months to land a variety of fish and could not be more pleased. In fact, I own two of these reels now!
This reel even made my list of of the best bass baitcasting reels. But rather than wasting time on superfluous adjectives, such as awesome or stupendous, that describe this reel, let me get into the nitty-gritty of what makes it so good.
The Lightweight Aluminum Frame
This reduced weight allows for better casting distance. To put it simply, it can cast a country mile with lighter jerk baits just as easily as it does bigger jigs and spinnerbaits.
Now, most reels can cast a good distance if you release the brakes, but that will give you a slack line to contend with too. With the Lew’s MB Baitcast Reel, there is no need to do that. It can easily cast 50 to 60 yards out without having to reduce the tension. In fact, chances are that you will end up going past your target by a dozen yards or so on the first few attempts, as I did.
Anglers, especially beginners, often use a baseball-batter type swing to get a good casting distance. This can cause career-ending injuries such as tennis elbow or shoulder tendinitis over time. The MB reel’s lightweight frame ensures that a gentle toss is all you need to get your lure where you want.
From a personal point of view, this is a boon, since I can fish all day without worrying about overusing my muscles.
The Adjustable Dual Brake System
The Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast reel uses a dual brake system.
Internally, it has four disk-mounted brake shoes that can be disengaged separately. An external fine-tuning dial controlled by centrifugal force completes the package. This dual system means that you have high cast control. With its four varying gear ratios, which go from 5.6:1 up to 8.3:1, it is also highly adjustable, which makes it suitable for a variety of casting styles.
Another advantage of this multi-setting brake system is that you get fewer backlashes and birdnests during the casting process. The danger with a strong braking system is that it can sometimes destroy the line.
I tested this out with the MB reel’s braking system, cranking it up to its highest setting and all I got was a good tight pull. It offers consistent and powerful functioning, from its lowest to its highest range.
The Stainless-Steel Bearing System
Bearings are a crucial element in a spinning reel. They ensure that the reel runs smoothly.
The Lew’s MB Baitcast Reel has 9 ball bearings along with one roller bearing. Now, to be fair, more ball bearing does not necessarily make for a smoother reel. You can have a 20-ball bearing reel made of low-grade steel chrome and still experience jerky retrieve. What matters just as much, is the quality of the material used.
The MB Baitcast Reel uses high-grade stainless steel for its ball bearings. I found it incredibly smooth both during casting and retrieval. More importantly, I found myself able to maintain tension on the line even with high-speed retrieves, even pulling a 6-pound bass out of thick vegetation once with little backlash. Additionally, the bearings are double shielded to prevent them from corroding, a factor that makes them more durable.
The Zero Reverse Reel System
One of the first features I tested was the Lew’s Tournament MB Reel’s anti-reverse handle. I gently tried to reverse the handle and there was no backward play whatsoever. It uses a one-way clutch bearing that captures the spool anytime it tries to spin in the opposite direction and releases it when it is cast.
As avid anglers know, this feature helps them get powerful and accurate hook sets, which in turn increases the chances of reeling in that catch.
The Powerful Drag System
There’s nothing I love more than the thrill of the chase. A good drag system adds to the excitement of a catch. Lew’s Tournament MB Reel’s drag system certainly does that with its seamless line release. The carbon fiber drag system has a maximum drag of 20 pounds that has allowed me to reel in a variety of catches from a frogfish to snapper and a lot in between.
I found it to be smooth and high-quality, giving me the ability to regulate the amount and speed of the line I was letting out. All this, with hardly any line slippage to write home about! The audible clicks are also a great addition to the drag system as they provide cues to the adjustments I make. Without them, I tend to forget my earlier settings.
The Custom Handle Knobs
The Lew’s Tournament Mb Baitcast Reel has ergonomically designed oversized handle knobs.
Their substantial size makes them easier to grab in those heart-stopping moments when you get an unexpected tug and must be lightning quick. These custom-made handle knobs are curved and of lightweight aluminum build. They allow for a firmer grip that makes reeling in a comfortable affair.
If you’re like me, your palms get sweaty after a while making it harder to grip the reel. With the MB Reel, however, this is not an issue. Even with wet or slimy hands, I could maintain my grip.
Don’t let its low profile fool you, the MB reel is one durable beast. Lew’s makes the reel using their LFS (Lighter, Faster, Stronger) technology that is a hallmark of all their products.
Built using die-cast aluminum, it can withstand a lot of abuse. Since they craft it from a single piece of aluminum, there are fewer external moving parts and joints that can break apart.
All the parts including the brake and drag system are anodized, so they are also rust-resistant. Lew’s also uses a zirconia-coated line guide. This gives a layer of wear protection that adds no additional weight to the device. I have put it through the wringer, using it in all kinds of conditions and have yet to see a breakdown or dip in its performance.
The Price Point
This is a great product for someone who wants to test out the waters of tourney fishing with a quality reel but doesn’t want to invest too much, in case it doesn’t work out. Priced under $150, it offers features comparable to many pricier reels.
Most times, the Lew’s Tournament MB Baitcast Reel even outperforms them. Plus, its durable nature ensures that you can use it for many years to come, getting you great return of investment on your purchase.
So, that is my tried and tested review of Lew’s Tournament MB Baitcaster Reel. Both beginners and tourney experts can use this all-rounder of a reel with ease. Even absolute greenhorns can master its nuances with a bit of tinkering. Its one-piece aluminum body feels snug, which along with its lightweight frame and easy casting makes it comfortable to use over prolonged periods of time. It gives powerful drag and allows rapid retrieval, factors that help land that monster catch.
Here’s a recap of the pros and cons:
- Lightweight and strong one-piece aluminum frame
- Best in class casting distance
- Buttery smooth and powerful carbon composite drag system that can easily match any big fish out there
- A dual brake system that uses both magnetic and centrifugal control
- Adjustable four-point solid brass gear
- The rust-resistant anodized coating on all the fixtures
- Zero reverse stainless-steel clutch bearing
- Great bang for your buck
I’m nitpicking here, but the MB Reel has a few minor flaws:
- There is a bit of vibration and noise coming from the spool area.
- It requires a little more TLC, in terms of the oiling required, than some regular reels do.
The Lew’s Tournament MB Baitcaster Reel walks the tight line between being solid while being lightweight and being functional while being durable. While it is not perfect, it very nearly is. What imperfections it has can easily be overcome with a little extra routine maintenance, which at its economical price point and durable nature is well worth it. Not surprisingly, it gets nearly five stars on every seller’s website, with users swearing by its superiority.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a high-performance reel that is packed with features, is easy to use and casts effortlessly, look no further than the Lew’s Tournament MB Baitcaster Reel. What’s more, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket either! If this one isn’t for you, here are some of the best baitcasting reels on the market.
Have you used a Lew’s Tournament MB Baitcaster Reel? Do you love it as much as I do? Let me know in the comments below.