Sonik Vader compact freespool reels

Sonik Sports continues to widen its hugely popular Vader range of carping hardware with the launch of two new compact freespool reels. 

Get hands on these at this year’s The Big One Show

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Just the job for targeting small to medium-sized venues or ‘runs waters’, the reels come in two sizes (5000 and 6000). They weigh 430g and 435g, and boast a micro-adjustable front drag and an independent freespool rear drag adjustment.

Build quality is impressive. The reels are made from a light but hardwearing graphite material (with a stainless steel main shaft), and come with solid aluminium handles, oversized line-friendly line clips and two anodised aluminium spools. 

With a gear ratio of 5.5:1, there’s no lack of cranking power either.

Having used both reels teamed with Sonik’s Specialist Barbel rods to great effect on the River Trent, I can vouch for their reliability and solid performance.

For me, the larger 6000 model just gets the nod between the two, as its larger, wider spool is suited to heavier lines. 

It also has slightly more cranking power, very handy when retrieving heavy leads and swimfeeders at long range. 

The clutch adjustment on the front of the spool, and the tension settings for the freespool facility, are functional rather than precise, but they won’t let you down. All-black aesthetics and understated graphics give these Soniks a classy look, and for the asking price you won’t find a better reel anywhere.

Price: £49.99 

mitchell’s iconic 300 reel is back!

The legendary Mitchell 300, that has quite possibly been responsible for more match wins than any other reel, has been given an upgrade.

Get your hands on all the latest rods, poles, reels and accessories at this year’s Big One Show 

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Two new models – the 300 and the super-slick 300 Pro – measure up perfectly to all float and feeder tactics.

The original Mitchell 300 was widely considered to be the first spinning reel suitable for match fishing. This latest version, clad in a very classy-looking black and silver livery, is fully loaded with the latest technology while still maintaining many super-cool retro elements.

The re-build includes a new Bail Halo rotor for loads of winding power, while six bearings provide smooth, trouble-free running. The new low-profile multi-disc front drag is quick, intuitive and infallible, while a fast 5.1:1 gear ratio generates 0.67m of retrieve per oscillation.

The new all bells and whistles 300 Pro raises the bar even higher. Super light and smooth-running, the reel features a self-lubricating carbon hybrid drag system that is not affected by heat build-up, and that irons out any spikes in line tension resulting from setting the hook or head shakes from big fish.  

To that you can add a super-fast 5.8:1 ratio retrieving 0.84m of line per oscillation, and no fewer than 10 ball-bearings for a seamlessly smooth wobble-free performance. 

Mitchell’s new Bail Halo rotor is also deployed on the Pro 300, which comes with a shallow, braid-friendly aluminium spool and a spare.

Both new reels are also available in 308 versions.

Price: Mitchell 300/308 £49.99

Mitchell 300 Pro/308 Pro £69.99

Mitchell's new Avocast 7000 and 8000 reels

Mitchell has entered the reel glamour stakes with the release of these stunning Avocast Black Editions. 

Get your hands on all the latest rods, poles, reels and accessories at this year’s Big One Show

The all-black big pit-style reels have 7000 and 8000 body sizes, although in profile they do look very compact. 

These distance-casters pack in many technical features of use to the modern carper or big-fish specialist.

A greased felt multi-disc precision front drag is quick easy to set, and doesn’t over-tighten too quickly when you’re playing a big fish straight off the clutch. You can’t say that about all new fast-drag big pit reels!

Ultra-flat folding handles will appeal to anglers who like a tight set-up… and the 4+1 stainless bearing configuration gives super-smooth slow oscillation that lays line down perfectly across the spool and allows you to cast into the next county without a hitch.

Other key features are the impressive 4.3:1 gearing ratio recovering 0.83m (7000 size) and 0.98m (8000 size) of line per handle crank. Long coned aluminium spools hold an impressive amount of line, and you won’t need a Love Island six-pack to handle these reels – the 7000 weighs just 615g. 

Even better news is that Mitchell has these very carpy winches on a ‘buy two, get one free’ deal.

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Price: £89.99 (7000), £99.99 (8000) 

Ultegra SPOD XTD reel review

Shimano's stunning new Ultegra Spod XTD will make easy work of spodding, Spombing or – more latterly – Air Bombing. 

These are three ways of introducing feed quickly, accurately and in quantity to the spot. 

I reckon that your spod reel should be the best you own – think how much work it gets through in a  season. It needs the winding power to retrieve a spod or similar without you having to pump the rod like a nodding dog on a parcel shelf. 

It also needs to have a brisk gear ratio, and the gears themselves must handle more punishment than any other reel in your bag.

To that little lot you must add a braid-friendly spool that delivers a line-lay good enough to cast way over 100 yards with ease. The line clip (or, better still, three) should be able to withstand being whacked time and time again, really hard, by a braided line thin enough to slice its way through anything other than stone. 

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the clutch mustn’t slip, ever, and the line roller has to be perfection personified to totally eliminate braid spin? 

Enter the Shimano Ultegra Spod, with all these attributes and then some. The XTD boasts an elongated aluminium cranking handle with enlarged thumb knob, which gives even more winding power and creates an unrivalled sense of balance. Shimano’s unique X -Ship gearing virtually guarantees a wobble-free retrieve. My one criticism is the instant drag system, a wasted feature on any spod reel.

 However, the front-setting drag can be locked down completely solid, so there’s no slippage when casting a fully-loaded Spomb or spod – good news for your fingers!  

A 5.2:1 gearing ratio retrieves 124cm/49ins of line per handle crank, while its super slow spool oscillation produces a line – or braid – lay to rival that of the most expensive big pit-type reels. 

Add all-black looks, a sleek parallel body, and lightweight 630g (22.2oz) feel… what a reel!

Price: £134.99

Exclusive first look: shimano compact 5500 ultegra reels

Shimano's two stunning new reels, soon to be released, look nailed on to become best-sellers. 

This is not surprising, since they will appeal to match, specimen and carp anglers alike. 

The compact ‘big-pit’ Ultegra C14+XTC 5500 (black) and Ultegra C14 XSC 5500 (pearlescent) models are based around Shimano’s hugely popular Ultegra 14000 reels that have been embraced by serious carp anglers. But technical improvements, and significant differences between the new models, are readily apparent. 

The new Ultegras are better protected against water and dust, weigh less than their predecessor, and benefit from Hi-Speed front drag systems. These allow for quick setting post-cast when targeting big carp, so big fish can be precision-played off the clutch without fear of the reel over-tightening or locking up.  

Better, stronger winding power is provided by Shimano’s top-end Hagane gearing. To that little lot you can add many technically improved parts including a C14 rotor system, beautifully balanced and completely wobble-free. 

Rounding off the specifications are a super-comfy handle knob and an improved, more discreet line guard that functions better than ever and affords a slight weight saving too. Both models come with a spare spool.

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Price: £249.99 


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Daiwa is poised to introduce its first big-pit reel with a 35mm-wide spool for use with thicker diameter reel lines. 

The new Emblem 35 SCW 5000C QD scores highly on looks and performance, with cult all-black styling and impressive features. These include a reduced oscillation speed known as Slow Cross Wrap for faultless line-lay and ideal for long-range casting and heavy-duty work. 

The reel runs wobble-free on six ball-bearings, its 4.9:1 gearing retrieving a mighty 106cm (41.8ins) of line per handle crank. The shallow spools (one spare) hold around 300 yards of line. Daiwa’s QD front drag system goes from virtually locked-up to freespool mode in half a turn of the knob. Twist-Buster 2 line management and a rock-solid Air Rotor add to the winding power.

Price: £175


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The Sonik Vader X 8000 reel will be snapped up by any carp angler looking for quality, looks and value for money. A long-nose spool facilitates long, smooth casts, while its 4.6:1 retrieve rate makes short shrift of rapid line recovery.  

Features include a large-diameter bail-arm with enlarged line roller, twin line clips, powerful and reliable front drag and a pleasing barrel-shaped wooden handle. It comes with a spare forged anodised aluminium spool.

Price: £49.99  

Fox Rage Prism C100, C2500 and C4000 reels

Few manufacturers of predator tackle can boast the complexity, range and depth of Fox’s Rage brand. 

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The latest Prism reels – which, unsurprisingly, complement the new Prism rods – come in C100, C2500 (pictured) and C4000 sizes, and between them are perfect for all lure fishing. 

Smooth running on six ball-bearings, with sleek clutch systems and a balanced rotor profile, they virtually guarantee a wobble-free retrieve.

From £49.99    

Black Viper MK 850 FD reel

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It isn't just the Black Viper Feeder rods that Browning has got right.

The latest Black Viper MK FD reels, crafted to cope with the rigours of long-distance feeder work, are their perfect partner. 

A fast 5.5:1 retrieve speed cranks in an impressive 105cm of line per spool oscillation, and the reel also boasts an oversized wide, shallow spool that copes equally well with braid and mono liines. 

It can be filled without resorting to lots of backing line, the pleasing end result being faster and longer, consistently accurate casts. 

The specialist Viper model also features a sophisticated worm shaft gearing which ensures effortless retrieval, even when winching in the heftiest of feeders or leads. 

Other key features include a non-twistline roller supported by ball-bearings, large surface multi-disc front drag system, aluminium long stoke spare spool, and CNC-made anodised stainless steel handle. You indeed get a lot for your not-inconsiderable outlay.




Looking for the perfect companion to the Daiwa Powermesh Float rod

The eye-catching new front drag Ninja Match reels in 3012 and 4012 sizes are both suitable for floatfishing, although you may find the larger one a little bit
on the heavy side if you’re holding the rod for sustained periods. 

Air Rotor, Twist Buster, Air Bail and a spare spool all come as standard, and geared-down oscillations furnish the reels with substantial retrieving power.

Price: £49.99

Nash BP-12 Fast Drag fishing reel

This great looking Fast Drag big pit reel has all-black looks, and its large capacity spool is made for challenging venues, long casts, and the boating out of baits to extreme range. 

Features include dual spot line clips, line guard spool system, level wind line-lay, and an oversized line roller to reduce line twist on the retrieve. 

The single-turn front Fast Drag system is easy to operate and precision set, while the CNC-machined ergonomic handle includes an isotope slot, something we’ve never seen before on any reel.