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Outdoors: Good time to introduce kids to fishing

With many Lehigh Valley residents out of work because of the Covid-19 virus, it may be a great time for parents with young children to introduce them to fishing.

I have a buddy who is attempting to introduce his 12-year old son to fishing, especially since his son’s Boy Scout troop gave him a spincast rod/reel combo.

I recall buying my young son at the time, a Zebco 33 spincast reel and rod set. Those are nice for first time anglers as they’re easy to cast with their push button line release on the rear of the reel.

After our son graduated from the 33 spincast, I bought him a 33 Zebco Triggerspin that had a lever under the reel instead of a button. This gave him a feel and a way to eventually transition to a full-fledged spinning reel when his hands grew larger so he could reach the bail and hold the line for casting.

One drawback to some newly purchased spincast outfits are that they’re usually spooled with 10-12-pound test monofilament line. For stream trout fishing, that’s much too heavy. The poundage was likely intended to be used for fishing with a heavy bobber. Heavy line in a spincast also limits casting distance. But to make spincast reels more productive for stream trout, even panfish, the reel should be re-spooled with 4-6-pound test line that allows casting lighter lures and bait, and cast them at a bit greater distance.

Despite their popularity as introductory fishing gear and primarily for panfish, spincast reels can also be used by adults for a variety of species, including larger fish like shad, stripers, pickerel, bass even saltwater fish.

While many spincast reels retail for $19-$32, Zebco’s Bullet, for example, retails for $99.95 and has a fast retrieve ratio of 5.1:1, a ratio shared by top spinning/casting reels. It’s also priced with many brand spinning reels sold at big box stores. pincast reels from major companies like Zebco, Daiwa and Lew’s offer reels for varying rod stiffness and line strength. As such, they’re offered in ultralight, medium and heavy that can handle lures from light jigs to heavy spinnerbaits or crankbaits.

Lew’s, for example, offers their Mini Spincast SSC1 prespooled with 125 yards of 4-pound test line and their SSC2C comes with 100 yards of 6-pound line.

Daiwa’s Silvercast-A model can handle from 8-17-pound test mono line, their MiniCast MC40 accommodates 85 yards of 4-pound test line while their Goldcast is rated for 8-12-pound test mono. Their Underspin (lever under the reel that can also be used on a fly rod) can be spooled with 4-12-pound mono line. And most have handles that can be switched from right to left hand retrieve.

Zebco, the leader in spincast, offers 25 models, the largest line of spincast models that range from their small model 202 at $9.99 to their midrange at $69.99 and their top Bullet at $99.99.

Zebco also offers their 808 Saltwater model that can handle 145 yards of 20-pound test line and their 808 Bowfisher model that is intended for bowfishing and comes prespooled with 30 yards of 200-pound test to haul in heavy carp, large rays and other species.

So what was initially a reel for first time anglers, has progressed to lines for a variety of species and baits that can be used by all anglers.


On March 24, 2021, Shimano, famed for its fishing reels, will celebrate 100 years in business.

Shimano was founded by the late Shozaburo Shimano in Feb. 1921 and was based in Sakai City, Japan as an iron works company that made gears. In 1970, Shimano Fishing Tackle Division was formed and today manufactures a line of reels wherein some saltwater models can fetch over $1,000.

They’re also noted for a line of quality bicycles. And their colored logos of green, blue and deep blue are intended to represent land, sky and sea for their offerings. The company has launched a website (www.shimano.com/en/100th/) as an introduction as to what’s to come next year.

Contributed photoZebco's most expensive Bullet Spin Cast Reel is equivalent in retrieve speed to many high-end spinning/casting reels.