When I walked through the doors at the Houston Fishing Show two weeks ago, I had one thing in mind. I wanted to find Phil McClain’s booth and put my hands on one of the new US Reel low profile casting reels.

I wasn’t even sure at that point that I wanted to give one a try, but their revolutionary changes in the traditional baitcaster beckoned, at the very least, a first- hand investigation. Even if he had none at his booth, I knew that McClain would have the answers to a growing list of questions I field nightly via e-mail.

I started fishing with their wide spool 230SX spinning reel a couple of years back hoping to minimize braided line snafus and I now fish with it about 75 percent of the time. I still prefer a baitcaster for fishing topwaters and crankbaits, but the 230SX and braid make an unbeatable combination for fishing soft plastics rigged on a jig head or fished under a Kwik Cork.

The backlash immune combination is unmatched when it comes to dealing with excessive wind and we fish very few days each year that the wind is not a problem. Virtually every client that fished with one of my reels returned with one or two of their own.

They did not let the fact that they could not buy one locally bother them. We ordered a world of them on ebay, over 50 between Ike and Christmas, while most of the folks from the Houston area were able to purchase theirs at Fishing Tackle Unlimited. Most of my queries were from those same 230SX owners that were more than ready to try one of the new casting reels as well, but could not find one.

Phil did in fact have them in his booth as well as more answers than I had questions. I spent forty-five minutes casting down the aisle, taking the reels apart, and questioning the purpose of the revolutionary design. When he answered my final question with an almost apologetic, “I have been told that occasionally the spool on a new reel will squeal until lubricated,” I was sold. “If that’s the only negative you can think of … I’ll take it!”

When all was said and done, I left the show headed to the water with a Super Caster 1000 in hand. It is $50 cheaper than the Pro model, but basically the same reel. It is gray rather than red, has a slightly slower retrieve ratio which I prefer, and fewer ball bearings. If the 1,000 were any smoother you would empty your spool on the average cast!

I fished with the 230SX for six months, which is six years for the average recreational fisherman, before declaring it the best light tackle spinning reel I had ever used. I have fished with my new 1,000 several times over the past two weeks and at this point, it has done everything McClain said it would do.

I put a drop of oil in the end caps when I took it out of the box and it has not squealed the first time for me. I filled it with 30-pound braid and the spool was even faster than Phil warned. He was justifiably touting the speed more so than issuing a warning, but ignoring that warning will result in a guaranteed backlash for the non-believer. It is fast!

I try to ignore the fact that the line comes off the bottom of the spool rather than the top in order to create tension on a level wind that has no line guide. That unique feature minimizes resistance for longer casts, but you can easily reduce the speed by simply turning a dial to adjust the height of the even more unique “see-saw” level wind.
Thus far, I am more than pleased with the reel. Will it hold up to 275 to 300 fishing trips in brackish water this year? Only time will tell, but I will let you know before Christmas!

We fought a slow deliberate rain most of last week, but even when accompanied by a cold wind, the bite on Sabine Lake held up. We caught trout and redfish under the birds on Traps, swim baits, and soft plastics on a steady outgoing tide.

We also caught a few very solid flounder on Gulp and spinner baits in the bayous. New Penny in the 4-inch shrimp and a quarter-ounce Red Daddy spinnerbait produced the most strikes. We caught more flounder by replacing the plastic tail on the spinnerbait with an electric chicken or pumpkin-chartreuse Blurp Sea Shad. They seem to hold onto the scented plastic a little longer.