This ain’t your Grandpa’s old Zebco.
Spincast reels are often scoffed at by anglers who believe them to be for children or amateurs.
However, the Zebco Omega Pro truly breaks the spincast mold and proves that they deserve to be considered by anglers.
Must-See Fishing Video
One thing that I want to make clear before starting this review is that I am not saying a spincast reel, even one that is of as high a quality as this one, is going to replace spinning and baitcasting reels, especially for seasoned anglers. However, for the weekend angler, this reel is hard to beat.
Last fishing season, I fished almost exclusively with the Zebco Omega Pro Z03 spooled with 10 pound test Cajun Line and a 6’ 6” Ugly Stik casting rod for species ranging from channel cats to largemouth bass and sunfish. Here are my impressions of the reel after a full season of heavy fishing.
The first thing that jumps out about this reel is the outstanding build quality. This reel blows nearly every other spincast reel on the market out of the water.
It is constructed of sturdy aircraft grade aluminum, and also has all metal gears. It feels very solid and held up incredibly well over the season. Sturdiness is most assuredly not a concern when using the Zebco Omega Pro series of spincast reels.
During my time with this reel, I made sure to throw as many different lure types as possible in order to really put the Zebco through the paces.
I threw everything from big topwater frogs, to crankbaits, spinnerbaits, finesse lures, soft plastics, and even live bait. I encountered no problems at all while casting or retrieving any of them.
One of my favorite ways to fish for bass is via topwater lures, and so I am very picky about how my lures are performing while in the water. I was pleased with the action of every topwater lure that I tossed with this reel. The amount of strikes I received was plenty of proof for me.
Another great thing about the Zebco Omega Pro reel is its ease of use and functionality. There is really next to no learning curve to be able to accurately and consistently put lures right where you want them with a spincast reel.
The fact that the Omega Pro maintains that ability while also providing durability and sharp looks is one of my favorite things about this reel.
Earlier, I mentioned that this reel would be hard for the weekend angler to beat. Let me elaborate on that for a second.
To me, a weekend angler is someone who loves fishing but just does not have as much spare time to devote to it as they like. Someone who sneaks off to their favorite fishing hole when they can, even if it is just for an hour or two. Someone who wants to start fishing as quickly as possible on those rare occasions they do get to hit the water.
The Zebco Omega Pro spincast reel is perfect for the weekend angler because of the hassle free fishing that it offers. One can simply grab their rod, tie on their favorite lure, and start fishing without worrying about backlash, birds nest tangles, or perfect technique.
However, all of these great qualities do not mean that this is the perfect reel. In fact, there are a couple of glaring problems that stuck out to me during my time with this reel.
The first problem I encountered, and by far the one that aggravated me the most, was the drag system. Controlled by a small, horizontally-rotating wheel on the front of the reel, the Omega Pro’s drag leaves a lot to be desired.
The adjustments on it are nowhere near as crisp as I would like them to be. It is very difficult to feel how much you actually adjusted the drag in either direction.
The only way to tell how high or low the drag is, you have to physically grab the line above the reel and pull.
While that may be a way to double check drag settings on any fishing rig, it is something that you must be vigilant about while using this reel. The drag adjustment wheel is far too sensitive and one slight bump could throw off your entire drag and cause you to lose fish.
The other main negative about it is a common problem among many spincast reels and that is the gear ratio. The Zebco Omega Pro’s gear ratio is a somewhat paltry 3.4:1.
For readers who might not know exactly what gear ratio is, in its simplest terms, it is how many times the spool rotates for each full turn of the handle. In other words, gear ratio indicates how quickly you can retrieve line with any given reel. A higher ratio equals faster line retrieval while a lower one means the opposite.
Although I found the gear ratio to be a bit of a negative with this reel, it didn’t offer any apparent problems on the small to medium sized ponds that I mostly fished on while testing this reel.
Overall, I came away impressed with this spincast offering from Zebco. Despite a couple of flaws, the Omega Pro does a lot of the little things right.
With two included, interchangeable handles, optional left or right retrieve, and a rubber guard preventing excess water from entering the reel’s interior, the Omega Pro does not skimp on the small details.
I will definitely continue to include this reel in my fishing arsenal and expect many seasons of use from it.
With an MSRP of $79.99, the Zebco Omega Pro may offer a bit of sticker shock to anglers shopping for spincast reels. However, I have no problem saying that it is well worth the initial investment for anyone who wants a very durable and easy to use reel that will have you pulling fish into the boat in no time.
Take one of these reels on a fishing trip just once and I would be surprised if you didn’t come away just as impressed as I did.
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