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Gear Review: Cabela’s New Fishing Gear Put to the Test [PICS]

fishing gear
All images via Ryan Lisson

If you’re heading out on a fishing trip soon, here is some Cabela’s fishing gear you should seriously consider.

As the World’s Foremost Outfitter, you know that Cabela’s always has some new fishing gear on the shelves. We thought it was our duty to test some of it out this summer. Let’s say it was for science (but it was also just another excuse to go fishing).

Though it was very tempting to try it all out in the amazing Cabela’s fish ponds, we were told in no uncertain terms that would be frowned upon.

Danny Thompson, Cabela’s marketing manager and pro staff member, graciously took time to hand-pick some of his favorite fishing gear for us to test. As a successful tournament angler, we figured it would be good to trust Thompson’s judgment.

Without further adieu, let’s jump into the fishing gear!

Cabela’s Tournament ZX 1500 Reel

Specifications: This new reel sports a 7+1 bearing system and 6.0:1 gear ratio, making it super smooth on a retrieve. The design is sharp, with striking white, black, and silver colors and an aerodynamic look to it. It was ready to go right out of the box, and it spooled very smoothly and evenly using braided line.

In the field: I tried a couple extra long casts with a heavy jig just to test the limits of the reel, and the line flowed very smoothly with no hang-ups. I caught a couple decent walleyes on this reel, and had the opportunity to test the drag system.

This is where the reel actually shines, because you can micro-adjust the drag to really dial it in. If you’re not a fan of the drag, you also have the option to back reel.

Conclusion: I am really impressed with the performance of this reel, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new one. There are no downsides in my book.

fishing gear

Cabela’s Charter Series Walleye Runner

Specifications: I was excited to try these walleye runners right from the start. At 3 1/2 inches, the 1/3-ounce runner easily dives to 8 to 10 feet when cast and retrieved, but can dive to 21 feet if trolled. I tried the Bee Nice (pictured below), Passion, and Eddy colors.

In the field: For the rocky, clear lakes I tested in northern Minnesota, these runners found the bottom quickly, ticking off the rocks at each wobble. If I snagged on the rocks, the floating body easily loosed itself, saving my sanity.

They feature quality Matzuo hooks that can withstand some punishment. I snagged a giant log at one point and used brute force to pull the lure out. The hooks were no worse for wear after the ordeal. The action of the lure was a slow wobble that was enticing even for me. I’ve now used these lures on walleye and lake trout with good success.

Conclusion: These are surprisingly durable runners that work great for deep diving situations. If you plan to fish at shallower depths, they may be more difficult to do without snagging. I’m glad to have a couple in my arsenal because I’ve always lacked quality deep divers.

fishing gear

Cabela’s Jigs and Plastics

Specifications: The new 3-D Eye (black jig pictured below) and Mean Eye jigs from Cabela’s worked wonderfully for our fishing trip. I pinched off the head of a Cabela’s plastic swim minnow (alewife color pictured below) and pushed that onto the 1/4-ounce jig heads with 1/0 hooks.

In the field: The plastics stayed put thanks to the bait keeper, and the combination proved to be deadly on walleye and smallmouth bass. In fact, it was the only thing catching fish one day!

There’s something about the large, prismatic eyes that grab a fish’s attention quickly and lure them in. The heavier jigs cast farther than you might think, which worked well for casting up towards a rocky shore. With just a couple rod twitches, the jig and plastic darted upwards, perfectly resembling a bait fish.

I combined these jigs with a large slip bobber, and got great results when a good walleye chop blew in on the lake. I did snag it a couple times in some heavy rocks when cast too far into shore (hey, it happens). I wanted to test everything out though, so I just pulled and pulled, honestly expecting to straighten the hook. When I finally retrieved them, however, the hooks were fine and there was only some chipped paint on the jig head itself.

Conclusion: The combination of the jigs and plastics worked great for my fishing trips. They can take a beating, and still perform well. I would recommend adding some to your tackle box.

fishing gear

Cabela’s No-Vis Fluorocarbon Line

Specifications: This 100% fluorocarbon line is touted to be virtually invisible underwater, by matching the refraction index of water (whatever that means).

In the field: I used this fluorocarbon line (6-pound test) as a leader at the end of my braided line, and it was admittedly very difficult to see underwater. I don’t use it as my main line because fluorocarbon is prone to memory issues that cause dreaded rat’s nests or line jumping off the reel.

Conclusion: This line is on par with many of the fluorocarbon lines I’ve used. As long as it’s not used as a main line, you shouldn’t have any issues.

fishing gear

I hope that these reviews help you sort through the mountains of fishing gear you can find at your local Cabela’s store.

Don’t be afraid to try new items out. You just might find what you’ve been looking for. Or better yet, maybe you’ll find the secret weapon you hadn’t even thought of.

Good luck!

All images via Ryan Lisson

NEXT: Surprising Tips from the Cabela’s Walleye Classic Professionals [PICS]

For other great articles, follow me on Twitter @rjlisson

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Gear Review: Cabela’s New Fishing Gear Put to the Test [PICS]