Review written by Hydrilla.
As a recreational weekend angler, I am a big fan of finding the price point in my fishing equipment that gives you lasting quality, yet doesn’t cost a fortune. In my opinion, with baitcasting reels, this price point is around $100 to $150. I can’t talk about longevity yet, but I can say in my opinion, the Lew’s Tournament MG is the finest reel in this price range, and is better than many in the $150-200 price range. At $129, this reel is a bargain.
The reel feels lightweight, as most good reels do. It is functionally very smooth, the cast controls and drag are very precise, and it has a deep spool that holds a lot of line. The drag rating is comparable to others in this price range, yet I think that is deceiving. When I crank the drag down on a Citica, for example, I feel like I have to really crank it down before I can hold the spool with my thumb and not be able to turn the handle without too much effort. Yet with the Lew’s, I can tighten the drag to this point without having to crank it down so tight. I got the 7.1:1 model and with the oversized (longer, not just bigger paddles) handle, you can really move some line- ideal for Texas rigs and jigs.
Another thing is how easy it was to get dialed in the way I wanted, and how well it does in the wind. I broke a cardinal rule when I bought this reel Friday night and used it in a tournament the next day, yet I had no issues whatsoever, and I forgot it was new after just a few minutes. I could easily go from pitching to casting without giving it a second thought, and the reel kept up with however I used it, despite breezy conditions. Spooled with 20 pound fluoro and paired with a nice 7′ MH Texas rig rod, this is already one of my favorite combos.
One of the lessons I’ve learned in the past, and the Tournament MG confirms this for me, is that with fishing gear, specs aren’t as important as getting the rod, reel, line, or whatever in your hands and giving it a try. I think Lew’s hit a home run with the Tournament MG, and if you try one, you might agree with me. I know I will be buying several more in the near future.