NEW Spinning Reel Breakdown: 13 Fishing AL13 Reel Review
Have you seen the NEW 13 Fishing AL13 Spinning Reel yet?
This reel has flown under the radar so I wanted to bring its features to light and break it down in today’s review!
It was revealed at last year’s iCast event and hit the market at the beginning of this year.
There is a WHOLE LOT going on in this reel that I can’t wait to show you!!!
13 Fishing AL13 Reel Review [VIDEO]
A lot of people aren’t talking about this reel and it made me wonder why.
We won’t be going over the specs of this reel (you can find those on the back of the box or on the Fish Strong shop page for this product).
Instead, we’ll get into the details and get under the hood to talk about the inner workings of this reel.
I met with Matt Baldwin, the Product Director for 13 Fishing, to talk about the aluminum construction of this reel in depth.
Also, we talked about the seals as well as the importance of the line roller.
Should this be the next inshore spinning reel in your arsenal?
Let’s find out!!
Overview & Body Construction
The AL13 is available in a few different sizes from 2.0 to 6.0.
For all intents and purposes, the sizes are very close to 2500 size all the way up to 6000 size.
This is generally speaking as the sizes are intrinsic to 13 Fishing but the 3.0 is similar to a 3000-size spinning reel.
The AL13 is an all-aluminum-bodied reel.
Other companies will say “aluminum construction” which means the body, spool, and handle are aluminum.
That is standard for the most part BUT 13 Fishing went a step further.
In addition to the parts I just mentioned, the rotor, bail wire, and bail armature – everything is aluminum.
Why does this matter?
This is designed to be a kick-it-around reel for captains, those that beat up their gear, or if you fish around heavy structure and run the risk of dropping it or dinging it on hard surfaces.
Aluminum is strong to withstand these elements and rigid enough to pull in big fish.
Most rotors are made using a composite-plastic material.
The fact that this reel has a metal rotor for under $200 is extremely unique.
Anglers that want aluminum everything in a reel have likely spent hundreds more on a reel of this build.
Cool-Stop Drag System
Traditionally, drag systems have been made using either felt or carbon fiber and sometimes cork.
In the case of the AL13, they used what they refer to as “Cool-Stop”.
This is a polymer material that is unique to the brand.
They found that, unlike carbon fiber, polymer maintains its integrity much longer under heat and pressure.
Traditional carbon fiber is etched and the discs are flat.
So the discs get stacked and pressure is applied from the top of the spool creating the drag.
Over time, that carbon fiber etching, will wear down from the center outwards.
Moreover, the polymer discs are beveled in shape.
They are stacked in such a way that when pressure is applied, the pressure will dissipate outward and slope downward.
This prevents the heat from concentrating in the center of the disc and disperses it evenly outward.
In turn, this extends the life of the discs and helps maintain their shape over time.
As a result, the drag will be smoother and cooler when under immense pressure.
Anglers commonly want to know how well a reel is sealed and where those seals are located.
I was able to identify SIX different seals on the AL13.
I believe there are seven in total, however, I did not fully tear down the entire reel.
The seals are at the handle entry point, a seal on the cap opposite the handle, a seal on the top of the locking nut above the rotor, the fourth seal is just beneath the rotor, and the fifth seal is arguably the most important and that protects the pinion gear.
This reel is effectively stacked and water will have a difficult time getting down the main shaft and into the main gears.
13 Fishing placed these seals in such a way that when you turn the handle, you don’t feel much resistance at all.
A lot of times in other spinning reels, you sacrifice smoothness for the sake of sealing.
The last piece I want to discuss is also what I believe to be the most overlooked on any spinning reel.
That is the line roller.
Most line rollers are made using a stainless material and are often coated in gold or silver.
In the case of the AL13 and a couple of other reels from 13 Fishing, it is a full ceramic line roller.
Why is that important?
A lot of the coatings used on other reels can wear down over time being exposed to the elements.
When the coating starts to wear down on the line roller, it’s going to corrode and impact your mainline.
The braid you’re fishing with is making constant contact with the line roller.
The fact that 13 Fishing uses a ceramic line roller means it will maintain its integrity indefinitely.
It won’t chip or crack and this is something I feel is overlooked by reel manufacturers as well as anglers.
Let’s Address The Cons
In truth, the AL13 is NOT a lightweight reel.
It is not a finesse spinning reel but that is not really what it was designed to be.
It is heavier than other aluminum reels on the market.
If you’re looking for an aluminum-bodied reel and you want that rigidity, these reels are on the heavier side.
The other thing to consider is that these reels are very new (only 6 months out on the market).
I’ve only been fishing with my personal AL13 for 6 months which is too short of a time to make a final determination.
At the one-year mark, I will put together another review video to talk more about the AL13 after 12 months of use.
In the meantime, have you heard of this fishing reel yet?
Have you used the AL13 Spinning Reel?
Please let me know your thoughts and if you have used this reel, please go ahead and leave a comment below!!
For Insider Members as well, we are offering FREE line and we’ll spool it up for you beforehand on all saltwater reels so you can hit the water immediately.
Not only that, we’ll also ship it to you FREE of charge.
Simply add a reel to your cart and follow the steps from there and we’ll have your reel ready for action!!
Please let me know if you have any questions down in the comments section!!
Finding The Fish Help
In order to help make sure that you are targeting the right areas based on the latest feeding trends and upcoming weather forecasts, make sure to use the following 3 resources because they will save you a ton of time.
1. Weekend Game Plans (updated weekly)
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2. Smart Fishing Spots Platform (updated every 15 minutes)
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3. Community Reports (live feed)
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