Prolite Finesse Baitcast Reel

Prolite Finesse Baitcast Reel

By: Tardevil

The debate occurs with regularity in forums, bait shops, and boats… which is better and does it matter – spincast or baitcast? Personally, I’m a longrodder eighty percent of the time. A couple years ago I’d say it was closer to ninety-five or one hundred percent; but age takes it toll and hereditary arthritis prevents me spending an entire day flinging a 6 wt. I give my wrist a break several times a day, and until recently – very recently, in fact – I reached for my Mitchel powered eight foot ultralight or my Ugly Stik mounted Shimano spincasters.

Drew (THE BasserDrew Gregory) and I have tossed this subject around in other fishing forums and pretty much he’s exclusively a baitcaster. It works well for him… he targets large fish with appropriately sized lures. The flow where I usually fish isn’t blessed with many smallies over a pound, perhaps the occasional three or four pounder, so I toss a lot of unweighted soft plastics – a thing I’ve found difficult with my collection of baitcasting reels.

In fairness and with a couple exceptions, my baitcasting reels were purchased for salmon, black sea bass, redfish and speckled trout fishing, but even the few freshwater reels I owned didn’t tolerate unweighted lures. So, though I prefer the characteristics and control I enjoy with baitcasters, my style of fishing was more condusive to spincasting.

As I said… until recently.

A decade of doing just fine, thank you, with my long rod and spincasters kept me out of the market for new baitcasting reels. On a recent trip in my little pirogue, however, I decided to bottom fish some tubes and jigs and grabbed my ancient but still very functional Ambassador Pro Plus. I really enjoyed fishing with it, tickled at the precision and easy retrieve. “Dogone it (or words to that effect), I sure wish I could use this with my light stuff,” I thought to myself.

Later that evening in my library (all of you have libraries, you just call it something else), I glanced through my Fall Bass Pro Shops catalog and happened across this handsome little jewel…

The promo for the Bass Pro Shops model PRL05HB Prolite Finesse said…

A reel for the finesse angler, one that handles light line or smaller lures with ease! Especially designed for the finesse bass angler or light-tackle enthusiast, these light, easy-handling reels are the answer when cold fronts shut down the bite or clear water gives the fish lockjaw.

OK, Mr. TarDevil, you just got a bonus check and you deserve to update your arsenal, so it’s time to see what this thing will do with very light lures.

Some stats, for those interested…

  • One piece aluminum frame
  • Seven bearing system with six double shielded stainless steel ball bearings (should stand up well to the salt!!)
  • One way roller bearing for instant anti-reverse
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio
  • External lube port
  • Inertial transfer braking

I spooled my ProLite with eight pound test Stren and headed to the river with an assortment of light spincasting lures. On the second or third cast I made a pretty birdnest trying to get the settings dialed in, but after that I enjoyed several hours of worry free casting with anything and everything I’ve ever tossed with my spincasting gear. The casting is effortless and precise. The drag has imperceptible break-out force, smooth and linear in function. It is compact and light, well balanced on my Abu Garcia rod, and for those of us who wade more than we float – easy to carry all day.

Speaking of floating… I don’t stand while fishing like Drew and others, mainly because my little pirogue tosses me unceremoniously into the drink every time I try, so I fish with my butt safely anchored on the seat cushion (and it must be a thin cushion, ’cause even a tall cusion gets squirrely). On my previously mentioned boat outing I discovered a major difference between spincasting and baitcasting; at least once every five minutes while retrieving with my spincaster I’d move the rod just so and whack the side of my boat with the spinning bail. In fact I often found myself in positions where retrieve was downright uncomfortable and had to reposition the boat. Not so with baitcasters. Nary a single unexpected “thump” while retreiveing, and I found I could comfortably retrieve from a broader range of positions.

So, there. I probably didn’t reveal anything new to die-hard baitcasters, but this little reel is everything its makers claim and worthy of “pole position” on the rod rack for even the most ardent light-weight junkies.

One Response to “Prolite Finesse Baitcast Reel”

  1. Tom Reese says:

    Nice review Tardevil! I have never tried to toss any light lures with any of my bait casting reels but if I ever do I’ll keep this one in mind. I mostly use my spinning reel/rod for that occasion.


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