This is a great time to be a reeler. No matter your location, no matter your preferred discipline, no matter your budget, there are tons of options to get in on the fun. This is especially true when it comes to gearing up. Back in the day, a scant few manufacturers dominated the rod and reel scene. Unless your finned creature-catching implements bore the name Penn, Daiwa, Shimano or Abu Garcia, chances are your gear was destined for failure—most likely at the worst possible moment: when a trophy fish was on the line. Fast forward to the present—man, how times have changed. Now, there are innumerable players in the rod and reel arena, and reelers the world over are benefitting big-time.
Case in point, Piscifun.
If that’s a name you’re unfamiliar with, trust me when I tell, read on. Because with the quality products they’re sending to market, it doesn’t matter if you’re hunting skinny trout in shallow streams, or fat yellowtails in the California Baja, chances are they’ve got a rod and a reel (fly, spinning, and conventional) that will satisfy your needs and help you land the fish of your dreams—and barely put a dent in your wallet.
Recently, I picked up one of Piscifun’s new Honor 5000 (HR50) spinning reels. I don’t typically fish with spinning gear, so the chance to venture outside my “comfort zone” with a gear manufacturer that I didn’t know from Adam (pun intended) was too great an opportunity to pass up.
First impression: Damn, it looked good! Flat black, gun metal gray and metallic red—the Honor 5000 checked all the boxes in the visual category. But let’s face it, even though we tend to browse with our eyes, looks are just a small piece of the puzzle and, where outdoor gear is concerned, the least important one at that. Unless you’re simply looking for something to leave on a shelf in your man-cave or she-shed to impress your fishin’ pals, if gear doesn’t perform, it’s got the same value as a lead paperweight.
So before we get into the actual meat and bones of the Honor 5000’s performance, let’s talk tech. Once again, there was nothing not to love about Piscifun’s creation. 11 stainless steel ball bearings (10+1), 4.3:1 gear ratio, 32.3 inches of retrieve per turn, and a sealed carbon fiber drag that maxes out at 22.1 pounds—all this with a weight of just 16.4 oz courtesy of a high strength graphite body, side plate and rotor. If that’s not enough, the spool holds 285 yards of 18-lb. mono, or 410 yards of 40-lb braid.
Stack it up against other spinning reels in both the freshwater and saltwater arena and you’ve got to be impressed. But wait, there’s more! Are you ready for the price? MSRP is in the $143 range, but since we live in the Internet era, you can find this gem online for as low as $57—and that’s brand spankin’ new, in the box, with a factory neoprene case. And just like most other spinning reels, the handle can be switched to right- or left-handed in a matter of minutes. Speaking of handles, this one’s a direct drive, screwing directly into the main gear for increased power.
Do I have your attention now?
Good. So let’s get out on the water, where looks and technical specs take the ultimate backseat.
After spooling the Honor 5000 with 15-pound mono, I secured it to one of my trusty 10-foot surfcasters and headed down to my favorite So Cal fishing beach. I’d tell you exactly which beach, but there are already enough reelers there on a daily basis, so for those not in the know, sorry but I intend to keep it that way. Using a mixed bag of artificial lures and frozen squid, I started slinging and was rewarded almost immediately. Much to my delight, this trend continued, with nearly one out of every four casts resulting in a hook-up with a surf perch or a corbina.
The surf perch were small—nothing larger than a foot—and proved no match for the rod or the reel. A couple cranks of the handle and the fish essentially gave up. The corbina, on the other hand, put up decent battles for their size, letting me know that they wouldn’t be an easy out. But even the largest corbina—about two feet long and in the realm of five pounds—didn’t give the reel a proper workout. And after a few hours of fishing, it was quite obvious that nothing I would tie into in that area would give the Honor 5000 a proper test.
So I decided to channel Jimmy Buffet: “Change in latitude, change in attitude.” I stripped off the 15-pound test, re-spooled with 40-pound Berkley PowerPro, secured it to an 8-foot fiberglass spinning rod that I’ve had for nearly a decade, and joined some friends on a South-of-the-Border jaunt in search of yellowtail. We had heard news of a frenzied bite the day prior, so we thought we’d try our luck.
Armed with the GPS coordinates, it took a few hours to find the school when my buddy’s trolling rig produced the first ‘tail of the day. About five minutes after that fish was brought to gaff (a more-than-acceptable 12-pounder), the bite began. Slowly at first, building in frequency until it was wide freakin’ open. Live bait was the ammo, mostly small and medium-sized sardines, and before long all four of us were doing the yellowtail two-step (it’s typically referred to as the “tuna two-step” but when in Rome…), dancing around the 24-foot center console with bent rods, bobbing and weaving, lifting and lowering to avoid tangles.
My three pals were all using conventional gear; I was the lone reeler with a spinner. And right before we started soaking out baits, each of my friends was convinced I’d be swapping out my spinning gear for conventional equipment in short order.
Piscifun’s Honor 5000 never missed a beat, and not once did I feel as if I was outclassed or out-muscled. The reel did everything I asked of it, and it did so with a lighter weight package that didn’t leave my arms aching at day’s end. In fact, the only fish I farmed that day were due to my own miscues. The reel was an absolute pleasure to cast, the retrieve felt solid and smooth, the clutch disengaged and engaged only when asked, and the drag worked flawlessly, from wide open to complete lock down.
If I hadn’t known the price going in, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell I would have guessed I was fishing with a reel that could be purchased for under $60. In my experience, that kind of consistent and unfaltering performance just isn’t possible at that price point.
True to their name, Piscifun definitely puts the FUN in fishing. So if you’re looking for quality gear that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend adding Piscifun’s offerings to your equipment battery.
For more information on Piscifun’s awesome products, visit: www.Piscifun.com