REVIEW: 13 Fishing Inception Baitcasting Reel

13 Fishing Inception Review Payne Outdoors Chris Payne13 Fishing has been cranking out new rods and reels over the last couple of years of which I have reviewed quite a few. Walking through my local tackle shop a couple of weeks ago I picked up a 13 Fishing Inception reel and gave it a spin. The spool seemed to spin well, the drag seemed strong, and the price was right so I took it to the register, cashed out, and headed home.

Fast forward two weeks and I have finished the workup on the Inception. Below are my thoughts.

13 Fishing Inception Review Payne Outdoors Chris PayneAbout the Inception Reel from 13 Fishing

The Inception  I tested has the 8.1:1 gear ratio, weighs 6.9 ounces, offers 8 high-spin Japanese stainless ball bearings, and 18 pounds of drag.

The reel retails for $119 and for testing purposes I paired it with a ONE3 Fate Chrome MH rod.

The Inception comes with EVA foam knobs and a removable side plate for access to adjustable spool brake settings.

The Good

Even in the tackle shop I knew this reel was going to be pretty smooth. The big test is always spooling it, mounting it, and the first cast. I chose 12 pound Seaguar Invisx fluorocarbon line, loaded the Inception up, and then walked out to the backyard for some casting practice. To be as consistent as possible I try to always use the same casting setup. I tie a 1/4 ounce bullet weight with a swivel. This allows the line and rod to load up with a sliding weight and it will swing fairly easily as the centrifugal force pins the weight against the swivel. Doing it this way reduces wind drag and gives me a pretty good glimpse at accuracy and distance by eliminating wind resistance as much as possible.

The first cast didn’t disappoint. The brakes guided the line out without overrun and I easily reached my target 30 yards away. I replicated this cast several more times with zero overruns. Satisfied it was time to try the accuracy and line feed capability in a pitching scenario. I placed a bucket 10 yards away, made no adjustments to the brakes, and used an underhand pitch right to the bucket. Usually a reel with a weak brake setup will overrun in this scenario because the line gets slack as soon as the weight stops pulling the spool at the top of the arc of the cast. The Inception had zero issues with this as well.

I wanted to also check it for skipping capabilities so I switched to a fast sidearm snap cast. I caught one small loop when the weight hit the ground and hopped but that’s to be expected with a gunslinger cast like that. For fast snap casts like that, I’d normally bump the brake up to 3 or 4 which could eliminate the loop. Doing so would reduce the casting distance however so keep that in mind.

13 Fishing Inception Review Payne Outdoors Chris PayneI wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the EVA foam grips when I bought the reel. After using it for a half hour or so in a bunch of different applications I like them pretty well. I can imagine good grip performance in wet environments just like a lot of other EVA grips I have used on spinning reels in the past.

I wanted to test the drag so I launched my weight through the branches of an oak tree and proceeded to pull. The drag didn’t give and I eventually broke the 12 pound fluoro with enough force. The drag didn’t slip at all. Surprising. If you plan to use this reel with small diameter braid (less than 50lb) be aware you could bind up the braid in the spool.

13 Fishing Inception Review Payne Outdoors Chris PayneRoom for Improvement

Remeber when I mentioned the access to the brake adjustment? To get to it you have to remove the side plate, and I don’t mean loosen and swing away. I mean remove. It’s easy enough to remove with the lever on the under side of the side plate and that’s potentially the problem. Other models like the Concept Z and Concept C have a swing away Beetle Wing side plate. The Inception does not. If that latch gets tripped or you make an adjustment on the water and drop the side plate, it’s gone if it hits water. I’d love to see a Beetle Wing on this reel too. Pretty please!

The other thing I’d love to see is an Inception with a deep spool option like the Z. Trading out the spool between the Z and Inception would probably come near evening out the weight. The 13 Fishing Trick Shop has some options but I’d love to see this as a factory option. The onboard spool holds 135 yards of 12lb fluoro.

Final Thoughts on the Inception

I’m not exactly sure how this reel doesn’t get more talk. I realize the hazard orange big brother Z is getting all the play in the media circles but for $119, this reel outperforms the bulk of the market options in the sub-$150 market. If you need a $200 combo, I’d pair the Inception with the ONE3 Fate Chrome and be done with it. That’s a heck of a combo and a rarity that it’s available at an 8:1:1 ratio. 13 Fishing has moved forward with this offering that will push Daiwa, Shimano, and others to continue developing great quality at budget friendly prices.

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Chris Payne

A lifelong Texan, Chris Payne has been an outdoor enthusiast his entire life and has spent the last 15 years fishing mainly from a kayak. He is known for his thorough and helpful reviews as well as how to articles for nearly everything kayak fishing related. If you have questions or comments, you can leave them on this post or email Chris at:

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