* Important note: Following the posting of this review, Fin-Nor took action to address some of the criticisms and flaws highlighted here. The Lethal 100 now comes with a bag of extra spool shims and instructions on how to use them, and they changed the shape of the bail wire to better guide the line and ease the transition of the wet braid to the line roller, aiming to improve the line lay.


Fin-Nor Lethal 100 : The Review

Hello everyone

Since my reviews reach more people than news entries, I'll start this one by addressing two matters that I have to deal with frequently through readers' mail. The first one is a repeated enquiry about why the new Stella SW isn't among my top reels. It sometimes comes as a genuine question, but in most cases it comes in an annoyingly critical manner. Well, people are free to be star-struck and believe that if it's very expensive and heavily promoted then it must be great, but I care only about facts. Facts state that the reel is poorly built with oversized/undersized bearings and seals, overweight, tight to spin, and has downgraded gearing for reasons that don't need much guessing. I used it in two sizes extensively and to me it has no place among top reels, so I don't need anyone telling me that captain blah swears by them or that your tackle shop says they're better than sex or that I'm misguided. I didn't come to your home with a gun and force you to read. You chose to click a link and come to my site to read, so if you don't like it just don't read and get your information elsewhere. This is not a request to stop the angry mail, keep it coming, but at least say something new instead of reciting the same garbage you hear from promoters or telling me that "Shimano's engineers know what they're doing". General Motors have engineers too yet corners were cut and millions of faulty cars are being recalled after people died, Rolls Royce engineers made bad pipes that caused the engines of Airbus A-380 to leak, and highly skilled engineers still designed faulty pilot oxygen supply systems in the F-22 fighter jet. Here is a new one for you; why don't you just tell me that I'm a Shimano hater? Of course the fact that Shimano is by far the dominant brand on my top lists or that the old Stella SW was my favourite reel for 5 solid years would make this claim quite dubious, still it's less naive than the other "arguments"!       

The second matter is a little embarrassing because it highlights my own shortcomings Many of my readers, including very good friends, are often disappointed by how I sometimes keep pushing a particular reel back, then I end up cancelling plans to review it just as happened with the Stradic FJ. I plead guilty indeed, but in my defence I have the most chaotic life you can imagine and my work and family keep me really busy. Fishing and reviews remain a passion and a hobby that I always struggle to create time for, so please forgive me if I had to drop something I promised in favour of newer or more requested reels. Now let's get to the review without further delay...

This is yet another case where the review is particular to one size only and not the whole series. The 100 size reviewed today is dramatically different to the rest of the Lethal series to the point that one wonders if they should all bear the same name. The Fin-Nor Lethal 40, 60, and 80 sizes were released much earlier, and I examined two reels and found them to have the exact same internals as the Fin-Nor Sportfisher series of reels, only encased in different bodies. The only tangible difference between the Sportfisher series and the Lethal 40/60/80 reels is that the spool of the Lethal has a rubber ring and runs on two ball bearings. It is funny then that the retail price of the Lethal 80 is slightly lower than the equivalent size Sportfisher 80. Goes to show the randomness of the whole thing. One more thing to add, the Lethal 60 and 80 have full metal bodies and rotors, while the 40 has a metal body with a plastic rotor. Needed to mention that because I've seen some wrong information being spread, but now let's leave all these reels behind and focus on the completely different Lethal 100.

The box states that they build "legendary reels", which might or might not be the case, but I'm quite sure there is nothing legendary about the name of this model. This is a first for me to actually comment on a reel's name, but when it's something this weird I can't just ignore it. Apparently it's supposed to mean that the reel is "Lethal" to fish, but that's kinda stupid because we don't go out to kill or euthanise fish. It's a sport where we mostly release our catches and occasionally keep a few to eat or for bait, so naming a reel "Lethal" is just extreme. Hopefully this wouldn't become a trend because I don't want to find myself one day reviewing a reel named the "Murderous" or the "Rapist"!

As you can see in these 6 photos the reel has a full metal construction, and it comes in a grey/black/golden colour scheme. There isn't anything spectacular about the looks of the reel, but the jumping marlin on the black body cap (second photo) is kinda cute, and the ultra slim gearbox (third and fourth photos) looks quite nice. Internal parts' design dictates how wide the gearbox will be, and the slimmer the body is the lighter the whole reel will be.

Speaking of weight, the advertised weight is 873 grams (30.8 oz), but the actual weight is

In a rare occurrence the reel actually weighs less than the advertised weight. This usually is the result of someone writing down the weight of an early prototype, then by the time it makes it to production changes and updates would have been made reducing the weight but the old figure is mistakenly used. At 844 grams (29.7 oz) the Lethal 100 is considerably lighter than most reels in its size class such as the Torque 9, the Stella SW 20K, the TwinSpin 30, and the Saragosa SW 20K. The only reels in this size class that are lighter than the Lethal 100 are the big Saltigas and Catalina/Isla reels. Fin-Nor did exaggerate the spool capacity though as is the norm. The spool of the Lethal actually took ~370 metres (404 yards) of PE5 braid which is 0.37mm (0.014 inch) thick. Still a very good line capacity.

The reel retails for $130, but a smart shopper looks around and finds discounts

Amazon advertises an inflated list price then slashes it to just $114 with free shipping, so the reel is laughingly cheap.

Despite the low price, the reel comes meticulously lubed. The two photos above are of the reel when still new, showing the factory grease on the stem's joint and where the bail wire meets the roller housing. Naturally I removed that grease before I began fishing because I wanted the reel to be exposed to elements so I could fairly evaluate its corrosion resistance. 

This is another photo when the reel was still new. A metal shaving (red arrow) was stuck in the lube on the drag knob. Caused no issue whatsoever, just showing you every little thing as I always do. The blue arrow in the photo above points the knob's seal which effectively kept water out during boat rides, and the green arrow points the plastic pressure disc which is keyed to the shaft to prevent the knob from turning during a fight.

Back to examining the reel after it had been fished and tested

The reel has a top stack drag with 7 carbon fibre brake washers, which is an unusual number since most reels have 4 to 5 ones, with a few reels having as many as 6. I did see a handful of reels that had 7 brake discs before, but those were generally small discs nowhere near this size of the ones in the Lethal 100. The washers came properly lubed from the factory, and the drag performed extremely well. There is no stickiness or felt starting inertia, the drag gives line smoothly, and careful examination of the washers shows little signs of wear relative to the use it saw. Large total surface area of the breaking elements means the drag force is generated at lower stress, and this enhances smoothness and longevity of the parts. I noticed though that when the drag gets hot the heat doesn't dissipate as quickly as it should. Heat changes the viscosity of the grease and causes volumetric changes in metal washers, so a hot drag requires an extra bit of adjustment during fishing to maintain consistency. Heat dissipation in a spinning reel depends on several variables such as the location of the discs, the thickness of the spool's metal, the integrated radiation surfaces, and the materials of the parts in contact with the drag components. I believe the spool design of the the Lethal 100 isn't optimal for dealing with heat, and the plastic pressure disc of the drag knob doesn't help in heat radiation as a metal one would do.

Let me put things in perspective here. I'm known for going into extreme detail and commenting on things that 95% of you would never notice or be bothered with, and my criticism of the drag should be seen in this context. The drag of the Lethal 100 is not as perfect as the best designs out there, still it's a supreme drag that I rate very highly. If I divide drag performance of spinning reels into 5 tiers with tier 5 being the very top with reels such as the old and new Stellas, 2010 Saltiga, Torque, and new Cabo, I'd put the drag of of the Lethal 100 solidly in tier 4 just a notch below the top. In my book the drag of the Lethal 100 is superior to those of the Saragosa F, Spheros, all Van Staals, and Twin Power SW. It is that good.         

Still at the drag, the reel is advertised as having 45lbs (20.4 kg) of maximum drag. You probably expect me to say that this number is not correct, and that's exactly what I'm going to say. Well, this usually means that I found the actual drag to be lower than the published one, but in this case it's the other way round. During actual fishing I didn't go over 10-12 kg at most, but post fishing I scaled the drag at a surprising 23 kg (50.7 lbs) without a problem. As I said before, a maximum drag is not just the highest pressure the spool can produce. The reel as a whole must be able to support that pressure, and the line release at that maximum should remain smooth. The way I determine an actual maximum drag involves some severe tests at the most vulnerable state of a reel, making sure that I repeatedly and systematically subject it to the full force of that maximum figure while observing how different parts of the reel react to it. The Lethal 100 is now among an elite group of reels in this size class that successfully exceeded the 50lb mark in my tests without any internal or external damage, shaft bending, spool touching, or even a slight plastic deformation in the rotor or bail arms. I said "this size class" because the larger the reel is the harder it is for it to withstand high drag forces. Without getting into much technical detail, smaller reels with shorter stems have smaller rotors and sit closer to the rod hence they can handle high forces easier than larger reels do. The big Lethal is certainly a special reel in this sense and the brilliant drag is my third favourite feature in it.

The back of the spool shows the sturdy drag clicker, and also shows finish imperfections (circled). Has no effect on anything, but a reminder that a $114 reel is bound to have imperfections.

The spool has a rubber ring that is supposed to make it safe to tie braid directly to the spool. As a matter of principal I will not evaluate it though. There have been several such systems on spinning reels since braid began to gain popularity, and while some of them work to a degree with the right knots, I never rely on them and instead always use mono packing. I don't understand what's too hard about putting 3 metres of mono first then tying braid to it for absolute security and peace of mind. I have seen entire spool fillings slip while hooked to a fish because braid was tied directly to the spool, and it's even more likely to happen if the line gets wet all the way which is not uncommon in harsh fishing conditions and on multi-day trips. Also it's good for the spool to have a protective layer of mono between the spindle and the braid because braid traps more saltwater and dries slower than mono, so mono packing reduces the chances of corrosion on the spool's spindle. This is based on years of real life experience and observation, not some theory I came up with in my bed.

The spool hub is constructed in a no-nonsense solid fashion with steel and brass fixtures for longevity. The red arrow point the slight marks left by the metal drag washers during use at high drag settings. Much shallower than marks I found on more expensive reels that I fished at lower drags. The blue arrow points the single washer beneath the spool, and we're going to talk a little here; the design allows for shims to be added and removed to fine tune the line lay on the spool, yet they had no interest in providing the user with this ability. The reel comes with no extra shims, and that single washer beneath the spool can't be removed because then the spool would sit on bare metal. Let me give you an actual demonstration of the effect

I like to use premium Japanese braid that is extra strong for diameter since this way I can have more line on the spool while being of the same strength as thicker lines. I used PE5 line for most of my testing of this reel, and as you can see in the photo the reel doesn't spool this thin line correctly. Normally I would have removed a spool shim and replaced it with a thinner one to perfect the lay, but as mentioned in the previous paragraph the reel comes with a pre-installed single thick shim and nothing else. In all fairness to the Lethal 100 it did spool the thicker PE8 (0.47 mm) braid much better, but I would love to be able to spool thinner and thicker lines equally well, so providing some extra shims of various thicknesses would be just brilliant and it would cost them 50 cents at most which I'd gladly pay over the price of the reel.

The rotor nut is the closed type. I'll explain in the following paragraph.

Normally in low cost reels you get something similar to this, where the pinion (blue arrow) just protrudes out of the open nut (red arrow) leaving the pinion exposed to saltwater and foreign matter. The Lethal 100 has a closed nut which provides more protection compared to the open nut, but of course not the full protection found on expensive reels with complex shaft seals. Simple and more than sufficient for boat use.

The impressive metal rotor, and you can see the bigger than usual angle of the rotor arm, which is one of the reasons the reel could withstand the very high maximum drag pressure.

Beneath the rotor lies the pinion/clutch seal (red arrow), and the pinion has a small Polyphthalamide washer (blue arrow) that reduces friction between the pinion and the main shaft, a feature that has a significant effect on the smoothness of the reel when reeling under load. A simplified version of the "floating shaft" feature. The three screws (green arrow) retaining the pinion assembly are extra long, about twice as long as the average I see in other reels. Again the straightforward approach to maximum strength where it matters.

A closeup of the pinion/clutch seal. A thin lipped seal that effectively keeps water out without being tight or disruptive. It's worth noting here that the Lethal 100 is a very free-spinning reel (erroneously referred to as "smoothness"). Turning the handle is pretty easy and the reel spins lightly and keeps going after you let the handle go. Nothing like a Stella FA, but close enough to make using it all day long an easy task. Regarding actual "smoothness", which is quietness and fluid feel of operation, it has none of it! The reel makes whirring, clicking, and rubbing noises, and as it breaks in the gearbox begins to sounds as if a constipated frog is trapped inside! Well, that's a little exaggeration, but you get the idea; don't expect the quietness and refined feel of a Saltiga because this is not a $1300 Japanese reel.

This is the one way clutch of the reel (red arrow). Right out of the box the Lethal 100 had a bit of back play in the rotor, meaning the rotor would go back slightly before stopping. This back play didn't increase at all after more than a hundred hours of use, and now the reel is opened I wanted to figure it out. I found that the clutch itself was perfect, holding the sleeve tight without any internal play. The play actually originated outside of the clutch; as you can see in the photo above the external shape of the clutch is octagonal, and it fits inside a moulded octagonal channel in the reel (circled). The issue comes from the fact that the octagonal channel is slightly bigger than the clutch, so the entire clutch moves in it a little bit, causing that felt back play in the rotor. The play doesn't affect the function of the reel and isn't big enough to bother, and since it's outside of the clutch it will not increase and it won't affect the reliability of the unit. Something I can happily accept from a reel at this price point.

Inside the clutch, the common design featuring steel brake pins and moulded plastic V springs. A solid part.

Getting into the gearbox

The screws of the gearbox have little washers on them double tasking as protection against water intrusion and to protect the finish of the reel from direct rubbing against the screws as they are tightened down. Nice touch indeed.

The gearbox is very well lubed as is the case with the rest of the reel, and here you can see two different types of grease, one type for the gearing, and another for the other components. Again that kind of meticulous lubing is something I definitely didn't expect in a reel of this price. There is something unnatural about all of this

One of the two bearings of the drive gear, well lubed and fits tightly inside its recess.

An overview of the gearbox, showing another excellent feature of this reel; the main shaft goes through the entire length of the body and dives inside a rear support embedded into the end of the gearbox (circled). This is one of the strongest support systems available, and it only adds to the solidity of the reel and its ability to withstand the punishment of high drag settings. The red arrows point two areas in the stem where there used to be cut-outs, but in the final production version they very wisely decided to plug them leaving more metal in the stem. I saw a pre-production sample reel last year and I remember vividly that there were two holes in this location. Plugging them on the production reels is an excellent decision.  

Now this is a stunning surprise; a first grade backup anti-reverse system! If the clutch of the Lethal slips for some reason and the rotor begins to spin backwards, the wire spring on the gear shaft (red arrow) would bring the stainless steel dog (blue arrow) down so it engages the stainless steel ratchet (green arrow) stopping the backward motion. Several low cost reels have backup anti-reverse systems, but these are always weak designs based on a spring loaded pawl that engages on the back cavity of the rotor. Such systems work alirght if you're catching a bass or a snook, but if you're fighting a big pelagic fish and the main clutch slips, those backup stops would be obliterated. The Lethal 100 though has a top grade back up stop that's a direct copy of Daiwa's ingenious design in the original 2001 Saltiga, which was later copied by Shimano in the Stella SW. Not only that it will prevent the loss of the fish at the time of a clutch slip, but even if the clutch fails completely the reel could still be fished on this powerful backup system for the duration of the trip until the clutch could be cleaned or replaced. During my post-fishing tests I disabled the clutch and abused this backup stop, and it worked to my complete satisfaction. Since some premium reels such as the Torque and the TwinSpin don't have a backup stop, you can understand why this one surprised me. It's my second favourite feature in the Lethal 100.

The oscillation system is the old reliable locomotive style, complete with a ball bearing (red arrow) for the gear to spin on, and a synthetic support (blue arrow) to stabilise the system and reduce friction. Full marks with a golden star stuck on the top of the page..... I once received one of these in school by the way, long before I started focusing on my female classmates instead of lessons and became a raging imbecile. Those were good days.

The oscillation gear is activated by a secondary gear directly machined into the stainless steel drive gear shaft. The same approach of unwavering strength.

The oscillation slider is pretty thick where it matters, and had no signs of damage even after taking the torture of the 23 kg of pressure I tested the drag with.

This is an ugly casting imperfection where a part of the thin divider got stuck in the mould leaving this peeping hole. It's not a stress area and has zero effect on the strength or functionality of the part, but it serves as a reality check and a reminder that it's a budget reel.

The drive gear is pressed into the shaft, and further secured by three bolts, two of them are seen here (red arrows).

Fin-Nor says that the drive gear is "forged brass"

Well, the gear is made of brass indeed, but I don't believe it's forged. Upon close inspection I can see machining marks quite clearly as obvious in the above photo. Maybe they were referring to the method used to produce the supplied bar stock (billet) from which the gear was made, but this doesn't make the gear a forged one since it's definitely made by machine cutting. Regardless, the drive gear of the Lethal 100 is a very resilient part that's made of a strong brass alloy. In terms of mechanical properties machined brass is way above the cast zinc alloy drive gears we usually get at this price point and even much higher. For example Penn's Conquer has a cast zinc drive gear and it sells for $219.

I always fish a reel hard then examine the gearing closely to form an idea about its strength and wear resistance relative to the use I put on it. In the case of the Lethal 100 I didn't just use it normally, but I stressed it way beyond what's normal and proper for a spinning reel because I wanted to know its limits, and naturally I wasn't worried much about potentially breaking it since the whole reel costs less than half the customs duty I paid when I imported the 2013 Stella last year. On one of my outings with the Lethal I decided to troll on our way to the first fishing spot, and there was plenty of Atlantic Bonito roaming the water which I needed as bait. A good spot for hits when trolling for Bonito is the end of the wake of the boat, but I intentionally would let my lure out about 60-80 metres behind the boat in order to do one of my favourite stress tests; a fish would strike, and I would wave the skipper to slow down a little bit but not stop, then I would crank the fish towards the moving boat which creates a lot of resistance and subjects the handle and the gearing to the ultimate torture. You probably know how retrieving a flat faced popper is quite stressful to the reel because of the resistance, so try to imagine retrieving a 2-3 lbs bait fish with the added resistance of being in a moving boat. Only when the fish is close to the boat I would wave the skipper to stop briefly because I don't want the fish to run into the propeller, but that was not really needed because the fish comes out completely stunned

I must have caught about 20 of these with the Lethal 100, each being dragged against that excessive resistance for about 70 metres. It took much strength on my side, but I was satisfied that this was as extreme a test of a reel's gearing as it gets. Another test of the Lethal's strength came on another trip when we were jigging over one of my favourite wrecks. I hooked a big fish at about 90 metres deep, and I had to virtually crank it all the way up instead of pumping it with the rod. What happens normally is that a fish is hooked by the mouth, therefore when you pump the rod you pull it by the head and direct up where you want it. This fish -as I later found out- was gut hooked, so pumping didn't work because I don't control the head and when I raise the rod the fish wouldn't budge, so there was no line for me to wind as I lowered the rod. The fish had the upper hand at the beginning and ravaged my leader against the underwater structure as I failed to move it away, then I just held the rod at a steady 30 degrees angle and began the exhausting task if literally cranking it up with the reel.

That's it, a pretty big Amberjack that took me very close to my breaking point, and at this stage I had seen the bad shape of my leader and knew it won't last long with the gut hooked fish still calling the shots and running below the boat, so I scrambled to take this photo seconds before the leader broke and the fish disappeared. Sorry about the shaky quality, but I wanted to capture this remarkable fight and took the photo with one hand while holding the rod almost horizontally with the other hand as the fish pulled against ~9 kg of drag pressure. I really wanted to eat this bugger because it made me suffer, but instead it was chicken mayo sandwiches for me that afternoon! Collectively the reel landed several Amberjacks in the 30-50lb range, about a dozen King Mackerels up to 25lb, two groupers estimated at 70lb each, a large unidentified shark that took a blue runner meant for grouper, and many smaller bait fish. The Lethal did what it was supposed to do every time, and it felt pretty solid as it did.

The gear took it all very well, and I found no deformation and not even as much a dent on it. There was slight wear of course, but to my best judgement it showed less wear than any stainless steel drive gear I have ever examined. To find a similarly tough drive gear one would have to go all the way up to the pricey Penn Torque.   

The pinion is stainless steel, seen here with the main ball bearing (red arrow) and the synthetic washer (blue arrow) on which the pinion spins on the other end. The green arrow points the stainless steel ratchet of the backup anti reverse.

The pinion shows no noticeable wear, thanks to the lower coefficient of friction between the brass drive gear and the pinion. Gear trains that are made of two stainless steel gears are not always the best option as many would think. A combination of a stainless pinion and a drive gear properly made of quality brass/bronze alloy would generally last longer and suffer less galling. This is why the indestructible gearing of the Saltiga comprises a stainless pinion and a C6191 marine bronze drive gear instead of an all stainless steel gearing. The gearing of the Lethal 100 is my top favourite feature in this reel.

Before we leave the gearing, I need to discuss something. The following is a question and an answer posted on the site of a major tackle outlet, brought to my attention by one of my readers who had the same question

Someone saw a mention of a brass drive gear in the specifications and asked if all Lethal sizes have that, and the answer he received was a "yes". That is not right. Only the Lethal 100 has a brass drive gear and a stainless steel pinion, while smaller Lethal reels have a basic gearing comprising a cast zinc drive gear and a brass pinion. I don't need some funny personality telling me that since the 100 has a brass drive gear and the smaller reels have brass pinions then the answer is somehow correct. The answer obviously indicates that all the reels have the same gearing with the brass drive gear, and that is misleading. I'm not shaming the shop because I have no reason to believe it was intentional, but I'd like to use this space to ask everyone to verify their information with the maker before giving out technical answers. Reading around the web and seeing video "reviews" on youtube leaves me horrified by the amount of misinformation out there, and it comes from professionals whom people automatically trust. We all make mistakes and it's normal, but when you're selling something you have a bigger responsibility to do some research and provide accurate information to potential buyers. This would only benefit all of us as a community of fishermen.

The reel has no bail mechanism. This is the same magnetic bail found on some Quantum reels, including the Cabo which I reviewed last year. Two magnets (red arrows) act as a spring, a stainless steel stud (blue arrow) in screwed into the bail arm, and it's retained by a snap ring (green arrow). It's a manual only bail, and it works without an issue.

The line roller (red arrow) shows the same focus on strength. It runs on two ball bearings (blue arrows) instead of one, just like established heavy duty reels. The line roller is a small part that takes a lot of load as the first point of contact between the fish and the reel, and since the ball bearings inside it will most definitely be tiny, two of them are placed in the rollers of high end reel to provide as much strength as possible in this crucial part. The Lethal again follows the example of top reels.

The handle has a seal (red arrow) where it meets the body to protect the gearbox from water, and for boat use it's just ideal.

The handle's grip is the egg type which I personally prefer, but I know I'm in the minority here and that most people like a round knob.

The grip is permanently bolted to the stem and servicing is limited to dropping a few drops of oil in there to lube it. Not a good thing but it's in line with the price of the reel.

Finally, the handle joint. In this price class the handle joint is usually the cross pin fastener type which is not very strong, and that cross pin is exactly what you find on the smaller Lethal reels. The 100 size is different though; they went for the extremely strong bolt design to secure the stem directly to the threaded shaft. The bolt has a hex head for high torque fastening, and this powerful design is what you find on reels such as the Accurate TwinSpin as seen in the following photo

This is the joint of the TwinSpin, identical to that of the Lethal 100.

After field testing and internal examination of a reel I sit down to rate it based on my collective observations, keeping my eyes on what really matter; structural integrity, reliability of the drag and anti-reverse, gear strength, build quality, and overall fishability. I don't pay much attention to bling and manufacturer's claims, and I could care less about an X-PIMP or S-COCK "technology" and similar marketing rubbish that people blabber as if it means anything. Looking at the Lethal 100, I find a reel that has extraordinarily powerful gearing as suggested by metallurgy and confirmed by real life performance, a reliable anti-reverse clutch backed up by a heavy duty mechanical one, a reel that spins freely without tightness, has water protection that's sufficient for boat use, a world class drag in terms of smoothness and maximum output, and a metal construction that's able to support that incredible drag. It suffers from various manufacturing imperfections, but none interferes with the reel's operation or affect reliability. As I always say, quality is where you find it and it isn't tied to a certain name or a price range, and this reel has performed convincingly enough to be rated very highly on my scale and even make it onto a particular list that never before featured a reel costing south of the $700 mark.

The review should have ended at the previous paragraph, but as you've probably observed over the years I can anticipate that a review is going to raise a storm, usually involving people lying and fabricating stories. I don't know why people feel so threatened by what I write to the point of full hysteria, but it's a fact of life that I have to deal with in hopes that eventually they will understand that it's only one guy's opinion among other opinions and that ultimately anglers will make their own minds.

This is one of my most positive reviews. I occasionally come across a reel that's a good value for money, but there is always a catch that I warn about. For example when I liked the Abu Soron as a great value for the money I still mentioned some serious anti-reverse reliability issues, and when I liked the Omoto Severo and the Tica Talisman I still warned that service and parts aren't as easy to obtain as parts and service for reels made by mainstream companies. This time though there are no catches and I have absolutely no reservations calling the Lethal 100 one of the best values for money I have seen in my fishing life, and this will sure make some people unhappy. One of the scenarios I see happening is that you'll begin to see an influx of "reports" about the Lethal 100 supposedly failing, along with photos and videos of broken reels to increase the effect. Creating such a mess won't cost much money since 11 Lethals are still cheaper than a single high end reel, and anyone who believes that this reel could hurt their sales in certain market segments wouldn't have a problem consorting efforts by associates and sponsored people to exhibit a bunch of them broken all over the web. I know it's a horrific thought but I have seen what some people in this trade are willing to do when it comes to making money, to the point of committing criminal consumer fraud at times. Other than that, the reactions would probably be the usual nonsense about how since it's not expensive it must be crap, how I don't know how to fish a reel, or the old one about me being paid by the maker although it would be especially daft this time since in my previous review I made a big smelly poopo all over the VM275, the real money maker for the same company which owns both Fin-Nor and Van Staal.

This reel ends the myth that building a quality reel costs hundreds of dollars, and it breaks the unwritten rule that if we want a reel with modern features that would last for more  than a few seasons we should pay north of $400. I hope this reel remains at this price while maintaining the same quality because I'm sure it will be a good option for many people who can't afford a super-spinner, and it would break my heart if one day in the future I had to post that the quality of the Lethal 100 has dropped, just as I did in the past with other reels by various makers.

That's all. I was supposed to be testing the new 2014 Saltiga in 8000H size next, but I have just been informed that delivery to shops in Japan is at the end of May, making the earliest delivery to me sometime in June, meaning the reel will miss my May's tuna trips. I'll be grounded in June and till mid July watching the world cup, therefore I don't know when I'll be able to properly test and review the new Saltiga. If I can't figure something out then the Spheros SW could be next, but as usual I can't be sure of anything. Just keep your eyes on the news page for all updates and future plans as I make them.


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Alan Hawk
April, 25th, 2014

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