Skip to Content

13 Fishing Inception Baitcasting Reel Review

13 Fishing Inception Baitcasting Reel Review

This review of the 13 Fishing Inception Baitcasting reel will show you why there is so much positive talk about this reel.  The 13 Fishing Inception was released at ICAST in 2015 as an addition to their lineup of low profile baitcasting reels.

Some of the things that make this reel so popular are its low price point with a retail of $119.99 (at the time of this writing), an HD aluminum frame with graphite sideplates, 8 bearings, oversized EVA knobs, and an awesome 6-way centrifugal braking system.

The 13 Fishing Inception is available in two gearing options: a 6.6:1 for slower more controlled retrieves and a higher speed 8.1:1 for getting that faster action when needed.  Both gearing options are available in either a left or right-hand retrieve model.

So while the Inception low-profile baitcasting reel from 13 Fishing is the least expensive reel that 13 Fishing offers, you can see that it is still packed full of quality features and is designed to deliver high performance without breaking the bank.

The Bottom Line

  • My favorite low-profile baitcasting reel for under $150
  • Extremely smooth reel with great oversized 18 lbs drag system
  • High-quality craftsmanship including Japanese Hamai cut gears
  • Very durable body and side plates suitable for both fresh and saltwater

The 13 Fishing Inception is a great value and is available in a 6.6:1 or 8.8:1 HERE.


High-Density Aluminum Frame – The High density or HD aluminum frame is corrosion resistant and it is flanked on either side by graphite sideplates to provide additional rigidity.

By using the graphite sideplates, 13 Fishing is able to keep the overall weight down to just 6.9 oz. without sacrificing the strength and durability of the overall reel.

6-Way Centrifugal Braking System – The 6-way centrifugal braking system is easily accessed by simply pulling down on the lever on the back portion of the reel.  Once released, you simply pull the sideplate straight out.

Make sure that when you do this you are not over the water as it is easy to drop the sideplate as it is not attached in any way.

Once you have gained access to the braking system adjusting it is very simple.  There are 6 settings available that allow you to control the amount of braking pressure.  If you are just getting started with a baitcasting reel, I would suggest setting it at either 4 or 5.

Once your skill level increases you can lower the braking force to something like 2 and you will be able to cast farther.

Arrowhead Line Guide System – The arrowhead line guide system assures that the line is spooled evenly when retrieving and then makes sure that you get great distance and accuracy when casting.

2+5+1 Japanese High Spin/Stainless Bearings – Two of the bearings are corrosion resistant which is great for saltwater applications.  5 are a high quality Japanese stainless steel and then there is one instant stop anti-reverse bearing to assure that you get a solid and smooth hookup every time.

EVA Tech Knobs – The oversized EVA Tech Knobs or foam grips provide a very solid feel when retrieving and are comfortable to fish all day long.  I was impressed with the fact that 13 Fishing included these grips that I like very much on this introductory level reel.

18 lb. Maximum Drag – The 13 Fishing Inception features oversized drag washers that will deliver a maximum drag of 18 lbs.  Adjusting the drag is very simple with the star drag that is located on the side of the reel.

With 18 lbs of drag, you have all you need to land big fish time after time.

Multi-Material Oversized Drag Washers – I have not been able to decipher what the exact material is that the drag washers are made of.  They appear to be a combination of felt and something else, maybe some carbon fiber.

For a nominal fee of around $10, you can replace the stock washers with Carbon Fiber washers which will not only last longer but will also increase the amount of available drag.

Freshwater or Saltwater Capable – Due to the fact that the 13 Fishing Inception is crafted of HD aluminum, graphite and has stainless steel bearings, this reel is suitable for both fresh and saltwater fishing.

As with any reel that you fish in saltwater, I always recommend using Saltaway and then a light misting after each use to prolong the life of your investment.

Features at a Glance

  • High-Density Aluminum Frame
  • 6-Way Centrifugal Braking System
  • Arrowhead Line Guide System
  • Instant Stop Anti-Reverse
  • 2+5+1 Japanese High Spin/Stainless Bearing
  • Multi-Material Oversized Drag Washers
  • EVA Tech Knobs
  • 18 lb. Maximum Drag
  • Freshwater or Saltwater Capable


The 13 Fishing Inception is a dream to cast.  While I am admittedly more prone to using spinning reels for my saltwater fishing, I think that the Inception has swayed me to include a few low profile baitcasting reels into my arsenal.

If you do not have a lot of experience with a baitcasting reel it can sometimes be frustrating as you end up with a birds nest from the backlash.  With the 13 Fishing Inception, I am able to easily control the amount of braking power with the 6-way centrifugal braking system.

By removing the side plate, I have access to the braking system and the ability to set it between 1, the lowest amount of braking and 6, the most amount of braking.  When I first started out with the reel, I had it set at 4 but soon found myself adjusting the braking down to a 3 and finally a 2 after a few weeks.

Make sure that when you go to adjust the braking that you do not do it over the water.  The graphite sideplate is not attached and I have read about numerous people dropping the sideplate into the water, this is a $30 mistake you don’t want to make.

There have been a number of comments in several forums about the sideplate being an issue.  I have not personally had any issues, but I am very careful to make sure that the sideplate is fully latched into position after I adjust the braking system.

I agree with some of the other people’s comments that having a beetle wing sideplate would be better, however, this is the least expensive reel from 13 Fishing in this category.  If this option is important to you, take a look at the Concept A, Concept C or brand new Concept Z.

With the low profile design the reel has great palmability, what can I say it just fits nicely in my hand and is comfortable to fish all day long.

So far I am a big fan of this reel and I look forward to putting it through the paces over this winter season here in southwest Florida.


  • High quality materials
  • Low price point
  • Smooth cranking power & drag
  • Braking system


  • Sideplate is not attached and can be lost or dropped in water


If you want to stay with the 13 Fishing brand then I would say to take a look at the 13 Fishing Concept “A” which has a few more gearing options as well as a stronger Bulldog Drag System.

The next step up from there would be the 13 Fishing Concept “C” which is designed more for saltwater fishing with its’ Ocean Armor coating.

Switching brands but staying at a similar price point I would direct you to the Shimano Curado I which is a classic from Shimano.

The last one on the list would be the Daiwa Tatula series that comes in the Daiwa Tatula, Daiwa Tatula CT and the Daiwa Tatula R.

In Conclusion

With quality features such as 8 bearings, the high-density aluminum frame and the 6-way centrifugal braking system for such a reasonable fee, the13 Fishing is a winner.

I would classify the 13 Fishing Inception as a quality entry level baitcasting reel.  While there are other baitcasters that are priced less, they do not have the same level of build quality.

If you are an avid angler looking for a quality baitcasting reel that will stand up to long days on the water then the 13 Fishing Inception is a solid choice.

Latest posts by David Edwards (see all)