Tested by Dave Coster


MITCHELL MAG-PRO 4000

£91.99
A lightweight front drag reel with a single wind up assembly handle and supplied with two deep aluminium spools. The latter can hold up to 200 metres of 0.25mm diameter mono; one spool is heavily perforated while the other isn’t. This design has 10 ball bearings making it an extremely smooth runner, plus it picks up line very fast due to its 6.2:1 gear ratio. Other features include a snazzy silver/gold finish, an anti-reverse lever set underneath, ultra smooth clutch settings and a very snappy bail arm mechanism. The screw up assembly single handle does tend to wander of its own accord but otherwise this is a pretty versatile feeder reel. It suits everything from casting out light to heavy-duty feeders, but will need backing on its deep spools with thinner reel lines.
SCORE: 26/30

SHAKESPEARE MACH 3XT 035

£73.99
This is quite some package because you get single and double handle options, a deep aluminium spool and 3 shallow aluminium spools with this lightweight front drag reel. The shallow spools hold 100 metres of 3 lb line, while the deep version can take nearly 200 metres of 0.25mm mono. The Mach 3XT 035 also features an anti-reverse lever underneath its body, a 5.2:1 retrieve rate and a finely adjustable clutch system. It’s a very smooth running machine that’s light enough to combine with shorter feeder rods, but also powerful enough to use with heavy-duty feeder methods. The robust bail arm is very positive and it winds line neatly onto the big diameter spools. The single wind up assembly handle is prone to wandering but the double handles soon rectify this problem.
SCORE: 27/30

CORMORAN CORCAST 5PiF SUPER JET FEEDER

£59.95
Big diameter aluminium spools are the first things that stand out with this powerful 5 ball bearing reel. These guarantee no line bedding problems and super smooth casting, which helps to gain greater distances. The deep spool takes 200 metres of 6 lb line, while the shallow version can hold 100 metres comfortably. The Jet Feeder has one-touch handle assembly, an anti-reverse lever underneath, front drag adjustment, a decent sized line clip and a meaty, positive action bale arm. The Line Guard Protector is the most novel feature, entailing two brushes that prevent line from snagging under the spool. This reel offers great cranking power and a fast 5.1:1 retrieve rate. It’s a no-nonsense design capable of handling just about anything and casting to the horizon.
SCORE: 27/30

MAVER POWERLITE 4000

£65
Smart looking rear drag model that’s packed with 8 ball bearings and supplied with two big capacity aluminium spools, capable of holding up to 220 metres of 10 lb line. The spools are perforated for extra lightness, also featuring fast push button release and line clips. The Powerlite is a streamlined design with an attractive ‘mirror’ grey finish and a wide set single handle. There’s a rubber grip on the very precise rear drag, while the anti-reverse lever is underneath. This powerful winding machine retrieves line with a 5.2:1 gear ratio and has a thick aluminium bale arm with a firm action. The spools are quite deep but their long nature doesn’t restrict line flow. This versatile reel suits the rigours of feeder fishing, cranking in big fish and handling heavy feeders.
SCORE: 27/30

PRESTON INNOVATIONS PXR 4000

£69.99
Designed specifically for feeder fishing this businesslike front drag reel offers 10 ball bearings and a roller bearing. Combined with a high strength Drive Gear this provides bundles of smooth winding power and fast 5.1:1 line retrieve. Two medium depth aluminium spools take up to 125 metres of standard 10 lb line and also feature circular line clips. The anti-reverse lever is positioned underneath the body and you get a standard single handle for purists like me, plus a balanced double handle to prevent excess movement when tightening up to feeders. I couldn’t fault the line lay and casting capabilities of the PXR, which will undoubtedly handle all feeder regimes, especially more demanding ones like casting heavily loaded feeders and cranking in big fish.
SCORE: 28/30

DRENNAN SERIES 7 FEEDER 9-40

£34.95
A lightweight, streamlined reel that won’t unbalance lighter carbon feeder rods and yet has all the attributes required to punch swimfeeders out good distances. This rear drag model comes with one alloy and two composite shallow spools. These can carry up to 90 metres of 0.25 mm diameter line, featuring a push-button release and you also get unique interchangeable rubber breaking strain buttons for easy spool identification. This model has a positive bale arm action, an anti-reverse lever underneath, a 5.2:1 gear ratio and an ultra smooth rear drag. Typical Drennan attention to detail includes a clever knot groove at the back of the spools to prevent the line from snagging. The single handle has one-touch assembly and doesn’t wander.
SCORE: 28/30

SHIMANO BAITRUNNER DL 4000FA

£79.99
Shimano’s classic Baitrunner facility has been scaled down in this smaller sized reel to suit lightweight modern feeder fishing rods, offering a front drag format with the popular free-spool lever and tension knob at the back. This will be of particular interest to Method feeder enthusiasts, preventing savage takes from carp ripping the rod off its rests! The new reel has 3 shielded ball bearings and a roller bearing, double handles, a 4.8:1 gear ratio, plus a bundle of typical bonus Shimano features. There’s a cold forged aluminium spool and a graphite version, both deep and capable of holding 260 metres of 0.25mm line. This is a powerful, workhorse of a reel but the deep spools will need backing out for standard commercial usage and you need to like double-handles.
SCORE: 28/30

BEST BUY

ABU GARCIA CARDINAL C404i-M

£64.50
This smart looking front drag design has eye pleasing silver, grey and black cosmetics and is surprisingly lightweight considering its large diameter spools and businesslike body. The dog leg shaped single handle needs to be screwed into working mode, which loses points over one-touch designs, but to be fair it’s as rock steady as the best counterbalanced models. The reel is packed with 8 ball bearings and has a speedy retrieve rate of 5.1:1, along with an anti- reverse lever set underneath. You get no less than three aluminium spools: two shallow ones taking up to 150 metres of 4 lb line and a deep version that can store 200 metres of 10 lb mono. Adds up to a superbly powerful and smooth feeder fishing reel, capable of dealing with the most demanding applications.
SCORE: 29/30

NOTE: All products tested July 2010. All prices correct at the time of going to Press. Angler’s Mail do not take responsibility for price or product changes or current availability.