Reels

13 Fishing Concept A Baitcasting Reel Review

The 13 Fishing Concept A Gen II baitcasting reel is a great upgrade from the first generation of the Concept A. 13 Fishing made many improvements to the Concept A making the Gen II a great choice if you’re looking for a reel with a great drag system, a small frame, and easily adjustable castability. Read our full review here.

13 Fishing Concept A Overview:

13 Fishing has made huge strides with their newer generation of baitcasting reels. The Concept A is one such example. The improvements made to the Concept A make it a true workhorse reel designed for the angler who’s looking to get out of the economy reel zone, but not quite ready to enter into the premium priced baitcasters.

With a combination of tried and true hardcore bass fishing features and advanced technologies, the Concept A is designed to give you a more capable reel, without breaking $200.

The Concept A boasts a 7 bearing system, high customizable braking system, and a lightweight yet durable aluminum frame that’s been treated with the 13 Fishing Ocean Armor 2 treatment. The reel’s excellent balance, ergonomics and rugged construction make it a great choice if you’re looking for a casting reel a step up above the typical offering.

Concept A Specs:

  • Ball Bearings: 7
  • Anti-Reverse: Yes
  • Handle: Concept Cork Handle
  • Brake System: 6-way brake
  • Brake Type: Low friction brake shoe
  • Line Capacity: 125/12 mono
  • Gear Ratio: 5.6:1, 6.8:1, 7.5:1, and 8.3:1
  • Spool: Aluminum
  • Body: Aluminum Frame with patented treatments
  • Drag: 25 lbs
  • Weight: 7.4 oz

Charles' Thoughts On The Reel:

I’ve been using the Concept A Gen 2 baitcaster for the last 7 months and have found the reel to be well made, quiet, and with a wonderful drag system. The reel has become my favorite reel for skipping jigs.

I like the braking system a lot. The reel is very comfortable to use with its low profile form factor, and the weight is just right. I was able to get the braking system configured pretty quickly after getting it. It has an easily adjustable brake dial on the side of the reel that’s hidden behind a movable plate. I think it fishes really well and doesn’t skip a beat even when pulling in large bass.

The only thing I don’t like, which really isn’t actually an issue, is that its line capacity is smaller than the Abu that I also use. Realistically, the Concept A actually holds enough line, I’m just being paranoid, and so I tend to use it for presentations that don’t require me to cast it out as far.

But really, this is a nonissue. The reel is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high performing baitcaster.

Charles S.

Features:

The Concept A baitcasting reel from 13 Fishing is a tough and reliable reel that is now loaded with even more capability than the previous models…and it was already packed full!

If you have never had the chance to check out a 13 Fishing reel, you’re in for a real treat.

We’re going to take a look at the base features of the newer Gen II model.

Bulldog Drag System

This reel features a carbon drag system that is ultra durable and has a ton of stopping power. You can fine-tune the drag to your personal liking with a few turns of the dial, and it delivers a smooth and even performance. I really like how this reel’s drag just kicks in when you tighten it. There’s no more worrying about how much pressure you’re applying, and it’s just a super simple drag system to use.

The drag system has a max drag pressure rating of 25 lbs, which is 3 lbs more than the original Concept A and one of the highest rated drag pressures of the baitcasters we’ve reviewed.

Whether you’re fighting a largemouth and a 20 pound striper, the Bulldog Carbon drag on the Concept A Gen II gives you the power to control the fight.

Adjustable for Hassle-Free Casting

The Concept A Gen II features an adjustable casting system that allows you to fine-tune the reel to your personal casting style. Whether you want to cast a squarebill, spinnerbait, crankbait or skip a jig, the Concept A provides easy adjustability that takes the frustration out of setting up a new reel. You don’t have to fiddle around with a bunch of dials, and you can make all the adjustments in just a couple of minutes.

Easy Brake Management

The Concept A Gen II utilizes a braking system that reduces friction and applies just the right amount of pressure for all lure weights. This braking system is adjustable and easy to use, so you can quickly adjust it to your liking without any fuss.

This 6-way braking system gives you more control over your bait. You can quickly adjust the brake tension to accommodate for different lure weights and fishing conditions.

Strong and Durable Design

The Concept A features a high-grade aluminum frame that’s designed to be strong, yet lightweight. 13 Fishing has finished the reel frame off with their new Ocean Armor 2, which is a proprietary surface treatment that is super strong, chemical resistant and helps maintain a good look.

They’ve topped it all off by utilizing specialized anti-electrolysis pads that prevent oxidation from occurring between the different parts attached to the reel’s body.

All of this combined makes the Concept A Gen II a very durable reel that can put up with just about anything you throw at it.

The reel’s frame is also HD which stands for high-density and is designed to offer a stiffer frame that is resistant to bending and warping. This will help keep the reel functioning perfectly even after years of hard use.

The Worm Shaft is also Generation II Hard Anodized which is designed to be corrosion resistant. 13 Fishing has even included a screw-in port cover to protect the reel’s delicate parts while it’s not in use.

Cork Handle Knobs

The Concept A Gen II has a cork handle that is comfortable and provides a solid grip. You don’t have to worry about the handle slipping in your hands or even getting completely covered in slime.

Cork is a great material that is naturally anti-absorbent, easy to clean, and maintains a good grip even when wet or slimy.

Increased Line Capacity

The Concept A Gen II has been designed with a new spool geometry that allows for 25% more line capacity without increasing the reel’s size. This is a much needed improvement as the first generation of the Concept A was one of the smallest line capacities of the baitcasters reviewed on Bass N Edge.

Now you can use the Concept A Gen II to fish a wider variety of presentations and don’t have to fear running out of line.

Gear Ratio

The Concept A Gen II is available in 4 different gear ratios, 5.6:1, 6.8:1, 7.5:1, and 8.3:1. If you’re not sure what gear ratio is right for you, you should know that they’re typically used to better accomplish certain fishing presentations and lures.

For instance, a faster gear ratio is normally used for flipping and pitching to cover as fast as possible. While a lower gear ratio is better for reaction baits like crankbaits. If you’re not sure which gear ratio you need, the 6.8:1 is a good place to start as it will give you the most diversity in your style.

High Quality Ball Bearing System

The Concept A is equipped with 7 ball bearings. 4 stainless steel bearings, 2 high speed bearings, and 1 anti-reverse bearing. The smooth operation of the ball bearing system provides more power to the reel while also reducing the amount of unwanted friction.

Patented Line Management System

Through the incorporation of 13 Fishing’s patented Arrowhead Line Guide, the Concept A Gen II helps to manage your line exceptionally well. Not only does this guide help to keep your line on the spool while casting and during the fight, but it also helps to avoid line twists, which are a common issue with other baitcasting reels.

H.A.M. Hardened Brass Main Gear

The main gear on this reel is cut with Japanese Hamai precision and is made from hardened brass. It is one of the toughest gears you will find on a baitcast reel, and it’s also corrosion resistant.

The gear is also designed to deliver a smoothness and power that you will love. You can feel the power of the reel when you’re fighting a fish, and it will help you land more of them.

Ultra-Low Palm Fitting Design

This reel has an ultra-low palm fitting design that allows you to easily and comfortably grip the reel with your hand. This is perfect for those long days on the water when you’re fighting fish after fish. The low-profile design also allows you to easily palm the reel and make delicate and accurate casts.

Burt's 13 Fishing Concept A Review:

I really like the 13 Fishing Concept A. It has a ton of features that I look for in a reel, such as a high powered drag, easy to use braking system, and a low profile design that doesn’t skimp on line capacity.

The Bulldog drag system is one of the best I’ve used. It’s smooth and consistent, which is important when trying to land a big fish. The Concept A’s brake was straight forward, and after I got the feel for it, I was able to make adjustments for different lure weight pretty quickly. The cork handle is a nice touch, and really helps with a good grip, even when wet.

I paired the reel with an Abu Garcia IKE 7 ft casting rod. The rod and reel combo work great together and provide an excellent casting distance.

Overall, the Concept A is a great reel if you’re willing to spend over $150 on your next reel. If not, there are other less expensive reels that will give you similar functionality to the Concept A.

Burt K.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • The Concept A2 has a tough HD aluminum frame
  • 25 lbs of stopping power on the Bulldog Carbon Drag System
  • The drag is smooth and has finesse when playing fish
  • The reel is easily adjustable and doesn’t require constant fiddling
  • The cork looks slick and helps with a tight grip

Cons:

  • The Gen II is heavier than the first generation of the Concept A
  • Getting out of the price range many hobbyists can afford

Jimmy's Concept A Experience:

I’ve only been using the Concept A for the last few months, and part of that time has been slow fishing due to the season. However, the use that I have been able to get out of it has been really solid. I’ve landed some really nice largemouth and smallmouth using it, and it’s performed great.

The Concept A has a great drag system. It’s smooth and easy to adjust, with plenty of stopping power when needed. It’s also easy to cast, with a great feel in the hand.

I haven’t noticed any particular downsides to the reel, but I also haven’t had enough time with it yet to test it out long term. A few of my buddies have had long term success out of 13 Fishing, so I’m definitely hopeful with this one.

Jimmy T.

FAQs

The base features, build, and functionality of the A and A3 are pretty much the same. The primary difference is that the A3 is an overall larger reel. They took all of the great features of the A and just made everything a bit larger for the A3.

The result is an oversized baitcaster with 40 lbs of drag pressure, nearly double the fishing line capacity, and a heavier build of 10.3 ounces.

While the Concept A is designed primarily for freshwater fishing, the Concept A3’s reinforced build are designed to handle the larger fish you get when inshore fishing, like giant stripers, large musky, and other oversized fish.

If you’re primarily going to be inshore fishing and would like a baitcaster that’s more designed to be up for the task, the A3 is the reel for you.

Check out the 13 Fishing A3 on Amazon

13 Fishing released the Gen II models of the Concept A in 2020. They will likely stay with this generation for many years to come.

While the original Concept A is still a great reel, if you’re purchasing now, you’ll probably want to opt for the second generation to get all of the upgraded features and specs.

The Concept A Gen II is occasionally referred to as the Concept A2, though this is a little confusing as they have an A3 version of the Concept A that is a different reel. So the proper name for this reel is the Concept A Gen II.

The Concept A Gen II is available in 4 different gear ratios, 5.6:1, 6.8:1, 7.5:1, and 8.3:1.

Founded in 2011, 13 Fishing has quickly made a name for itself in the fishing industry by producing high-performance reels. In some cases, their price points tend to be a bit higher than competitors, but many of their models are actually quite affordable for what you get. They also have great customer service.

Yes, the Concept A is built to support saltwater fishing, though based on the build and design you’ll want to stick with inshore saltwater fishing. Make sure that you clean it very well after use to prevent corrosion from the saltwater.

If you’re going to be targeting larger inshore fishing, you might want to upgrade to the Concept A3 as it’s built for larger fish.

The Concept A is hand specific. So there are models designed for right hand and other models designed for left hand use. You can not switch the side the handle is on, so make sure you select the right version when purchasing the reel.

13 Fishing warranties their reels for 1 year. This isn’t the longest timeframe, but is pretty standard in the industry for reel warranties.

Score:

We’ve given the Concept A Gen II ratings in four categories. They are as follows:

  • Price: B
  • Build: A
  • Feature Set: A
  • Design: B+

The Concept A earns an overall score of: B+

Conclusion:

In summary, the Concept A baitcaster is equipped with a 7-bearing system, which includes 2 high-speed corrosion-resistant bearings, and 4 stainless steel bearings that make it super-smooth and ultra-responsive. The Concept A features 13 Fishing’s new 6-way low-friction braking system, allowing you to dial in the perfect drag setting without having to constantly make adjustments. It also features their new 25% more line capacity hard anodized worm-shaft and standard-gauge aluminum frame.

If you’re a bass or striper fisherman who wants a reel that’s small, lightweight, and packed with features for the ultimate day on the water, you should definitely consider the 13 Fishing Concept A.

The Concept A is the ultimate casting partner. Once you’ve used it, you won’t want to fish without it.

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