Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

A Zebco 33 Combo Can Take More Heat Than You Think

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

The Lateral Line
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

February 01, 2013

A Zebco 33 Combo Can Take More Heat Than You Think

By Joe Cermele

For the last few days I've been bumming around Key West with some friends from Quantum, and fishing with some renowned anglers in these parts like Robert "R.T." Trosset, who probably has led more clients to IGFA line-class records than any other captain in the states. In other words, the man knows how to handle very mad, very fast fish on very light line, so it stands to reason that when a challenge was issued involving a Zebco 33 combo in the bluewater, R.T. (below) won with ease.

That challenge went like this: Whoever in the group lands the biggest fish during the trip on a 33 combo wins serious bragging rights and some new pliers. While everyone else tempted snappers and little mackerel with their 33s, RT went for the throat and pitched a live pilchard to a school of fired-up false albacore. The rules stated that if you got spooled you could not respool the 33, and you could only add a short leader to 110 feet of 10-pound test that comes on the reel. The tricky part is that once a fish starts taking line, you can't see the spool, so you have no idea how much line is left.

For 15 minutes I watched R.T. battle this falsie. With each run we all winced and cringed, but he just took his time, put on all the heat the little rod could take at just the right times, and before long we saw color ten feet down. All this fish had to do was make one more smoking run and it was over, but R.T. finessed the 10-pound pelagic right to the gaff like the pro he his.

He must be a great teacher, too, because his son Chris won the same challenge last year with a 15-pound dolphin. I tried to score a false on the 33 right after R.T. and failed.

It just goes to show you that those combos many of us used in the early days to spark our angling obsessions are actually tougher than you think.

 

Comments (15)

Top Rated
All Comments
from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I wish I still had my old zebco push button. The "rhino rod" it was on broke and I think we trashed the whole setup b/c I had moved on to open faced. Don't know how much I'd really use it anymore but it would have been a great keepsake to have around. Great fish for a 33 btw. And, did you get spooled or break off?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

That's pretty cool. What a neat way to have a fun little contest on the boat. Skill before gear...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmrcexplorer wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

All my Dad ever used were 33's when I was a kid. It turns out those were way better memories than I ever had with anything else I ever fished with.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pa pheasantman wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Years ago when I went fishing in the early spring for carp and suckers in the delaware river the mod. 33 Zebco worked really well. Unfortunetly, I lost that outfit while fishing for carp in the lehigh river because I was not watching my outfit while fishing for carp with corn. I got a great hit, but before I could get to my rod it went into the river. I presume it was a good size carp.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chidjm wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I worked summer before last fishing in the Lower Keys. The people I was working for had a huge stack of Shakespeare spincasters from some long forgotten event. We landed all sorts of fish on them. It was awesome.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I have several vintage 33's in my collection and my wife still has the first 202 that I bought her when we were first married. She had never fished with anything but a cane pole before I married her so it was her very first reel ever. That was forty years ago and although my wife is now quite proficient with other reels especially spinning reels, the 202 still gets used some. I have had to change the line many, many times and keep it well lubed up but for a plastic reel on a $2.00 combo, what more could you ask?

By the way, I bought that 202 for her and had to teach her overnight how to use it so that my father could take her fishing with him the next day. She caught close to 100 speckled trout on that first fishing trip which ended up being two or three more than my father caught using his Garcia Ambassadeur 5000c. Thus just purely as beginner's luck would have it, she beat him. He never ever took her back fishing with him for the rest of his life.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I still have my first reel, OCEAN CITY 1581 Bait caster, no drag. Not the best first reel to give a kid. It was knotted most of the time from my attempts at casting, so I used it like a cane pole for pan fish. I leaned to be tenacious from that reel always having to undo the backlash, My first rod (south bend), fell to the bottom of a lake from a canoe with a Zebco 33 BTW on it many years ago. During winter draw downs, when I am in the area I still walk that lake looking for it.

I also had one of those split bamboo fly rod his from china too. Won it at a volunteer fire company fair. Came with its own, really badly tied flies in all sorts of weird colors. I wish I still had it. Tossed it 30 years ago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FlyinMonkey wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I love the old 33's and my kids use my old 202 and 404's but those new zebco 33's gave me fits. I hated them compared to my love for the 33 and 33 classic. I bought two of the new zebcos; one the whole button assembly fell off into the river while fighting a catfish and the other two casts into its life somehow got the line under the rubber seal on top of the spool. After fighting to untangle it, this reel would do that about every five or six casts to me. So I ripped the rubber seal off and it works fine now haha. Never had that much problems with the old 33's though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deanlikes2fish wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I was raised on a Zebco 33, and I have raised my kids and all of their friends on them also. My Grandpa used his that he bought in the 60's until he passed in the mis 90's. Great reel, loads of memories

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

My students in the fishing club use 33s, so far they are holding up well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I think all of use probably owe a great deal to the 33. I know I began with one. Catching those catfish and bass in our farm ponds is still some of the most vivid fishing memories I have today.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattM37 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

The 606 model, in the early 1980s, was sleeker and smaller than the 33, so I went for that when I bought my first fishing combo with my own money at age 8. It was a sturdy little thing, perfect for a kid on a cow-pasture trout stream, and it had a cool copper-and-black finish. I should say "is" and "has," since I put in a yard sale a couple years ago and one of my brothers bought it. Didn't know he'd had his eye on it all these years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

Are 33's red now?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

Good old Zebco. Probably not too many fisherman out there that hasn't had one at sometime.
Would be a good company to enter in the "reader's hall of fame"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDkid605 wrote 34 weeks 3 days ago

Zebco 33's are like an heirloom rod & reel setup.
Every kid should have a passed down rig, or new similar,
to connect with Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, and so on.
I believe the best starter reel for kids ever made.
I started my kid out on a Zebco Micro 22, and I have a Zebco 33
waiting for him to grow into, just like my Dad did.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

That's pretty cool. What a neat way to have a fun little contest on the boat. Skill before gear...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I wish I still had my old zebco push button. The "rhino rod" it was on broke and I think we trashed the whole setup b/c I had moved on to open faced. Don't know how much I'd really use it anymore but it would have been a great keepsake to have around. Great fish for a 33 btw. And, did you get spooled or break off?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmrcexplorer wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

All my Dad ever used were 33's when I was a kid. It turns out those were way better memories than I ever had with anything else I ever fished with.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pa pheasantman wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Years ago when I went fishing in the early spring for carp and suckers in the delaware river the mod. 33 Zebco worked really well. Unfortunetly, I lost that outfit while fishing for carp in the lehigh river because I was not watching my outfit while fishing for carp with corn. I got a great hit, but before I could get to my rod it went into the river. I presume it was a good size carp.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chidjm wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I worked summer before last fishing in the Lower Keys. The people I was working for had a huge stack of Shakespeare spincasters from some long forgotten event. We landed all sorts of fish on them. It was awesome.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I have several vintage 33's in my collection and my wife still has the first 202 that I bought her when we were first married. She had never fished with anything but a cane pole before I married her so it was her very first reel ever. That was forty years ago and although my wife is now quite proficient with other reels especially spinning reels, the 202 still gets used some. I have had to change the line many, many times and keep it well lubed up but for a plastic reel on a $2.00 combo, what more could you ask?

By the way, I bought that 202 for her and had to teach her overnight how to use it so that my father could take her fishing with him the next day. She caught close to 100 speckled trout on that first fishing trip which ended up being two or three more than my father caught using his Garcia Ambassadeur 5000c. Thus just purely as beginner's luck would have it, she beat him. He never ever took her back fishing with him for the rest of his life.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I still have my first reel, OCEAN CITY 1581 Bait caster, no drag. Not the best first reel to give a kid. It was knotted most of the time from my attempts at casting, so I used it like a cane pole for pan fish. I leaned to be tenacious from that reel always having to undo the backlash, My first rod (south bend), fell to the bottom of a lake from a canoe with a Zebco 33 BTW on it many years ago. During winter draw downs, when I am in the area I still walk that lake looking for it.

I also had one of those split bamboo fly rod his from china too. Won it at a volunteer fire company fair. Came with its own, really badly tied flies in all sorts of weird colors. I wish I still had it. Tossed it 30 years ago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FlyinMonkey wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I love the old 33's and my kids use my old 202 and 404's but those new zebco 33's gave me fits. I hated them compared to my love for the 33 and 33 classic. I bought two of the new zebcos; one the whole button assembly fell off into the river while fighting a catfish and the other two casts into its life somehow got the line under the rubber seal on top of the spool. After fighting to untangle it, this reel would do that about every five or six casts to me. So I ripped the rubber seal off and it works fine now haha. Never had that much problems with the old 33's though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deanlikes2fish wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I was raised on a Zebco 33, and I have raised my kids and all of their friends on them also. My Grandpa used his that he bought in the 60's until he passed in the mis 90's. Great reel, loads of memories

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

My students in the fishing club use 33s, so far they are holding up well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I think all of use probably owe a great deal to the 33. I know I began with one. Catching those catfish and bass in our farm ponds is still some of the most vivid fishing memories I have today.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattM37 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

The 606 model, in the early 1980s, was sleeker and smaller than the 33, so I went for that when I bought my first fishing combo with my own money at age 8. It was a sturdy little thing, perfect for a kid on a cow-pasture trout stream, and it had a cool copper-and-black finish. I should say "is" and "has," since I put in a yard sale a couple years ago and one of my brothers bought it. Didn't know he'd had his eye on it all these years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

Are 33's red now?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

Good old Zebco. Probably not too many fisherman out there that hasn't had one at sometime.
Would be a good company to enter in the "reader's hall of fame"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDkid605 wrote 34 weeks 3 days ago

Zebco 33's are like an heirloom rod & reel setup.
Every kid should have a passed down rig, or new similar,
to connect with Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, and so on.
I believe the best starter reel for kids ever made.
I started my kid out on a Zebco Micro 22, and I have a Zebco 33
waiting for him to grow into, just like my Dad did.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment