South Bend XTR 421

South Bend XTR 421

This spincast reel, which we wanted to test, arrived after we'd returned to the frozen North. It's an inexpensive model with an interesting feature: You can switch it from standard drag to no-slip direct drive. That should appeal to bass and catfishermen who want heel-digging, don't-give-a-line-inch performance for large fish in nasty quarters. The reel holds 90 yards of 20-pound-test and has a 3.3:1 retrieve. Cost: $19. Contact: South Bend (847-715-1400).