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Almost a decade ago, I stumbled on Lew’s LFS Speed Spools and found a budget-friendly reel capable of performing above its price tag. That reel became a staple on my boat, very capable and nearly half the price of a Shimano reel I also had at the time. Sure, the $100 Speed Spool wasn’t as ideal for power fishing techniques as the Shimano, but I found that the comparably priced Lew’s Super Duty did the trick for punching, frogging, and other techniques. Thus, those two reels became 90 percent of what I had on deck. 

That said, I had a hard time finding a true high-end reel in Lew’s lineup. The Shimanos and Daiwas of the world seemed to have Lew’s beat on the premium end of the spectrum—Cadillacs versus Chevys, if you will. However, I got my hands on Lew’s new HyperMag baitcasting reel this year, and I’ve been quite impressed. I spent the last few months putting this new baitcaster through the wringer and up against big bass. Now, I think I finally have the Cadillac version of a Lew’s reel. Here’s a look at all the features and performance of the new HyperMag baitcaster.

Lew’s HyperMag Baitcasting Reel Out of the Box

When I pulled this reel out of the box, two words immediately came to mind—light and strong. When I say light, I mean really light. It only weighs 5.2 ounces, compared to the 8-ounce Lew’s Super Duty and 7.1-ounce LFS Speed Spool, which are on par with the weights of other leading reel manufacturers’ comparably-priced products. 

I was originally under the impression that this would be a great baitcaster for finesse presentations (which it is). But when I picked one up, the size of the frame and length of the 95 MM bowed carbon handle screamed power. And again, I was right. The HyperMag is as strong as it is light. So, I slapped the reel on a 7-3 medium-heavy Lew’s Custom Lite rod and hit the water for testing.


  • Reel type: Casting 
  • Retrieve: Right/Left
  • Gear ratio: 7.5:1/8.3:1
  • Weight: 5.2 ounces 
  • Line capacity: 110/12 mono or 110/50 braid (yards/pound test) 
  • Bearings: 10+1
  • Max drag: 20 pounds 


  • One-piece magnesium frame/C40 carbon sideplates 
  • JDM-style winn knobs
  • 95mm carbon handle
  • Speed dial line indicator
  • Retractable hook keeper
  • Speed knot quick line attachment
  • Adjustable centrifugal brake


  • Expensive

The magnesium frame, C40 carbon sideplates, and carbon handle are what make this reel so light. Other great features include an adjustable centrifugal brake control, an external lube port, and a retractile bait keeper. But the two features that separate this reel from others on the market are the adjustable line size indicator and the speed knot quick line attachment. Here’s why.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spooled a reel up and then forgotten by the second or third trip whether I put 15- or 17-pound fluorocarbon on it. I used to be able to tell by feeling the line, but I can’t tell anymore since I am constantly swapping line for testing. Lew’s remedied this situation with the HyperMag, adding an adjustable line size indicator to the cap of the spool tension knob. With a penny, you can set the line indicator to one of dozens of combinations based on the line size and type (see below). 

The speed line
The speed dial line indicator lets the angler know what type of line and the pound test they have spooled up. Shaye Baker

Now for the speed knot quick line attachment. When you spool up most reels, you start by tying a loop knot around the spool and then cinch it down. This can be a pain with mono and fluoro, but it’s doable. You can’t, however, synch braid down tight enough for it not to slip on the spool. I’ve used a little electrical tape to secure it in the past or just tied on some monofilament backing to so the line doesn’t spin. But Lew’s figured out a better way.

Simply tie an overhand knot in your line, slip that knot into the speed knot hole in the spool, and pull your line up into the narrow slot. This locks your line in place, makes it ready to spool up, and hides the knot so that it doesn’t cause a lump—it’s a pretty sweet innovation.

How I Tested the HyperMag

For testing, I paired the HyperMag with a new 7-foot, 3-inch medium-heavy Lew’s Custom Lite rod. This combination is one of the lightest and strongest I’ve ever fished with. I spooled this setup with 40-pound Sufix 832 braid, tied a spinnerbait on, and went to work. This was one of my main setups throughout the spring, and I fell in love with it. 

Though I primarily fished a big spinnerbait on it the last couple of months, I tied a Berkley Popping Swamp Lord during a recent trip to a buddy’s stocked pond and really put it through a workout. The reel performed flawlessly, skipping the frog well and launching it at other times. It was able to hook and haul in 3-pounder after 3-pounder, proving it’s durability and strength.

I still thought this reel would work well with lighter presentations, so I tied on a floating worm to how far I could throw one. For the purposes of the test, I weighed the 4/0 Gamakatsu (O’Shaughnessy Bend Offset Worm) hook and V&M Pork Pin worm, which weighed in at 0.2 ounces—not even a full 1/4 ounce. Then, I tied the bait on and went out to the sidewalk in front of my house. After tweaking the reel a little, I finally made a good cast. I measured off the distance to the bait, and I was able to cast a 0.2-ounce floating worm a little over 86 feet with 40-pound braid and a 7-3 medium heavy baitcasting rod. I know, I was as impressed as you are now.

The author holds the HyperMag paired with
The author holds the HyperMag paired with the Lew’s Custom Lite Series casting rod. Shaye Baker

The Verdict

It is worth pointing out that Lew’s sent me the HyperMag for testing, so I didn’t have to bite the bullet on the $349 price tag. But if I were in the market for a $350 reel and had bought the HyperMag outright, I wouldn’t be disappointed one bit. I absolutely love this reel.

It is light, strong, and capable of fishing with various techniques. It has a long, powerful 95 mm handle for power fishing and is crisp and delicate for finesse presentations. Plus, it is easy to adjust the brake, spool tension, and drag. Lew’s solutions to decades-long problems put the HyperMag in a league of its own. The speed knot line attachment and speed dial line indicator are truly two of the coolest features I’ve seen in a long time.