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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars21
Price:$24.71+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on May 30, 2012
After seeing the Model 33 Bite Alert reel online, I decided I would like to purchase one and did so at my local Wal-Mart. Upon getting it home and testing it, I found that it was not working properly, so I suspected a dead battery. While the battery was indeed nearly dead, after spending an additional $3.50 for a new one, the problems persisted. It seemed like a problem with the switch, as about one time in 20 of switching it on, it would work once, but seemed to lose contact and stop working. I returned the unit to my local Wal-Mart, hoping for an exchange, but they had no more units, and I forgot to remove the new battery, so time and money lost.

I decided to give the product another chance and this time ordered a new unit on Ebay from a retailer. The unit arrived promptly and well-packed, and the package was pristine. I was a little disappointed that it was not the one with the red filament line, but I was willing to deal with that later. However, upon removing the green pin and turning on the switch, this battery was also completely dead. So having another battery left from the two-pack purchased for the fist defective reel, I changed the battery, only to find that this unit was defective as well! What is going on at Zebco? I cycled the switch about 20 times, and the unit came on once, and then stopped working. I cycled it several more times, and found that if I pressed really hard on the switch in the on position, the unit would work. But after turning the unit off, it would not come back on. This cannot be coincidence, as the problem is similar across two units from different sources, and seems to indicate a serious deficiency in component quality, or quality control.

I sent an email to Zebco giving them a chance to provide some kind of remedy before posting this, and after more than a week, not so much as a reply. I like the concept, and when I can get it working, it seems to do what it says. But the quality of the device is junk, and if I wasn't concerned about the Bite Alert feature, I would have put the money toward a better reel. My recommendation is that others do just that. If it doesn't work, and the quality is so poor that they are non-functional from two different sources, straight out of the packaging, how long will it last in use? Very disappointed, not only in the product, but also in the company I loved a as kid.
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on November 25, 2013
these things are getting so cheap and poorly made you need to buy two just to have one that will work. I own a least 15 zebco reals and am constantly swapping out parts. I actually wrote the manufacturer a letter expressing my disappointment about the quality of such an legendary product in the history of fishing and which was headquartered in my home state of Geogia. Unfortunately i guess it's true,,,you get what you pay for? :(
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on April 24, 2014
this product really caught my attention because I am a big nerd when it comes to anything electronic and had just begun to get into fishing and I thought what better way to mix the two hobbies together. this product is literally a piece of junk and I would not advise anyone to waste their money on this junk.
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on February 8, 2016
Good, but you have to play around with it to have it set the way you want. It can be very sensitive by just a bump. So try it a couple of times first. Also keep the manual for replacing the battery. I have had the other models and they work really well if you don't want the alert on. Trust me you will hear it even if you are busy talking while fishing. Good price also.
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on May 9, 2015
I've had great luck with many Zebco reels that have lasted me decades. Unfortunately, this reel didn't even last a day on the lake. The backlash will get caught between the spinner head assembly and the spool lip and is impossible to untangle without completely disassembling. Yeah, it was my fault causing a backlash, but a backlash problem should be easily resolved by quick remedial action, not a complete disassemble job. That wasn't something I was willing to do on a reel the first day I used it. Another thing I didn't like about this reel is that the front and rear cover assemblies are no longer threaded. They just have 2 or 3 divots that slide in and twist on or off. Just doesn't seem as sturdy as the threaded, screw-on types I've always had. Thank goodness for Amazon's awesome return policy. I'll send this one back and do some research on some of the other Zebco spincast reels I'll buy instead. On the photo, where my thumb is..that slot is where backlash gets trapped.
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on April 16, 2012
I ordered two of these. Both "alerts" were DOA. I haven't checked to see if there's a battery inside but I suspect there is as the packaging has an inviting "try me" opening on the outside. I'm hoping somebody just wore 'em out.

At first glance, this is a nice looking spincast reel. The spool cap is metal as is the rear (where you put the battery). It has a nice solid "heft" to it. My biggest problem is unscrewing these things. The spool cap isn't threaded. It's just "notched" so you twist it about an 1/8th of a turn and pull it off. Both caps will take some grip to twist. The crank is huge which I like.

3 stars if the battery worked, otherwise a solid "2". Just remember, there's a reason why these are marked down to $10. :) I'll keep 'em for the kiddies.

Addendum: After removing the rear cover to check the batteries, they were indeed dead on both reels. One now works flawlessly, the other reel requires me to toggle the little rocker switch on/off a few times before it works. What's more troubling is the rear cover on both of these things DO NOT easily go back on. I actually had to file some of the plastic on one of the reels and force it. (I suspect some of the higher ratings on this reel are because the owner hasn't yet had to remove the rear "cap" to change batteries).

Update: I threw 'em both out. The electronics quit in one and the other got such a bird's nest in it I'll need a machete just to hack it out. I see now these things are back up to $22. If I had paid that much I'd be livid but live and learn. Nice idea and the short time they worked they did the job.

My advice... spend the money on a decent reel, leave the batteries at home and just buy a $1 bell.
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on June 11, 2011
This reel is very nice. It comes with 10 lb test and Bite Alert. Bite Alert works very well actually. I was a little skeptical at first, but then when I actually got to take it out for a spin it worked wonders. There is a low and high sensitivity setting that you can choose depending on what size fish you are fishing for. Once you get a hit, the reel begins to beep. It works very well and it is also a very smooth reel. I'd say it's a complete steal for the price I paid for it. ($ 20)
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on June 1, 2013
this reel works great ....except the fact the whole line is fraid! a child has chewed on it.
at first i thought...well it just the begining of the'll pass..but nope..a few 4$ luers and a few bites that got away really pissed me off!
the only reason it gets 4 stars is everything else works line and im all good!
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on March 28, 2012
There are several feature's i like the dual pick up pins are a vast improvement over the spincaster's of old.The handle is a major improvement.The main reason i bought it was for fishing pond's in the local park's which it should work well for!Keep in mind this review is coming from a hardcore catfishermen who's main outfits a abu gracia 6500 casting reels!
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on April 12, 2013
I bought this to be used for fishing with children and it looks and acts great. I am looking forward to using it myself for some night fishing.
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