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on June 20, 2010
I have two of these and they work great for channel catfish. I have not used them for large blues or caught a flathead on one, but for large channels they hold up nicely. The bait alarm seems gimicky but properly adjusted it has alerted to me to many fish when my back is turned, I'm snelling a hook and not watching, or down the bank putting a fish on the stringer. To make the spincast bait alarm work correctly you have to point the rod tip toward the water so the rod holder needs to be the right kind, not a verticle one. Bass Pro sells a nice bank rod holder that works well with these combos. In 3 years I have had to replace the batteries once on one of the reels (very easy to do), and of course the line should be changed out at least once a year. This is a good combo for beginners and serious fishermen alike, it should not let you down.
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on December 23, 2011
I have used Zebco reels for a decade now. I am lucky to live by a lake that has all types of bass (large, small and striper) lots of crappie and some nice size catfish.

My sister has been using this combo for over a year now. We all fish on a regular basis (at least 2 times per month, more likely we will fish at least 2 times per week), we get our money out of this equipment.

The bite alert is kinda weird, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but it works nearly all the time when a large catfish hits the line. Like yesterday morning, I was fishing with the bait alert while I was reading a book. The bait alert went off when a nice 19 pound blue catfish took the bait. I was also able to reel in a 12 pounder and one under 10 pounds.

I have now ordered a total of 3 of these combos and will be getting 2 more as time goes by.

Like another reviewer, the battery in the bait alert arrived dead. And it is easy to leave the bait alert on so carry some extra batteries with your tackle if you are planning to rely on the bait alert option.

Also , the bait alert did not work on a small 2 pound cat that was on my line. I barely noticed the fish was there when I was reeling in to change my bait.

Depending on where and how deep you are fishing, you will need at least a 1.5 ounce weight to keep enough tension on the line for any hope of the bait alert working, and a nice 45 degree angle is better for the bait alert that fishing with the pole straight in the air. The pole and the fishing line should be as close as a straight line as possible too. That makes the bait alert a little more challenging in the dark.

The best part about this combo is the price. At the thrirty-five dollars that I paid for the Zebco Hawk Seeker combo, you do not have to worry much about it breaking. My current new Zebco products have been in heavy use for the last 2 years and no problems. I have caught hundreds of crappie, dozens of bass and dozens of catfish, all with little to no maintenance on any of the reels, and with the catfish that I have alread been able to catch, it has been well worth the money.

Update a few days later...

I got all my reels in and I was having problems with the line tangling inside the reel. All three pole had the problem, all three reels had dead batteries. I called Zebco to see what was going on. I was told the this combo had been discontinued a few years ago and the batteries are dead because of the age since they had been sitting on a self for 2 years or more.

I was advised to removed 5 to 10 yards of fishing line and that should solve the problem, and the problem was solved, but it was a real pain trying to fix the brand new equipment. When I say new, the reel would cast once, for the first time, and then it would need untangled and repaired.

I may return all three poles.

Update May 2012

The casting problem has been mostly resolved, except for when I land a fish of 6 pounds or more.
The line binds up inside the reel so to solve the problem, After I land the fish, I have to cast out my line, which binds, pull more line out until the binding stops, reel in the line, bait the hook and the cast out for fish.

I do not use the bite alert system, but I put bells on the tip of the rod. The bite alert does not always work correctly, unless you get a large fish on the line.
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on June 13, 2011
got this last week and wow, i was impressed! its hard to judge on the net, but i dont have a local bass pro near me, so i chanced it and im glad i did! the only thing is the batteries were dead in it on arrival, but its only a few bucks to replace it. also the end piece (the half not shown) is yellow. like bright fluorescent yellow lol it was a shock when i opened it, it didnt bother me but i thought it should be mentioned.
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on December 14, 2013
Piece of absolute garbage reel went off every time a gnat farted. I turned off the fish alert, but the cheap plastic push button broke after two outings.

I bought another reel and put that on there. It works fine as a heavy rig rod for big cats or salt, but make sure you just cast it and set it back in the holster otherwise your arms will be worn out after half an hour. Super heavy.
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on June 26, 2011
This was my first fishing rod. I've already gone on a few trips with it, and it feels great. The spincast is easy to get used to. The length is perfect for what I was looking for. The yellow/green other half not shown in picture is appealing. Comes prespooled with that nice looking red line as well. Downsides are the reel has jammed twice already, and to fix it you have to undo the cover and work on it from the inside. I find the BITE ALERT to be annoying, so I've shut that off as well (take the batteries out while you're at it because if you tap the switch accidentally the sound will still go off.) Still, great rod for a beginner like myself.
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on April 11, 2015
Wound up returning this rod. #1 Its huge, both rod and the reel, much larger and thicker than expected. #2. The reel broke on first cast, the red plastic part that lights up flew off and into the lake, luckily we retrieved it but ot would never stay on after that. So we returned it.
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on August 11, 2011
Just bought this item and used it over the weekend, works well. If you are contineously casting probably better to turn the alert off could get annoying. The rod is heavier than expected, might not be good for kids or begginers.
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on February 18, 2013
design is very bad and won't make you feel comfortable casting. The original line got tangled inside and messed the whole thing up. The line quality was bad that cuts easily and get tangled easily too. The rod is kind of short, so it's difficult to cast from the shore and go far away with your cast. From the boat the rod is flexible but will bend too much and it's not that practical to me neither.
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on May 30, 2015
Bought this nice looking rod and reel with great expectations. I've had many open reels before and was tired of it. Bought this, went to my friends' backyard and cast it into their pool. Very smooth. Took it fishing this past week and fished for 3 days. First day, nice catfish hit the line and reeled it in beautifully. While throwing out the second time and reeling it back in to check the bait (cats love shrimp!) and it wouldn't reel in easily. Once I got it in I gave it to my friend who has fished for say 60 years. He opened the bail and there was a rats nest in there. He got the mess out and fixed my line. I can cast out far and when I throw this out, it glides like a champ. A few more tosses out and the hook and line gets tossed off the reel. I lose it all!! Gave it back to my friend who again fixed it for me. Caught another nice cat and noticed the handle on the reel is coming out. On the otherside of it is a big screw that had loosened. No flathead on the boat so I used my fingernail. This happened 3 more times. I shouldn't have to mess with something like that. After we got back to the cabin I had to take out all of the "cajun" line the manufacturer had put on there and put on 12 lb Trilene. 2nd day worked well with the new line, but the screw came loose again. 3rd day all went well except of course-the screw loosened again. I'm keeping it because when I go fishing with my friend, he fixes it for me. Don't know what I would do by myself. Caught only 5 catfish in 3 days, but they were good size and as they say, a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work! I am a 64 year old female who has fished for about 30 years.
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on January 17, 2010
Seems very well made to catch larger fish. Everything on ti works well just as advertised. Grandson loves it!!!
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