Zebco 33 Reel 2023

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  • Post category:Fishing Reels / Zebco
  • Post last modified:June 1, 2022

Zebco 33 Reel

There is probably no type of reel more legendary than spin cast. Many anglers, including myself, started with these reels to learn what fishing is and get their first catch. Such reels are an excellent transitional tool between spinning and baitcasting reels. Recently I found my old Zebco 33, who served me for many years and showed excellent performance on the water.

Zebco Platinum 33 Spincast Reel Review

Today we decided to give you a review and show you why this reel is so good. Zebco went to great lengths to make this reel and every year they claim to be the best-selling reel in America. Well, let’s find out why this is so!

Construction & Design

Zebco 33 impressed me with its strength when I took it in my hands. This is an amazingly strict and durable reel made from stainless steel and a composite body. The places where different materials and reel parts are connected are also pretty good.

Zebco 33 Micro Spincast Fishing Reel

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The only problem is the slight play in the handle, which I could not fix even after disassembling the reel. Well, in general, you will not find any bright colors or sophisticated forms here. The reel looks like a classic spin cast reel, nothing more. The knobs are conveniently located, but they are made of plastic, so they are not as comfortable to grab as EVA or cork knobs.

Performance

In fact, I haven’t fished on spin-cast reels in a very long time, so I was very interested in this review. Straight out of the box, you are provided with a 10-pound monofilament line reeled in, but I always change it for my mono. However, according to customer reviews, the built-in line is pretty good. I matched this reel with a Berkley pistol grip rod and set off for the water.

Casting. First, you will need to get used to spin-casting a little, especially if you have been with baitcasting reels for a long time like me. Zebco 33 works completely differently from baitcasting reels and it may take some time to realize that before you start swinging the rod, you need to press a button and release it at the end of the cast. But in the end, the reel worked like a clock, the button is very large and you can adjust the pressure to adjust your casting. It casts far away and stops the line almost instantly when you need it.

Retrieve. To release the spool, you need to turn the handle just like on any casting reel. The handle on the Zebco 33 shows surprisingly smooth and calm turning, much smoother than on many other reels. At first, it seemed to me that the reel was working quite noisy, but after disassembling, I found out that all the noise was created by the metal cone. Disassembled without a cone, the reel gears are very quiet and smooth. If you lubricate it periodically, you won’t have any noise problems.

Drag. What I really liked is that Zebco 33 comes with a sound clicker for drag. This is a very useful feature for anyone interested in bait fishing. Otherwise, the reel will just make a nice buzzing sound, like the drag of many spinning reels. Besides, at the top of the reel (near the Zebco 33 emblem), there is a knob that regulates the drag force in the reel. The drag works fine at low settings, but at high settings, it starts to jerk a little, but rarely occurs in a situation when you need to crank the drag to the maximum, so this is not a big disadvantage.

Power. The Zebco 33 comes with a very low gear ratio of 3.6:1. The maximum that this reel gives when retrieving the line is 17-20 inches, but the actual performance when fighting fish will be 1-2 inches lower. Considering the size of the gear, it is not as powerful as its counterparts, but this reel is not designed for deep-sea casts or pulling trophies out of heavy cover. Zebco 33 copes with his tasks 100%.

Useful Features

Three other features that surprised me were stainless steel front and back plates, a very comfortable 85mm handle, and a Bite Alert lever. This lever has the function of back-reeling. While the Bite Alert feature is active, drag remains on, but you get the ability to control the fish by turning the handle back and forth if you want.

There is only 1 bearing inside the spool to support the line control. Of course, the manufacturer could make more, but overall the bearing runs smoothly and quietly, so I have no complaints here.

The only thing I was disappointed in was the plastic knobs, which are firmly attached to the handle and I cannot replace them with more comfortable ones made of another material.

But you can change the handle and install it on the left or right, depending on whether you are left-handed or right-handed. Moreover, you can even slightly adjust the position of the handle for a more comfortable grip.

Ergonomics & Usability

At this point, Zebco 33 begins to lose heavily to his competitors. Once you put the Zebco 33 on your rod, you will notice that the manufacturer has made huge savings in reel balance and weight. Sure, on the other hand, you get these cool stainless steel front and back plates, but they could be much lighter and keep their look. If you don’t have really big hands, it will be difficult for you to grip this reel with your entire palm.

zebco rsc3b rhino spincast 33 reel pro

That is why I chose a pistol grip rod in combo with this reel because rods with a standard round grip do not give you much leverage, which causes the reel to turn in your hands. Of course, all of the above is not unmanageable. You just have to accept it and get used to the weight and severity of the reel. That is why in all children’s combos, the cone is made of plastic, and the rods are with a pistol grip.

Purpose

Spincast reels are designed for beginner anglers. But besides the spin cast, Zebco 33 proved to be an excellent tool for casting the fineness lures. This reel, especially with the use of lightweight lines, is capable of casting such lures as strong spinning reels, and sometimes even better. If it weren’t for the ergonomics, this would be the perfect reel for the price.

However, for anglers who don’t want to take the time to learn how to handle a baitcasting reel, but want something more maneuverable and controllable than a classic spinning reel, the Zebco 33 is an excellent workhorse.

In addition to fishing with classic lures, Zebco 33 does an excellent job of fishing lures for medium and shallow depths, especially cranks, spinnerbaits, etc. This reel works great if you’re fishing with Drop-Shot or Texas or other plastic rigs. If you get used to the reel’s limitations in terms of roominess, drag, and ergonomics, it will give you tremendous efficiency and performance.

FAQ

When working with this reel, I constantly had some questions related to it. And so that you do not spend hours looking for answers to these questions, I decided to collect the answers to them in one place. Scroll below.

Is Zebco 33 a good reel?
This reel has excellent drag, casting ability, retrieve, and a great body. It will really appeal to those anglers looking for a good and cheap spin cast reel that can last for years.
How much line will a Zebco 33 hold?
The Zebco 33 can hold 100 yards of a 10-pound test line and just over 150 yards of a 2-pound test line.
What is bite alert on a Zebco 33?
Bite Alert is a feature that makes the reel make a loud clicking sound as soon as a fish has bitten your bait. This is very useful if you have moved away from your rod or if your rod is in a holder. The Bite Alert switch is in a very convenient location, next to the drag controller.
Can you use a Zebco 33 in saltwater?
Although the reel cone is made of stainless steel, some internal components are not as well protected from corrosion as the cone. Therefore, Zebco 33 is best suited for freshwater. Regardless, you can use it in saltwater if you clean the reel after every fishing trip.
What is the best fishing line for a Zebco 33?
It is best to put monofilament on Zebco 33. It is not designed to work with a braided line at all. Although Zebco 33 initially comes with a pretty good line from Kajun, I still recommend that you change the built-in line to your own.
Is 150 yards enough fishing line for Zebco 33?
150 yards will be more than enough for most casts with this reel. The only problem that can arise when using 150 yards of line is not enough drag capability. But in this case, you can just add 5 to 10 yards on. Or you can put one piece of electrical tape directly onto the reel.
What happens if you put a too heavy line on Zebco 33?
A line that is too heavy will increase the weight of your rod and increase the risk of breakage. On the other hand, a line that is too light will prevent you from using your rod and reel 100%. So just set the manufacturer’s recommended amount of line and you should be fine.

Conclusion

So what do we have here? Zebco 33 is an excellent reel with a stainless steel body and handle a very comfortable button, quiet and smooth operation, and excellent casting and retrieval performance. The drawbacks of this reel are plastic knobs, weight, and ergonomics.

I think now you understand why Zebco 33 has been so popular for over 65 years. Considering that it has a price tag of less than $ 25, it made a very strong impression on me.

For those looking for a reel with faster retrieval and more powerful performance, Zebco 33 has specially made two-reel configurations. There is also a Platinum version, which has a larger gear ratio and casting rates. But the Platinum version does not have the Bite Alert system and it weighs more – almost 10 ounces. So here you can choose for yourself what you need more.

Despite my initial difficulties with casting mechanics and weight, Zebco showed that this is not just a piece of iron with gears inside. It didn’t disappoint me on my first purchase, and it didn’t disappoint me now that I took it back for review. It does its job well as a spincast reel, but it handles the line much better than most spinning reels. For its price, Zebco 33 has an excellent blend of stainless steel and composite in its construction. This makes me think that the reel is of much more value than its price.

Tags: #zebco 33 reel / #zebco 33 reel disassembly / #zebco 33 reel instructions / #zebco 33 reel parts / #zebco 33 reel diagram / #how to take apart a zebco 33 reel

Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

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About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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Mason Coleman
Mason Coleman
18 days ago

The Zebco 33 reel is a great option for both beginner and experienced anglers. How does the weight of the Zebco 33 reel compare to other similar-sized reels?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago
Reply to  Mason Coleman

I don’t have the exact weight comparison for you, but generally speaking, the Zebco 33 reel is considered to be a lightweight reel, which is one of its features that makes it easy to handle and cast.

However, the weight might vary depending on the materials used in the construction and the type of the Zebco 33 reel you are looking at, so it’s best to check the specific weight of the reel you’re interested in before making a decision.

Also, keep in mind the weight might vary depending on the added accessories or components that come with the reel.

Finley Johnston
Finley Johnston
18 days ago

The Zebco 33 reel is also very affordable, making it a great value for the price. The all-metal construction gives it a solid and durable feel. It’s also great for kids and people with small hands to hold and use it. The Zebco 33 reel is a solid choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use, reliable, and affordable fishing reel. Can the Zebco 33 reel be used for casting or only for trolling?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago

The Zebco 33 reel can be used for both casting and trolling. It is designed to be a versatile reel that can handle different types of fishing techniques.

When casting, the reel allows for easy and smooth retrieval of the line. It also has a built-in bite alert feature that will alert you when there is a bite, allowing you to quickly set the hook.

When trolling, the reel is perfect for fishing from a boat, it can handle the drag and retrieve rates of trolling.

It’s suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, and for a different types of species and sizes, but you should still be mindful of the suitability of the reel to your target fish, as well as the size of the reel to the rod you are using.

Finlay Phillips
Finlay Phillips
18 days ago

The Zebco 33 reel is for those looking for a simple and easy-to-use fishing reel. The built-in bite alert feature is a great addition, making it more efficient for fishing. How does the drag system on the Zebco 33 reel compare to other reels in its price range?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago

The drag system of the Zebco 33 reel is considered to be relatively smooth and reliable for a reel in its price range. It’s designed to allow for easy adjustment and control over the amount of resistance on the drag, allowing anglers to set it according to the size and strength of the fish they’re trying to catch.

However, it’s worth noting that the drag system of the Zebco 33 reel may not be as advanced or powerful as those found on higher-end reels. It’s designed to be a budget-friendly reel, and its drag system is meant to cater to the needs of beginner and casual anglers, it’s still a good option if you are looking for a reliable drag system on a budget.

If you are targeting very large fish or using the reel in harsh conditions, you might want to look into more advanced or high-end reels with better drag systems.

Oliver Hutchinson
Oliver Hutchinson
18 days ago

Overall, the Zebco 33 reel is a reliable and user-friendly option for anglers of all experience levels. it’s great for fishing in freshwater and can handle some light saltwater fishing as well. Can you easily change the spool on the Zebco 33 reel?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago

Yes, the spool on the Zebco 33 reel can be easily changed. The spool is designed to be removable, allowing anglers to quickly and easily switch it out with a new one as needed. The process of changing the spool on the Zebco 33 reel is relatively straightforward.

Usually, the spool on the Zebco 33 reel can be accessed by removing the side cover of the reel, releasing the spool shaft, and lifting the spool out. Some reels might have a thumb button that you need to press to release the spool or different types of locking mechanisms. 

It is recommended to consult the instruction manual for specific details on how to change the spool on the Zebco 33 reel you own. It’s also a good practice to make sure the reel is not loaded with the fishing line when you’re changing the spool.

Overall, the ability to easily change the spool on the Zebco 33 reel makes it a great option for anglers who like to frequently switch between different types of fishing lines, or for those who want to be prepared for any situation when fishing.

John Bird
John Bird
18 days ago

Is the Zebco 33 reel durable enough for regular use?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago
Reply to  John Bird

The Zebco 33 reel is designed to be durable and built to last, with an all-metal construction that provides a solid and sturdy feel. Many customers and anglers have found the reel to be reliable and have a long service life.

However, like any fishing gear, the durability of a reel depends on the usage and the maintenance you give to it. Regular cleaning, lubricating, and properly storing the reel can help prolong its life. In addition, keep in mind that, if you’re using the reel for heavy-duty fishing or if you’re fishing in harsh conditions, the reel may not last as long as if it were used for lighter, casual fishing.

Overall, the Zebco 33 reel is considered a durable option for regular use, but regular maintenance and taking good care of the reel can help ensure that it lasts for many fishing trips to come.

Jayden West
Jayden West
18 days ago

How does the bite alert feature work on the Zebco 33 reel?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago
Reply to  Jayden West

The bite alert feature on the Zebco 33 reel is designed to alert anglers when a fish bites the hook. The feature is built into the reel and is usually a small, mechanical, or electronic device.

When a fish takes the bait and pulls the line, the bite alert triggers, making a clicking sound or vibration that can be heard or felt by the angler. This allows the angler to quickly and easily set the hook, increasing the chances of catching the fish.

The specific design and operation of the bite alert feature on the Zebco 33 reel may vary depending on the model and the brand. Some versions might have a different level of sensitivity and volume, or be turned on or off by the angler. It’s recommended to consult the instruction manual that comes with your specific Zebco 33 reel model to understand the specific details and operation of the bite alert feature.

Overall, the bite alert feature on the Zebco 33 reel is a useful addition that can increase the efficiency of fishing and make it easier for anglers to catch fish.

Joshua Mellor
Joshua Mellor
18 days ago

What types of fish is the Zebco 33 reel suitable for?

Product Name
Zebco 33 reel
Fishreeler
Admin
18 days ago
Reply to  Joshua Mellor

The Zebco 33 reel is suitable for catching a wide variety of fish species. It is a versatile reel that can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, and for different types of fish such as bass, panfish, catfish, crappie, and even some light saltwater species like trout, redfish, or striped bass.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the suitability of the reel for different types of fish also depends on the size of the fish, and the conditions in which you are fishing. The Zebco 33 reel is designed for general-purpose fishing and can handle fish within a certain size range and strength, but it may not be able to handle very large or strong fish, and it’s not designed for heavy-duty fishing.

It’s also worth noting that the fishing line, rod, and other gear you are using along with the reel are also important factors in determining if the reel is suitable for the type of fish you are targeting. It’s always recommended to match the reel to the rod and line and take into account the size and strength of the fish you’re targeting.

Overall, the Zebco 33 reel is a versatile reel that can be used to catch a wide variety of fish species, but you should also consider the specific fishing conditions and the size and strength of the fish you’re targeting.