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Hi, know Zebcos aren’t the best but I use them as backup for my baitcasters. I have vintage 1990s and earlier 888’s. I know that around 10 years ago after Zebco got bought out or something the quality went downhill heavily for a Zebco. But in recent years they look to have upt the quality. Are the new Zebcos as good as the 1990s and earlier 888s or 1960s 89s? Thanks!
 

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I don't know, bought a 808 for my boy about 20 years ago and it actually came apart in the boat on the first trip, the retailer where it was bought replaced it but the replacement only lasted about half way through the next summer. While that caused me to swear off Zebco. I have to agree the quality was good in the early 70's but like most U.S. manufactures who move their production overseas the quality suffers, IMO.
 

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My daughter has a 606 on her catfish pole and a pink/silver 33 on her trout pole. The 606 feels cheap, and the internals do nothing to change that feeling. Before I bought her the 33 I played with a bunch of zebcos and frankly anything under the 29.99 price point isn't well put together. The higher end ones seems pretty good in the store but I don't know first hand one the water. I thought about getting her the omega but I think instead of spending that much on a push button...I'll just start teaching her how to cast a spinning reel once her reels are worn out or broken.
 

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Better off using a hand line with anything over 5 pounds. When I was a young we wore more Zebco's out snagging carp from the dam here on 20 pound test than I can remember. We put them to the test! ;-)
 

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Hi, know Zebcos aren’t the best but I use them as backup for my baitcasters. I have vintage 1990s and earlier 888’s. I know that around 10 years ago after Zebco got bought out or something the quality went downhill heavily for a Zebco. But in recent years they look to have upt the quality. Are the new Zebcos as good as the 1990s and earlier 888s or 1960s 89s? Thanks!
i use70's model 33's sometimes for channels but as far as any of the other wouldnt give plug nickel for them
 

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Well shoot, my first level wind was a Zebco I bought new about 1966 while stationed in Germany. Direct drive and used it a lot over the years. In fact I still have it and could still use it today! Got no time for spin cast reels!
 

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Stacee from Indiana
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I wondered if anybody has tried the Zebco Bullet or the Zebco Omega reels?
 

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I passed on zebcos at garage sales for years but have been scooping them up as of last year.i only buy vintage zebs with the metal reel seats,good non pot metal gears.the older ones will be collectible due to the quality being crap on the newer zebs.i dont have a mass collection of them yet but buying vintage zebcos at .50 to 1$ seems alright.
 

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Neill from NW Arkansas
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I have a couple of older Zebcos I keep for the grandkids to fish for panfish. I recently watched a video Dieter Melhorn made recommending the 888 as a good channel cat reel?
Any thoughts?
 

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Hi, know Zebcos aren’t the best but I use them as backup for my baitcasters. I have vintage 1990s and earlier 888’s. I know that around 10 years ago after Zebco got bought out or something the quality went downhill heavily for a Zebco. But in recent years they look to have upt the quality. Are the new Zebcos as good as the 1990s and earlier 888s or 1960s 89s? Thanks!
My son and I fish the new and old zebcos a lot. I think the new ones work great. The last time we went surf fishing my son used a new 808 saltwater and we caught a 5-6lb drum. I haven't used it a lot, but it was pretty good. The last zebco saltwater I bought lasted about 10 years until something broke inside. We both caught tons of catfish with it. I think I had one issue with a new 888 and zebco promptly sent me the repair part. You really can't go wrong with the 808 or 888. To be honest I've had a lot more issues with the vintage usa models than the new ones, but I think they are still great too. Hope this helps.
 

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I actually use all three types of reels for my fishing. I think that the problem some people have is in asking a reel to do things that it is not designed for. A Zebco 33 is just the thing for crappie or small bass in a pond. If you put a 20-pound line on it it is not going to cast well and the gears are not going to do well with the strain that weight line will put on it.

That said they don't cost much and I have known people to catch some just huge bass with them. I probably use a Zebco a lot more than any other sort. I have access to a lot of great fishing ponds and the Zebco just works best for throwing light lures in tight places. If it is a little more open I will swap out to spinning reels or one of my small bantam 100 bait casters.

My Zebcos are all older metal foot reels. I pick up one any time I spot it at a garage sale. Even if it is older I can use it for parts. I keep them clean and oiled and have never had one actually fail me. No, their drags are not as smooth as a bait caster or spinning reel but then I don't normally use them for fish that are going to make long hard runs.

I think to some extent the Zebcos allow me to do a few things better than I could with either a casting or spinning reel. Mostly though it may be that I started with one when I was a little kid and have so many great memories tied to them. I have caught some great fish with them including a bass that was nearly 8 pounds. I carry one in my truck and that lets me take advantage of new places. I had a service business and live in a rural area so a lot of my customers had ponds and if you asked they would let you fish in them.

I like the spin casters as a middle ground between a casting and spinning reel. I can cast small light lures that wouldn't work with a casting reel but I can cast in ways with them that I just don't do as well with spinning reels. I do a lot of skip casts to land my lure back up underneath things. I just don't get the same sort of results with a spinning reel. Honestly, my skipping allows me to fish places that most other people can't or don't fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have a couple of older Zebcos I keep for the grandkids to fish for panfish. I recently watched a video Dieter Melhorn made recommending the 888 as a good channel cat reel?
Any thoughts?
I’ve heard from reading in older In-Fisherman Catfish Insider Magazines 2 things: the owner of Sonny’s stinkbait Sonny himself used older 90s 808s for at least small river channel cats. And the other is, the magazine said some catmen use 888s and this was in the 90s though. If you use them always keep them lubed after cleaning more regularly to help them last longer is my advice. Good luck fishing with them!
 
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