First off i'll tell you what led me to buy the 888. I originally had a Zebco 808 that i bought at the begining of last summer. After that summer out with fairly heavy use i found out i bought the cheap version. A notch formed on spinner head which made it almost impossable to cast, time for a new reel the notch could not be sanded out or filled. I went to the bait shop just planning on buying a 808 magnum. But then the shiny gold and black 888 caught my eye. With a black gloss abs plastic bottom and a shined golden front cover with red accents and bold black lettering it was quite a looker. This thing looks like it could tow in a boat but i wanted to check out the specs and see what she was made of. Ball bearing drive-Dual cam drag-2.58:1 gearing-All metal drive train-pre spooled with premium 25LB line. All for $4.00 more than the $26.00 808 magnum. I took it apart at the shop the the gears are actually quality steel not the cheap cast pot metal the 808 gears are made of. The crank rod rides on two quality ball bearings so its smooth as butter. I was sold & bought it right there. When i got it home i matched it up with my favorite rod, a Zebco 7' MH with a solid glass tip (great sensitivity and solid backbone). I took this combo with me fishing today at Glen Shoals. The first cast i put a 3/4 oz. egg sinker on there plus the weight of my bait so there was about six ounces. I droped 18 inches of slack held the rod by the butt and the reel then gave it a small side arm toss Holy S*** my buddy said i just casted out 40 yards easy with just a lil toss and the line went out silent and smooth as can be. The first few fish we 1-3 lbers so i put the drag up and cranked them in with no effort and just as smooth as can be with the soft oversized crank handle. I handed the pole to my buddy and he was just as impressed as i was with the performance of the reel, "farthest i've ever casted, it so smooth he said, its got power to spare" he loved the reel. The two biguns of the day were between 8-10 lbs. When i set the hook that sets firm everytime with the True anti-reverse system so there is to lag time in the hook set i realize it a big one. I loosen the drag and see what the pole is made of the drag is so wide range and easy to reach i quickly tire the two big guys and then tow them in with no problem at all. After all this is is my opion the Zebco Pro Staff 888 is the best lake catfishing reel for the buck & the best reel i have ever spend money on. Hope yall enjoyed my review.