Zebco Pro Staff 888 Reel
Strong & sturdy reel
I have 3 of the 888's that I use in nothing but salt water in Mobile Bay & the Gulf of Mexico. These reels, spooled with the factory 25lb Zebco mono (with 100lb mono or stainless wire leaders & 4/O stainless hooks) on a Zebco med-heavy rod have handled everything I've come up against so far including dozens of stingrays up to 20lbs, small bull sharks, Jack Crevalle, large catfish, and bull redfish. The drag works great and is easy to adjust on the fly. A few weeks ago I fought a 26lb Jack Crevalle (known as one of the toughest pound-for-pound fighters in the salt water fishing world) that took 45 minutes to land, after multiple long runs that had the drag screaming like a banshee. An hour later I hooked a bull red that gave a similar fight that lasted a half-hour and the reel performed flawlessly. Flush them out with freshwater at the end of the day and clean & grease them once or twice a year and the 888 just keeps on going.
Only problems I've had is one reel had a weak drag out of the box- turned out to be grease on the drag washers from the factory so I cleaned the washers, reassembled, & it's good to go. Also, I've broken two of the line release thumb buttons; the ears that hold it in the rear housing are plastic and I guess I pushed on the button too hard. Emailed Zebco & they sent me the replacement rear housing with new thumb button at no charge. I have to say that Zebco has great customer support.
Other than light corrosion that is easily removed with a small wire brush or toothbrush I've had zero problems using these reels in salt water.
All in all the 888 is a great spincast reel that fills a niche for those of us who hunt big fish but don't like spinning or baitcasting rigs, and you can't beat the price. Well done, Zebco.
September 28, 2014
Best Inexpensive Catfish Reel!
I've been cat fishing with this reel for 15-20 years now. I am currently fishing with my 3rd & 4th Zebco 888 over all those years. No they are not made of high quality materials, but they are tough as nails on a muddy bank. Match it up with a Ugly Stick and you've got a dependable, inexpensive, working tool.
Although, I made one mistake with this reel about 7 years ago, I took it saltwater fishing for stingray. It was my first time for this type of fishing, but I knew this reel could standup to 30lb. catfish and figured stingrays wouldn't be much different. Wrong! A big "cat" won't run very long before it gives up. On the other hand, a nice stingray will run 50lbs + and has 10 times the energy. And heaven forbid if you let it settle on bottom beneath the mud or sand. After that first good hookup, I ruined my my much touted 888. I didn't know plastic housing could get so hot. After one good run and much cursing, the drag was totally shot.
Bottom line is; don't bring a knife to a gun fight.
December 20, 2013
Best Spincast for cat and carp!
I've owned this reel for a year now and it's still going strong after catching dozens of 20+ lb cats and carp.
This reel was made for them. The bait clicker and the simplicity in design is the selling point for me. The 888 will cast a mile using a 1oz egg sinker. I've zero problems using this reel and I use and abuse 2 of them. The only gripe I have is that the back cover is abs plastic. I wish Zebco would make a "Platinum" version of this reel.(with bait alert!)
Who needs a 100.00 baitcaster when this reel is just as good if not better. If ya think about it, this is a simplified version of a baitcaster. No birds nests... no hang ups... no problems. 5/5
October 23, 2013
Great reel for big fish, low cost
Don't want to drop a bundle for a big-fish levelwind or baitcaster? Want the feel, simplicity and cranking power of a levelwind? Something that fits a short, stout big-fish levelwind rod?
THIS is the reel! Awesome! GIANT spincaster - you can bring in Halibut with this thing. Spools almost 200 yards of 20lb line. Well over 200 yards of 17lb. line. (That's two football fields deep). It will fling weighted bait or a lure a country mile (Try that with a levelwind or baitcaster). NEVER a backlash or tangle. You can really cast and retrieve swimming lures with this reel. A jig-users dream. The thing is like a small winch! Strong! Nothing to break - ultra simple design. THE PRICE. Whopper catfish, Halibut, Musky, big Pike, Drum, Amberjack, grouper, Albacore, you name it......
October 2, 2013