BPS Pro Qualifier Reel Review

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BPS Pro Qualifier Reel Review

BPS Pro Qualifier Reel Review

by Damian Spradlin

After just over a season of hard use I felt it was time to give my thoughts on the ubiquitous Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier baitcaster. I had never owned any BPS brand reels until I saw this one on sale during their “Spring Fishing Classic” sale and being a sucker for a deal I figured it was worth a chance.
I, like so many, do not have an unlimited budget and any time I can find a piece of equipment that has quality far superior to its cost I’m ecstatic. The Pro Qualifier fits this description to a tee and then some. I use these reels for the highest resistance toughest applications in my arsenal, Alabama rigs and deep cranking, and have yet to experience the first issue. From pulling in striper to dredging the depths with a 6XD this reel takes on all challenges day in and day out without complaint.
Not only is the Pro Qualifier tough but it is exceptionally smooth with features one would expect from higher cost reels. Bass Pro Shops “Dual Braking System” incorporates internal centrifugal brakes with an externally adjustable magnetic cast control that keeps my backlash problems in check. With the DBS you can whip lightweight baits like balsa crankbaits and weightless plastics even if you don’t have KVD like thumb control. I feel as though the reels I own with either magnetic or centrifugal brakes alone I have to be much more conscious of my casts but the Pro Qualifier allows me to focus more on fishing and less on backlash issues.


The external magnetic brake and internal centrifugal pins of the Dual Braking System

 

The external magnetic brake and internal centrifugal pins of the Dual Braking System
Being a kayak angler means I am hard on my equipment. Reels sit in the bottom of my kayak getting dirty and drenched and the Pro Qualifier doesn’t get any special treatment from me. Rough use means I have to maintain my reels frequently and BPS makes it easy by adding an access port to ensure lubing the gears is hassle free. A little reel grease and oil goes a long way to guaranteeing you don’t have a failure on the water but taking a reel completely apart is a daunting task for most that has been alleviated with a little forethought on the part of BPS and to the relief of many anglers.


As great as the Pro Qualifier is there are a few small improvements that could be made to improve upon the design. The cast control knob does not have a positive click feature and can be inadvertently loosened with little effort which can lead to a birds nest on the next cast and lots of cussing. The other main issue I have is that the material used for the grips don’t provide much purchase once they get wet. After catching a fish or two getting the grips wet and slimy my fingers tend to slip off these greasy plastic paddles. The easy solution is add some after market EVA or silicone grip covers but it would be just as easy for BPS to change out the paddles with EVA or equivalent material that holds up better once wet. The last issue I have isn’t so much a functional concern as it is an aesthetic one. The silver finish is pretty tough but after a season getting banged around and left in the elements it is showing some serious wear. The side plate as well as the top edges have little original finish left, again not a big problem to me but in full disclosure I wanted to mention it.
If you are in the market for a tough, affordable, smooth reel I would recommend checking out the Pro Qualifier. With speeds from blazing 7.1:1 to crawling 4.7:1 you can find a reel for any application. If you really want a deal and have a little patience Bass Pro seems to put these reels on sale at various times throughout the year so give one a try.



Check out more from Damian Spradlin, BassYak Productions.
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BassYak Productions website

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