I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

• Pflueger Summit Wide LP Review

I am posting a review of my Pflueger Summit WLP baitcasting reel after noticing one visitor came to my page by way of a Google search looking for a review on this reel. I planned on doing it some time, just not so soon. I purchased this reel in December of 2006, but did not receive it until January of 2007. I ordered the reel online and it was actually on backorder, so I was shocked that there were not more reviews from people at that time. I guess they had nothing to complain about. That's what the internet is usually for isn't it? My original review was written in August of 2007. I came back quite a few times and added brief edits at the bottom, but decided to completely revamp the review and provide better continuity to the reader. The current revision was written in June of 2008.

First you should know that when I purchased this reel, I was no expert at baitcasting. This reel was only my third baitcaster ever and my first two were $40 reels. I did do extensive research on baitcasters after buying those two reels though, so I did not go into this purchase blindly. Since then, I've become much more proficient at using a baitcaster. Many other anglers have grown some balls and posted reviews at sites where they have purchased their Summits. I can't find many negative reviews and most say this reel has a lot of bang for the buck. Lots of people say this reel is like using one of the top dollar reels without paying the premium price. I've never used a high end reel, so I can't say that yet.

Okay, let's get down to business. I was first drawn to this reel after reading about it in the big BPS catalog. I was torn between this reel and an Abu Garcia Revo STX-HS. I'm sure you might be faced with a similar predicament. Right off the bat there was a price difference. I knew I wanted high speed. For $199 I could have probably bought a Curado and been very happy, but the Curado offerings at that point in time were on the heavy side (Curado D). I've since learned that I prefer my reels to be less than nine ounces. At the time, Pflueger didn't have the Patriarch or the Cetina LP in the line up.

The Patriarch has a few more bells and whistles, including carbon fiber drag and wide spool version only. The Cetina is the little brother of the three and also sports a high speed ratio, but lacks magnetic brake controls. If you're in the market for a high speed reel, you are probably looking at these three Pflueger reels, the Curado, the Abu STX-HS, and maybe something in the Daiwa lineup. The Cetina LP and the Patriarch were not around when I purchased my Summit. Looking at those reels now, both sound awfully tempting. The Summit is the comfortable reel right in the middle. I have to assume all of them have 9lbs of drag, although Pflueger claims the Summit has 10-14lbs of drag depending on which product literature you read. The Patriarch has 10+1 bearings and the Cetina has 9+1. It looks like the Patriarch has more line capacity at 14#/130yd and the Cetina holds 12#/100yd. The Pflueger Summit has a normal width spool version and a wide spool version. Again, it looks to be the healthy balance of both of the other reels. The regular spool holds 12/100 like the Cetina and the WLP holds 12/160 or 14/130. I'm going to disregard the 6.4:1 ratio Patriarch because I'm looking at reels with no less than a 7:1. As for reel weight, you're looking at either a 7.8oz, 8.2oz, or an 8.4oz reel in the Pflueger high speed family.

So let me continue with why I chose the Pflueger Summit over the others. I did what any level headed consumer might do. I went to the store to fondle what I wanted. Again, all I had to compare at the time were the Revo, Curado D, and Summit. I got my hands on the Revo first. It wasn't an STX-HS though. None were in-store. Not bad actually. I didn't like a few things which sent me running in the other direction. First off, I just didn't like the feel of the reel in my hands. I also didn't like the screw that goes into the bridge above the spool and worm gear. It was no ordinary screw. It had ridges on the side so that you use your thumb to twist it off. I knew I'd never be able to get that thing as tight again if I should ever loosen it on purpose. Since it is used to remove the sideplate, I would be loosening it on purpose at some point. I also knew that I might accidentally nudge it and I've heard about sideplates falling off of other reels. Spooks me a little. All of the Revos have it. The new Pflueger Patriarch also has it. I also felt the magnetic brake adjustment on the sideplate on the Revo did not offer the level of fine tuning I prefer. The Summit might have a somewhat wider range with regard to magnetic brake adjustments. I've also read lots of comments online discussing how finicky the Revo can be to adjust. So after all of that, the Revo just wasn't doing it for me.

What else went through my mind comparing the Summit and Revo? 11 bearings vs 10. On the Summit, 3 bearings are on the spool shaft, 1 on the crankshaft, 1 on the worm gear, and 4 are on the handle knobs. Some people will tell you all that you need are around 5 or 6 bearings and not all of the bearings are actually inside the reel as you might guess. One more bearing wasn't enough for the price difference plus there were those other things I had a problem with. The Revo also weighs a little more than the WLP Summit. The Revo does have one heck of a drag though. Eighteen pounds of drag is double what the Pflueger Summit has and a line recovery of 31" beats the Summit WLP's 30" and LP's 28". Still, the Revo lost my vote.

Now back to my story. So I wandered down to the end of the reels on display towards the Pflueger stuff. I picked up the Summit. It was not the WLP and the WLP was not in-store. The regular LP Summit was a little lighter at 7.8oz compared to the WLP's 8.2oz, but I wasn't all that concerned about the weight difference at that point in time. I use a lot of 20lb test line, so I could use a little extra room that a wide spool offers. I also liked the click drag and the click cast control knob. I also prefer the type of magnetic brake control with a notch you can get the tips of your fingers around. Many don't have a controller like that and actually don't turn quite as easy. I opened up the side plate and found the internal brakes were easily adjustable. What I did not like about the regular Summit was that my thumb seemed to touch the reel on either side of the spool. I don't have very big thumbs either. I felt it was too snug of a fit, so a WLP would be more accommodating. I also liked the tapered spool. Not sure why, but I did. Most of all, I loved how the reel felt in my hand. Note that online some sites state the Summit weighs 8.4oz. My Summit box lists it as weighing 8.2oz. I'm going to trust the numbers on the box. The numbers on the box quote a 17#/90yd capacity on the WLP, so it was a good idea to buy the one with a wider spool.
I knew what I was getting after that trip to the store, but was forced to order online and like I said, it was backordered. I waited patiently for about three weeks and finally it came. I took it out and tested it. I paired it with a 6'6" MH graphite rod. Nothing too extravagant. I still use it with that rod most of the time, but sometimes use a similar medium action Gander Mountain rod.

Here is what I have learned so far. It's shipped with all brakes on (all tabs pushed out). Open the sideplate by pushing the silver button with the Pflueger logo and turn the sideplate clockwise. Lift the sideplate off revealing the red tabs on the spool. Push them all in towards the center because I can't cast anything very far with even two engaged (pushed out). That part sucks. I'm not sure what I would be using that needed any of the internal brakes engaged at all. I couldn't throw a DT6 crankbait or a rattle trap more than 40 or 50 feet. Turn the brakes off and you're looking at 100 feet easy. Don't worry about the sideplate coming off accidentally if you bump the button. It still requires a good nudge for it to turn clockwise. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how people lose a sideplate. I suppose those of you throwing heavy swimbaits would have to rely on setting those brakes.

The Summit performs well as a pitching reel when you loosen up the magnetic brakes. It is my primary rig for fishing jigs. Backlashing depends more on the line you use and your skill level than the reel itself. I have found heavier line is more difficult to work with on any reel, but on the Summit, you can get away with using some. Backlashes with this particular reel seem to have more to do with the type of line and happen more when the magnetic brakes are set too free. I really wish anglers would stop saying reels cast a mile and flat out tell you what distance they can cast. I think 5,280 feet seems a bit out of range, don't you? Sure it's a figure of speech, but it tells me very little these days because every review you read says something about a great reel casting a mile. How does that help any consumer make an informed decision? My average casting distance for any of my rigs is around 110 feet and even then, it depends on the rod I'm using. I've actually written a new post discussing different rods and this reel including casting distances to help you decide what to pair this reel with.

I can't cast a lot of my light lures with it, but that's probably to be expected with a MH rod. Little Mepps Aglias and tiny rattle traps aint gonna work with that set up. Neither will lighter plastics. If you've got more skill at adjusting reels, then maybe you will be able to throw 'em. I can't. I even tried a medium action rod and was only able to throw some average sized plastics a little better. Pitching is a different story. I can pitch plastics and 1/4oz lures just fine though. I put the Pflueger Summit on my ML finesse rod just for curiosity's sake and found that I could cast smaller baits without any difficulty. People have mentioned throwing 1/8oz lures with this reel and I believe them. You just need to do a little experimentation with rods, line, and brake adjustments. These people throwing the light lures are likely using a weight-appropriate rated rod. A medium action rod will also squeeze out a few more feet of casting distance than a medium heavy rod. I think I'll still stick with the MH rod for most applications. It's a high speed reel. The lures you'd throw with a high speed reel are not known for being light, so this shouldn't be high on your list of concerns unless you're going finesse and need high speed to take up slack. Your rod choice will be an important decision. Rods have weight ratings on them for a reason. Don't be disappointed in any baitcaster if your rod doesn't match the weight of the lure you're trying to throw. You simply picked the wrong rod.

After over a year of owning this reel (Jan 07 to present - June 08), I am very impressed. I absolutely love the 7:1 ratio and now I plan on getting another when I have the money. I am addicted to high speed. The WLP is a little heavier than the LP weighing in at 8.2 ounces, but this reel still fits comfortably in my hand. I don't feel worn out after using it all day. The spool has plenty of room for 20lb line. I oil a few spots periodically and try to keep it in good condition. I don't think this reel has let me down once I figured out the braking system. I feel like I have complete control now. It's a nice feeling.

So oil her bearings and a few other spots with some Hot Sauce or your oil of choice, turn off all the centrifugal brakes, and cast that rattle trap as far as you want. Pretty smooth. Burn that spinnerbait or buzzbait. See that 5lb 11oz bass in the photo on my blog? The drag didn't slip at all. I landed her in less than 20 seconds. I think it was close to 13 seconds actually. I've manhandled bowfin, white bass, and channel catfish with it too. This reel has more muscle than you think. It's a great feeling having that level of control in the palm of your hands. I've been using this reel since January 2007. I use it for almost everything and what it doesn't handle, I trust my other rigs to do.

I can't think of anything else to add. I am using 12lb and 20lb Gamma copolymer on it now, but also have been known to spool some Yo Zuri Hybrid on it in a pinch. Pflueger offers a carbon fiber drag upgrade for low profile reels for a small fee. At one point, the Summit was listed as eligible for this upgrade, but I can't find that now. Only a few of their LP reels are listed for that upgrade.

If there is anything else you'd like to know about the Pflueger Summit, just ask. I may come back and edit or add a few things if I think about it. Scroll to the bottom of the page to view comments or add your own. I welcome any questions you may have. I tried to be as thorough as possible.

Related Posts:
Pflueger Patriarch WLP71: First Impressions
Pflueger Summit: Some Casting Comparisons
Pflueger Reels: Remove the handle

Consider reading this lubrication guide with photos to help visualize what I am about to explain.

I'm no expert at this, so take my advice with caution. Several web sites give instructions on baitcaster maintenance and many times, the advice differs so much that some are in opposition with each other. I only perform lubrication maintenance on my Summit when I notice changes in casting or about once every month or two. I mainly apply oil in a few spots.

Remove the cap on the casting control knob (handle side) and place a drop of oil on the bearing there. Place the drop of oil in the easily visible recessed ring going around the edge. You might take note of the black light grease on the center knob.

Remove the sideplate on the left side of the reel by pushing in the button with the Pflueger logo with the thumb of your right hand and then rotate the sideplate clockwise with the thumb of your left hand. Carefully pull the sideplate away from the reel revealing the side of the spool. Inside the sideplate, you'll notice another bearing in the center. I place a drop of oil in that ring. Note that there is grease inside the fitting for the spool shaft as well as on the tip of the spool shaft.

Looking at the inside edge of the reel, you'll see the spool and a bushing at the end of the worm gear at the front. Some sites say the end of the worm gear gets oil and others say bushings get grease. I side with those who say light grease. Remove the spool by first making sure the line around the spool is secure (you don't want a mess of line) and then tilt the reel to the side with your hand cupped ready to catch the spool as it slides out. Again, you'll notice light grease on the ends of the spool shafts. On the side with the longer spool shaft, you'll notice another bearing ring around the base. One or two drops of oil will do. Some like to put a drop of oil on the spool shaft. I've found it can make a difference in a positive way as long as you lightly coat the shaft and not the end. Carefully put the spool back into place. If your line is a mess, it helps to keep one finger on the spool of line and use your other hand to pull line out away from the front of the reel. Put the sideplate back on in the reverse order you took it off, although you don't need to push down on the button this time. At this point, I usually work the oil around a little by letting out a lot of line and cranking the reel for a short while.

On the underside of the front of the reel, you'll see the worm shaft and the line guide. Some put grease on the worm shaft and others sometimes add a drop of oil. Seeing as how the worm shaft is exposed and can easily collect debris, I don't overdo it with either. I believe grease is the better choice of the two and I use it sparingly. Your worm gear may already have grease on it and it might also have dirt. Wipe it clean before adding more grease or risk damaging the reel. I also add a drop of oil on the pipe surrounding the worm shaft and the silver pillar just above it that the line guide also slides along. I give the reel a few turns to coat the entire thing.

Handle knobs can also use a little lube, but I never do it. This is another spot that people differ on. Some say grease. Others say oil. Lubricate the handles where they meet the crank. The thumb clutch that engages and disengages the spool might also need a drop of oil along the edges. I oil it by holding the reel upside down, adding a drop on each side, and wiping away the excess with a Q-tip or paper towel. Then I work the thumb clutch a few times and it's good to go.

That's all I do. When I clean the outside of this reel, I use rubbing alcohol with Q-tips and sometimes finish things off with some KVD Line & Lure. A small brush would work better than a Q-tip to clean out any gunk around the levelwind area.


Anonymous said...

I can't comment on the Summit but you seem happy with it and that's what counts.

I can say that the screw that you didn't like on the Revo's is for the side plate and doesn't need to be super tight. I just make sure mine are snug before I start fishing and have never had it come loose.

You don't really need to loosen it unless you are removing/servicing the spool or if you have the Revo S that uses the little pastic weights. The SX, TSX, Premier, Elite (Japan model) and SC (Cabela's and Japanese model) all use the mag.


Anonymous said...

Great review. Thanks for more detail than "casts a mile". (You're so right about that!)

Jon Dice said...

The setup I always use my Summit for is on a 6'6" medium Shimano Crucial and 50 lb braided line. I throw Yozuri Rattlin Vibes and other "rattletrap" type lures with it, but I always change the factory hooks to Mustad Triple Grips. Since I started using this setup, I rarely lose a fish when trappin'.

Sarge said...

Good looking Blog. Your reveiws are very to the point and in depth. You need to post some up on this site


Anonymous said...

I have a couple-yr-old summit and just bought another new model...I love the one I've had and am looking forward to trying out the new model...but I also have to submit that I also have a pflueger Asaro and can't tell much (if any) difference in the two...I believe that the Asaro has been replaced by the Cetina, although the Asaro is a metal body and the Cetina is graphite...anyway...my point is that they're both excellent performers and unless you really want the "dial" brake control on the left side instead of needing to remove the left cover to adjust the magnetic weight/tabs(on the Asaro), you can get very comparable performance from the Asaro, which sells on ebay for about half what a new Summit will run you...excellent blog...glad I found it...

Anonymous said...

Great Review! I have had a Summit LP for well over a year now and am very impressed with it also. I took it to the Northern Territory here in Australia last year, and in 6 days caught over 200 big fish on it including Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Threadfin Salmon, and Queenfish to over a metre! It didn't miss a beat, despite being abused by some huge fish with long fast runs on high drag settings. Despite having other more expensive reels with me, it was my favourite reel to use. Thanks to your blog I will be trying to find the drag upgrade for it as the only area it did lack in was the amount of drag pressure I could exert with the standard drag washers.

Anonymous said...

I have had great difficulty trying to locate a drag upgrade for the Summit LP, the Australian agent is not aware of such a product, so I would greatly appreciate any information that you have on the matter. Thanks, Richard

BassFishingDem said...

As I pointed out in the post, Pflueger listed it as a carbon fiber upgrade, but subsequently removed it from their site, never to be seen again. At some point, Pflueger changed the page, making the upgrade available for the President and a couple of other reels, but not the Summit. Now the link I mentioned in this blog entry no longer exists. I can only assume the "upgrade" is nothing more than what gets put into every Pflueger Patriarch. See, the Patriarch offers a carbon fiber drag while the Summit does not. Whether or not a Summit has the extra room is another question I do not have the answer to. Have a look at the schematics for the Summit and the Patriarch and you'll see what I mean. Ask that agent if he knows what size carbon fiber washers would fit in the Summit.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for your help. The response from the Australian distributor was; "It is a completely different drag assembly and the washers will not fit the Summit", in response to asking if the Patriarch or Patriarch XT carbonfibre drag will fit into the Summit LP. I will try carbontex again to see if they have added a kit for the Summit to their range. If not, the Summit still has a very smooth drag in standard form, and I can always add a bit of thumb pressure to slow down some of the monsters we get down here!