A big question, which understandably comes up often for someone shopping for a Van Staal Reel is “what size reel should I get?”
While this can sometimes be tough to answer definitively, these guidelines should help anglers decide which reel is ideal for them. We broke the reels down by size and touched on applications as well as highlight features for each size. This guide applies primarily to the X-Series and original VS reels. See the entire Van Staal line-up including pliers and accessories at the Saltwater Edge.
The baby. With the VS150 only being 0.8 ounces heavier, this one is almost the odd Van Staal reel out. Its slow retrieve also sometimes makes people skip it for the VS150 which takes in 30 inches of line per turn versus the VS100’s 27 inches.
Despite its specs, this reel is very popular on light weight rigs in the 7 to 8-foot range from both shore and the boat due to its compact size and very light weight of 11.2 ounces. With lighter braids such as 14# Fireline or 20# Power Pro, you can hold an almost pointless quantity of line.
Even with mono, it’s rated for 225 yards of 10# test mono which is more than enough for any schoolie bass or small tuna you might encounter. Don’t be fooled by the small size of this reel; we’ve landed bluefin tuna over 50 pounds on it thanks to the great line capacity with braid and the potent drag offered by all Van Staal reels.
The VS100 X-Series is available in both silver and black.
This is one of the most popular Van Staal reels, with both surf and boat anglers all over the world. This reel is ideal for rods from 6 to 9 feet.
For surf anglers, this is the perfect reel for 8-foot rods and lighter nine footers. For many Cape Cod anglers, this is the reel of choice, offering enough capacity to deal with the largest of fish while still being very lightweight. This is surf legend Tony Stetzko’s favorite. Anglers who frequent the rocks, especially those who like mono, should consider going up to the VS200 or even the VS250, but for anglers who want to put together a lighter rig and for those who fish the sand, this is often the one.
Retrieve rate is quick enough for most anglers. The 30 inches per turn is a little slow for anglers used to faster reels, but most will find it to be perfect. Good reel for light tackle fishing from the boat as well.
Line capacity on this reel, like all Van Staal reels, is more than enough for almost any application you would use this reel for. The VSX 150 is ideal for kayak anglers as kayak reels got wet and bounced around constantly and those wading for flats species like redfish and snook.
VS150 X-Series is available in silver and black.
A favorite of many surf anglers, especially those that frequent the rocks along the Striper Coast. This is possibly the all-purpose Van Staal reel and is perfect for most nine footers, all ten footers, and even 11-foot sticks. Still very light at 21.6 ounces, but capable of holding almost 400 yards of 15-pound test or over 250 yards of the 50-pound braid with 100 yards of 15# mono backing.
For anglers who like to fish 10-foot rods, the decision is often between this reel, the 250, and sometimes the 275. The 200 can hold more than enough 20-pound mono (approx 225 yards), so it’s capacity is enough for almost any striper, but many anglers do choose to go up to the 250 or even the 275 or 300.
The 250 and 275, also feature faster retrieves of 36.5 and 40 inches, respectively, which may help guide you towards a reel.
The VS200 X-Series is Rhody surfcaster Steve McKenna’s reel of choice.
Using a larger rotor cup and spool but the same frame as the 200, the 250 is just .8 ounces heavier than the 200 but holds 350 yards of 20# mono and retrieves line a bit faster at 36.5 inches. It holds a LOT of 50 or 65-pound braid.
Many feel this Van Staal reel, more so the 200, better matches heavier ten footers such as the Lamiglas 1205 and 1201m. It’s at home on any 11 footers as well. It feels large on most 9 foot rods. It’s a light reel, but it’s a big reel.
VS250 X-Series is available in black or silver
This reel was built to offer anglers a fast retrieve reel with the toughness and waterproof qualities the VS is known for. At 40 inches per turn, this is the fastest reel in the line up by far. Even though it’s a big reel, it’s still light at 24 ounces. Surf anglers in the Canal often prefer a faster retrieve to deal with the current, and also the wide diameter spool helps with casting distance.
Fans of the bucktail jig may find this to be their reel of choice as well. Many anglers also find a reel featuring a faster retrieve is better for Pencil Poppers.
The VS275 arguably has more 50lb+ class striped bass than any other reel out there, whether it be from the surf, boat, etc. It is the preferred choice by many well know anglers in the industry.
This is the choice for many offshore anglers chasing school bluefin. The faster retrieve also makes it ideal for vertical jigging on offshore structure such as reefs and wrecks and also for ripping your lure in quickly to get another shot at fast-moving tunas.
The line capacity of the VS275 X-Series is more than adequate with almost any pound test braid for almost any species.
Silver, or Black? - Choosing Your Color
All Van Staal reels are anodized. Color choice is merely a preference. If you want to get technical, black is the thickest anodizing while silver reels will hide rock rash and wear the best. Many anglers, especially those that sometimes fish during the day, like the stealth offered by the black reels. Nocturnal anglers only real concern is how the reel might match your fishing rod or how the reel looks hanging in the garage during the off-season.
Have more questions? Feel free to give us a call at 401-842-0062. Almost all employees at the Saltwater Edge who fish the surf fish Van Staal reels, and will be happy to discuss this line of reels with you.
Want to put that reel to work? Check out this article on surf fishing basics:
Written by Peter Graeber and Steve McKenna