Saltwater Edge Gear Review: Van Staal VR50
The Van Staal VR50 is the latest addition to the VR Series of reels launched by Van Staal a few years ago. The original VR series incorporated a modular design utilizing one body, two rotors and four spools to create the VR 125, 150, 175 and 200. These reels were considerably lighter and less expensive than the VSX Series that has earned Van Staal it's high regard in the surfcasting community. As fishing rods become even lighter, saltwater anglers were looking for their reels to keep pace and the VR filled this void with tremendous torque in the smaller sizes and a fast retrieve speed in the two larger sizes. The VR 50 builds on the VR foundation and continues the Van Staal traditions of being fully sealed and extremely durable.
Putting the boots to a 20 lb Harkers Island Albie
Van Staal VR50 Observations
When I was first handed the VR50 I didn't immediately recognize it's potential benefit. It just looked like a smaller VR. Now that I have fished it over the last few months it is becoming one of my favorite reels. Let take a closer look. Construction and Design: The entire VR Series including the VR50 utilizes a body machined from aircraft grade aluminum. The VR50 has a considerably smaller body than the other VR's; no doubt a contributing factor to reducing the weight to a remarkable 8.9 oz. The overall size resembles a 4000 size reel from Shimano or Penn. The guts consist of a hardened stainless steel main gear, pinion, and shaft. There is zero slop in the reel under heavy loads. This is due to the high-quality materials and the precise machining of the gear itself. Like the other VR's the VR50 has a manual bail, but unlike the other VR's there is not a bail-less option available. The Delrin handle is similar to the other VR's all be it a tad smaller. It is a light and comfortable handle that is easy to keep a firm grip on when it is time to crank hard. The drag adjustment knob is easy to access and has detents to provide tactile feedback when you increase drag pressure.
Van Staal VR50 Features
Drag Pressure: 24 lbs Line Capacity: 360 yds of 30 lb braid Line Recovery Rate: 37 inches per turn Gear Ratio: 6.8 to 1
Conclusion:It is easy to now see how the VR50 will be a valuable addition to a variety of light tackle anglers. In most of the fishing situations so far I have used a variety of GLoomis E6X inshore rods as the light and sensitive E6X makes a great combo with the lightweight and powerful VR50. The following light tackle anglers, in particular, will be impressed with VR50:
- Those who chase powerful predators like stripers, tarpon and snook the 25 pounds of drag will allow you to put the boots to them for a healthy release
- Anglers who target speedsters like bonefish and albies will no doubt appreciate the 37" per turn rate of retrieve when the bone turns and burns back in your direction.
- Traveling flyrodders who want a bulletproof light tackle reel for windy days on the flats and all angler en route to destinations where repairs are not an option
- Kayak fisherman whose gear gets as wet as anyone will find the durability of a fully sealed reel a long-term benefit.
The VR50 fills a unique spot in the spinning reel world. The fully sealed waterproof performance and durability that built the Van Staal brand that now incorporates remarkable drag pressure and an impressive retrieve speed given in a light tackle package. There is no other reel with the features of the VR50 in the market today. This 8.9oz reel packs a punch and is a ton of fun to fish!
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