Couldn't be happier. The VR151 is my first 'high end' reel and it's incredibly simple, smooth, and powerful. The true-lefty rotation feels so much more efficient when fighting fish. I've only had it for 2 sessions but so-far I've had no problem muscling in 5-10lb stripers against a very heavy current in the East River (Canal Conditions), and it feels like this reel was barely breaking a sweat. I used to switch back and forth between a 4000 & 6000 size Penn Battle III (which were great starter reels that I'd recommend) but I can tell already that the VR151 will easily handle the entire range of fish I'm targeting, and probably even larger. Right now it's paired with a 9'6" rod and that feels about right but I'm not an expert.
Just got my first Van Staal & went with the VR. I just started surf fishing last April. Whatever I’ve gotten into over the years I have always purchased quality over quantity. Well, I think with fishing this maybe a little different. I got lucky this past summer and met all the right seasoned veterans (ol timers) found an amazing tackle shop Saltwaters Edge ( great service& team) went to cuttyhunk and miserably failed, but the boat ride back on the Seahorse out of New Bedford proved to be an hour of lessons that I’m sure will last me a lifetime. Across the board the thirty year plus regulars who fish cuttyhunk, block island and montauk all said “ son, get a Van Staal, nothing else compares and will last.” So, I saved up a few bucks and got a VR 200 for next season. Even though I have not used it yet, the feel and quality is there. I’m sure this will not be my only Van Staal. I’m all in! Next up. The VSX. All in due time. This addiction to lures, rods, gear is real , but not as much as wanting to get back out on the water with what I have, watching and learning from the Ol timers until it’s my time. Even at 50 years old I’m learning new things. Joe P.
I could not be happier with this purchase! The VR50 matches perfectly with the Avid rod producing a light weight combo of under 16oz! It is exactly what I am looking for! I was really impressed with the retail location in Middletown and knowledge and detailed information that Mike shared with me prior to purchase. This is a first class operation, selling first class gear - like the Van Staal VR50!
I’ve had my Van Staal VR200 for a few months now and have enjoyed pairing the reel to both a 10ft Cape Cod Special Surf II rod and a 9.6ft Dark Matter John Skinner Surf Rod. The reel has performed flawlessly surf fishing from the rocks in Rhode Island, the beaches on Cape Cod and the Canal. The Vr200 replaced my aging bail-less Penn 706Z (weighed 22 oz). Pros: Manual Bail, Sealed Body, Weight (18OZ), No Wind Knots, Even line lay, Braid Capacity, Line Turn Per Handle (40”), large Drag Knob; the bottom line is that it is worry-free for me. I also like the fact that the reel is a fairly simple design (should last forever) and I can get it serviced/repaired at Saltwaters Edge in Middletown RI. Cons: 1) Price: the reel did NOT come with POWER KNOB when purchased - I expected it for what I paid. 2) Supply Chain: I wanted to purchase an extra reel (175 size) spooled with lighter braid for Albie Fishing but the Gen 2 175 spare spool isn’t available yet. Conclusion: I no longer have to worry about getting sand in this reel while surf fishing as I can dunk it to rinse it off. Prior to the VR200 I was constantly servicing my Penn 706Z. Guess what - I’m no longer worrying. Thanks, SWE for a great reel.