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Van Staal VSX2 Review

End of its First Season VSX2 Review

     After releasing the new VSX2 at the end of last season, the reel has finally had its first true season of fishing. 

     Let's start with the fun stuff. The seals and bearings are identical to the previous model, the materials are the same, and most of the parts in general are the same (such as seals, bearings, line roller, drag washers, bushings, screws). They didn’t fix what they didn't need to, which is nice to see. The anti-reverse clutch is quality and yes, from Germany. It's roughly three times the size as the one in the previous model, one of the changes, and it performs much better. There is no more back-play in the rotor like you had with the previous VSX or VS, which makes setting the hook and working plugs much better as you have a solid connection with more sensitivity. The uni-body is another great improvement. Water can't sneak in through the joint and the reel foot can’t become loose anymore. Casting distance is easier to achieve without the rotor cup design, and the VSX2 series can finally be easily converted from bailless to bailed in select sizes (150 and 200). There is also less wear on the inside of the reel where the traverse guide rides up and down due to a titanium insert which is another great improvement. 

     Field testing. Same bulletproof construction, if not better. From the 3 reels that we have been keeping a close eye on and using this season, all have been up to the task. The skirted spool still protects the line from abrasive surfaces such as mantling up onto rocks. We were very impressed after cracking them open, truthfully. The main seal is in a new spot but it seems to be a great improvement because there was very little water if any in the bodies of the reels. The reels were swam with and fished very hard, so it was good to see that the sealing held up very well which is not always the case with the previous models. On the service side, they are more service friendly than their old VSB/VS counterpart which we know doesn’t really help you guys, but it is nice to keep in mind as that generally means the reels are made well and they improved upon some designs in a good way. For example, the lock ring is much bigger and therefore much easier to remove, especially when it gets very salty. 

Let's get the “bad” stuff out of the way. As most know by now, the initial release caused an internet uproar about the rotor on the bailless models. While this issue was never proven to be an actual issue, it did cause enough concern in the community that Van Staal did what they have always done: they stood by their product and came up with a fix that was then implemented free of charge. While the communication was quite poor on their part, it was all taken care of. Apart from that, we are left with the “normal” warranty stuff that any company goes through with their products. As much as it sucks if you are unlucky enough to get one with a problem, Van Staal again stood by the product and has been fixing them. Unfortunately factory problems are just a percentage game, but it's not really a reflection on the actual product though the quality control was a little disappointing (the main warranty issue with some of the reels was a problem we have seen before in the previous VS and VSX models).  Basically, warranty issues aside, the X2 is just as bomb proof as the previous models (its actually better mechanically.) 


     Overall the VSX2 gives the same performance we have become accustomed to with the VS series, and even improves upon the previous model. Due to the design change, it is taller than the previous compact cupped version which takes a little getting used to and some might not enjoy. It’s also a little heavier but not by much. Now, we all know we are a tackle shop and of course we want to sell you new products, but we don't want to sell you any product that we cant stand behind (like the previous Tsunami SaltX reel). We have stood behind our motto that we fish the gear we sell for years, and we take pride in that. This is not some hype train post to get people to buy the new Van Staal reel, rather it is our honest review on a product we can stand behind. But we're also not going to sugar coat it, as mentioned it did have its growing pains. But overall this is a great improvement upon the best reel in the surf game. Not to mention it holds its own on the boat, especially in the new 50 size. 

Photos and a test subject courtesy of Frank Goncalves

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