Zebco is a company that needs no introduction to American anglers. For nearly 50 years, young and old alike have used its spincast reels to catch everything from sunfish to saltwater species. For many of us, a Zebco reel is what we learned to fish with when we were young. But Zebco has reels in its lineup that go well beyond entry-level equipment. The Zebco Omega is one such reel.
Zebco designed the Omega with the intent of producing a reel as effective in the hands of youngsters as it would be in the hands of veteran anglers. It was engineered based on input from Zebco customers and its own research and development team to set new standards of excellence for a spincast reel. To see if Zebco succeeded, I bought an Omega Z02 and put it through a season of fishing use by both my 8-year-old son and myself. After landing a number of trout, northern pike and countless sunfish without any of the problems one sometimes encounters with spincast reels, I think Zebco may have succeeded.
The Omega is the first spincast reel to use a six-ball-bearing drive system. Most spincast reels have between one and three ball bearings. The more bearings, the smoother the operation of a reel and I can say without reservation that the Omega is the smoothest spincast reel I've ever fished with.
Another innovation is the Omega's used of three line pick-up pins. When you cast a spincast reel, line pick-up pins on the spool cover (also called a spool head) retract or move out of the way to allow line to feed smoothly off the spool. When the reel handle is cranked at the end of the cast, these pick-up pins extend and catch the line as you turn the handle to wind it onto the spool. Many spincast reels have a single pick-up pin. That means there are times that the spool head must make almost one complete revolution before a pin catches on the line and retrieval actually begins. There can be critical moments of delay in hooksets or retrieves at such times, or the single pin could even miss picking up the line completely if there is enough slack. The more pick-up pins a spincast reel has, the faster the pins catch the line resulting is quicker retrieve initiation and more reliable hooksets. My son and I credit the Omega's three-pin pick-up system for flawless, reliable and immediate retrieves.
I've lost count of how many spincast reels I've fished with over the years, but I'll always remember my first cast with the Omega Z02. I was completely unprepared for the incredible distance this reel can throw a lure. It comes prespooled with 85 yards of 6-lb. test line and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I easily used half of it on that cast. Credit the Omega's smooth ceramic line guide and ultrasmooth spool head for the impressive distances you can cast with it. The reel also comes with an extra spool you can put your own line on and swap out quickly if you encounter conditions where lighter or heavier line will serve you better.
The Omega uses a helical-cut worm gear made entirely of brass. The gear retrieve ratio is 3.4:1 and the Level Wind Oscillating Spool System consistently laid line on the spool evenly. Continuous Anti-Reverse™ helps prevent tangles and slack buildup.
If there is a weakness in the Omega, it may be in the position of the drag-control wheel. Both my son and I occasionally found we unwittingly loosened the drag while fighting a fish as our thumbs glanced across the drag control. The Omega employs a triple-cam, multidisc drag system that is very easy to operate and controlled by a wheel that may be just a bit too easy to reach for adjustments on the fly when a fish is on. One thing you don't want to do is continuously crank the handle of a spincast reel while the drag is slipping. Doing so results in line twist, and we did encounter some of that. It's a problem easily resolved by feeding out as much line as possible behind a boat or downstream and then reeling it all back in to take the twist out.
The Omega is also set apart by its construction materials. The body and reel foot are die-cast aluminum for strength without added weight. The front cover of the reel is aircraft-grade aluminum. The result is a solidly built reel that actually weighs less than some plastic-bodied spincast reels I've seen.
The thumb button is sealed soft-touch rubber that won't get slick when wet, and it keeps out dirt, sand and debris. The Power Crank reversible handle makes the Omega suitable for right- or left-handed anglers.
Zebco's Omega Z02 is the finest spincast reel I have every owned or used by far. It does cost a bit more that other spincast reels on the shelf, but the extra expense is well worth the money for what you'll get back in performance and trouble-free fishing. Order one online at cabelas.com or from a Cabela's catalog. You'll also find the Zebco Omega in the fishing department of your nearest Cabela's retail store.
Click here to view: Zebco Omega™ Spincast Reel