Lew’s Mach Smash Baitcast Combo Review
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Lew's Mach Smash Combo is a good start-up setup for new anglers or could be a choice for more experienced anglers looking to add to their arsenal. Baitstick test drove the 6’10”, medium-heavy power rod and reel combination that was paired and sold together by Lew’s. And while the combo performed well enough during the first few days of testing, questions did exist concerning the quality of the outfit’s components and the consistent performance it would be able to provide in the long term.
Good value gear for $130 price.
Easy to operate drag control system and spool tension.
Comfortable rubberized handle.
Thumb bar is made from plastic and does not feel or look durable.
Matte finish on the Smash rod may be more susceptible to scratching and blemishes.
Single foot guides can bend easily if care is not taken.
If you’re not into bright colors then you may not find the Mach Smash to be the most appealing baitcast combo. But it’s a rod and reel combo regardless that will perform well for the $130 price paid at store check out. However, it remains to be seen whether the Lew’s Mach Smash Combo is a rod and reel built to last.
|Line Capacity (lbs/yds)||12/110|
|Number of Reel Bearings||8|
|Rod Power||Medium - Medium Heavy|
|Rod Length||6’10” - 7’2”|
|Additional Features||Anodized aluminum spool |
|Warranty||Limited 1-year warranty|
Unpacking the LEW'S MACH SMASH SLP BAITCAST COMBO
Baitstick purchased the Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo at a retail store for the commonly found retail price of $130. The rod and reel combination was selected off the rack as is, just the combo package (rod and reel without line) and a hanging tag that included a brief product description and price sticker.
A benefit of buying a new rod and reel in person at a local retailer is that you can get an immediate sense of what exactly you’re buying and have the ability to recognize problems with gear before you get on the water. It’s not so easy when buying gear online. Still, when first selecting a Lew’s combo off the rack at retail, we noticed that one of the rod guides was clearly out of line with the rest of the guide train. The misaligned guide did not appear bent or damaged, but merely appeared to be incorrectly factory assembled in China and glued in the wrong position on the rod itself. Another rod was selected from the same rack with no apparent guide issues and a purchase was made by Baitstick. But the initial retail experience did not give early confidence in the overall quality of the Lew’s combo.
Once back at home, monofilament line was put on the reel, drag was adjusted, and the spool tension was adjusted accordingly to reduce the chance of backlashes.
The Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo may take some time getting used to if you aren’t into bright colors. It’s red. Very red. That being said, we know looks don’t catch fish. And on the water the Lew’s combo proved to be a quality product off the retail rack in spite of its looks.
The reel that comes with the Lew’s combo has a good feel overall from the easy to operate drag control, brake, spool tensioner, and handle. The handle is comfortable and rubberized grips on the crank make it easy to operate and hold. Less appealing is the thumb bar on the combo reel. The bar is made from plastic and does not feel or look durable, though it does have a comfortable rubber grip.
The bright red color of the combo extends to the rod. The finish on the blank is standard - nothing special. Being a matte finished rod one should expect scratches..The stick has a quality looking finish, though the matte finish may be more susceptible to scratches or stains (however this is not specific to the Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo but a reality of rods with matte finishes in general). A few scratches on the rod will not hamper its ability to catch fish but may not be what an angler is looking for so quickly after investing in their equipment.
The rod guides are good quality but 7 of the 10 guides are single foot guides which can bend easily if care is not taken in handling and using the rod on the water. Anglers who plan to make the Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo their go-to rod may also run into issues with the ceramic guide inserts over time. Though there will likely be few if any issues, it is possible that with heavy use that the ceramic inserts in some of the guides may crack or pop out which can cause significant line abrasion and resistance when casting if not fixed.
The rod butt is closed cell foam and looks good and is functional and practical. The reel is attached to the rod with a downlocking reel seat constructed of plastic. Though fully functional during Baitstick testing, the quality of the reel seat doesn’t appear to be designed to stand the test of time. It was easy to imagine that a fairly routine knock to this part of the rod or an unfortunate drop on the ground could break the reel seat on the Mach Smash.
As an added bonus, the name of the combo will be hard to forget with the large “SMASH” logo printed in fluorescent orange on the grip.
Field Testing the Mach Smash
For $130, the Lew’s combo performed as well as could be expected for a rod/reel combo in this price range. The 6’10”, medium-heavy power rod and reel combination worked well together as a pair. The combo provided smooth line delivery and good spool tensioning which resulted in few backlashes or line management issues.
The drag system on the reel was easy to use and adjust. The large “star” drag adjustment is situated next to the reel handle and is easy to get to and adjust without much risk even while fighting fish.
The reel overall has a good feel in hand with the rubber grip. Even still, in spite of the overall comfort level of the rod in hand, the setup is unquestionably heavier than some of the other introductory level baitcasting combos that exist. The heavy relative weight of the combo can take its toll on a hand, arm, or shoulder after several hours on the water.
The Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo has the feel of an outfit that is best suited for entry level anglers. Most likely however, if anglers took care of this outfit - kept it clean and well protected when not in use - it could last for many seasons.
The Takeaway Without any question, The Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo is a rod and reel combo that performs well off the shelf for $130. However, it remains to be seen whether the Lew’s combo is built to last. The feel and quality of some of the components do raise questions about how many seasons it will be able to deliver. Even still, this outfit is certainly a reasonable set up for entry level anglers and could be a solid choice for those more experienced who are merely trying to add another arrow to the quiver.
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