Bates Hondo Bitcaster Review – Wired2Fish

After reviewing over 10,000 products over two decades, I am not impressed when it comes to new developments in the fishing line. However, on rare occasions, something new in fishing still amazes me. the new Bates Hondo Baitcaster Reel It will be something new that causes one of those rare occasions of curiosity and bewilderment. I picked up the reel for the first time at a new product presentation, the night before ICAST 2023 exhibition opened. And the first time I held my hand and turned the knob, I knew it was special. It felt incredibly solid for being so light. So I left the show with it being the #1 product I wanted to test after show.

I’ve had them on the water now for about 2 months and purposefully waited to do this review because honestly, every roller is amazing the first time you use it. So I wanted to take a lot of trips out on the water and get enough wear on the reel before I put my review together.

Purchase from Bates Fishing Company

initial impressions

Even though getting it from a trade show gives me about 80% of what I need to know if a product is legit or not, hunting with produce proves its worth and value. So the folks at Bates were kind enough to send me a reel for testing and I couldn’t wait to get a line on it. I stocked it with a 15lb Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon and my first goal was to fish spinnerbait or a medium swimbait on it. I set the reel on a Trika 6X 7ft 3in MHF rod. This coupling was created for one of the lightest combos I’ve had on deck or that I’ve fished in several years.

So the big test was to put a medium weight lure in there and see how it was cast and how precisely the reel was set. The first cast really impressed me. It is very fluid with a moderate pouring motion. The reel casts as much 1/2 ounce bait as you would cast on traditional baitcasters. It is a very impressive smooth casting reel for several reasons.

What makes it special

The Hundo, like other Bates reels, comes with a solid aluminum frame that is not cast but CNC cut from 6061-T6 aluminum billet. And this is the same aluminum they use in aviation parts and high-tech parts. The fact that this was cut from solid billet aluminum rather than poured and formed from molten aluminum gives it an incredibly light yet incredibly strong frame as its foundation. The spool only weighs 5 ounces although it’s probably as solid a spool as I’ve ever held in my hands.

Hondo baits in action

Specifications on dogs

The Hondo is a size 100 spool and holds approximately 100 yards of 14 lb monofilament line or 100 yards of 30 lb braid. So I had maybe 85-90 yards of 15lb fluorocarbon on the spool and could easily roll the die and bombs. You are able to precisely adjust drag, tension and braking on this reel. I hooked up the reel so well that I was casting spinnerbaits and swimbaits almost to the end of the reel. The distance I was going was unbelievable. The reel features 10+2+1 bearings, an 88mm hollow handle, and 14 lbs of drag, with gear ratios of 7.1:1 and 8.1:1. And the unique orange colored, easy-to-grip soft rubber grips on the handle complement this remarkably different bait.

Pets Box for Dogs

Additional HUNDO details

The Bates Hundo baitcasting reel comes in a very nice box with a real firm hold in a die cut foam attachment. Also included is a very nice custom reel cover. These added details make you feel like you are getting something special. So, I congratulate them on the few items added on the package.

The reel is a small footprint. It easily palm in your hand. If you’re someone who likes larger reels, this will feel a little smaller in your hand than you’re used to. But if you like high-end, smaller, low-profile baits for precision applications, small baits that require precision casting in presentation, or making long casts with a smaller line, you’ll love the new Hondo.

Bates Hondo Bitcaster front sight

On the water with the Hondo

I’ve been chasing small mouths with my Hondo mostly and also getting in some white hot, heavy bass to put the reel through its paces. I still really admire how well he handles everything you throw at him. One minute I was casting 1/4 ounce bait on white bass. On the next jeep, I was blasting a topwater over the bass break. Then I got a swimbait on it and swung it over the piles of brush and stumps, and eventually, I had a spinbait on it. The next time I fished her with jerkbaits and this last time she was using jigs and small swimbaits.

The throwing distance really blew me away, but what was even more impressive was the smoothness of everything from the retrieve to the draw. This reel feels like a million dollars in your hand. No matter how you fish, this reel will be able to handle it. I think it would be a good flop reel. A good jerkbait reel. Good reel towater. Good little swim bait reel. A good little lipless crankbait reel, a good little jig reel and so much more.

I was spinning swimbaits over and over on the flat logs and with the Hondo Trika combo I was feeling things I wasn’t used to feeling on the retrieve. I want to say that the stock tape aluminum frame makes the reel almost more sensitive. Or maybe just because your palm is so good, you feel things a lot. The first fish I caught was a 3 pound spicy little fish that devoured a swimbait. I went on to pick up a few little things on that first trip. On the next trip I took it off and put it on a jerkbait rod and hurled the jerkbait fast and fast over the flats and caught several bass and white bass and even a couple of crappie doing it.

The Hondo pull starts easily and comes on steady and smooth. Meanwhile, the reel handle is still very firm on the hook.

Jason Big Smallmouth on Pets Hondo and Swimbait


Right now, Bates Hundo is a pre-order scenario where they are asking people to place pre-orders and they will ship the reels by October 15th. At some point, there will be an update to that schedule and hopefully more online retailers will start carrying it. now has Bates reels on their site with the exception of the brand new Hondo which will hopefully be coming soon after the pre-order is built. I have one and am on the list to get 4 more of them. That’s how much I loved them. So much so that I cut $1,500 out of my money to get enough to fish several rods with them.

To learn more about Bates Hondo or to pre-order, visit

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