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Pflueger President Reel Review: Quite Possibly America's Favorite Spinning Reel

Reviewed by: John Baltes
Last Updated:
pflueger president spinning reel review

Specifications

Sizes: 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40
Maximum drag: 6 lbs. (20), 6 lbs. (25), 9 lbs. (30), 10 lbs. (35), 12 lbs. (40)
Line capacity: 20 180/4 125/6 100/8
25 200/4 140/6 110/8
30 275/6 190/8 160/10
35 250/8 220/10 160/14
40 320/10 280/14 200/20
Bearings: 7 (20); 10 (25, 30, 35, and 40)
Gear ratio: 5.2:1
Weight: 6.2 (20), 7.5 oz. (25), 8.8 oz. (30), 10.7 oz. (35), 11.5 oz. (40)

Pflueger President Spinning Reel Review

pflueger president spinning reel review

American anglers’ ongoing love affair with the Pflueger President isn’t the result of clever advertising or social media hype. Instead, it’s a testament to consistent quality, precision design and manufacture, and years of experience on the water.

The President offers a lot to like: excellent drags, plenty of speed, smooth cranking, and effortless casting.

That’s a recipe for popularity with any fisherman I know, and if you don’t already own a Pflueger President, do yourself a favor and pick one up.

They’re that good.

USAngler Rating: 

The Pflueger President spinning reel is highly popular among anglers due to its precision and performance. The reel features an oiled felt drag system providing smooth and reliable drag performance which is crucial for fighting strong fish and protecting the line. It operates on a 5.2:1 gear ratio with a corrosion-resistant stainless steel main shaft, delivering industry-standard retrieval rates and smooth cranking. The spool capacity is not overly generous but is deemed adequate, and the reels are braid-ready. A standout feature is its smooth casting and retrieving experience attributed to a well-designed spinning crank and a precise bail mechanism. The enduring popularity of the Pflueger President is credited to its consistent quality, precision design, smooth operation, and years of proven performance on the water.

Pros

  1. Reliable Drag System: The oiled felt drag system is old but reliable, providing smooth and consistent drag performance essential for handling strong fish and protecting the line.
  2. Smooth Operation: The reel is noted for its smooth cranking and effortless casting which enhances the angling experience.
  3. Corrosion-Resistant Main Shaft: The corrosion-resistant stainless steel main shaft ensures durability and longevity of the reel.
  4. Braid-Ready Spool: The braid-ready spools is a handy feature for those preferring to use braided line.
  5. Price-Performance Ratio: Offering excellent drag, smooth operation, and adequate speed at its price point, making it a valued choice among anglers.
  6. Proven Popularity: The reel's widespread popularity among anglers is a testament to its consistent quality and performance.

Cons

  1. Moderate Retrieval Rates: The gear ratio results in industry-standard retrieval rates which might not impress anglers seeking higher speed for reeling in fast-swimming fish.
  2. Limited Spool Capacity: The spool capacity is not extraordinarily large, which might deter anglers who require extra line capacity for certain fishing situations.
  3. Heavier Main Shaft: The stainless steel main shaft, although durable, adds to the weight of the reel.
  4. Drag Material: The oiled felt drag system, though reliable, may not be as durable as more expensive carbon fiber drag systems in the long run.

Analysis and Results

Fish any lake, pond, or river in America, and chances are, you’ll see a Pflueger reel in the hands of an angler. And their likely choice?

The President.

What explains the perennial, nationwide popularity of this reel when so many others have local or trendy followings?

Precision and performance.

Let’s get down to the brass tax.

Drag

For my money, nothing matters as much as drag, and if that system isn’t top-notch, the reel just won’t fish well for me.

Drag does more than help you fight strong fish; it’s an essential tool for protecting your line, and even when you fish ultralight tackle - maybe especially when you fish ultralight tackle - you need a consistently smooth drag that can provide smooth release to prevent your line breaking with a sudden shock.

Pflueger employs an oiled felt drag system. As you tighten the drag knob - located on the end of the spool - you create pressure on this oiled felt, in turn increasing pressure directly applied to the spool.

It’s an old system, but reliable and smooth. The President exhibits excellent drag performance, offering consistent release without stops and starts that might spell disaster for your line.

At this price point, oiled felt is the go-to choice, and more expensive carbon fiber drag systems, though more durable over the long term, would increase the price without increasing performance notably.

The President lineup offers great size-appropriate maximum settings. The two smaller reels, the 20 and 25, support 6-pound maximums; the 30, 35, and 40 sport 9-, 10-, and 12-pound maximums, respectively.

Each offers plenty of drag power for the line sizes you’ll be using, even if you switch to ultra-thin braid.

Gearing

The entire Pflueger President series runs a 5.2:1 gear ratio, and differences in speed are the result of spool size rather than gearing.

Those numbers result in retrieval rates that are industry standard but nothing to write home about: the 20 picks up 20.7 inches per turn, while the 40 pulls in 30.2.

As the popularity of these reels attests, these numbers don’t seem to bother a lot of real-world anglers, but if you really feel the need for speed, the President XT offers better speed and higher great ratios in the larger models.

That can matter. When you tie into a big fish and find it running straight at you, keeping a tight line is critical - and obviously much easier with a fast reel.

That said, I’ve never been disappointed with the Presidents, and they’ve been fast enough for me.

The main shaft of the Pflueger President is corrosion-resistant stainless steel. That’s a solid choice, albeit a heavy one. To the best of my knowledge, the pinion gear is precision machined aluminum, and whether or not I’m right about that material choice, it offers plenty of precision-machined teeth for smooth cranking and fight-winning power.

In fact, at this price point, the President is very hard to beat in overall smoothness, a testament to its quality that has certainly impressed plenty of fishermen.

Spool capacity

Pflueger equips the President lineup with braid-ready spools, but don’t expect crazy capacities.

Frankly, I think that’s just fine as increasing spool size will necessarily increase weight and encumbrance. And especially on the smaller Presidents, that’s not something you want.

In the end, if you must have huge amounts of line, look elsewhere - but you’d be doing yourself a disservice!

Casting and retrieving

Smooth, smooth, smooth: those are the watchwords I’d attribute to the Pflueger President.

I’m far from alone!

If I had to name a single thing that wins people over to this series of reels, I’d say it was the smooth spinning crank. It’s a pleasure to use, and if you’ve spooled your line properly and not overloaded your reel, casting is great.

The bail opens and closes with aplomb, and with mono under 10 pounds and pretty much all braid, you’ll find casting no trouble whatsoever.

Final Verdict

American anglers’ ongoing love affair with the Pflueger President isn’t the result of clever advertising or social media hype. Instead, it’s a testament to consistent quality, precision design and manufacture, and years of experience on the water.

The President offers a lot to like: excellent drags, plenty of speed, smooth cranking, and effortless casting.

That’s a recipe for popularity with any fisherman I know, and if you don’t already own a Pflueger President, do yourself a favor and pick one up.

They’re that good.

About The Author
John Baltes
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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