Why You Should Own An Ice Fishing Inline Reel

Why You Should Own An Ice-Fishing Inline Reel

Thinking about making the jump to an inline ice reel this winter? The 13 Fishing BlackBetty inline reels are the best performers on the market and chock-full of ice-fishing specific features. Here’s a look at why many ice anglers prefer these innovative inline reels.


Inline evolution

Inline reels aren’t new to ice fishing. For decades, anglers outfitted ice rods with fly reels or used plastic inline reels, like the traditional Scandinavian design of Rapala’s Classic Ice Rod. These inline reels reduced line twist, but 1:1 gear ratios and basic drag systems restricted use to shallow panfish tactics.


The modern ice-fishing movement saw many anglers adopt spinning reels. While spinning reels work in winter, there’s no denying their open-water origins and design create performance issues in sub-zero conditions (see table below).

Black Betty Free Fall Reels

Recently, inline reels have made a comeback. The resurgence is driven in large part to 13 Fishing’s industry-leading innovations. BlackBetty FreeFall Ghost inlines are sophisticated ice-fishing tools, outperforming spinning and vintage inlines and here’s how.


Terminating tangles

A longstanding gripe of inline reels was fishing line had a tendency to loop off the spool and tangle. Forget about this line hassle with a 13 Fishing FreeFall reel. The FreeFall Performance Window line guide system, tangle-free spool cap and drop-speed tension adjustment knob are three features that prevent tangles, while simultaneously improving line management and overall performance.


Instant precision

The 13 Fishing FreeFall Trigger is a game changer. Pull the trigger and line effortlessly flows off the spool, sending the lure plummeting into the strike zone. Release the trigger and free-spool immediately stops, leaving the angler instantly poised to set the hook. No other reel can touch this level of one-handed performance, precision and control. And, yes, that includes when wearing gloves.


Breaking boundaries

Most BlackBetty models have a 2.5:1 gear ratio. This recovers 18.9 inches of line per crank. The higher ratio makes BlackBetty reels perfect for presenting baits anywhere from 5 to 50 feet of water, a significant advantage over antiques with 1:1 ratios.


The new BlackBetty FreeFall XL is another example of how 13 Fishing is shifting the ice-fishing paradigm. The XL reels are built to battle lake trout, trophy walleye and other big predators. They feature a 9.9-pound Carbon Drag System, a 3:1 gear ratio for 24 inches of line recovery per turn and a large spool capacity suitable for heavy line.


Inline versus spinning

Wondering how 13 Fishing’s FreeFall inline reels stack up against spinning reels? This table captures the pros and cons.


Ice fishing reel comparisons


The other half: rod selection

The most common question with inline reels is, ”Do you need a specialty rod to use them”. The answer is no. Any traditional ice fishing spinning rod will work with inline reels giving you endless options including being able to use your current favourite spinning ice rod. Our most popular BlackBetty reels are available in left- and right-hand models(Check out all inline reel options). Rod and reel combos are also available.


Radioactive Pickle Combo

Stealth Free Fall Ice Combo

Tickle Stick

For panfish, the BlackBetty FreeFall Stealth ultra-light and light power Tickle Stick or Radioactive Pickle combos are excellent. Look to medium or medium-light rod combos for walleye. The new Sufix Advance Ice Monofilament or InvisiLine Ice Fluorocarbon are great options for the above set-ups.

Sufix Ice Mono

Our go to setup to tame big predators is the new BlackBetty FreeFall XL and a 36- or 42-inch, medium-heavy or heavy Omen ice rod. Sufix monofilament or fluorocarbon can be used with the XL. Twenty-pound Sufix Advanced Ice Braid is equally appropriate for locking horns with trophy walleye, lake trout, northern pike and other brutes.


This winter, invest in a 13 Fishing BlackBetty inline reel for the ultimate ice-fishing experience. You won’t be disappointed.