For the folks who might be interested here's the results of the autopsy of the very interesting and very affordable Pisicfun Phantom baitcaster. First I should point out the ordering process was simple and secure. I had no problem using both Visa and Paypal for making orders. I was impressed Pisicfun shipped SAME DAY with tracking and sent notice of shipping to both email and text.
Now about the Phantom...easy open left side plate, exposing a dual braking system - You'll find a 0-10 external magnetic brake (5 mags) and a 6-pin internal centrifugal brake. Both were free of any defects and solidly constructed. I found both were easy to adjust using one hand. Dual braking is a feature usually found on the more expensive fishing reels. I noted both the Star Drag and the Cast Control cap have click features...very nice. The Phantom's oversized handle appears to be made of carbon and the grips are high density EVA foam. Excellent features. Another well thought out feature are the grips attractive screw out caps. This makes caring for the two sealed bearings located within the grips very easy. I also noted the Phantom baitcaster has a rubberized grip pad on the thumb bar...very nice.
Shows the simple integrated Star Drag clicker system. I was surprised to find the Drive Shaft to be made of hardened aluminum and hallowed out. Usually an expensive feature found on higher end baitcaster reels.
Reveals another surprise...Both the Clutch Pawl and the Clutch Cam were made of aluminum. I found this so surprising I conducted a scratch test and a magnet test on both. You guessed it, failed to scratch the metal and the magnet was negative. Most mid to low end reels use plastic for the Clutch Pawl or Clutch Cam. Amazing. This photo also gives you a good look at the hardened aluminum Drive Gear. Cleanly machined and well aligned with little to no play giving the Phantom a 7.0:1 gear ratio. Nice.
Reveals the Drive Gear and the impressive Drag Stack. Four carbon fiber discs giving up to 17 pounds of drag force at this price.....no way.
You'd think at this point I couldn't or shouldn't be surprised by this little reel, but I was. Note the ball bearing in the base portion of the Drive Shaft. This bearing supports the bulk of the load imposed on the drive shaft as the handle is turned under pressure. The outer portion of the drive shaft is supported by an Instant Anti Reverse bearing. Having a bearing located in the base of the Drive Shaft makes this baitcaster reel even more impressive at this price point.
To sum it up, I'm very impressed with the Piscifun Phantom baitcaster. I've never seen a fishing reel built with these high end features and components at anywhere near these prices. Next test will be on the water. In the next couple of days I'll be taking the Phantom out to Lake Mead to give it the ultimate fresh water text by targeting Lake Mead Stripers. I'll report back the results this weekend.
- By Robert Maddox