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For those who aren't in the know, Van Staal is an American company which engineers super tough reels. 

The original Van Staal threadlines were designed to be completely submerged and yet work perfectly. That's right - you can throw this reel in salty water, leave it there for as long as you like, come back and it will work like new. Pretty cool, hey? Combined with almost ridiculously powerful gearing and grunty drags, these reels have proven ideal for all forms of "extreme" fishing, including jigging and hard-core offshore kayaking.

The original Van Staals are specialist heavy duty reels with a unique manual line pick-up system. Unlike most modern spin reels, they are available only in either left hand or right hand handle configurations. These reels are probably the toughest spin reels you can get - it has to be said that you pay for it. These are not budget reels!

Fisho had a play with a few of original Van Staals at the recent AFTA tackle show on the Gold Coast and they certainly feel solid. When you turn the handle, you can feel those oversized gears working away inside the completely sealed body. They feel - and look - completely different to most other reels.

The newest Van Staal, the VM150, which was launched on the local market at the AFTA tackle show, uses the best of the Van Staal pedigree and mixes it with a more contemporary feel for anglers who don’t quite need the extreme hard-core durability of the original concept.

This model has an interchangeable left- or right-hand handle configuration and a "normal" line pick up using a bail arm assembly. The VM150 is still built Van-Staal-tough, with an extra-large stainless steel main and pinion gears. The handle arm and bail holder are also stainless. The exterior is all machined aluminium, including the body, side cover, rotor, spool, arm lever, handle knob and dust cap, and even the drag knob. 

The VM150 uses a five ball bearing system plus one anti-reverse clutch. The impressive drag system runs five carbon-fibre washers and is rated in excess of 15kgs. The gear ratio is a powerful 4.9:1 and the retrieve rate (with a 90-percent-full spool) is 84cm per turn of the handle. It's water resistant but due to its construction isn't fully submersible.

Pricing is at the premium end of the market. According to Van Staal, the VM150 is the perfect compromise between a mainstream feel and the unmatched durability that attracts anglers to the original reels.

It is sure to be a hit with Aussie anglers who enjoy jigging, casting poppers, spinning metals, live baiting and every-day bait fishing.

For more info on Van Staal products available in Australia, visit www.jarviswalker.com.au.

And check out a video we filmed with pro angler Jim Harris talking about the Van Staals at the AFTA show BELOW...

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