Piscifun Carbon X II VS Carbon X Spinning Reel Review – TruWild Life


The Piscifun Carbon X II 3000 series spinning reel costs just a little more than the Piscifun Carbon X spinning reel. Is it a better value? It has clear advantages for freshwater anglers! I used the 3000 series model as the baseline for this review.

Piscifun optimized the Carbon X II for freshwater fishing and offers the Carbon X II reel in sizes 1000, 2000, and 3000. Since the Carbon X spinning reel has model sizes ranging from 500 to 4000, it has more options. On the other hand, the three Carbon X II models represent the most common freshwater applications where its weight advantage is most noticeable. If those sizes are would use across all your freshwater trips, you do not have to learn how different brands/models "feel." Using just one model makes maintenance easier as well. Look at the substantially less expensive, saltwater-rated Piscifun Captain spinning reel if you want to do serious saltwater fishing inshore, surf, and deep-sea fishing. 

The Carbon X II has the most popular freshwater sizes.
The Carbon X II has the most popular freshwater sizes.​​

Spool Design

Except on the Captain reel, Piscifun consistently uses a long cast spool design featuring an angled top to allow the line to move quickly and smoothly off the reel. Piscifun calls the spool configuration on the Carbon X a "hollow shell" design but does not specify the choice for the Carbon X II. Given the angled top, it is in the long-cast family. I ran a casting test to see if the difference allowed me to achieve more distance. Whatever the technical name for the spool is, it is a performer! I threw a one-ounce weight over twelve feet farther than I could on the Carbon X using the same rod and line (Piscifun Serpent rod, 6'10", medium power, extra fast action) – achieving a total distance of sixty-four yards. If you cast one hundred times on a fishing trip, that means exposing your lure to another twelve hundred feet of water and, potentially, more fish.

Piscifun implemented a huge upgrade on the Carbon X II reel by using carbon fiber for the spool material instead of aluminum - a key reason the Carbon X II weighs so much less. Like the Carbon X, the Carbon X II has the same "grippy" rubberized braid grip, making it easy to start spooling lines onto the reel.

As I loaded the reels, I verified that the line started precisely at the base of the spool and ended at the top with similar precision. In fact, I was surprised that Piscifun included two small washers with reels to allow the user to make minor adjustments. I never needed to use these on any of the five Piscifun reels I tested. I could detect no wobble around the shaft. This allows the bail to lay a line evenly across the length of the spool to ensure it exits smoothly in a cast. 


Both reels use carbon fiber for the body, rotor, and side plate. Not only does carbon fiber dramatically reduce weight, but it will not corrode. The internal construction is premium, with upgraded reinforced, anti-corrosion stainless steel main shafts and high-quality zinc alloy drive gears. They have brass roller bearings, with the bail on the Carbon X II being thinner for reduced weight. The same direct drive screw-in aluminum handle with a large EVA knob rounds out the construction.


Like the Carbon X, the Carbon X II spinning reel has ten bearings and one anti-reverse bearing. Reels with more than four bearings usually have smooth action. The more bearings, the better. However, the bearings' quality distinguishes a good reel from a poor one. A reel with ten poorly made bearings is not as good as a reel with fewer high-quality ones. The Carbon X spinning reel uses shielded stainless-steel bearings, and the Carbon X II upgrades to double shielded. This is a fine point; shielding is important! Many reels advertise stainless steel bearings; stainless does not mean what we think it means. There are different grades of stainless steel, and while they are resistant to corrosion under regular conditions, they can rust when exposed to chemicals (think cleaning solvents), salt, grease, or even heat. Damage occurs even faster if the stainless steel is made of cheap ferritic stainless (chrome steel).


Both reels offer a fast 6.2:1 gear ratio. For every turn of the handle, the spool rotates 6.2 times. You can always go slower, but a high gear ratio allows rapid and efficient retrieval when that is the appropriate way to work your lure. In addition, the fast ratio enables you to take the slack out of the line quickly after casting. 

The Piscifun Carbon X II features a lightning fast 6.2:1 gear ratio as well as a buttery smooth 5.2:1.
The Piscifun Carbon X II features a lightning fast 6.2:1 gear ratio as well as a buttery smooth 5.2:1. ​​


Another improvement built into the Carbon X II is the drag. Like the Carbon X, the drag on the Carbon X II 3000 model spinning reel is rated at 22 pounds but adds an upgraded carbon fiber resistance system that improves drag performance by 15%. Carbon fiber-based systems are infinitely adjustable, easy to maintain, will not slip, and rarely get flat spots. In addition to having a larger drag surface, Piscifun uses a rubber ring on both to seal the drag to prevent dirt and grit from entering.

An advantage of the Carbon X II is the upgraded drag.
An advantage of the Carbon X II is the upgraded drag.​​

The drag incorporates gentle clicks that allow you to hear how much you are changing the drag when working a fish. This is an essential feature if you set your drag loosely to allow the fish to pick up your lure or bait without feeling significant resistance but need to activate the drag for the hook-up and retrieval. The clicks on both are loud enough to hear easily.


The 3000 model Carbon X II weighs 7.4 ounces, 0.6 ounces less than the Carbon X. That may seem like a small point until you make a hundred casts on a fishing trip. A lighter reel also means it will balance with a lighter rod – further reducing the stress on your wrist and arm. 


Overall, these reels share many characteristics. The Carbon X has the advantage of more models and being saltwater rated while the Carbon X II reel has an improved drag and is lighter. For the small difference in the retail price, it's a tough call! My take is that if you intend to fish in saltwater, go with the Carbon X. Freshwater only. The Carbon X II is a no-brainer choice.


Steve Moore

Steve Moore

Steve was a regular columnist for Southern Trout Magazine, where he wrote the "New Fly Guy" column to provide fly anglers with tips, techniques, and other advice between 2012 and 2019. He also wrote the "Kayak Hacks" column for Southern Kayak Fishing magazine from 2015 to 2018. 


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June 12, 2023 — Steve Moore


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