How to Operate a Zebco 202 SE

How to Operate a Zebco 202 SE

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The Zebco 202 is a closed-faced spincasting reel. Designed for freshwater fishing, the lightweight reel mounts on the top of a baitcasting rod with either twist grips or metal brackets to hold the feet of the reel to the rod. Zebco's push-button casting system helps beginners learn how to cast and to place their rigged bait or lure consistently on the target. The Zebco 202 retrieves line after the user turns the handle to lock the spool in position after a cast. The reel comes pre-loaded with 75 yards of 10-pound rated line.

Items you will need

  • Zebco 202

  • Baitcasting rod

  • Screwdriver

  • Practice casting weight

Slip the foot on the front of the Zebco 202 under the clip or bracket on your rod handle so the hole in the front of the reel points toward the rod tip. Slip the rear reel foot under the rear clip or bracket of the rod handle. The procedure for securing the reel depends on the type and brand of rod. Either tighten the locking nut on the rod handle to secure the reel, or use the screwdriver to tighten a screw on the underside of the rod to hold the reel in place.

Press the spool release button at the rear of the reel to unlock it. Pull the line out from the front hole of the reel and thread it through each of the rod guides, and then out the tip.

Tie a practice casting weight to the end of the line. Let the practice weight hang on two to three inches of line below the rod tip.

Grip the handle of the rod in one hand. Point the rod tip at the target where you want to cast. Press and hold the spool release button on the Zebco 202 reel with the thumb of the hand you're using to hold the rod.

Turn the rod tip 90 degrees to the side, or vertically, depending on any obstacles around you. Snap your wrist forward to point the rod tip at the target. Remove thumb pressure from the spool release button when the rod tip points at the target. This releases the line for the cast and sends the practice weight sailing toward the target. If you release the button too soon, the practice weight will sail too high and miss the target. Releasing the button too late will cause the cast to plop in the water or on the ground before it reaches the target.

Turn the reel handle clockwise to lock the spool for retrieving line once the weight lands. Once it's locked, turn the handle on the reel to bring the line in.

Slide the drag adjustment wheel on top of the reel to the left to tighten spool resistance on the line, or slide to the right to loosen the drag setting. If a fish is pulling line freely from the reel at will, tighten the drag gradually to wear out the fish and reel it in.


  • Always look around before casting to be aware of any bystanders or obstacles like trees.


  • Zebco updated the 202 SE reel to the 202 LE model, which operates the same way and is virtually identical. The company replaced the SE model's chrome cover with a plastic housing on the LE. Line capacity and the gear ratio of 2.7:1 remain the same.
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