Fin-Nor Lethal Review: Lever & Star Drag Conventional Reels

Fin-Nor Lethal Review: Lever & Star Drag Conventional Reels

In at least one way, anglers are just like most other people. We like saving our cash wherever we possibly can. Spending less on fishing gear, however, can be a double-edged sword. Fin-Nor Lethal reels cut in the direction they’re intended to. They’re effective on land or deck while keeping the cost down. Just as important, Lethal reels won’t cut the wrong way by falling apart when you need them the most. Reel in the detailed review below:

Fin-Nor Lethal Reels

Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag Reel
The Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag Reel

Product: Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag Reels + Single-Speed & Two-Speed Lever Drag Reels.

Overall Ranking: 81 out of 100.

Price: Lower middle range.

Company/Owner: Zebco / W.C. Bradley Co.


Intro To Fin-Nor Lethal Reels

Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag LogoFin-Nor describes the Lethal Star Drag as a reel that excels in casting. It features hybrid ceramic bearings and their patented carbon fiber MegaDrag system. The Lethal Lever Drag series comes in single and two-speed models, all designed with die-cast aluminum frames. They impart extra cranking power for large bottom-dwelling species or 20 – 50 lb class gamefish. Fin-Nor manufactures the Lethal series at a more affordable rate than their majestic Marquesa line of reels.

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Fin-Nor Lethal Models, Specs, & Features


Lethal Star Drag Models

– LTC16   – LTC20   – LTC30

Single-Speed Lever Drag Models

– LTL16   – LTL20   – LTL30

Two-Speed Lever Drag Models

– LTL16II   – LTL20II   – LTL30II

Fin-Nor Lethal Specs

Star Drag Specs

Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag reels come in three sizes; a 16, 20, and a size 30. The smallest LTC16, like all Lethal models, rates for both monofilament and braided fishing line. It wraps 350-yards of 20 lb mono or 450-yards of 50 lb braid. In the middle lies the size 20 which will hold 380-yards of monofilament or 540-yards of 65 lb braid. Largest of the Lethal Star Drag series is the size 30 which spools 365-yards of 40 lb mono or 675-yards of 65 lb braid.

Aluminum frames help keep the weight down with Lethal Star Drag models which sit at 23.5, 24.2, and 25 oz up the line. With the featured MegaDrag braking system, Fin-Nor Star Drag Reels provide a solid 25 lbs of maximum resistance. All models spin utilizing a 6 bearing system plus an anti-reverse one-way roller bearing. They crank with a fast gear ratio of 6.2:1 and all sizes pull 48″ of line in per turn of the handle.

Lethal Star Drag Reel
The Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag With Box And Cap

Single Speed Specifications

Fin-Nor Single-Speed Lever Drag Reels come in the same 16, 20, and 30 sizes as the Star Drag models. For line ratings, refer to the specifications of the star drag reels above. All spool sizes match up the same across the series of Lethal Reels. The lightest reels in the Lethal series, single-speed models weigh in at 23.1, 23.8, and 24.2 oz as they move up in size.

Lethal Single-Speed Lever Drag models retrieve line at the same 48″ per turn as the star drag reels. Their gear ratio drops just barely at 6.1:1 and at full drag, they provide 35 lbs of resistance. All Fin-Nor Lethal Single-Speed Reels operate on a 5 bearing system plus an anti-reverse bearing.

Lethal Single-Speed Lever Drag Reel
Lethal Single-Speed Lever Drag Reel With Box And Cap

Two-Speed Specs

Out of all the reels in the Fin-Nor Lethal series, the two-speeds give anglers the most cranking power. The two-speed reels come in the same three sizes as the other models and have the same line ratings. They’re the heaviest reels in the series as they contain an extra gear and weigh 25.2, 25.7, and 26.4-ounces.

Being two-speed reels, they have both a low and a high gear ratio that is the same no matter the size model. High-gear reeling offers a ratio of 6.3:1 but drops to 3.0:1 with a change to low gear. Switching gears will also have an effect on the line retrieve rate. though all sizes models crank the same at either 49 or 24 inches. Just like the single-speed models, Lethal two-speeds max out at 35 lbs of drag.

Lethal Two-Speed Lever Drag Reel
Lethal Two-Speed Lever Drag Reel With Box And Cap

Key Features Of Fin-Nor Lethal Reels

Carbon Fiber MegaDrag

Anglers get up to 25 lbs of drag with the Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag series and 35 lbs with the lever drag reels. This substantial amount of resistance is due to the MegaDrag system with its wide carbon fiber drag washers. Whether star or lever design, Lethal conventional reels have plenty of braking power to handle your catch.

Bronze & Stainless Steel Gears (Star Drag)

Star Drag LogoFin-Nor Star Drag reels employ a stainless steel main shaft and marine bronze gears. Both materials are resistant to the corrosive effects of saltwater, qualities needed for the durability of the reel. They’re also strong and hold up to the increased load of fast running offshore species.

Stainless Steel Shaft & Gears (Lever Drag)

Fin-Nor gets rid of the marine bronze and uses all stainless steel in their Lethal lever drag gears. It’s an intelligent switch as the lever drag reels should add some durability to the crankling components. Stainless steel is a much stronger material than marine grade bronze.

MegaLock Anti-Reverse Pawl & Ratchet

Fin-Nor Company LogoIn addition to the anti-reverse roller bearing present on all models is a dog style pawl and ratchet clutch. These aren’t always necessary on smaller size reels as they can make a noisy click when reeling. Anglers can disable them by removing the pawl, though they act as a backup should the one-way roller bearing happen to fail.

MegaShield Corrosion Protectant

All Fin-Nor Lethal conventional reels feature their proprietary MegaShield protectant. This coating over the aluminum frame helps seal in the paint and so adds an extra layer of protection against corrosion. It also provides more defense versus impact gouges that can allow corrosion into the frame.

5 Or 6 Bearings (Hybrid Ceramic & Shielded Stainless Steel)

Descriptions of Fin-Nor Lethal star and lever drag reels state that they use hybrid ceramic and stainless steels bearings. A look at the Lethal reel schematics shows they use 2 of the hybrid ceramic bearings while the others are stainless steel. Inspection of the replacement bearings also reveals that both styles of bearings are shielded.

Note: The smallest LTL16 single-speed lever drag reel uses 6 bearings, unlike all other lever drag models which use 5.

Crank Shaft Handle & Ergo Palm-Fit Knob

In the cranking shaft style, strong aluminum handles curve inwards toward the frame for max leverage. A cut out hole in the middle helps reduce weight and the shaft leads to an oval knob. Knobs on Lethal conventional reel handles use the palm design with a non-slip ergo rubber grip.

Quick Gear Shift Button (2-Speed Models)

Lever Drag LogoFin-Nor features a quick gear shift button at the base of the handle on each of their two-speed models. When the time comes to drop into low gear, or back to high gear, a simple press of the button makes it happen. It’s positioning puts it within a split second’s reach of your reeling hand.

Clicker & Metal Rod Foot

On the frame side opposite the handle is a clicker for trolling or other alarm purposes. The clicker appears on all Lethal star drag and lever drag models. At the bottom of each Lethal reel is strong metal rod foot firmly secured with set screws. Lever drag models may also come accessorized with rod clamps.

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Pros & Cons

Advantages Of Fin-Nor Lethal Reels

The use of an aluminum frame with more than enough drag makes the Fin-Nor Lethal an attractive option, especially considering the cost. Though the reels do have their limitations in larger size models, they’re effective against fish in the 30 – 50 lb class. They can definitely land heavier model fish, but not without stressing them to their limits.

Star drag reels, in general, make better casting reels than lever drags due to their design. The position of the gears and drag assembly inside the reel allow star drags a livelier spool. This holds true with Lethal star drag reels. The lever drag series offer more precision and resistance with the drag, not to mention more grinding power with the two-speed versions.

Drawbacks Of Fin-Nor Lethal Reels

Fin-Nor Lethal reels do have their disadvantages. The biggest concerns are in their design and choice of components. Cheaper reels typically use less time-consuming designs and less expensive parts. These show in details like the diecast frame without mention of the aluminum grading and drag lever missing a strike zone.

Another point of concern is the use of the hybrid ceramic bearings. Though the hybrid ceramic bearings are dense and smooth rolling, they aren’t as durable as stainless steel. Lethal reels offer better durability than reels such as the Penn Warfare. Not that far above their budget level, the Penn Fathom series provides much better value.

Fishing Use / Application

Use of Fin-Nor Lethal Star Drag Reels is most effective while casting to boiling bass or lurking yellowtail on the kelp line. Fly-lining these reels or using them on the vertical jig yo-yo style also give positive results. Just be careful not to be outclassed by larger models.

The Lethal lever drag models allow for better control over your drag, especially throughout the battle. Use of the lever makes it easy to bear down on heavier fish that refuse to budge. It’s a lethal combination when paired with the low gear grinding power of the two-speed model. Pun intended but in earnest.

Fin-Nor Customer Support

Lethal conventional reels come with the backing of a one-year manufacturer’s warranty as do all Fin-Nor products. Customers can get in touch via the Fin-Nor website where they provide answers to FAQ’s, Contact Info, and Warranty procedures. The Fin-Nor website also has an online reel registration form and info on returns and exchanges.

Final Opinion 

81 out of 100 anglers approve of Fin-Nor Lethal Conventional Reels

Fin-Nor Lethal conventional reels bring affordability to the saltwater setup. Cheaper is not always the wiser option though it’s often unavoidable. Lethal reels prove effective when used for the proper purpose with long term durability the largest complaint. Keep them clean and service them before storage to extend their years of use.

What are your experiences with Fin-Nor Lethal Reels? Do you any follow up questions about the review? Let your voice be heard in the comments below! Thanks for reading and tight lines until next time,



  1. Simon Howcroft

    Bought two of LTC 16 stardrags.Amazing reels, smooth powerful winding reels. They cast smoothly and look awesome. I can cast easy a hundred yard s with a over head thump. They cast big baits as well beyond the surf line without any trouble. Great for rock fishing for Conger or pier fishing .over rough ground and kelp Forrest’s .

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