I was lucky enough to win an Abu Garica REVO MGX casting reel from OBN back in May. I impatiently awaited its arrival for a few weeks, but it came just in time for my BASS Slam trip. Between the Slam trip and a few trips since, I have really been able to put it through its paces. And so far, it hasn't let me down
I am going to try and do this review like Tackle Tour does theirs - give a detailed overview followed by ratings in different categories at the end. A perfect score for this reel would be a 60 - a 10 out of 10 in each of the 6 categories. Let's get started!
As I said, I was extremely excited to get my paws on this reel. When it finally arrived and I picked it up, I was a little suprised. Its size was striking. It easily, and I mean easily, fit into the palm of my hand - which I would rate as fairly average for a male who stand 6 feet tall. Combined with the light weight - a mere 5.4 oz, it kind of felt like a cheapie reel. However, picking up the reel booklet and reading through it helped restore my faith in the fact that Abu Garcia knew what they were doing when they made this thing. The X-Mag composite frame seems like it is surrounded by carbon fiber features. These materials really help save weight, while adding strength and durability. But, how would it perform on the water?
I paired it with my favorite rod from Carolina Custom Rods - a 7'6" M-MH baitcaster that excels fishing spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and small swimbaits. Then I spooled it with 12 lb test, P-Line fluorocarbon. The first bait I tied on was a 1/4 oz War Eagle Spinnerbait. With a little tuning, it threw the bait quite far and was silky smooth on the retrieve. I noticed how sensitive the reel was, which made it great when I fished the bait slow and bumped over rocks and through small grass patches. Since that first trip, I have thrown spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and swimbaits ranging from 1/4 oz to 3/4 oz and the reel has been fantastic with each.
The one thing that took some adjustment was the 7.9:1 gear ratio. It makes some techniques easier such as fishing buzzbaits or retrieving baits in heavy current. However, it also means that at times you have to REALLY slow down your retrieve. Typically, I am much better at speeding up then slowing down, but I am learning the art of the slow roll at 7.9:1.
The features of this reel really set it apart. Again, it seems like everything is carbon fiber or lightweight alloy, the knobs on the reel handle are EVA foam, and many of the parts have titanium coating. The Carbon Matrix drag system is really impressive too - boasting 24 lbs of drag force. This is the same amount as the REVO STX, which has been known for its power since it first hit the market some 6 years ago. Granted, it doesn't feel as powerful without the big handle and knobs, but the power is there. While in Alabama this past May, I was able to chase some of the most tenacious fish that swim - Alabama Spotted Bass. These fish don't bite, they crush baits. I was continually impressed at how the reel handled jolting strikes to my spinnerbait and buzzbait. It truly confirmed that big things can come in small packages.
I want to test this reel out with a few more techniques in the near future, particularly frog fishing and fishing plastics/jigs. In fact, this might make one sweet little flipping reel. I wish I could afford to buy another, which is one setback. The MGX checks in at around $350 retail. While it does provide bang for the buck....that is a lot of buck.
Constrution/Quality - 9 out of 10
High strength, lightweight alloys, carbon fiber, and titanium that fits in the palm of my hand...yes please!
Performance - 9 out of 10
You can tell some subtle differences between this reel and high end offerings from Daiwa and the JDM market, but I can't argue with performance for my applications.
Price - 7 out of 10
This is priced at about the same level as other reels with similar features, so the price is fair. But, if you are a young professional like me, $350 is a bit steep.
Features - 8.5 out of 10
This reel doesn't have many features above and beyond the typical baitcaster, but all of the traditional details on this reel are top notch.
Design - 9.5 out of 10
You can't argue with a superlight weight, compact reel that packs a serious drag system. Again, high end components set this reel apart.
Application - 8.5 out of 10
A 7.9:1 reel speed rules this reel out for a number of applications and I have yet to test a few others, but so far the MGX has been a nice all-around, power fishing reel. You also have to really adjust to fishing slow with this reel.
Total Score: 51.5 out of 60
Average Score: 8.6
I would definitely recommend the REVO MGX to anyone looking for a baitcasting reel in that price bracket. I am excited to see just how versatile this reel is in the future. If you have any questions about this review, please shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tight lines!