Deep crankbaits are a powerful tool when it comes to catching deep, summertime bass. Many anglers, however, get a bad taste in their mouths for deep cranking because they’re not using equipment specifically designed for it. I’m a big believer in using versatile gear that can be used for a myriad of different techniques, but I’ve found there is no substitute for a quality rod and reel if you want to get the most out of your deep crankbaits.
I was introduced to the Abu Garcia REVO Winch Generation 3 while on a bass fishing trip to Lake El Salto in Sinaloa, Mexico and I have relied heavily on it ever since. We spent the majority of our time casting big crankbaits and after catching hundreds of quality bass on it, I can confidently say it’s one of the best deep cranking reels I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.
Here are the things that impressed me the most:
Fish all day with zero fatigue
Even though it’s an awesome way to catch big bass, deep cranking can wear you out in a hurry. The extended lips of these plugs create a lot of resistance throughout the retrieve, often resulting in sore wrists and some gnarly hand cramps. To avoid this, I believe it’s essential to use a casting reel specifically designed for this technique.
I have fished several ten-hour days with the Abu Garcia REVO Winch Generation 3 and I haven’t noticed any signs whatsoever of hand or wrist fatigue. It features a low 5.4:1 gear ratio and a large handle with oversized EVA foam knobs that have dramatically increased my comfort when cranking huge crankbaits for hours on-end. The only pain I’ve experienced is a set of black and blue ribs from wrenching on so many big, Mexican bass.
Another advantage of the large EVA knobs is the added control they provide while fighting big bass. It’s hard to imagine a small part of a reel making such a big difference, but I have yet to hook a bass that has overpowered me when using this reel. I’ve been using it throughout the summer in some ridiculously hot and humid conditions—there have been a few times when I could barely grip my rod due to so much sweat—and these EVA knobs have provided me with a firm handle in almost-unbearable conditions.
Make long casts with minimal adjustments
Before I made my first cast with the Winch Generation 3, I looked at my fishing buddy and said “Well, here we go. Let’s get the inaugural backlash out of my system.” It’s a rare occurrence to take a brand-new reel fresh out of the box and make a good cast—most of them require at least a few minutes of fine-tuning before they’re set-up optimally.
Much to my surprise, I made an absolute bomb cast with a deep crankbait without even touching the Infini brake system. It wasn’t a fluke either, because I fished for four straight days without making a single adjustment. Amazing is an understatement.
In windy conditions, however, I have had to make minimal adjustments to the braking system, but I have still yet to have a backlash with this reel. I love cranking windy points, humps and bluff walls this time of year and the Winch Generation 3 has made it effortless.
A blend of power and smoothness
The REVO Winch Generation 3 has eight stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing along with a coated line guide to reduce friction on both the cast and retrieve—and in my personal experience with this reel, it has been ridiculously smooth in every situation I’ve put it in.
While smooth, it has also been very powerful. In a single day of fishing on Lake El Salto, I caught 31 bass over four pounds and I was in total control of each fish. It has a Carbon Matrix drag system that is booth smooth and powerful while maintaining consistent pressure across the entire drag range. I also really like the handle of this reel because it’s slightly bent and longer than most, which not only gave me more power when cranking big plugs, but also when fighting bass to the boat.
Even with this beefed-up design, the reel still weighs less than seven ounces.
If Lake El Salto doesn’t thoroughly test a reel’s durability, I don’t know what does. To be totally honest, I beat the brains out of this reel in more ways than one and aside from a few scratches, it still performs like the day I got it.
During my trip to Mexico, this reel spent four days in an flat-bottom aluminum boat getting the tar beat out of it. The wind gets pretty nasty in the afternoons on El Salto, and as you probably know, flat-bottom boats aren’t always the smoothest ride in these conditions. The REVO Winch Generation 3 was constantly bouncing against the boat, my tackle box and five other reels and there was absolutely zero in mechanical integrity.
While using this reel back home, I’ve also tested its durability and again, it has passed with flying colors. To the best of my knowledge, the Winch Generation 3 has caught more than 200 bass in two months and there’s no squealing or screeching on the cast, no “gritty” feeling throughout the retrieve and absolutely no drag slippage.
If you like to throw big crankbaits, I have no problem whatsoever suggesting the Abu Garcia REVO Winch Generation 3. It has allowed me to fish long days without fatigue, cast well in tough conditions and horse big bass while feeling totally in control.