If you’ve read any of my articles for any length of time, you’re well aware that I’m a fairly simple human being. I don’t buy expensive things to impress people and my wife and I live in a modest house on a hardwood ridge because it’s all we need. So when it comes to my fishing gear, I don’t often splurge on things but I’ll tell you right now: I might have made an exception recently.
I’ve had an opportunity to test the Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reel for the past several weeks using several different bass fishing techniques. We ran tests of a lot of the top spinning reels in our Best Spinning Reels Buyers Guide. After hundreds of casts I can comfortably say it’s the finest Abu Garcia spinning reel I’ve ever had a chance to fish with. It’s their high-end model, so it’s not cheap. But my gosh, if you can save up to get your hands on one, I absolutely urge you to do so. Let’s go over it so you can learn more about it.
The Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reel has a bunch of backbone
More often than not, I’ve had a major issue with a lot of super-lightweight spinning reels. I understand the need and desire for weightlessness because that’s what makes a finesse reel sexy and easy to sell. But at the same time, I think some companies go a little too far down that proverbial road and end up creating a lightweight reel that will dang near break or bend if you even look at it wrong. If I’m spending a bunch of money on a fishing reel, it better last a long time. As I always say, we all work hard for our money so I want some sense of longevity when it comes to my fishing gear.
The Zenon Spinning Reel is only 5.4 ounces and it feels like a feather in your hands. When I first took it out of the box, this worried me because I was sure it would be flimsy somehow. But to my surprise and delight, this thing is solid as a rock and holds up excellently to anything you can throw at it.
It’s built around an asymmetric magnesium body with a C6 graphite V-compact rotor, which sounds fancy because… it is. But in normal folks’ language, that means it’s super lightweight and doesn’t bend, warp or bend, even when under an intense load. I have no doubt this reel will last many, many years. I haven’t been able to say the same about some of the ultra-lightweight spinning reels I’ve tested in recent years.
So if you’re thinking it’s necessary to sacrifice durability for weightlessness, you might want to revisit that belief when checking out this particular reel.
Outstanding line management
I’ve tested this reel with fluorocarbon (pictured), braided line and even monofilament. I haven’t been able to find a flaw in regards to line management. Especially when you’re talking about fluorocarbon on spinning reels, a lot of folks become frustrated because the line can hold a lot of memory and jump off the spool both throughout the retrieve and the cast. You will not have to worry about that with the Zenon Spinning Reel.
It features Abu’s popular Rocket Line Management System of which I’ve become a major fan in recent years. The slightly tapered upper lip of the spool allows the line to come off the spool smoothly which eliminates line twitch, which, in turn, eliminates random tangles throughout a day of fishing. You don’t hear your line slapping all over the place during a long cast and you’re not going to get those irritating wind knots while you’re on the water. The lightweight Air-Fin spool holds the line evenly as well, which makes this one of the most impressive spinning reels I’ve tested when it comes to line managament.
It’s hard to overstate the drag system
I’m a pretty good writer but man, when it comes to this drag system, I’m not quite sure what adjectives to use. There is absolutely zero sticking, which makes this drag system a total dream when you’re fighting fish. If one digs at the side of the boat, the drag absorbs the sudden shock flawlessly and dispenses line with the utmost of ease.
I also really like how you’re able to make incredibly small adjustments to the drag settings. A lot of the lower-end spinning reels are limited when it comes to adjustability but that’s certainly not the case here. You’ll enjoy nothing but butter-smooth performance with the Zenon.
The handle knob is unique and extremely comfortable
I took over a dozen photos of this handle knob in an attempt to articulate how it feels in your hand but it was tougher than I thought. It’s not your everyday, run-of-the-mill handle knob, though and that’s very important to understand.
Attached to the carbon-fiber handle is a hollow, soft-touch knob that not only balances the reel quite nicely but it also fits your fingers in a way I have not experienced with another spinning reel. I’ll get lazy sometimes when I’m fishing finesse techniques, so let’s say I’m fishing a wacky rig underneath a boat dock. I’ll be twitching my rod but I’ll have my reel-hand down by my side for whatever the reason. With this Zenon, however, if I get a bite when I’m less than prepared, this uniquely contoured handle knob allows me to quickly “find” it with my reel hand so I can hurry up and get to winding. Although it’s tough to explain, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about if you ever get your hands on one.
The bottom line
As I mentioned earlier, you might have to budget in order to add this reel to your collection but in this particular case, I wholly believe that you get what you pay for. I’m all for cheap fishing gear but after testing this reel for a few weeks, you’d be awfully hard pressed to find a better spinning reel on the market.