It seems like every reel in the fishing industry these days is about speed. Don’t get me wrong; I own many high-speed reels and I’m a big fan of them. But anglers cannot forget about the importance of a slow, deliberate retrieve. As the water cools throughout the fall and winter months, a painfully slow retrieve can create some fast-paced action. But I’m afraid that slower reels are becoming a lost art, to be honest.
I had a chance to test the new Abu Garcia REVO Winch and thankfully, it directly addresses this issue. I’ll walk you through the design features that I feel are most noteworthy.
4.7:1 gear ratio
The Abu Garcia REVO Winch features a 4.7:1 gear ratio. If you’re not familiar with the jargon, this essentially means that every time you turn the handle, the spool turns 4.7 times. This is noticeably slower than many spinning reels on the market and in some situations, I think it’s very advantageous.
When water temperatures drop, both the bass and their prey become especially lethargic; everything moves much slower than it normally would in warmer temperatures. You can still catch a bunch of cold-water bass on moving baits, but your retrieve needs to match the sluggish behavior under the surface. A lower gear ratio, such as 4.7:1, allows you to capitalize on this while also keeping your lure in the strike zone longer.
I’ve found this reel to be a great option for small balsa crankbaits, grubs, spybaits and swimbaits. The lower gear ratio translates into a lot of torque, which allows you to put less effort into retrieving these baits as well.
Handles line wonderfully
I’ve been impressed by how well the REVO Winch manages different line types. I’ve tried it with braid, monofilament and fluorocarbon and have had almost no issues whatsoever. The line lays flat on the spool throughout the retrieve and I have not had any problems with those infuriating and random wind knots that tend to happen when using spinning reels.
If you’ll notice in the photo, the top lip of the spool is tapered which drastically reduces the friction as the line leaves the spool. Your casts aren’t noisy and your line doesn’t slap all over your rod blank and get twisted beyond repair; all three line types seem to glide off the spool quite easily.
The drag is smooth
The smoothness of the drag system is certainly one of my favorite features of this new reel. While I don’t ever use the drag on casting reels, spinning reels are a totally different beast. You really need a smooth drag so you can absorb those abrupt boat-side runs that big bass are known for making.
There is no delay in this drag system from what I can tell. It dispenses line right when it needs to and I haven’t noticed any surging whatsoever. I’ve caught several fish on 6-pound fluorocarbon while using the REVO Winch and I never felt overpowered at any point in the fight. Although this reel is priced at $159.99, I think it has a better drag system than some of my $200 spinning reels.
Whether you’re left or right-handed, you’ll be able to use this reel. This seems like a pretty obvious feature, but I’ve actually tested several spinning reels that don’t switch over.
It takes just a few seconds to switch the handle. Be careful, however, when you’re unscrewing the dust cap because it’s very easy to scratch. You can use a small coin if necessary, but I actually use a broadhead tool to remove and tighten it. If you guide fishing trips or take friends fishing and need to frequently switch the handle, you can expect some scratches in this area.
A little heavy
While this seems to be a very well-built reel, it weighs a solid 8 ounces. Because I’ve been doing so much cranking with this reel, I got used to it pretty quick. I’d imagine, however, if you’re doing a lot of dragging or soft-plastic finesse fishing that you might notice it a bit more.
No “play” anywhere
This reel has virtually zero play in any of its components. You won’t see any loose screws or joints and you certainly won’t hear any concerning noises (clicking, rattling, etc.) when the reel is under a load. The bail wire assembly is also very solid and opens and closes completely, every time I’ve used the reel.