I’ve tested several of the new, ultra-low profile bass fishing reels on the market and although they feel great in my hands, many of them have lacked the power I’d expect for such a lofty price tag. I’ve even had a few become inoperable after just a few months of heavy use.
With those experiences in mind, I spent a long time testing the Abu Garcia REVO ALX. I wanted to look beyond the sleek exterior and, for lack of a better term, put it through some abuse. After countless casts and lots of hooksets, I think this reel has some really nice features and plenty of backbone for handling big fish in demanding situations.
Below are my full thoughts on it.
The Abu Garcia REVO ALX is designed with an aluminum ally frame, C6 carbon side plates and an aluminum main gear. In basic terms, these materials allow for a lightweight, 5.5-ounce reel that feels like a feather in your hands.
In regards to castability, this reel is meant to handle any lure in your collection. It has the high-end MagTrax braking system that enables you to make quick adjustments based on lure weight. I’ve used it for anything from weightless soft plastics to 3/4-ounce football jigs without any casting issues to speak ofâmore on that in the next section.
It’s available in both left and right-handed models in 6.4:1 and 8.0:1 gear ratios. I’d recommend the 6.4:1 model for treble-hooked hard lures and the 8.0:1 model for any bottom-contact techniques such as jigs, Texas rigs and Carolina rigs.
The $249.99 price point isn’t going to be in everyone’s wheelhouse, but its numerous features and sheer weightlessness will certainly justify the price for the enthusiast angler.
At the risk of being repetitive, this particular reel feels excellent in your hands. I have used it for hours on end with absolutely zero hand fatigue or discomfort. In terms of ergonomics and feel, the REVO ALX delivers it. The flat EVA knobs, recessed reel foot and alloy frame has provided unending comfort throughout my testing.
The true test, in my opinion, comes down to castability and drag.
After I spooled this reel, I headed to a calm pocket and put my Power-Poles down so I could spend some time tuning it and getting everything set up properly. It normally takes me quite a few casts to get a reel perfectly zeroed in, but all it took with the REVO ALX was three casts. I can honestly say that I have not experienced a single backlash while using it.
I’ve used this reel with weightless soft jerkbaits, bladed swim jigs, spinnerbaits and 1/2-ounce flipping jigs and the required adjustments have been easy and quick. When switching to heavier lures, I’ll leave the brake settings alone and simply decrease the tension a few clicks. Whether I’m using fluorocarbon or braided line, it has managed the line seamlessly.
While testing the drag system, I’ve cinched it down as tight as it will go for bottom-contact presentations and loosened it quite a bit for treble-hooked lures. When the drag is tightened, I’ve been able to set the hook as hard as I can and wrench bass from underneath docks and overhangs with zero slippage. For cranking and spinnerbait fishing, the REVO ALX dispenses drag smoothy throughout the entire range and shows so signs of unwanted surging, even when a nice bass makes a strong, boat-side run.
The retrieve is impressively smooth and the reel is itself is very quiet. You don’t hear any squealing or screechingâa common problem I’ve experienced with ultra-low profile casting reels. I haven’t cleaned this reel after quite a bit of use and it’s still performing exactly as it did straight from the package.
If you’re trying to decide on a reel in this particular price point, I’d recommend putting the REVO ALX in your hands before making a final decision. It’s smooth, light and it has the shoulders to handle a great deal of abuse.