November 16, 2012
By Ned Kehde
"Metal where it matters" was the mantra of the folks at Quantum who designed the EXO PTi spinning reel. In the process of developing this reel, Quantum created what is called an exoskeletal hybrid construction, which "combines a special, ultra-rigid aluminum alloy in load-bearing areas with a lightweight composite that reduces weight in non-critical locations by 50%. " Consequently, it is incredibly light and strong. According to Quantum's engineers, the frame of this reel is 38 percent stronger than a magnesium frame and six times stronger than a graphite composite frame.
In order to make the reel lighter, the anti-reverse system's on-and-of switch was removed and replaced with a continuous anti-reserve system, which is similar to the continuous anti-reverse feature on baitcasting reels. Thus anglers can't employ the back-reeling tactic when they are in the midst of a donnybrook with a hefty fish. Instead, they are at mercy of the reel's drag system.
This is the spinning reel that Kevin Van Dam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, employs when he wields a drop-shot rig or shaky-head jig. He began field testing them in the summer of 2011. And except at waterways like Okeechobee Lake, Florida, Van Dam estimates he uses this reel and those two finesse combos more than 25 percent of the time that he is afloat in pursuit on largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.
When he is fishing around docks, Van Dam uses this reel on a six-foot, nine-inch EXO PT rod. Around open-water lairs, he uses it on a seven-foot EXO PT rod.
Traditionally, Van Dam employed a tight drag and back-reeled his spinning reels when he battle a bass to the boat. And he readily admitted that it took quite a few test outings before he gained total confidence in the EXO's drag system. He gradually discovered that the drag had to be set differently on the six-foot, nine-inch rod than it did on the seven-foot rod. The angle that he holds the rod while battling a bass also has a bearing on the reel's drag system. The kind and size of line is another factor that affects it. Therefore, before each outing, Van Dam quickly runs through a drag-check routine in which holds the rods a various and angles and elevations. There are also times during a donnybrook with an extremely feisty and hefty bass that he will adjust the drag by adjusting the dial on the face of line spool a touch or two.
Back in the 1950s, when the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur began replacing our Langley, Pflueger and Shakespeare baitcasting reels, we were initially discombobulation by having to rely on the Ambassaduer's drag system, and we had to make the same adjustment that Van Dam and other anglers are making nowadays with the EXO's continuous anti-reverse system. But most of us old-timers quickly made that transition.
The suggested retail price for the EXO PTi is $199.99. Currently, there are two sizes avialable: EX25PTi and EX30PTi. Some bigger size EXOs are in the offing.
Since March, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, who is a multispecies guide from Topeka, Kansas, has worked with Quantum's Smoke spinning reel. It has a continuous anti-reverse system and exoskeletal frame similar to the EXO. Like Van Dam, Holscher and some of his clients initially had a problem with the continuous anti-reverse system -- especially when they tangled with lunker-size wipers and rainbow trout. Despite that initiation phase with the continuous ant-reverse, Holscher and his clients were immediately delighted with lightness and sturdiness of the Smoke spinning reel. As the months have unfolded, he and all of his regular clients have learned how to work with the continuous anti-reverse system. But like Van Dam, they occasionally have to adjust the drag while battling a humongous rainbow trout or wiper.
The Smoke retails for$159.99. It is avialable in two sizes: SL25PTI and SL30PTI.