Trends in Low Profile Reels

Trends in Low Profile Reels

It seems a bit foolish now. Two years ago, we thought low-­profile reels had hit the apex of performance. Yet 2014 arrived with tons of new products and it's clear manufacturers have moved the bar higher, in some cases, much higher, than we'd expected.

Trends in Low Profile Reels

Weight: Reels are getting lighter than ever. How light? Consider Abu's new Revo MGXtreme, the first full-size baitcaster, at just 4.9 ounces, to break the 5-ounce barrier. The "weight race" may be nearing an end, however. Engineers admit there is only so far they can continue to go with today's materials and technologies.

Size: Larger, more powerful low-profile reels. For anglers who cast for stripers, muskies, peacocks, and other brutes, reels like the Daiwa Lexa 300 Power Handle should be a consideration. The Lexa has an impressive line capacity of 14/190 (mono), and is built to toss big baits to big fish. And there are others out there or in the works.

Trickle down technology: When manufacturers bring reels costing $500 or more to market, economic pressures that lead to engineering compromises are limited. This tends to benefit a manufacturer's entire line, as advancements trickle down to lower cost models. There are, as a result, reels available today that cost a hundred bucks or less that offer solid performance, and reels running under $200 that are simply superb thanks to their higher-end siblings.

New braking systems: New models more quickly and easily adapt to specific fishing applications, such as pitchin' or casting into wind, thanks to advanced brake systems to control spool speed. In the future, we may see improved digital "smart" braking technologies emerge, building on Shimano's efforts in JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) reels like the Metanium and domestic Calais.

Speed: Abu Garcia's new Revo Rocket, with a 9:1 gear ratio, is the fastest we've seen, and the market is loaded with models geared 7.1:1, 7.9:1, and faster.

Technique-specific reels: Some new models are built to do one thing very well at the sacrifice of versatility. For example, Abu's new JDM Program series includes a model built to handle 4-pound-test line in ultrafinesse applications.

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