Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Abu Garcia Max X baitcaster reel review. Now, as you are probably aware, fishing is one of those past times that holds two essential truths:
- There are a great number of variations of every piece of equipment, tackle and accessory that you could be looking for.
- Everybody has an opinion on which of these variations is best at any given time – which is generally due to the fact that that particular item has helped them catch fish.
So with that in mind, one thing I have tried to do on this site is review the products I use, as well as the ones that are popular at the moment to give you an idea of what may work for you as you head out to the water and chase the big ones.
Hence, for this review, I will run you through:
- What the product is
- How it works
- What I bought if for
- Pros and Cons
- My recommendations
What is a baitcaster reel?
Baitcaster reels are the upside-down models where the reel sits on top of, rather than underneath, the rod. Functionality can vary from the simple beginner models where the cover or closed face keeps all of the essential parts of the reel protected to the more complicated ones where casting speed and brake settings etc. can be adjusted dependent upon the environment.
There are some definite advantages to them as well including:
- More accurate when casting.
- Longer casting capabilities.
- Can handle heavier line and lure/sinker weight.
- Can handle much bigger fish for their size than spinners.
The problem with them however is that they tend to take some getting used to in terms of brake setting etc. to enhance casting distance and reduce the risk of backlash.
As above, one of the main issues that many have with baitcaster reels is that they tangle much easier when the line is being cast. This is due to a phenomenon called ‘backlash’. Put simply, this is when the spool turns faster than the lure/sinker can pull the line out during casting causing the line to continue spooling when the weight hits the water and tangle – a.k.a birds nest.
There are a number of variations here including:
- Centrifugal Brakes: Centrifugal brakes use gravity to adjust the spool speed to ensure it spins at the same rate as the cast. In this case, the brakes extend from the center of the spool running along a shelf in the center of the reel to slow it down. These can be adjusted but in most reels, this is not a simple task.
- Magnetic Brakes: Magnetic brakes are another way of controlling spool speed with easier adjustment via a small dial on the side of the unit. As the dial is turned, magnets move closer or further away from the side of the spool – the closer they are, the more they can slow the spool. These work the same as the centrifugal brakes in that they are mainly designed to work during that first ‘whip’ of the cast and release once the spool slows over the casting duration.
- Spool Tension Adjustment: This is designed for use at the end of the cast when the lure or sinker hits the water (as opposed to centrifugal and magnetic brakes which operate in the first part of the cast). In simple terms, the tension adjustment stops the spool shaft at the same time that the tackle hits the water meaning an excess line is not released.
The Abu Garcia Max X baitcaster works with MagTrax magnetic brakes that are adjusted by a knob on the side of the reel.
What is my experience with this reel?
Now the only baitcaster I own is my Shimano Caius which I am slowly getting the hang of however as usual, I like to try out the reels of my fishing pals in order to see what is around should I be looking for purchase – and when it comes to fishing we are always looking to purchase I think hey!
My fishing mate only recently picked his up so he is still getting used to it himself however I convinced him to let me use it for an hour or so so here we are. He was a little less accepting once I birds nested on my first cast – someone forgot to set his tensioner is all – but after that was cleared, I found it nice and easy to use.
I will elaborate on all of this below but for now, lets check out the specs etc below…
What do you get?
- Product Name: Abu Garcia Max X (recent upgrade from the Abu Garcia Black Max)
- Spool Size: 155/20 120/30 80/50 (Braid) 150/10 120/12 85/17 (Mono)
- Bearings: 4+1
- Ratio: 6.4:1
- Composition: Aluminum with Duragear™ machined brass gearing
- Drag:15lb/6.8kg in the Abu Garcia Power Disk™ drag system
- Brakes: MagTrax™ brake system on side
This product is often sold as a combo with an Abu Garcia Max X Graphite rod as well.
- Super light weight
- Same gearing and components as their higher priced products
- Responsive drag
- Good for beginners
- Only available in a single ratio set
How much is it?
I have seen these on the marketing for around $USD50 – 70
Do I recommend it?
I don’t think I have ever hidden the fact that I am more of a spinning reel type of guy however I have to say, I really did enjoy using this reel. I found it easy to cast (first hiccup aside) and smooth and easy to use with a soft plastic lure and even managed to catch a decent sized fish as well so got to play with the drag a little which I found quite effective.
All in all, if you are beginner looking to get into baitcasters chasing fresh and saltwater species alike, then you could definitely do a lot worse than this one. Alternatively, I also see it being a good choice for experienced fishers looking for a good budget model reel with high end componentry as well.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Abu Garcia Max X baitcaster reel. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions or experience with this one then please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.
Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
Until next time