In 2010 Abu Garcia released the Revo Premier spin reel, which carried a strong price tag compared with its usual spin offerings. It wasn’t a bad reel, but it probably didn’t compare to reels on the Australian market at a similar price point. Then, at last year’s trade show, it released the Revo MGX, a markedly different reel from anything it had produced before and one that has taken name and strong design influence from the popular MGX baitcaster range.
Aesthetically the Revo is a mix of industrial power and understated flair. Carbon fibre, black and chrome make for a striking design. It offers a lot of differences from the usual spin reels on the market, with a flat carbon fibre handle finished with a comfortable EVA knob.
A league of its own
What I like most about this reel on spec is its originality. With a gear ratio of 6.2:1 it’s not trying to compete in an already saturated market of reels that are designed purely for targeting bream, flathead and bass. The Revo is a different beast to suit some different applications.
For starters, it’s extremely light. The Revo 20 is the same size as a Daiwa 2000 or Shimano 2500 but weighs dramatically less. At 173 grams and packed with 12 bearings, 5kg of drag, a high-speed ratio and all in a very compact 20-size unit, there is nothing else like it on the market. As soon as you pick it up you can feel the weight difference but it is most noticeable when you put it on a rod. It takes a bit of getting used to, and you’ll need to match it with the right rod, but once you start fishing with it you do appreciate the feather-like weight.
With the high-speed gear ratio and a whopping 5kg of drag, my first test was to target some Australian salmon. I had the reel paired with a 2-4kg Abu Veritas and with the noodly taper of the rod and well-designed spool of the Revo, I could cast a 40 gram slug a very long way. The gear ratio was perfect for bringing back the slugs at the high speeds required to get salmon to strike. Line management was excellent on retrieval and I couldn’t fault this aspect.
The carbon matrix drag system in the MGX is excellent and this shared tech from its low profile platforms is a welcome addition. Tightening the drag up as much as possible on the salmon showed it to be smooth, quiet and consistent.
On a river
My next test for the MGX was targeting spawn-run trout on the Eucumbene River. The river was running very hard and fast after the recent storm that smashed the east coast and the high-speed gear ratio was a great aid when retrieving lures. This, coupled with the weight reduction of the MGX and the smooth drag, showed what a perfect little reel the MGX is for any trout angler who spends the day walking rivers and navigating bush and scrub. After a long day walking and casting in your waders and multiple layers of clothes, a lightweight reel like this is much appreciated. It’s beneficial while you’re retrieving lures and while you carry it around.
You’ll pay between $360 and $400 for the MGX 20, which is a great price for what you get. It offers smooth operation with its 12 bearings and it’s the lightest and fastest reel on the market in its size range. It also comes with a spare spool, which is a great bonus. It is the perfect reel for anyone targeting species such as salmon, tailor, small tuna, small mackerel and snapper. And it is a great companion for any trout or bass angler doing some long walks along rivers and streams.
Excellent line management
High gear ratio may not suit some buyers