Best Spinning Reels 2016
Abu Garcia, Lew's Fishing, Quantum
Manufacturers are asked to submit only new (for the coming year) baitcasting and spinning rods and reels for consideration. Those unable to provide products for testing by the deadline date are excluded from consideration. This season, we have added a budget-centric Super Savers category, designed to highlight great-performing gear at low prices.
- Abu Garcia Revo MGX
- Lew’s Fishing T200
- Quantum Throttle TH20
- Cabelas’s Salt Striker
The Revo MGX represents Abu Garcia’s first foray into the high-end spinning market. If their goal was to make a splash, they have succeeded. A whopping 11 stainless-steel bearings, plus one roller bearing, keep internal tolerances tight, letting the MGX spin up with delightful ease.
Additional functionality is provided by a well-meshed gear box, that features fully machined (not stamped) components. Equally impressive are the carbon frame and rotor, which are light yet unexpectedly free from flexure. While the use of carbon isn’t unique to spinning reels, the real engineering feat is achieving this level of rigidity.
A high-capacity spare spool is included, increasing line payload for those who want to venture out into the salt. The flat carbon handle and milled spool collectively save weight, making the MGX ideal for all-day operation. The MGX is not cheap. However, if you’re searching for a quality reel—one that promises a lifetime of flawless performance—take the MGX for a spin.
Abu Garcia Revo MGX – OUR SCORE: 4.8/5.0
Another blockbuster from Lew’s, the 8- bearing T200 is a no-nonsense reel sure to appeal to fiscally responsible fishermen. The build is tight, promising years of trouble-free operation. The rigid aluminum chassis felt bulletproof in hand due largely to the stainless bail system, which eliminates problem areas found on many other less-expensive spinners.
Internally, a solid brass pinion gear and beefy stainless-steel main shaft promise longevity. The carbon-Teflon, multi-disc drag system managed big saltwater fish without a fuss.
At first blush, the T200 struck us as a reel for the less-than-serious basser. However, the T200 proves a worthy companion for anyone searching for priced-right performance.
Lew’s Fishing T200 – OUR SCORE: 4.5/5.0
A double-anodized spool promises corrosion resistance, while a nifty braid band provides hassle-free line spooling. An oversize multi-disc drag system provided plenty of fishstopping power.
A thoughtfully designed graphite rotor spins smoothly, balancing the reel well. Ergonomic niceties include the grip and an oversize drag knob that is easily adjusted in mid-battle. We also liked the comfortable large-profile bail wire.
Quantum Throttle TH20 – OUR SCORE: 4.7/5.0
Cabelas’s Salt Striker
While the “salt” moniker implies a saltwateronly reel, the Striker is suited for lakes, streams, bayous, or anywhere else fish congregate. Built for Cabela’s by Daiwa, the Salt Striker offers great features for a good price.
The aluminum frame is stout, even under the heaviest loads, and was a real advantage when we worked heavy or large-profile baits—or tried to control big fish.
The skeletonized rotor eliminates weight while letting the reel turn delicately but without unwanted wobble. This also serves to minimize user fatigue and provides crisper cadence when working snapped lures, such as jerkbaits, with a twitch-and-go cadence. A wide wire bail and oversize line roller manage line neatly, without tangling or kinking. And you’ll be able to find the large drag knob easily in the heat of battle. The drag’s payout is unexpectedly smooth for such a value-minded piece. The oversize paddle-style knob is one of the most comfortable we tested, and its largecapacity spool is perfect for line-gulping applications.