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Reel Review

Take 3 : Abu Garcia's Revo Winch (continued)

Drag: Our Revo Winch tested out on The Machine with a max drag of just over eleven pounds (11 lbs) when adjusted to finger tight lock down. But of course, thanks to the Machine, we're about far more than what a reel delivers in terms of drag when locked down as tight as our fingers will allow. What's more important in a reel's drag performance is how smooth that drag performs at different settings so you can be sure you're applying smooth and consistent resistance to your catch rather than a stop and start, stuttering kind of drag that more often than not will result in lost fish.

Sweet Drag Performance for Abu Garcia Gen 3 Revo Winch (~2.5 Turns to Lockdown)

Full Turn
Full + 2
Full + 4
Full + 6
Avg % Change
Start Up
Biggest Drop
Change in Startup vs Sustained
Biggest Drop from Sustained


Looking at the chart below and the numbers above, we can see quite a bit of inconsistency in the Winch's drag performance. With each curve, save for the green, we can see multiple dips indicating that the drag momentarily slipped and dropped in value. Calculating the actual numbers we see these dips equated to an average of almost thirty percent drop in pressure at any given time.


Fig 1: This is our Sweet Performance Chart for Abu Garcia's Gen 3 Revo Winch. There are several unexplained dips in pressure through almost every setting, but we didn't feel this out on the water. The lockdown curve on top is very erratic, but we're finding this is common for all reels at this setting.


These tests were run with the reel right out of the box otherwise, normally, we'd perform some maintenance on the reel and try again. Instead, we spooled the Winch right up and took out to the water to see how it behaved under normal fishing conditions. Interestingly enough, while the drag showed potential for erratic behavior in the lab, we did not run into a situation where this inconsistency materialized out on the water. Just the same, it is an area of concern that led us to rate the Winch's drag an average score of 3.

The drag stack of our Revo Winch.

Power: This is where the Winch is intended to shine and this is certainly where we felt this product was at its best. To test power, we simply put the reel to work doing what it was built to do - that's pulling deep diving cranks along the bottom all day long. Trouble with this reel is, the standby, Norman DD22 just wasn't enough of a challenge for it. The Winch cranked these baits up like they were nothing.

Like leverage? How about a 95 mm handle?

So instead, we tied on the new Lucky Craft SKT Magnum Crank. This bait has some real resistance in the water, and were it not for Winch, I'm not sure I had a reel in my arsenal that could handle this bait. The Winch really shines in power cranking situations.

The brakes on this reel are adjustable from the outside.

Casting Range: The Revo Winch is hardly a finesse reel so we didn't spend much time trying to determine the low end of this reel's casting ability. On the other end of the spectrum we threw some umbrella rig setups and miscellaneous big baits that topped out at maybe three ounces in weight. The Winch can handle these heavier weights no problem and its slightly deeper spool affords you the extra capacity to toss these baits with little worry of spooling your reel.

On the inside this reel benefits from a dual braking system (centrifugal + magnetic).

Brakes: Like the STX, the Revo Winch comes equipped with a dual braking system - both centrifugal and magnetic. For those in sync with the fine tuning intricacies this type of braking system affords, it's a really good thing. Unfortunately, I'm not one who is in tune with these dual braking systems. Instead, I tend to use one or the other and let my thumb and casting motion take care of the rest.

This spool is not the lightest...

In theory, for best results, what you want to do is back off the magnetic brakes entirely at first. You do this by turning the external dial all the way back. Then, you open the sideplate and set the centrifugal brakes to a middle setting like half on and half off. Reinstall the reel's sideplate and then make a medium effort cast.

... but that's not the intent, instead, line capacity is the goal here.

If everything felt good to you, then you're good to go. Use the dial on the outside to fine tune the brakes as conditions dictate. If not, then readjust for more or less braking force with the centrifugal brakes until you find a comfortable setting, then return to using the magnetic brakes to fine tune as conditions warrant.

We took a look inside.

This is, at least, how I would go about maximizing the dual brake setup - set up the centrifugal brakes to best suit your casting style, then leverage the magnetic brakes, via the external dial to fine tune for conditions of wind or other environmental factors.

One bearing and one bushing per knob.

Next Section: A Closer Look at the Winch's Features









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