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Reel Review

3 Generations, 2 Brake Systems, 1 Solid Reel : Abu Garcia's Revo STX (continued)

The one area I do have some criticism with regarding this reel is the brake adjustments. Yes, back to the brakes. As mentioned earlier, the Revo STX features two brake systems designed to work in conjunction with one another. The magnetic brake system is easy enough to adjust thanks to an external dial on the non-handle sideplate. To adjust the centrifugal brakes, you need to remove that same sideplate.

This is what you'll discover upon removal of the handle sideplate.

This is accomplished by loosening a screw that runs just behind the top bar and is accessible from the handle side of the reel. This is the same setup for all Abu Garcia Revo reels. If you remember, I had an issue with this screw coming loose unexpectedly when fishing and testing the original Revo MG reel. On this Gen 3 STX the same screw is spring loaded so even when it is loose, the sideplate is secure - I like it. In order to remove the sideplate, you need to loosen the screw AND pull it back with one hand, then, pivot the sideplate and remove it with the other.

Here's where pinion meets main gear.

This is a very nice implementation and a very good way to ensure the non handle sideplate does not accidentally pop off while you're fishing. The down side is, it really adds to the time and coordination necessary to adjust those centrifugal brakes. This is a non-issue if you're the type to set and forget your centrifugal brakes, but during that time you're trying to find that setting that works perfectly for you, the removal and re-installation of that non-handle sideplate can be infuriating because the sideplate is not attached to the reel and loose in your hand. Make sure you're sitting in the middle of your boat, or somewhere safe on the shore when adjusting back and forth.

A very solid drag stack for the Revo STX.

Additionally, while the centrifugal brakes themselves are simple enough to adjust, it's a little difficult to assess visually which brakes are on and off because the levers to set the brakes are very small and snap back to almost the same position once you've set your preference. So if you have aging eyes like yours truly, visual assessment of the centrifugal brake settings is difficult.

A different view of the STX's pinion and main gear.

What I end up doing during each adjustment was to turn them all off so they're in the same position, and then reset the brakes for the right adjustment. Additionally, if you suffer from oversized finger syndrome, adjusting these centrifugal brakes can be downright maddening. However, on the plus side, unlike similar brakes from other manufacturers, because you adjust these brakes with levers on the side of the spool, there are no brakes to flip off the brake arms and lose inside the reel! So I guess it's a little love-hate relationship with Abu's implementation of these types of brakes.

Shall we disassemble the levelwind while we're at it?

Aside from those two areas of discussion, most everything else is standard fare with this reel. It is simple enough to break down, the handle length is good, the Eva knob material is comfortable, and light, but I like something more substantial or less porous here.

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo STX

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Two bearings on the levelwind - not a common feature.

Application: The Revo STX is a very good multi-application reel. Because of its light weight, it excels in support of vertical technique applications like jigging and worming where a light combo really helps you feel more than you can with an overly cumbersome combo. But that hollow and less solid feeling to the reel discussed a few sections ago makes the reel feel less adept at horizontal presentations like cranks, spinnerbaits, etc.. I did say feel, because realistically the STX is just fine in support of these techniques, but we'd like to see a lower gear ratio option. Similarly, line capacity on this reel is wonderful if you want to throw big baits, but the slowest, 6.4:1 retrieve ratio is just a tad fast for our liking here as well.

If you're one to maintain your own reels, the STX is not difficult to take apart, but not the easiest either.

We already discussed this is not a reel you'll want to rely upon for use in finesse applications. The spool is simply not fast enough, but most baitcasters fail in this regard anyway, but throwing topwater baits like buzzbaits, frogs, walkers, poppers, etc.? The Revo STX will make a very good reel in support of these techniques.


Application Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo STX

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

A nice CA Delta bass courtesy of the Revo STX.


Abu Garcia Revo STX Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solid build save for the mysterious in and out movement of the handle assembly 8.0
Performance A good performing reel overall 7.2
Price The sweet spot between affordable and high end 7.5
Features If it's on our list, this reel has it 9.3
Design (Ergonomics) If you don't need to remove the sideplate very often, you'll be fine, but that one afternoon or morning where you're going back and forth with the magnetic brake settings will lead to frustrations with that sideplate 7.6
Application A really solid general purpose suite of reels. The only thing missing is a low speed retrieve. 8.0

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ The weight of these reels makes them very comfortable to fish for extended periods of time - I like a removable or accessible sideplate, but something about the way this one is implemented doesn't work well when you need to go back and forth with the settings
+ Three retrieve ratios from which to choose - No low speed retrieve ratio option
+ All models available in left and right hand retrieve  


Conclusion: The Revo STX is a solid, and from what we can surmise, a dependable reel in that hotly contested price point that sits right between affordable and what many consider high end. It's available in both left and right hand retrieve throughout its three offered gear ratios with the only thing missing being a low speed option - but then, that's what the Revo Winch is for right?


Mounted on an iRod punch stick, the Revo STX performed very well dragging this fish out from beneath the matt.


The dual brake feature is interesting, and for some perhaps quite useful. For me, it's an unnecessary complication, but easily dismissed since you really can fish this reel with one set of brakes or the other and not be affected negatively in any way. The reel is already light enough and removing one brake system in favor of the other won't have any real, significant impact. Otherwise, if your casting style can benefit from that fine tuning of two braking systems, you're in luck. Bottom line is if you've been looking for a new workhorse reel or have simply been waiting for more time to pass before jumping on the Gen 3 bandwagon, rest assured, the latest incarnation of the STX is a very worthy product.


Looking for an Abu Garcia Gen 3 Revo STX?

Try: Tackle Warehouse or Hi's Tackle Box









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