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Reel Review


A Reel for Those Who Like to Cast Fast, but Retrieve Slow : The Revo5 Winch (continued)

Power: Where this platform shines, of course, is in pure pulling power. Thanks to the slow gear ratio and Abu Garcia's use of an oversized gear, the Revo5 Winch continues the platform's legacy as a powerful tool with which to crank to your heart's content. In the big bait world, crankdowns (floating baits with lips that are retrieved subsurface) behave like oversized squarebills. Because the baits are so large and displace so much water, many have similar resistance in the water to deep diving cranks. When not testing this combo's ability to launch the biggest, heaviest baits in my arsenal, I attached my Toxic Baits Wade Hogg (big brother to the Whippersnapper) to the end of the line for some wake and crankdown fishing. The Winch handled this bait even more easily than I had imagined.

The main gear is a brass alloy

In fact, it handled that assignment with such ease, I thought maybe the bait did not provide as much resistance in the water as I remembered, so I pulled out my fall back testing bait, a Strike King 10XD. Sure enough, the reel still did not flinch. It was so easy to pull that bait in the water with this combo, it felt as though I was fishing a swim jig. As a last test, I put my two piece Zombie XL back on the end of the line, and tossed it out as far as I could. After the bait settled, I tugged at it with the rod tip to pull the nose down and immediately began my retrieve to pull the bait back subsurface. The Winch handled that situation with zero complaint as well. There's really nothing like a low gear ratio reel for pulling torque.

I'm really liking these new power knobs from Abu Garcia

Drag: Another important factor in a reel's performance for big bait enthusiasts is the drag. While I rarely fish my reels with the drag locked down, when I'm throwing a big bait, my drag is set far stronger than when I'm using a conventional bait. That's because I don't want my line to slip when I'm swinging that big bait to set the hook. Fortunately, because I'm usually using strong line when throwing big baits, the entire system of rod, reel, and line can handle that higher drag setting.

The Winch is equipped with Abu's Power Stack Carbon Drag system

The Revo5 Winch comes with a maximum drag rating of twenty five pounds (25lbs) enabled by Abu Garcia's PowerStack Carbon Drag system featuring two keyed, carbon matrix washers, sandwiched by the gear and aluminum washers. It's a stout and consistent drag just about ideal for the assignment of tossing big baits and therefore, just about anything else you want to attach to the end of your line. I had good success muscling fish in with the drag set pretty high.

A closer look at that drag stack

Design & Ergonomics: If you enjoy tossing big baits and are open minded enough to use smaller reels, I encourage you to try the Winch the next time you're on the hunt for a new reel. I shared earlier, that the Revo5's new shape and profile felt small for the Winch platform. In reality the Winch is simply the slower gear ratio variant of the Revo5 STX with a deeper spool. Just the same, using the Winch for big bait duty reminds me of the joy I used to have fishing my beloved Conquest 51 close to twenty years ago. There's just something magical about using tackle that feels undersized for the task at hand.

The Winch sits really low in the reel seat

Make no mistake about it, however, though the Winch feels undersized because of its shape and profile, unlike the Conquest 51, it holds plenty of line and has a nice, long handle. This reel is so fun with big baits, give me this deep spool option in the STX lineup so I can have more options in gear ratio, and I might have to conduct a shootout against my current arsenal of go-to big bait reels to decide on a favorite - or at the very least, expand my arsenal to accommodate all the options. Come to think of it, the latter approach is really the TackleTour way.

Very stealthy in its new color scheme

If I had one complaint/criticism of the Revo5 Winch, it'd be in the new color scheme. I feel black/grey/red is a bit low key and subdued for this specialty reel and that it should be celebrated like the Rocket. It can't be all red, obviously, but how about a different color like yellow. Let it stand out and be noticed and maybe the low gear ratio will fall back in favor instead of fade into inevitable oblivion. Perhaps I've found a new side project for myself.

Abu Garcia's Revo5 Winch comes with a retail price of $229.95

Price & Applications: Abu Garcia's Revo5 Winch comes with a retail price of $229.95 - the same price point as the Revo5 STX. For the most part, the Revo5 Rocket is also the same reel save for that carbon handle. That handle, and the Rocket's more difficult to manufacture main gear are the reasons why it costs more. But let's not digress. If you're keen on a low gear ratio reel, the Winch is a wonderful choice for medium to deep running cranks, but also, as I used it, for topwater wakes and some crankdowns of the big bait variety. It is suitable for just about any application where you have or need the patience to take things slow.


Abu Garcia Revo5 Winch Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Abu Garcia continues to improve an already solid build in their Revo platform 9
Performance IVCB-6 in the Winch is an improvement I've sought for quite some time 9
Price Now over that $200 threshold but still very competitive 7.5
Features IVCB-6 brakes, robust drag, deeper spool 8
Design (Ergonomics) Super comfortable shape and profile with a more subdued overall color scheme 8.5
Application When you want to cast fast, but retrieve slow, the Winch is tough to beat 8

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:


+ A quality reel with low gear ratio - Knobs only come with one bearing (plus one bushing)
+ IVCB-6 brakes really open up casting performance  
+ Slightly deeper spool for better capacity with heavier gauged line  
+ New, more comfortable knobs  


Conclusion: With the discontinuation of the Revo S, and the waning importance of low gear ratio reels, I'm left to wonder how long platforms like the Winch can endure. Along with its obvious role as a cranking reel, I for one, found it to be a wonderful tool for big, topwater wakes. However once the refresh wave finishes sweeping through the Revo lineup and we see the new Beast line, I'm sure most will gravitate towards those reels for their big bait needs in favor of even more line capacity.


If you, like I, appreciate these more powerful, low gear ratio reels, add the Revo5 Winch to your wish list of reels because it's a winner


In the meantime, the infusion of IVCB-6 into the Winch platform really opens up this reel to another level of performance from smaller, lighter lures to easier, lower effort casts. It's a welcomed and overdue transformation that together with the reel's new shape and profile serves to solidify the Winch's significance in the new Revo 5 lineup. If you, like I, appreciate these more powerful, low gear ratio reels, add the Revo5 Winch to your wish list of reels because it's a winner.


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