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Reel Review


A New Player in the High End Spinning Reel Market - Abu Garcia's Lightweight Zenon


Date: 4/5/22
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Total Score: 8.41 + EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Initially announced during ICAST 2020 with a planned roll out during the Fall of that same year, Abu Garcia's new flagship spinning reel, the Zenon finally made its debut in time for the 2022 season. Following in the footsteps of the surprising MGTXtreme20 we fished three years ago, the Zenon crosses the $500 threshold into what we consider enthusiast, or even halo reel, territory. Does the Zenon have what it takes to compete in that tier of product? Let's take a closer look.


Abu Garcia Zenon SP20 Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated
8lb / 130yds
3lb /100yds
Line Capacity - Spool Volume
8.0 cm3
5.5 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
25 - 32
27.5 - 32
Weight 5.3 oz (measured)
Handle Length 500 mm
Bearings 10SS + 1RB
Bearings per Knob 2 bearings
Line Roller Bearings One
Origin Made in China
MSRP $549.95

The Zenon s now the flagship spinning reel for the Abu Garcia brand

Impressions: The Zenon spinning reel is available in two sizes, 20 and 30 which loosely correlates to the 2000 and 3000 sizes of other manufacturers. This reel looks different than any other spinning reel in the existing Abu Garcia lineup. Gone is the signature Abu Garcia spinning frame and instead the Zenon features a more squared off frame that looks much more compact.


Like so many other products that are geared towards the high-end enthusiast audience the Zenon puts exotic materials on full display including magnesium in the one-piece frame and carbon fiber in the handle and drag system.   


Introducing the Zenon SP20 spinning reel


Abu Garcia designed the Zenon to be not only the most high-end and refined spinning reel in their lineup but also to set a new benchmark in low-weight, The smaller SP20 is officially listed at 4.9lbs and the SP30 is 5.4lbs., which is extremely light. For comparison the Daiwa Exist 2000 weighs 5.3oz. and the Shimano FK 1000 weighs 5.8oz., and the larger Stella FK 2500 weighs 7.4 ounces. This is a very light reel.  

No giant, but nevertheless the first fish we caught on the Zenon, a Lake Toho dink

Real World Tests: We have been fishing the Zenon reels for over a year both in Florida at Lake Toho with a number of Abu Garcia's prostaff and on our home water of the California Delta and surrounding lakes. Our test subject is the SP20 which comes in a hard nylon case similar to that of the MGXtreme which it essentially replaces. Within that case are two spool options - both metal - a shallow spool for light line applications, and a deeper spool with slightly more capacity for larger diameter lines.

Cal casting the Zenon on our home water of the California Delta

The first thing that struck us as we inspected the Zenon SP20 is just how light it feels in hand. Indeed, a trip to the scale revealed a weight of five point three (5.3 ounces). Not quite as light as the specified four point nine ounces (4.9), but still super light for a reel of any configuration be it casting or spinning. Abu Garcia achieves this with a new frame design (something they refer to as asymmetric) built from magnesium. Next, the rotor is built with C6 carbon which is designed to minimize startup inertia. Everything else from the handle, to the knob is carefully conceived and executed to reduce weight while maintaining rigidity. The reel features aggressive porting and hollowing out wherever possible in an effort to reduce weight and achieve better balance.


A look at the Zenon with the spool in the lower position


In Florida we fished the reel with Spiderwire and fluorocarbon leader and on our home water we spooled the reel with a base layer of ten pound (10lb) Soft Steel Eminent Braid topped with a leader of six pound (6lb) Soft Steel Instinct Fluorocarbon (connected with a Uni to Uni knot). We fished the Zenon reel with the company's new Zenon rods and because it is so light we decided to test it in a travel configuration with the new Megabass Triza F0-68XSTZ Hibali.


Notice how far the spool extends during the line lay

Next Section: Fishing the Zenon coast to coast...









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