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Reel Review

An In-Depth Look at a Reel Made Entirely in the USA: The Ardent XS1000

Date: 5/27/08
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Ardent
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 5.91 - MEDIOCRE

Introduction: Reels that are completely made within the USA are a rarity these days. This is especially true with reels intended for bass fishing. Ardent is ready to change all of that. A fairly new company, Ardent has been producing baitcasting reels completely designed, engineered and manufactured within the United States for a few years now. Today we are here to see what Ardent has to offer with a closer look at the Ardent XS1000, the reel that Alton Jones used to win the 2008 Bassmaster Classic.

Ardent XS1000 Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 10/150, 12/120
Gear Ratio 6.3:1
Weight 8.7 oz
Weight (measured) 7.9 oz
Bearings 10 + 1
Additional Features Strike Saver drag system, Magnesium frame and side covers, medical grade Santoprene handle knobs, double ventilated spool, and quick release side cover
Origin USA
MSRP $249.99

Background: As mentioned above, Ardent is fairly new to the reel manufacturing game. With that newness comes the uphill battle of gaining ground on companies that have years of engineering experience ahead of them, but Ardent is making great strides. Comparing the first of their reels we saw at ICAST just a few short years ago to the ones we saw just last year, it is obvious theyíve made some substantial enhancements.


Introducing the Ardent XS1000 casting reel that's made in the USA


Impressions: The Ardent XS1000 isnít the most futuristic looking reel. While some say it looks antiquated or even unsightly, I found its appearance to be passable. This reel isnít going to be winning any beauty awards, but of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


The XS1000 is made out of Magnesium


The XS1000 low profile reel comes in black with peppered or splashed on gold spots. The reel features a gold spool, handle, and spool tension knob. Supporting this 6.3:1 gear ratio baitcast reel are 10 stainless steel ABEC 5 bearings plus one roller bearing. The Ardent reel also features ergonomic handle knobs.


Complete Rig for XS1000 Tests


St. Croix Avid


Ardent XS1000

Lines 8 & 15 lb. Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon

Field Tests: We put the Ardent XS1000 to test on various waters including the California Delta for black bass and stripers, and around various lakes including Lake Sonoma and Clear Lake for action at different locations.


Ardent makes use of quality ABEC 5 bearings


Casting: When a manufacturer states something about their product they never compare it to anything. Ardent claims the XS1000 was designed for greater casting distance, but greater than what? So we took out a few of our favorites such as the Curado 200D, Zillion, Steez, and Revo Premier to compare the casting performance using the same line and lures.The verdict, well, you probably guessed right. When casting heavier lures such as a half ounce Berkley jig with trailer or a half ounce River2Sea Crystal Spin spinnerbait, all the reels mentioned above including the Ardent XS1000 performed well with marginal discrepancies. But when casting a lighter lure some of the competition especially the Revo Premier and Daiwa Steez outperformed the Ardent baitcast reel.


Hit the switch to gain access to the centrifugal brakes


I asked Mike Bucca, aka Triton Mike, an Ardent Prostaffer about what he thought of the casting ability of the XS1000. Hereís what he had to say about this reel. "Being a spotted bass angler it's imperative to be able to cast long distances not only because of the clear water aspect that we deal with in most spotted bass environments, but also to expand your strike zone on those spotted bass that love to follow baits even more so than their cousin largemouths. By getting that extra 5 to 10 feet in casting distance I am able to give the fish a bit more time to decide on whether to commit or not before the lure and fish get in sight of the boat and end up spooking the fish. Case in point an extra few feet in casting distance often times means you'll be able to put more fish into the boat. If you get into quite a bit of schooling fish, it's also a nice attribute to be able to reach and touch them with a Lucky Craft Sammy or any other topwater type when they are just out of casting distance than most reels are capable of reaching."


The sideplate swings away


Triton Mike continues "as for baits that I throw with the Ardent XS1000 it's an endless list. It does an extremely good job at throwing light weight weightless 4 inch 9S Senkos.  I used to throw the Senkos on spinning tackle due to being able to get longer distances out of such a light bait but the XS1000 and the XS600 far surpass the casting distances that I ever got out of a spinning combo and with less headaches (loops/tangles) with fluorocarbon. It's also a great setup in throwing Pointer 78's and Flashminnow 95MR's jerkbaits great distances as well."


Casts are pretty good with this reel


While Triton Mike seems to enjoy this reel, there is one area of complaint I have regarding the reelís cast control system. The reel utilizes a centrifugal brake system with access from the non-handle side. The cover swings out of the way, but you have no access to the brakes with your bare fingers. Instead you would have to use a tool small enough to reach in between the slots. Not a big deal? Well as I did that during one of my trips where water was choppy and the wind was blowing like mad, I popped one of the brakes completely off its spindle. It fell into the reel and was trapped between the frame and the spool with no way to get it out except for disassembling the handle side cover to remove the spool.


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