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ICAST 2021 Coverage


Abu Garcia's Zenon Series of Reels and Rods Raise the Bar for the Brand


Date: 7/22/21
Location: Orlando, Fl
Admission: Industry Only
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: Designed to be the new halo reels and rods for Abu Garcia the Zenon reel and rods take the brand into enthusiast territory when it comes to features, performance, and price point.


Abu Garcia's new flagship spinning reel


Zenon Reels: Abu has been teasing the new Zenon spinning reel for years and the reality is the company has been working on them for nearly three seasons. The Zenon is designed to be the lightest spinning reel ever, and is the result of an asymmetric magnesium body, the removal of wasted space from conventional spinning reel design.


Pro Angler Matt Baty fishes the Zenon on Lake Toho


I had the opportunity to fish these reels with Andrew Wheeler, Director of Fresh Water Durables at Abu Garcia, and a few Pro Anglers a few days prior to ICAST on Lake Toho in Orlando. The hands on experience really helped formulate some early opinions on these new flagship products.


The Zenon reel is made of magnesium and features a tiny frame


The Zenon is clearly intended to be a halo reel for the brand and is built with top notch materials and a level of refinement higher than we have ever seen from the brand to date. The Zenon (Size 20) weighs just 4.9 ounces and is extremely smooth. It will be available in a Size 20 and Size 30, and additional features of the new reels include a dropshot keeper, friction-free main shaft support and a premium drag system that’s ultra smooth, especially for light line applications. When fishing with the reel all day it never felt heavy, and as you might expect it balanced out beautifully with the Zenon spinning rods.


Designed for finesse fishing but powerful enough for much more


In terms of cosmetics I love the way the new Zenon reel looks, but it doesn't look anything like the rest of the Abu lineup. The fact is that the Zenon is a sign of things to come for the brand, and anglers can expect to see future reels incorporate the design and features first seen on the Zenon. This reel represents a blueprint for the brand's future spinning lineup.


The Zenon rods look clean! Andrew Wheeler talks about the new Zenon rods when we are on the water here


For now the Zenon is a ultra-premium reel that is designed for enthusiasts and will retail fro $519.95 when it becomes available in the September time frame. My time spent with the reel on Toho was far too short, and honestly it will be hard to go back to some of Abu's other spinning reels after fishing the Zenon, it is that good. This reel feels incredibly refined and is a major leap for Abu spinning reels.


The rods have a stealthy look with matte black blanks and carbon fiber handles


Zenon Rods: In a surprise move Abu Garcia also introduced a series of brand new rods to match up with the Zenon spinning reels, but is designed to pair well with any lightweight magnesium reel. The Zenon rods are all about light weight performance, and are the lightest and most sensitive rods the company has ever made.


The new Zenon rod line includes four casting and three spinning models, all of which feature premium carbon blanks and the company’s exclusive Powerlux 1000 resin system. This combination of components produces a powerful, ultra-light and ultra-sensitive blank without increasing weight or blank diameters.


Many brands are going to carbon fiber grips and at ICAST we saw OEM manufacturers selling them as components. The Abu implementation features carbon handles with a soft touch coating for more grip


The rods have a very stealthy look and feel and come with ergonomic Abu-designed reel seats, a carbon fiber split-grip design optimized for weight and sensitivity, and titanium alloy guides with super-thin zirconia inserts so that each rod is properly balanced. The Zenon rods are light and weigh: Casting Models: 6-9 ML (4.0oz) • 7-0 M (4.1oz) • 7-0 MH (4.1oz) • 7-2 H (4.9oz) Spinning Models: 6-10 ML (3.3oz) • 7-0 M (3.4oz) • 7-0 MH (3.5oz).


The rods make use of Titanium guides with ultra thin zirconia inserts


Like JDM rods the Zenon rods do not come with a fixed hook hanger and instead come bundled with the Fuji hook hanger that can be positioned anywhere on the rod. Each Zenon rod comes backed with a 5 year warranty and will retail for $399.95 when they start shipping in September. These rods were a huge hit at ICAST and won Best of Show in the freshwater rods, marking the first time that Abu has taken Best of Show in this category.


Finishing up a day on the water with Pro Angler Josh Bertrand fishing the Zenon Reel and Rod and the Veritas Combo


Abu Garcia has been making a big push and has also refreshed their more affordable offerings, including bright white Veritas combos ($284.95) which won their respective category at ICAST. While not every angler will buy a Zenon reel or rod the company knows that it is flagship reels, and rods, like this that are brand-makers, and while we cannot wait to fish the enthusiast level combo together over and extended period we are also excited to see how these designs, and technologies, trickle down into the rest of the company's offerings in the coming few seasons.










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