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Reel Review

Fish an ultralight reel with big guns, the newly redesigned Quantum Xtralite

Date: 10/24/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.33

Redesigned for 2006 from the inside out, the new Quantum Xtralite spinning reel gives ultra-light aficionados something of which to look forward. Not only is the exterior more sleek and attractive, but the overall performance has been enhanced by upgrading interior components, solidifying construction, and making use of new technologies.

Quantum Xtralite (XPS05) Specifications

Type Ultralight Spinning
Line Capacity (lb/yds) 2/200, 4/100, 6/70
Gear Ratio 5.2:1
Weight 6.1 oz
Bearings 6
Additional Features Aluminum Long Stroke spool, Twist-Reducer line roller, Continuous Anti-Reverse, fully-machined handle, wood knob, spare aluminum spool
MSRP $39.95


Introducing the newly redesigned Quantum Xtralite XPS

Quantum has been producing the Xtralite series for at least five years, but their 2006 version of this reel really caught our attention at this year’s ICAST. The Xtralite XPS series is the pinnacle of Quantum’s ultralight spinning reels. Up for review is the XPS05 model, the second smallest size in the series (the XPS00 is the tiniest). The XPS05 features Quantum’s Long Stroke aluminum spool, audible clicking front drag, Twist-Reducer line roller, Continuous Anti-Reverse, and six bearings. Aside from those performing features the Xtralite reel is quite alluring. It has an attractive dual color tone of silver and gold that matches nicely, especially when complimenting the crank knob made of hardened maple wood.


The Xtralite sports a hardened maple wood handle knob


Complete Rig for Xltralite Tests




Quantum Xtralite (XPS05)

Lines 4 lb. Sufix Elite

Field Tests:
What better place to test out ultralight gear than in the Eastern Sierras during the Fall. The trees have started to turn into their beautiful golden Autumn colors and around the lakes and streams we have the opportunity to hook up with fish ranging from small wild trout to huge Alpers that were stocked in some of these pristine lakes. Spooled with four pound test Sufix Elite line we paired the XPS05 with a five foot TICA spinning rod that is rated ultralight in power and moderate in action.


Quantum's Long Stroke spool assists in distant casts


Casting: We tested the reel’s casting abilities while trekking around the Easter Sierras. When fishing streams at this time of the year the water is quite calm and most have pretty low water levels. Fishing in these conditions, at times, requires short, pinpoint casts to reach your target on the first shot or else these finicky trout will surely swim away in the ultra clear Sierra waters. With a stout five foot rod and four pound test line, the short casts were controllable and accurate even on slightly windy days when casting tiny Kastmasters, Panther Martins, and trout tubes. When we discovered some deeper pools and lakes, we switched tactics to open water fishing where distance was more desirable than pinpoint accuracy. With a 1/12 ounce gold Kastmaster we were able to achieve distances greater than 30 feet thanks to the Long Stroke spool design that’s very similar to ones seen on the Catalyst PTi spinning reels.


Two aluminum spools come with the Xtralite


Retrieve: We first set hands on the newly redesigned Xtralite at ICAST this past July and were quite impressed with what we felt as we turned the handle. Now we had the opportunity to actually put it into action on the water. Each crank of the fully machined handle, whether under the light load of a simple retrieve or the heavy load of fighting fish, was smooth thanks to the supportive 6 bearings loaded within the XPS reel.


JIP tests the retrieve at South Lake in the Eastern Sierras


Though the 6 bearings give this reel a gliding feel, other components also ensure a good feel to your hands. The Quantum Xtralite has a well balanced rotor as it spins at multiple speeds. This eliminates any unnecessary wobbles or even rubbing in other cheaply made reels. In addition, the wooden handle knob is a very nice refinement.


A balanced rotor is important to fluid retrieve


If you’re spoiled like I am by Quantum’s magnetic bail return mechanism (featured on their Catalyst PTi spinning reel), then the bail return on the Xtralite will seem harder for you to turn over. Initially it’ll feel harder but over time after a brief break in period it’ll become easier to trip. I suggest you flip the bail back over with your own hands for three reasons: one, you can eliminate the potential of having slack line wind up on your spool which can cause line twists especially when using light lures; two, you can control your casts better especially if you’re casting near trees. You have your hand in place to slow or stop the line from coming off the spool, then when ready just flip the bail; and three, the bail will always return right which will help reduce the wear and tear on the internal bail components.


The innards that power the spinning reel


This little reel also features a Continuous Anti-Reverse that stops the rotor immediately when you stop retrieving. Having this feature allows quick and solid hooksets unlike other spinning reels with simple position stops.

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