Many people go fishing when work is slow, but the founders of Avet topped that. When these talented machinists faced a downturn in the market for their fiber optic connectors they decided to revolutionize the fishing industry with the production of a small, powerful saltwater casting reel that has set the standard in performance since 2002.
The intention of Avet from the beginning was to get all the features you would need for fishing success in a small space while making sure that it remained reliable, low-maintenance and affordable. The word from anglers, from my personal experience and from customer reviews is that Avet has delivered.
The range of reels goes from the SX model, the smallest with the narrowest spool width and smallest drag weight capacity to the wider and more powerful JX and LX reels. Here I am going to focus on the SX line, but the trademark features of Avet reels such as the one-piece frame and the lever drag system can be found up and down the line.
The SX, although the smallest of the reels, was designed by its California manufacturers, to handle all fish common to Southern California salt water from calicos to albies to white sea bass. An angler there pulled in a 37 pound tuna with the smallest of the SX reels after a forty minute fight. Now, if you are going after fish like that, you should probably be using an LX reel, but it is good to know that these smaller reels have that kind of capacity.
Below I am going to give you a sense of the general features of the SX reels and then I will go through some of the special features that are available to you.
Common Features of the SX Reels
The Lever Drag System
This is a particular innovation of Avet that makes these reels popular. The drag lever allows you to set the tension of the line at the position you want when a strike occurs. You can then move the lever back and forth all you want as your needs demand, but then you can immediately get back to the original drag setting by placing the lever in strike position. This offers a big advantage over the traditional star drags, because once you move them, it is very difficult to find that original setting again.
In terms of durability, the lever drag system also outperforms the traditional star drags. Consistent with the Avet philosophy, these reels have fewer small parts and are easier to maintain. Also, the drag system works in direct contact with the spool and this makes the drag smoother and more consistent. It applies one-sixth the amount of pressure on the drag washers that the star drag applies. The bottom line? Longer life, less wear and less maintenance.
What allows the Avet reels to have such strength in a small size is that they have a one-piece frame (fewer parts, remember?) machined from a chunk of the same aluminum used to build ships. There is no graphite used in the construction. The frame is then anodized to prevent corrosion as these reels were designed for salt water. Bearings and gears are stainless steel.
Large Line Capacity Spool
The spools are manufactured from the marine aluminum as well, which makes them light and durable. In terms of capacity, the SX reels can go as high as 220 yards of 20 lb. monofilament. Smooth retrieval is determined to a large extent by the number of ball bearings in the reel. Each SX spool rests on a minimum of 8 stainless steel ball bearings, which is near the upper limit that you’re going to get in any reel.
The Avedrag Dry Drag System
All SX reels feature carbon fiber composite drag plates, the same material that is used in the brake pads of jet planes. The drag plates are oversized (nearly the diameter of the spool) to provide the maximum surface area to provide a smooth powerful drag with minimal heat build-up and near zero wear. They never have to be maintained either, like felt washers that need to be periodically oiled. What the reels do require is that you let them soak in fresh water after you are done fishing on the salty seas. The only lubrication the reel requires is for the outside surface to prevent corrosion.
Options Within the SX Line
SX reels or SXJ reels
To get the basic difference between these reels, think “J” is for jigging, but don’t go too far with it. The SXJ’s have a thinner spool, which means that getting the line back on the spool with your thumb when your jigging will be less of a chore. Because the spool is narrower, they hold less line. Other than that, they are the same reel. Although the SXJ’s are designed to facilitate jigging, they perform very well in a wide range of roles. If you never jig, you can get a slightly stronger reel that will hold more line with the SX option. If you jig often and want a reel that makes that operation go more smoothly, go with the SXJ.
Single Speed or Two Speed Gear Ratio
Gear ratio is a measure of how many times the spool will turn with one full revolution of the handle. This determines how quickly you are letting out line. A 4:1 ratio is on the slow side and a 6:1 ratio is fast. A lower ratio gives you more leverage in hauling in big fish. It is also better when using heavier lures or bait and fishing in deep water. A higher ratio is better in mid-depth fishing while using lighter lures and baits. Single speed Avet reels have gear ratios set squarely in the middle of the spectrum at 5.3:1. Any SX or SXJ that is labeled “6/4” is a two-speed reel. There is a switch that allows you to operate at either 6.3:1 or 3.8:1. So if the fish you are going for and the approach you are using are variable, this is a convenient feature that eliminates the necessity of buying two different reels.
M.C. Cast Control System
If a reel has an “mc” in the label, it has the magic cast feature. This is a truly ingenious innovation that uses a magnet to create a specified amount of drag as you release line to prevent backlash and knotted birds’ nests of line. These reels are called “thumbless” because the magnet takes the place of your thumb to control the flow of the released line. There is a dial on the side of the spool that sets the level of magnetic pull you want. Generally, fishermen start at “5” and work their way down. When you start to see loose line around the spool, work your way up a notch. If you are switching from a spinning reel to a casting reel, these are great ones to begin with. They make the technique easier to learn and they make the work of casting smoother for experienced fishermen as well. Another advantage of this feature is that unlike mechanical anti-backlash devices, nothing touches the spool! This means again less wear and tear and more durability.
Special Raptor High End Features
The Raptor is the top-of-the line SX model. Until this most recent release of Avet reels, it was only available as an SXJ, but now there is an SX Raptor as well. It has the M.C. System, and an additional ball bearing for smoothness under greater stress, but its distinguishing feature is that the drag system has been re-engineered with Avet’s patented “Dual Direct Drive Full Brake System,” which means that they can withstand almost twice as much pressure. Whereas other SX reels are rated 9 lbs. maximum at strike and 14 lbs. at full, the Raptor is rated 17 lbs. at strike and 26 lbs. at full. They are made for higher line classes and drag settings to take advantage of super braid lines while going after bigger fish. The drag curve will be most effective at around 40 to 50 lb. line and as low as 25 lb. test. In other words, the Raptor leaves off at about where you would want to max out with a standard SX reel (20 to 25 lb. test).
Line Class: 10 to 25 lb. test (The Raptor20 to 50 lb. test)
Bearing Count: 8 (The Raptor has 9)
Max Drag at Strike: 9 lbs. (The Raptor 17 lbs.)
Max Drag at Full: 14 lbs. (The Raptor 26 lbs.)
Gear Ratio: 5.3:1 (Dual speeds – 6.3:1 and 3.8:1)
Weight: 12 to 15 ounces
Spool Width: 1 and 1/8 inches to 1 and 1/2 inches
Reel Diameter: 2 and 3/8 inches
Anti – Reverse: Silent Dog and gear anti-reverse system
When these reels came out in 2002, they blew away the competition and became the industry front runner. Even though Avet leadership admits they got a little sleepy after their success and many of their innovations were no longer unique to Avet, they have woken up and have a new line where older upgrades are now common features while they continue to push the envelope with just how much you can get out of these small durable reels.