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Reel Review


Abu Garcia Raises the Bar in Their Quest for Speed : Revo5 RKT (continued)

Retrieve continued: Another area of interest for me on this reel was the handle design. With swept handles all the rage, the Revo5 Rocket actually comes with a straight handle (made of carbon fiber). Aside from the more aggressive appearance, there's actually some ergonomic reasoning behind the swept handle design. It moves the knobs closer to the reel for better balance. This also allows you to complete your reeling motion in a more compact manner reducing wobble. The disadvantages are for those with larger hands, that proximity of the hands closer to the reel can lead to banging your fingers on various parts of the reel as you retrieve.

Not to say the handle is without an aggressive swept shape

In real world applications, for me, I've never felt a benefit of the swept handle design. In fact, I thought it was a bit odd when I first saw it, but it quickly grew on me. I find it amusing now that a straight handle looks really out of place. For the Revo5 Rocket, I get kind of a throwback, old school vibe with the handle. I like it, but that vibe is mitigated for the fact the drag star is still swept.

What I really appreciate is how thin the knobs are

While that inconsistency leaves me a little neutral on that handle and dragstar combo, what I really like are the Rocket's new knobs. They look a bit out of scale because they're so large, but they are also thin making them easier and more comfortable to grasp. The material is a rubberized PVC compound that is also more comfortable than the previous generation EVA material. I find these new knobs to be a big improvement.

For as fast as its gear ratio is, the Revo5 Rocket has better than expected torque thanks in part to that oversized gear

Power: The issue, of course, with any reel featuring a gear ratio equal to or greater than 8.0:1 or so, is they commonly lack torque. They're fine for a lot of general purpose work, but fishing any lures that have a degree of resistance in the water can be challenging. In other words, super fast reels are not the best choice for something like deep cranking. Abu Garcia mitigates this somewhat with an oversized gear, but the reel still struggles with a bait like Zander's all time favorite deep diving crank, the good old Norman DD22.

Bearings where you want them and then some

However, I had no issues pulling some medium and shallow running cranks with the new Revo5 Rocket, so the Revo5 Rocket is actually better than some super high speed reels I've fished in the past and given it is the fastest, that's saying something. Otherwise, its ability to quickly pick up line really helps with vertical bait presentations where slack line can mean a missed opportunity.

Abu Garcia's PowerStack Carbon Drag is an iconic feature

Drag: Another area where faster reels have difficulty is with maximum drag. The Revo5 Rocket has the same exact drag stack as the previously reviewed Revo5 SX, yet instead of a maximum rating of 25lbs, the Revo5 Rocket's drag is rated at a maximum pressure of 18. Personally, that's still more than enough for the way I fish, and as I've stated many times before, what concerns me with any reel's drag is how smooth (free from studder) and reliable it performs as line is being pulled out. Abu Garcia has been delivering on that requirement for some time now.

Rated at up to 18lbs of max pressure on the Revo5 Rocket

Design & Ergonomics: We've covered the purpose behind Abu Garcia's asymmetrical top plate on the generation 5 Revo reels, so no real need to get into that again. Suffice it to say, however you feel about the look, the overall shape and profile of these reels is very comfortable in hand. What I enjoy about the Rocket, specifically, is the color scheme. Only a handful of established reel manufacturers these days are not afraid to use color in their reels and I get it - color is such a personal choice. It's why, when selling a house, you paint all the rooms inside some variation of white. Neutral colors are easier to sell because they appeal to the masses. Paint one room in a 20 bedroom house the wrong shade of green, and your list of potential offers shrinks. Similarly, have the wrong highlight color on a fishing reel, let alone an entire reel, and your market share could plummet.

It's all about that asymmetrical front end for Revo5

On the flip side, many actually bemoan neutral colors on casting reels because they are not very inspiring, while others find healthy discourse in debating shades of gray (present company included). The Revo5 Rocket defies all of that with a very aggressive, red color scheme that is complimented perfectly with that carbon handle. The only real issue with this reel is finding a rod worthy of its flamboyance.

But for the Rocket, it's also about that bright red color

Price & Applications: With the promotion of the former MGX and Premier models to the Zenon platform, priced at $329.95, Rocket becomes the most expensive Revo. With fishing rods, you often pay a disproportionate amount more to go lighter. With reels, like cars, you pay that premium for speed and fancy parts. If you have the need for this kind of speed, the Revo5 Rocket is one of only a couple reels, at the moment, with a 10 point something rate of retrieve. With testing responsibilities out of the way, when I began to actually fish the reel, I found the Revo5 Rocket great with vertical bait presentations where I could pick up any slack in my line very quickly.

With reels, like sports cars, you pay a premium for speed and carbon fiber components


Abu Garcia Revo5 Rocket Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality It's funny how with each new update of the Revo line, the previous generation immediately looks dated. The Revo5 Rocket vs the Revo4 is quite the jump. 9
Performance Equipped with a more refined braking system, the Revo5 Rocket is a standard above the Revo4 9
Price The fanciest and most expensive Revo, but not outrageously expensive 7
Features The only 10 point something retrieve ratio reel out there - for now at least 8
Design (Ergonomics) Aggressive styling, comfortable shape and size, comfortable knobs 9
Application Just about any application where maximum time in contact with your lure is paramount 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ More refined braking system than previous generations - Not a reel you would choose to use with lures with a lot of resistance in the water
+ Very comfortable size and shape  
+ Handle and knobs are spot on  

It surprises me how the new version of a reel can instantly make the previous version feel dated. Abu Garcia's Revo5 Rocket achieves that feat easily, launching the platform to another level

Conclusion: As I finish up this article, with both the Revo4 and Revo5 Rockets sitting in front of me, I'm surprised how the new version instantly makes the previous version feel dated. That is the goal with the refresh of any product, but with a fishing reel, I find it astonishing when that goal is met in such a resounding way. The true difference, of course, is in the braking systems, but beyond that, the shape, profile, and overall vibe of the new Revo5 is just better. As if this design is really going to eat up some market share. Only time will tell. Personally, there's always a bit of melancholy when I complete the review on a product that resonates with me - and the Revo5 Rocket resonates. The good news is, I'm not done with my dive into Revo5. There are still others to fish, test, and validate, so time to get back to work!


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