A New Player in the High End Spinning Reel Market -
Abu Garcia's Lightweight Zenon
Total Score: 8.41 + EDITOR'S CHOICE
Introduction: Initially announced during ICAST 2020 with a planned roll out during the Fall of that same year, Abu Garcia's new flagship spinning reel, the Zenon finally made its debut in time for the 2022 season. Following in the footsteps of the surprising MGTXtreme20 we fished three years ago, the Zenon
crosses the $500 threshold into what we consider enthusiast, or even halo reel, territory. Does the Zenon have what it takes to compete in that tier of product? Let's take a closer look.
Abu Garcia Zenon SP20 Specifications
|Line Capacity - Rated
8lb / 130yds
|Line Capacity - Spool Volume
|Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
25 - 32
27.5 - 32
||10SS + 1RB
|Bearings per Knob
|Line Roller Bearings
||Made in China
The Zenon s now the flagship spinning reel for the Abu Garcia
The Zenon spinning reel is available in two sizes, 20 and 30 which loosely
correlates to the 2000 and 3000 sizes of other manufacturers. This reel looks
different than any other spinning reel in the existing Abu Garcia lineup. Gone
is the signature Abu Garcia spinning frame and instead the Zenon features a more
squared off frame that looks much more compact.
Like so many other
products that are geared towards the high-end enthusiast audience the Zenon puts
exotic materials on full display including magnesium in the one-piece frame and
carbon fiber in the handle and drag system.
Introducing the Zenon SP20 spinning reel
Abu Garcia designed the Zenon to be not only the
most high-end and refined spinning reel in their lineup but also to set a new
benchmark in low-weight, The smaller SP20 is officially listed at 4.9lbs and the
SP30 is 5.4lbs., which is extremely light. For comparison the Daiwa Exist 2000
weighs 5.3oz. and the Shimano FK 1000 weighs 5.8oz., and the larger Stella FK
2500 weighs 7.4 ounces. This is a very light reel.
No giant, but nevertheless the
first fish we caught on the Zenon, a Lake Toho dink
Real World Tests:
We have been fishing the Zenon reels for over a year both in Florida at Lake
Toho with a number of Abu Garcia's prostaff and on our home water of the
California Delta and surrounding lakes.
Our test subject is the SP20 which comes in a hard nylon case similar to that
of the MGXtreme which it essentially replaces. Within that case are two spool
options - both metal - a shallow spool for light line applications, and a deeper
spool with slightly more capacity for larger diameter lines.
Cal casting the Zenon on our home water of the California Delta
The first thing that struck
us as we inspected the Zenon SP20 is just how light it feels in hand. Indeed, a trip to the scale revealed a weight of five point three (5.3 ounces). Not quite as light as the specified four point nine ounces (4.9), but still super light for a reel of any configuration be it casting or spinning. Abu Garcia achieves this with a new frame design (something they refer to as asymmetric) built from magnesium. Next, the rotor is built with C6 carbon
which is designed to minimize startup inertia. Everything else from the handle, to the knob is carefully conceived and executed to reduce weight while maintaining rigidity. The reel
features aggressive porting and hollowing out wherever possible in an effort to reduce weight
and achieve better balance.
look at the Zenon with the spool in the lower position
In Florida we fished the reel
with Spiderwire and fluorocarbon leader and on our home water we spooled
the reel with a base layer of
ten pound (10lb) Soft Steel Eminent Braid topped with a leader of
six pound (6lb) Soft Steel Instinct Fluorocarbon (connected with a Uni to Uni knot).
We fished the Zenon reel with the company's new Zenon rods and because it is so
light we decided to test it in a travel configuration with the new
Megabass Triza F0-68XSTZ Hibali.
Notice how far the spool extends during the line lay
Fishing the Zenon coast to coast...