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Reel Review


Defying the Status Quo : ARK Fishing Creates Their Own Gravity Baitcasters (continued)


Power: Why bring up the 5.4:1 option? Well, that's the one you're going to want if you're looking for pure cranking torque from the ARK's G7 platform. Having said that, the 7.1:1 reel I fished performed perfectly fine for me with a variety of baits and never once felt overburdened during retrieve. Neither did it lock up on me when battling a catch. The fact the reel is offered in so many retrieve ratio options allows you to custom tailor your choice in reel to intended technique with the reassurance that if you want something more general purpose like the 7.1:1 or 6.4:1, the G7 can handle it.

The main gear is made of a brass alloy for durability

Drag: ARK's G7 low profile casting reel comes with a maximum rated drag of fourteen pounds (14lbs). If you're a drag pressure stat chaser, this is on the low to middle end compared to the competition and only matters if you regularly fish with your drag locked down. I, on the other hand, adjust my drag to point where it pulls out with certain amount of pressure all dependent upon the line I'm using and what I have tied on as my bait. What I seek in a drag, rather than maximum stopping power, is smooth and consistent performance so I can tire the fish out a bit before landing. For me, landing a fish while it's still hot inevitably ends in a scenario where I have hooks in my hand, fish slime all over my tackle, or any number of other avoidable disasters.

Pretty standard drag stack by today's standards

Just the same, towards that higher end of adjustment, with my 20lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader, I found the G7's drag plenty stubborn. At lower settings it pulls out smooth with no audible alarm during the pull. Interesting that the prototypes I had fished had an audible alarm, but I guess the manufacturer decided to take that feature out on the final production models.

The prototype on yet another ARK rod, their updated Viper

Design & Ergonomics: For established manufacturers let alone those just starting out in the market segment, ergonomics for low profile casting reel can be tricky, but ARK Fishing does a very good job with the shape of their Gravity line. It is a very comfortable profile to cast and palm with all three platforms sharing the same design. Differences between the three (G3, G5, G7) include the braking system, bearing count, and handle and knob material (a more detailed look at these differences can be found in our preview article from July of 2022). Weights are almost identical across all three platforms.

The dragstar has a classic, fighting style shape

The levelwind wormgear is supported by a bearing on one side and a bushing on the other

As the top model in the group, the G7 comes with all the micro-click adjustments, a very nice, ninety millimeter (90mm) long handle with smallish, thin, and very comfortable knobs made of a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). It's a rubber like compound that I found extremely comfortable to grip. Of course, beneath those comfortable knobs are two bearings of support (each), so the knobs spin virtually friction free. It's a very well thought out reel with the only minor bit of difficulty I found was in adjusting the dial for the casting brakes. The dial is recessed and can be tricky to adjust. Additionally, the numbers are difficult for these aging eyes to see.

The pinion is supported by a bearing in the frame and another in the sideplate beneath the cast control cap

Price & Applications: Retail on ARK Fishing's G7 reel is just under $240. The entry level G3 retails for $130 and the middle child G5 is set at $180. Similar to their fishing rods, ARK prices their product to be competitive rather than exclusive.

Retail on ARK Fishing's G7 reel is just under $240

With four different, available retrieve ratios, the only limiting factor with the G7 is line capacity and for that, a shallow spool option is said to be in the works. I wonder if there might be a deeper spool version so I can more easily use this reel for big baits. Nevertheless, the options for bass fishing applications are pretty wide open with the G7 platform.


ARK Fishing Gravity G7 Casting Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Surprisingly well made and solid 8
Performance Very versatile brake platform, good casting performance, smooth drag 8
Price Competitively priced, but there is a lot of existing competition out there with very good reels at the $200-$250 dollar price point. Ark is entering a very competitive market and it may take a lot to get non-Ark customers to consider another reel brand 7
Features High on the bearing count, ARK's own brake system, aluminum frame, brass gears 8
Design (Ergonomics) Very comfortable profile, carbon handle, and nice knobs 8
Application With 4 available retrieve ratios, the G7 can support a host of techniques 9

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:


+ Very comfortable shape and profile - Brake adjustment dial is difficult to adjust and the numbers are difficult to read
+ A new, somewhat unique braking system - Spool is just a hair shallow for heavier lines, but perfect if you play the braid to leader game
+ Durable brass guts  
+ Carbon handle and comfortable knobs  
+ 4 available retrieve ratios in both left and right hand!  

From the late model prototype to the official production model, ARK's Gravity G7 caught me a little off guard with how solidly it performed

Conclusion: I've handled quite a number of different fishing reels since my initiation into the ranks of TackleTour staff back in 2004. So many, that when a new player comes across my deck, I can get a little jaded. I still fish everything with an open mind, but some products don't excite me to fish as much as they might have in the past. When I received the late model prototype reel samples from ARK Fishing, I had this "here we go again" thought going through my head. Just another small variant from a large scale OEM shop. But when I opened up that non-handle sideplate and saw the non-cookie cutter braking system, all that doubt just faded away. It appeared this reel was not part of the status quo afterall.


Make no mistake about it, the G7 is good enough to stand on its own on any brand of rod you choose to pair with it


In the weeks and months that followed, I was actually surprised by the reel's very solid performance. When the production model arrived, the only thing that felt different about the reel was the handle and the fact that audible drag was gone. ARK Fishing has done a very good job delivering a more than competent reel platform to compliment their robust fishing rod catalog. But make no mistake about it, the G7 is good enough to stand on its own on any brand of rod you choose to pair with it.


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