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BFS Reel Review


ARK Fishing's Intriguing and Affordable Gravity BFS (continued)

Power: Of course, ARK's Gravity BFS is not a reel you're going to leverage for any kind of technique that requires a powerful reel, but the reel is equipped with a nice, long handle that gives you plenty of leverage when trying to reel a fish in on thin diameter line. Additionally, the manufacturer is considering adding a lower retrieve ratio option to the lineup to better support moving bait presentations. Nevertheless, the term "power" is the antithesis of finesse fishing and simply not a priority in a BFS reel.

Audible drag is composed of a single, carbon matrix disc

Drag: What is a priority, however, is a good drag. Not one with maximum stopping power, but rather, one that performs as drags were originally intended - to provide smooth and consistent resistance to a fish attempting to run. ARK's Gravity BFS delivers in this regard too. I found the drag (audible by the way) to be a reliable deterrent to the handful of bass attempting to escape my grasp and a potential photo op.

Spool weight is a mere 5.6 grams

The reel features a bearing in the frame where the pinion meets the spool

Knob shape is very slim and comfortable

Design & Ergonomics: I didn't do a direct comparison, but as far as I could tell, the Gravity BFS shares the same overall shape and ergonomics as its predecessors, the G3, G5, and G7 reels. The reel's 90mm carbon handle is a nice touch and the double bearing supported knobs are more than comfortable to grasp. The brake dial is easily accessible and simple to adjust. I have zero complaints about the design and comfort of this reel.

Each handle knob is supported by two bearings

Peel Weight Spool Test (Lined w/ Spro Finesse Braid PE #0.8)

Spool Wt (grams)
Load (grams)
ARK Fishing
Gravity BFS


Shallow Spool AVG

Price & Applications: Anglers looking for an affordable option as an introduction to the world of BFS fishing will be happy to know ARK Fishing retails their Gravity BFS at just $149.99. That makes it among the most affordable BFS reels (if not the most affordable) out there. Given its performance, that makes this reel quite the value. Speaking of performance, remember that Shallow Spool Challenge article? This reel was one of the inspirations behind the test and it performed quite well further reinforcing my positive experience out on the water.

ARK Fishing's Gravity BFS retails for just $149


ARK Fishing Intl Gravity BFS Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Feels like a solid little reel 8
Performance ARK's traditional braking system translates well for BFS, so if you're familiar with the G5 and G7, you'll feel right at home with this reel. Casts well. 8
Price Excellent price point for those looking to get started with a finesse casting reel 8
Features Not a "me too" brake system, easy startup spool, carbon handle 8
Design (Ergonomics) Nice long handle, comfortable knobs, very light overall 8
Application Very well suited for the purpose it was built - finesse applications! 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:


+ Easy Startup Spool - Not the lightest BFS reel (But still very respectable)
+ Carbon Handle - Hard pressed to find any real negatives with this reel at this pricepoint. It could use a matching rod option from ARK
+ Audible Drag  
+ 2 bearings per knob  
+ Very light overall  
+Price point  

If you're looking for an affordable reel that performs like a BFS reel should, you'd be hard pressed to find one that makes more sense than ARK Fishing's Gravity BFS

Conclusion: As I sat here finishing up the review and going through the reel's features like the carbon handle, bearing supported knobs, audible drag, 5.4oz overall weight, the retail price I expected to see for the reel continued to climb. In the end, I figured something in the neighborhood of $250 would be right given everything the reel comes with and its performance out on the water. When I looked the reel up at TackleWarehouse and discovered it, in fact, retailed for only $149, I was surprised but not totally surprised. ARK Fishing International is not only aggressive in their goal of providing discerning anglers with sensible alternatives to the status quo, they do so at prices that are difficult to dismiss. No matter where you stand in the BFS game, new, experienced, etc., if you're looking for an affordable reel that performs like a BFS reel should, you'd be hard pressed to find one that makes more sense than ARK Fishing's Gravity BFS.


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