(Editor note: For archival reasons I have republished this review from my main buyer’s guide. The MGXtreme is now difficult to find retail )
This is the flagship freshwater spinning reel from Abu Garcia.
It does not come cheap with a recommended retail price of over $400. This makes it nearly doublethe price of excellent performing reels such as the Shimano Stradic or Vanford.
Facing such stiff competition, the MGXtreme has to be special to justify its price tag.
Let’s find out.
My first impression after handling the MGXtreme is that it feels light, very light. The 20 size weighs in at only 5.6 oz. This is even lighter than the featherweight Daiwa Exist.
This extreme lightweight is thanks to the frame being constructed from a combination of carbon fiber and magnesium alloy.
Smoothness and Performance
It feels silky smooth, but this is the case for most spinning reels and is almost a guarantee for any reel costing over $100.
I know many readers would like to compare it against the likes of the Daiwa Exist or the Shimano Stella. Well, there is not much in it, and under normal fishing conditions, I doubt anyone can really tell the difference.
When playing with the reels at home, it does seem to have slightly more resistance than the two flagships.
When spending $400 on a reel, I expect close to perfection. Abu has fallen somewhat short in this area, and the line lay is not really any better than their more affordable reels.
The line lay seems rather average to me and I could see line memory and overall performance suffering with time. I will say Shimano, Daiwa and even Penn has them beaten in this area.
It comes with a carbon fibre composite drag which is fine.
It comes with plenty of accessories including a spare spool.
The MGXtreme comes with a spare spool (which is shallower than the main spool, making it a good option when fishing with braid). I can remember when a spare spool was the norm, now it is a rarity. I really must applaud Abu Garcia for including one.
It also comes with several different handle options, a cork knob and a foam handle. Which one is better is entirely down to personal preference.
Durability and longevity
It is built extremely lightweight.
Firstly, I personally will not use this reel anywhere near saltwater. I can not trust an Abu Garcia magnesium reel anywhere near the sea.
The reel features aluminium gears, that are extremely lightweight but are a bit softer than other gear materials. These softer materials might limit the longevity after years of hard fishing.
So how does it compare?
Well, it is the best spinning reel that Abu Garcia makes. It is extremely lightweight and feels nice in the hands. I am certain most freshwater fishermen will not be disappointed in it.
If you are a fan of Abu Garcia, and are after a premium reel. Then go for it.
For everyone else. At full retail, this is a tough sell. It is several hundred dollars more than a Shimano Vanford that is simply a better performing reel.
Although It does come with plenty of customization options including a spare spool, and extra handle knobs which helps justify the price difference.
If you have a use for both spools and can find it discounted I can recommend it.
To see my most recommended ultralight spinning reels check my guide here.