By BassFan Staff
Sometimes less is more. That's the premise behind Quantum’s new EXO line – short for Exoskeletal Design.
Engineers at Quantum figured out where the load-bearing areas are on a reel and have made sure those areas are constructed with aluminum alloy to provide strength. The remaining body of the reel is composed of a composite material that's 50% lighter than aluminum. To reduce the weight even more, Quantum included both a ported drive gear and spool.
We tested the EX100HPT baitcasting model, 7.3:1 gear ratio, which weighs in at 5.9 ounces.
While the weight – or lack thereof – is the biggest draw to this reel, we did find other useful features. First, just by taking it out of the box, the look of this reel is mean … and in a good way. The lines, the colors, the flash are all reminiscent of a sports car. The reel is full-size capacity, taking up to 185 yards of 30-pound mono, yet fits very well in the palm of the hand. One of the best features for those who like to fish all day are the comfortable felt handles.
When it was time for the on-the-water trial, we went to a lake where the largemouths were staging under docks in the backs of coves, getting ready for their annual spawning ritual. Conditions were ideal for skipping a jig under a dock.
Removing the side plate to access the centrifugal brake settings was easy. Instead of magnets that are popped in or out to adjust the tension, the EXO features a red “disc," which is a micro-version of Quantum’s ACS cast control.
A quick look at the owner's manual revealed that to adjust the centrifugal brakes all one has to do is turn the internal cast control to increase or decrease the pressure. With this setup, the most precise changes can be made with excellent accuracy.
When skipping a jig with a baitcaster, having precise settings is key to preventing backlashes, yet allowing enough freedom for the lure to skip effortlessly. It’s a fine line, and the EXO walks it perfectly.
The external tension knob is also adjustable to a precise level and each adjustment is heard with a “click," so the angler can easily tell how much the knob is being adjusted. With these precision tunings, the EXO provides smooth casting and excellent distance. On this particular outing, having the EXO resulted in longer skips under the docks, reaching places most anglers can’t, which was certainly a big benefit. And with the lightweight reel, even the most finicky bites were felt.
We could go on about the construction and components of the EXO, but visiting the Quantum website will educate anyone. It's definitely worth a visit during those slow work days. There's even a video of a full-size pickup driving over the EXO, but we were too scared to try it ourselves.
The EXO baitcasting reel comes in three models with different gear ratios: 5.3:1, 6.6:1, and 7.3:1. It retails for $249.99.
Quantum has also introduced the EXO in a spinning version, along with an EXO line of rods. For more, visit QuantumFishing.com.