Zenon MG-LTX
Craig Raleigh

Gear Review: Abu Garcia Zenon MG-LTX Low Profile Reel

There's a never-ending vastness to all the angling gear that's available these days, but sometimes the simplest things get lost in the confusion. It's easy to take hooks, lines, sinkers, and other items for granted when a lot of the attention goes to our favorite rods and reels. At this point in fishing history, we are alternately blessed and inundated with some of the best gear ever manufactured, but I like to call it a "luxury problem."

Reel builders such as Abu Garcia are making quality fishing gear that is meant to last for many years. It's not often we get this excited when seeing new products show up on our radar, but the Zenon MG-LTX is one of them. It's got a great minimalist profile, it's lightweight, and you will be pleased with its effectiveness. I know I am.

Brand New from Abu Garcia

It seems like I've always known about Abu Garcia, but their history goes back much farther than I realized. In 1921, the AB Urfabriken company was founded as a watch factory in Svängsta, Sweden, and by 1941 it had introduced its first fishing reel—the ABU Record—as the start of something that would last for many years. Then the iconic Ambassadeur fishing reel was unveiled at the New York World's Fair in 1954. In 1965, Abu debuted the Cardinal spinning reel, and I bought one before I was out of high school. It wasn't until 1984 that the company name was changed from ABU to Abu Garcia, when a U.S. distributor called Garcia was combined with ABU.

Abu Garcia now offers multiple baitcasting reels and spinning reels, and even markets some great spincasting reels for the younger generation of anglers. But it is the new Zenon MG-LTX that is now on everyone's wish list.

Quick Look at the Zenon Low Profile Reel Collection

The new lineup includes the X Low Profile, Max 4 Low Profile, MG-X Low Profile, and the top-of-the-line MG-LTX, all with the innovative Carbon Matrix drag system that can really take on big fish. The Max 4, MG-X, and MG-LTX reels come with a minimum of eight stainless steel ball bearings; the MG-X has a whopping 10!

These are the newest generation of low-profile, lightweight, aluminum constructed fishing reels that are easy to use and give the angler the stopping power to turn big fish in a heartbeat. Hats off to whoever came up with the instant anti-reverse system that so many reels today use, because it's as good as it gets.

Using the Zenon MG-LTX

There are times I stand in front of my rod carrier and stare at it, because I just can't decide what it is that I want to grab. I decided to combine the Abu Garcia reel with a Fenwick Elite Series MH action casting rod, and I really like the result. That may be counterintuitive, since the MG-LTX is made for finesse fishing; but with such lightweight strength in your hands at the moment of truth, hook setting became a lot easier.

I also tried this new reel from Abu Garcia on an older-model 7' Cabela's HML Series MF rod, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked in union with an aged casting rod. In fact, it was better suited to the finesse-style rod. It goes to show that for those of us with a larger rod collection, we have options for these newer reels with all of today's functionality.

The Zenon MG-LTX is made to take a spool full of 20-pound braided line to the tune of 145 yards, or mono/fluorocarbon line at the rate of 135 yards of 10-pound test. It's easy to adjust with the familiar centrifugal star drag system. At just 4.6 ounces, it's so light you'll have to keep looking down to make sure that it's still there.

The only real downside to the Zenon MG-LTX is that it is a bit pricey at $549.95, but it is also a reel that, if taken care of, will last you a long time. Also, I was a bit surprised at the level of packaging, which I can understand for an expensive reel but still seemed excessive and a bit wasteful.

Those are small complaints, and overall this is a great reel that gave me no issues and already helped me catch some fish. Abu Garcia just keeps on delivering quality gear, and I'm honored to get to try it out and see for myself how well it works. If you're serious about your baitcasting, you won't be disappointed in the Zenon Low Profile Series of reels.

Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage or on Facebook and YouTube.