Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Few Upgrades on an Abu Garcia Revo Inshore

This reel is a must have for all lovers of low-profile reels for Saltwater fishing. Absolutely fantastic in terms of corrosion resistance. This is the type of reel that you can use in Salt repeatedly and would not worry about rinsing it. Casting distance is not as good as a Curado but it's trouble-free. Backlash is minimal. The drag, when new, is fantastic.

But, it is not bulletproof and needs to be upgraded in time. For my reel, I made some modifications that I would like to share. First is the replacement of Drag Star and clicker. The second is the replacement of the Drag washers. Third, is the addition of 4 ball bearings in the paddles. The last one, which I failed to do, is the replacement of the stock spool bearings with Ceramic ABEC5 or ABEC7 bearings.

Here are the internals:

Drag washers were upgraded to Brand New Smoothdrag Carbontex.

Stock drag washers of all Revo reels are also made of Carbon fiber but the material that the manufacturer used is inferior compared to Smoothdrag. They do not last long. After a year or so, they will flatten and lose drag strength. In addition, only the three main washers are carbon the washer under the main gear is made of felt paper.

Stock Drag Washers:

Smoothdrag Carbontex

Carbontex can be ordered from Here you can see the fiber mesh of Carbontex. The fibers are obviously thicker, stronger, and smoother.

In addition to the three main washers, you will get a thick Carbontex washer that will replace the felt washer under the main gear.

Drag star and clicker were replaced.

Because the stock washers of the Revo series will wear down fast, you will lose drag as you use the reel especially if the reel is used on larger fish. The tendency is to tighten the star further. Unfortunately, the stock drag star is made of aluminum. In the end the threads will strip.

Fortunately, I found a better replacement. The star drag from Abu Garcia Silvermax. You can see the insert is sturdier. The clicker was from Silvermax as well. Because the Drag Star of Silvermax is a bit taller, you will need the clicker assembly from Silvermax to get a perfect fit. You can also use the stock Inshore clicker but your Drag Star will sit a bit higher.

Stock Drag Star:

Bushing on the Handle Paddles Replaced with Ball Bearings

There are four bushings on the paddles of the handle. You can replace them with stainless steel ball bearings. The size is OD=8mm, ID=4mm, and 3mm thick. After replacing, the handle will be as smooth as a Revo STX or SX. But, you need to make sure that they are Stainless steel. Otherwise, they will rust when exposed to Saltwater. I did replace my paddle bushings with ball bearings and it was soooo smooth. Unfortunately, the ones I got were not Stainless Steel bearings but rather the Chrome Steel type. After a few outings in Saltwater, they corroded so I needed to take them out and return the bushings.

Ceramic Bearings on the Spool

Now, if you want to improve the casting distance, you might want to try upgrading them to Ceramic ABEC5 or ABEC7 bearings. Here are the dimensions:

ID 3mm x OD 10mm x Width 4mm
ID 5mm x OD 11mm x Width 4mm

You can order them from or or ebay. After the upgrade, it can outcast a stock Curado, that's for sure.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rod Review: St. Croix Premier PC60MHF

I forgot to add this when I did a review of the rods that I used last February.

I had this rod for less than a year before I sold it. This was my first relatively expensive rod (more than $100). The rod was very light and very strong. The odd thing about this rod is that somehow it has fewer guides compared to other similar length rods like Shimano Clarus. I am not sure if this is negative or not. It didn't appear to have a consequence in performance whatsoever. It just looked awkward when it bends --- the line gets too close to the blank.

The other not so desirable part of the rod is the length of the butt. I personally think that it is a bit too short. A rating of 10-20lb should have a longer butt section than what it has. When fighting a big hard running fish, you'll struggle to get a grip from the butt. When casting double handed, you'll struggle to grip the end section of the butt. If you are used to single-hand casting, it wouldn't be a problem.

Still, it is strong and light. I can recommend the St. Croix Premier Casting rod especially if short butt sections is not an issue. Personally, I would prefer the PC66MHF -- the 6'6" casting rod. Same specs but with a longer butt section.

The biggest I caught using this rod is a 3.5kg Lady Fish. Lady fishes can run really long and fast especially on the first few minutes of the fight. After a long run, it also has a tendency to jump more than once. The rod handled the fish extremely well. It absorbed the runs and multiple jumps without pulling the hooks or breaking. The only problem is that I was struggling to get a good grip on the short butt when fighting the fish. Other than that, it performed great and I am sure that the rod can handle bigger fishes with ease if given a chance.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Family Fishing in Valenzuela

School's out and before heading out to the province for the Holy Week, we still have a few week-ends to kill. So, I came up with a plan (translate=scheme) to get the family to join me fishing. My youngest was eager to join me but the wife and the eldest are wary of a scheme being brewed by yours truly. Actually, in all honesty, I really wanted to teach my kids how to fish and hopefully they will learn patience and appreciate nature.

To seal the deal, we went to Alex Tackle and got 2 Okuma Sefina + Shakespear Ultra Light Combo last Saturday. (The Okuma Sefina review will follow :-)). After purchasing, I rigged the reels with 9lb Sufix mono and prepped some Bangus rigs. As for me, I brought a few lures to test. (I realized that the regular lures we use in ANP are no longer productive).

Our plan to leave 6am turned an hour and a half later. When we got to the pond, there were just a few anglers. I saw some familiar faces like Roselon and Emil. We planned to take the farthest floating hut but it was already occupied when we got there so we settled with the bamboo kubo near the house. So, I baited the spinning reels and then gave the girls a quick lesson in casting. Not so long after, my youngest had been hauling juvie tilapia one after the other. She got bored with the small catches so we shifted to bangus fishing. My eldest joined in and after a few casts, she got our one and only Bangus (milkfish) for the day.

Trying to give pointers on casting and waiting for the bite.

The fish kept wriggling while my daughter squirmed in fear.
At around mid day, bangus fishing slowed down and my kids were back trying to catch tilapia. Since the kids got the hang of baiting and casting, I decided to rig my small Daiwa Baitcaster so I could test a few lures from Mikee and a couple that I got from eBay. While I was tying the leader, my youngest gave out a loud shout and said "I'ts a lobster! I got a lobster". True enough it was an Ulang the size of a small lobster. Amazing, it tried to eat an earthworm intended for tilapia.


After the big "lobster", the bites slowed down so we decided to take our lunch. As usual, the food in ANP is amazingly cheap and good. My wife was amazed and even agreed that fishing there was cheap and relaxing. After lunch, the girls decided to rest and I got out to test my lures under the blazing mid day sun. I started on the farthest section of the pond and made my way back to the huts. No takers over the far end of the pond. I guessed the stories that the Barras are extra wary of lures and can only be caught on live carp feeders are true. Just before giving up, I switched to a chrome colored floating jerkbait from Rapala. I remembered the Youtube videos on working floating jerkies on the banks to avoid snags. I casted repeatedly near the bank and then made some quick jerks. Then, unexpectedly, wham!  A barra took the lure almost near the surface. You can see the wake it made when it hit the lure. I never had the chance to set the hooks. The fish set the hook by itself. After around 5minutes, I landed the 2.25kg barra.

I am now a believer of the floating lure technique on banks used by Aussies. I guess they really work.
At around 2pm, we packed up and took home a few tilapias, a small bangus, and the Barra. I cleaned the small fishes and had the barra filleted from my suking fish monger.

As for the "lobster", it is now my girls' pet named Larry.