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MAXEL RAGE LEVER DRAG REELS

Just in case you didn’t know, Maxel Fishing Tackle has been manufacturing high quality big game trolling and deep water jigging reels since 2003. Their experience as sub-contractors producing aluminum parts for some of the biggest names in the fishing business has honed their manufacturing skills and expertise. They specialize in manufacturing quality reels for big game trolling and deep water jigging fishermen who take their sport very seriously and insist on the finest quality at reasonable costs.
By Capt. John N. Raguso
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MAXEL RAGE LEVER DRAG REELS

Introduced last summer at the 2018 ICAST tackle show, Bimini Bay Outfitters made a big splash with the USA debut of their proven high-end Maxel Rage lever drag reels. These reels grabbed a lot of attention for their smooth gears and drags, combined with a tough as nails construction and do-it-all attitude. The smaller 25H right and left hand models are a huge hit with the “slow pitch” jigging crowd looking for a powerful micro-sized outfit. The heavier Maxel Rage 60H, 90N and 90 are meant to handle larger near offshore and deepwater gamefish, but are still relatively light weight with run-stopping drag capability.

The Rage jigging reel models represent the top of the line for Maxel. I currently use the Hybrid star drag and the Ocean Max lever drag reels, so I was anxious to get my hands on a sample of the newest Rage to see how it measured up to its siblings. Its predecessors had brought a lot of stripers, deepwater sea bass and tog, summer flounder, cod, pollock and football tuna to boatside for me and my charter customers and I was well aware of the positives and the occasional negatives of the Maxel product line. I requested the micro-sized 25H model in whatever color was available from their kaleidoscope of options and it showed up a few weeks ago. My sample featured a black body with a gold spool and trim, and had striking good looks.

Right from the get-go, even an untrained eye will realize that this is no ordinary downsized jigging reel, but a high-end piece of well-constructed machinery. At only 14 ounces, it’s easy to hold in your hands all day long with a minimum of fatigue. Maxel accomplishes this shedding of unnecessary weight by starting off with a billet of aluminum that is CNC machined with various spaces, gaps and geometric holes in its frame and side to save a few precious ounces, but not sacrifice the metal’s inherent stiffness and strength. A cold-forged aluminum sideplate on the crank handle side of the Rage, along with tempered stainless steel gears, add to its overall bullet-proof design. Other high-end components on the Rage reels include a dual drag design, nine stainless steel bearings, a drop gear box and a removable reel foot for easy cleaning or replacement.

The drag is silky smooth with a click lever that stays in place. The quadrant’s generous adjustment range allows for a gradual ramping up of drag power, which includes a “Strike” indent about two-thirds of the way to the “Full” setting. This translates to 11.25 pounds of drag at strike and 17 pounds of stopping power at full, which is plenty when you consider that this diminutive reel is designed to hold either 440 yards of 20-pound or 350 yards of 30-pound superbraid. Rigged with a matching slow pitch rod, it would make a perfect tool to practice the latest “snap jigging” techniques for mid-depth pursuit of coastal gamefish.

The gear ratio of the Rage 25H is 6.2:1 and it will retrieve 38.5 inches of line for every turn of the crank handle, which will really make a jig dance through the water column if speed jigging is on the menu. In contrast, the larger 60H features a 5.3:1 ratio and the Rage 90N and 90 both offer a 4.0:1 gearing. The extra-long offset aluminum handle features five rectangular cutouts along its length to save weight and a round neoprene ball that is always in the right position when your hand is looking for some traction to get the cranking process started.

Nick Cicero, Bimini Bay’s sales manager, reminded me that the new Rage reels provide maximum utility when paired with Maxel’s Platinum slow pitch jigging rods. I have a few of these in my coastal arsenal, and they work as advertised. The new Maxel Rage reels are the real deal and deserve a closer look if you are into high-end jigging outfits. For more info, visit your local tackle retailer and see one for yourself.