I will start this unbiased review by saying that after a week of testing it on some of the biggest and baddest fish that swim in the Caribbean, this reel is a beast. It is an absolute machine that I would willingly put to the test against any size or species of fish found anywhere in the world.
One of the first things I noticed about this reel when it was first unboxed was the dual counterbalance points (for the non-anglers, this means two little metal things instead of one!) that are designed to reduce vibration when fish are taking long runs at high speed.
The inertia on this reel was probably as close to nil as you can possibly get, and even 100 pound Tarpon did not make me feel uncomfortable at any point. The clicker is just loud enough, but not obnoxious in any way.
I loaded this reel with 300 yards of 50lb Scientific Anglers Gel-Spun backing and a 12wt Mastery Tarpon line in a full intermediate sink. I was still given ample room, even if the line began to stack closer to one side than the other while reeling and applying side pressure at the same time. If you need more than 300 yards of backing on a reel, there is a problem.
Looks – Cosmetically this reel is very appealing. The reel I used was a fairly flat black colour with silver accents, just like the clicker it is just fancy enough without being obnoxious.
Weight – Coming in at 8.85 ounces, this is on the lighter end of the scale for 12 weight reels. Due in part to the porting and materials used, it was a pleasure not feeling like I had a dumbbell locked into my reel seat. Swing weight and balance point was right on the money, this reel was fished on a 12 weight Scott Tidal.
Drag – You can have the prettiest reel on the shelf, but if it can’t stand the test of fish that take lengthy runs at high speed it is useless. One big selling point for me on the reel was the drag adjustment, being integrated into the frame and allowing one to simply use their palm to adjust mid-fight. It beats the hell out of frantically searching for a little drag knob while you are attached to a hot fish. A fully sealed 16 disc-drag system coupled with 30 pounds of stopping power, I can not imagine a fish that would leave you feeling under-gunned with this reel.
Handle – The handle on this reel is something that could be easily overlooked. Though we were in the Caribbean, we did spend the first few days fishing in a torrential downpour. The machined canvas phenolic rod actually adds traction in wet conditions, the last thing I need while fighting big fish in the rain is to battle keeping my fingers on the reel.
What Doesn’t Work:
I think that five days of chasing trophy Tarpon and Jacks is likely as good of a test on a drag system as any. I wish I could say that I had something I would like to see improved on this reel, but after racking every little corner of my little brain I can honestly say I would put the Evolution R Salt up against any reel in its class.
There is truly nothing the Evolution R Salt does not bring to the table, and a few key features that you will not find anywhere else in the industry. If you are considering a reel you can trust against fork-tail saltwater species that have the capabilities of obliterating lesser drag systems, the Evolution R Salt has my vote. I will definitely be outfitting my 8 & 10 weights with this model for next year’s saltwater adventures!
**NOTE: This review is in no way, shape or form paid content. This is an honest review of exactly what I think of this product**
If you have any questions on the Evolution R Salt, drop me an email in the form below and I will be happy to answer them!