Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ardent Apex Tournament Reel Review

I really identify more with you average weekend fishermen than I do with Tournament Pros when it comes to fishing.   I work a regular 40 hour a week job so that I can enjoy fishing the weekends and vacations like 90% of all fishermen.  Sure I'm on the Pro Staff for a few tackle companies but that is by my choice because I believe in their products so much I want to promote them.  If you notice a lot of the products that I use are not the top of the line most expensive, they are the ones where I feel I'm getting the best bang for my buck.  If they work for me I pass along that information so you folks can also get the best bang for your buck as well.  That is why I decided to fish the Ardent Apex Tournament series reels.  The Apex Tournament reel is not the top of the line Ardent baitcasting reel available, but it is likely a reel in the price range for a lot of the working men and women that fish on a budget.  Fishing on a budget is really hard to do these days when a quality reel generally costs you  $200 or more.  To have 5 or more of those reels you are looking at over a thousand dollars of your hard earned money, and that is just reels.  Us working folks can't afford that kind of money so we generally settle for cheaper reels of much less quality.  Well folks Ardent has fixed that problem for all of us with the Apex Tournament series reels!!

Before I get into how the Apex performed for me in the field here are the specifics on the reel.  Priced for the average fisherman at under $100 this reel brings a lot to the table.  It really has pro-level features to help you get the most out of your money and time on the water. The frame is made of a very lightweight high strength aluminum that cuts down on your overall rod weight which in turn helps you from getting fatigued.  The spool is machined aluminum as well which cuts down on weight and helps you make longer casts.  The Apex Tournament has a quality 8+1 ball-bearing system that has the feel and function equal to those upper end reels with 11 and 12 ball-bearings.  The Apex is further complemented with an externally adjustable (270-degree) magnetic braking system that is equal to the systems found on reels costing $300 or more.  Ardent added some extra details to make this reel very comfortable to fish.  I'm not a big guy and I don't have big hands so it's compact footprint is well designed and I didn't have wrist and hand fatigue like I get with some of the reels on the market.  In addition the extra long swept back aluminum handle and swept back forged aluminum drag star enhance this reels fish-ability.  The Apex Tournament comes in a very versatile 6.5:1 gear ratio making it extremely usable with all types of lures and techniques.  On top of all of these features the Apex Tournament is a very stylish reel that gives the appearance of reels costing 2, 3 and even 4 times as much.  In other words you will look just like the Pros fishing one of these reels.

The Apex Tournament has all the necessary features but I know each of you want to know just how they perform on the water.  Well if I had to sum up their performance in one word it would be Smooth!!   Everything about this reel is smooth.  It casts smooth (and long), it retrieves smooth, the drag functions smooth, I mean everything about this reel is smooth!!  Yesterday while pre-fishing for a tournament on Lake Houston we found the bass swallow in the cover.  We had to keep the boat back away from the cover to not spook the fish and we also had to present the bait so it didn't make a huge splash.   That is difficult with a big jig unless you are able to effectively pitch longer than normal distances. I had absolutely no problems pitching my jigs twice the normal distance with the Apex Tournament.  The reel really did help me catch an above average stringer for this lake.  Lake Houston is not a noted Texas bass lake and your average stingers fall into the 10-12 pound range.  Well yesterday my best 5 fish would have put me in the 17-18 pound range.  That is huge when you are talking tournament fishing, but it is also huge when you are talking weekend pleasure fishing too.  Everyone wants to catch bigger bass and the best stringer they can on every trip to the water.  Being able to make longer casts or in this case pitches will allow this to happen.  Also like I stated above the small foot-print of this reel makes it comfortable to use all day long.  I've always had hand and wrist fatigue issues due to my smaller hands.  This did not happen yesterday even though I was jig fishing most of the day.  In fact this morning while I'm writing this review my hands and wrists feel fine.  That wasn't the case just last weekend as the morning after fishing I could almost not use my left hand and wrist as they hurt from fishing the day before.
 Ardent Tackle is an American owned company that design they products right here in the good ole US of A from the inputs of professional anglers.  Their administration, engineering, quality assurance, sales and marketing folks are all employed right here in the USA. This gives you confidence that every Ardent product will be of the highest quality, and I can tell you all the Apex Tournament reels I have are top notch in the quality department.  Ardent believes in quality and service so much that they offer an unheard of 3 year warranty on all their reels.  That is 2 years long that any of the competitor reels on the market.   If you have issues with an Ardent reel you return it to them and not only do they fix the problem, they will clean, lubricate and install any upgraded components that are available.  The repaired reel is then quality and performance tested before it is returned to you within 10 business days at Ardent's expense.   Ardent will also repair your reels that are out of warranty for a minimal charge based on the necessary repair and return shipping.  What this tells me is Ardent really believes in their product and also cares about their customers at all levels.

In closing I will say that the Ardent Apex Tournament series reels are Bounty Hunter approved.  I am very confident you will have a great experience with their reels as well.  Ardent does offer higher grade reels as well if you want top of the line.  Even their top of the line Apex Grand series reels are priced under $200 which is half of any other top of the line reel on the market.  I am very sure you will be extremely satisfied like me and thousands of other professional and amateur anglers with Ardent reels and their commitment to their customers!!

Until next time Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

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