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Gear Review

Equipment Review: Avet SXJ Classic 5.3 lever drag casting reel

By PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 15, 2018

Power-packed featherweight reel


The Avet SXJ Classic lever drag casting reel is small but mighty. It puts the sport into fishing for Southern California stalwarts such as calico and sand bass, barracuda and bonito and even for heftier models like schoolie tuna or bay ’buts. The one-piece T-6 marine grade aluminum frame feels solid in the hand but weighs a feather-light one-pound.

Avet says the SXJ Classic holds 290 yards of 50-pound Spectra, but we filled ours with an even 350. It exerts up to 9 pounds of drag at strike and 14 on full. It’s enough. The drag curve is ideal for 20-pound test, and will fish as light as 10, something its bigger brother the MXJ can’t do. Avet recommends matching the SXJ Classic with a saltwater trigger stick — the reel foot is short enough to accommodate most out there.

• Use: We tested the Avet SXJ Classic 5.3 lever drag casting reel against bay bass and halibut, but for sheer fun, nothing beat discovering that it is a trick setup for flinging small sardines on light line to hungry schoolie yellowfin. The spool is so light and small the reel casts a virtual mile. Once we hooked up we appreciated the cranking power. It’s no slouch. If you think you are bringing a knife to a gunfight, you’ll quickly get over it because this thing works so well.

• Cost: $190.

• Bottom line: Avet is a leading manufacturer of power-packed, compact reels, ones that when filled with Spectra let an angler catch big fish on a lightweight setup. The Avet SXJ Classic might be small, but it measures up to the rest of the company’s line-up. Don’t underestimate it. It can and does turn heads — fish heads.

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