If you are just starting out in the sport of bass fishing, one thing that can steer new people away is expensive bass fishing tackle. When you see all of the professional anglers using baitcasting rods, the first thing you think of is price. Does this fit into your budget? There are a ton of baitcasting rods, reels, and combos out there. Some are much better than others. When you see pro bass fishermen suggesting that you try a certain one, the first thing you want to think about is how much money they are making off of you. You don’t need very expensive equipment.

In this Abu Garcia Black Max review, we will be learning why many of the pros like to recommend this combo as a good beginning setup for new anglers. This is a commonly available combo and can be found in many places for much less than your traditionally used baitcasters. We came across this particular setup after seeing it in local stores and shops. The store shelves always seem to be filled with them. It is almost as if nobody purchases them. After hearing about the recommendations from big names in the industry and seeing it available, we decided to put a review together. Expect to find pure quality within this setup. We love it.

The Benefits Of The Abu Garcia Black Max Rod And Reel

First things go first. For a very modest price, you get a very good bass fishing baitcaster that you can easily win tournaments with. You get the fishing wisdom of many professional anglers that stand by their choices. You get a very durable setup that will lasts for many years with the proper care. You can tournament fish with it. You can rely on it if you are a weekend angler. You can trust that it will perform to baitcasting standards when you need it to. This a great rod and reel to start off with and is even pleasant to have even if your already good at catching bass.

How To Use The Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Rod

The Black max is very easy and simple to use. It handles well like a more expensive baitcaster. All you have to do is spool your line on it, set your star drag system, and reel in a cast. Its versatile for use with crankbaits and would even work well for flipping or pitching. While we have not tried frog fishing on it yet, we are pretty sure that it would perform well there too. You can use it for a lot of different things as it relates to bass fishing.

Product Description And Features – What It Offers You

  • One piece graphite spool frame
  • Graphite sideplates
  • Recessed reel foot
  • Machined aluminum spool
  • Five bearings (four ball plus one roller)
  • Excellent drag system
  • Excellent price point for the performance
  • Not heavy at all
  • Casts very well
  • Very versatile setup that can do everything
  • Comes in right and left handed retrieves

This snazzy reel comes with a host of features I know you will love. It features four stainless steel ball bearings plus one roller bearing for good measure. The more bearings a reel has, the better it casts and fights fish. That is more than many cheaper setups but a little less than more expensive setups. It has a machined aluminum spool that further cuts down on weight and is a pleasure to hold. It uses a special power disk drag system that really does help with pulling.

This is especially true with the big fish in the cover and brush. There is a Duragear brass gear inside that allows great performance and durability. The handle is very ergonomic and is slightly bent to reduce the strain on your wrist while you are reeling. The drag star is also in perfect alignment with it so you do not snag anything on it. There is a recessed reel foot that makes it a breeze to take on and off your favorite rod if you want to put the reel on another one.

The frame of the Black Max reel is made out of graphite that exists in a single piece. Not only does this keep down weight even further, it completely removes the chances of corrosion and rust resulting from oils in your hands penetrating any metals. It is a very effective and compact design that is proven to work on the water for many anglers.

Who Is This Baitcaster For And Who Gets The Most Value

To be very direct and to the point, everybody can benefit from having one of these in their fishing arsenal. While it is cheaper in price compared to many other rods and reels, this one is still a superb performer. It is marketed to people that have a lower income as well as the beginning fisherman. The beginning fisherman will have a wonderful time making this one their own because it will help them break into the sport of bass fishing.

The angler with a lower budget will also love it because it has performance that is on par with more expensive equipment. Believe it or not, this is also for any good baitcasting angler that loves black and red. It is an absolutely lovely design to show your fishing buddies as well as looking good in a trophy picture. The way the light reflects off of the metal looks quite nice. It is for the person who wants to purchase a first setup but does not want to invest in one that will break or perform below expectations.

What I Like About The Product

  • Not heavy or awkward to hold
  • Its recommended by professionals
  • Its very versatile and can handle almost everything
  • The braking is extremely good
  • Is very easy to use and fish with
  • The bent handle and drag star fit the hand well
  • The price is great
  • The red and black color is very appealing

I want to start with what I like, ahem, love about the product. There are quite a few things to appreciate too. First of all, I love that this is a setup recommended by elite bass anglers such as Kevin VanDam. He recommends it for a first time baitcaster. That alone is good enough for me but there is quite a bit more to be fond of. Second, I like that it is a great and versatile reel that can do almost everything you want one to do. Flipping, pitching, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, jerkbaits, jigs, you name it.

It can handle pretty much everything you want to put it through as long as you use the right fishing line. I like the braking system that is included because this can make it much easier for everybody to reduce or completely eliminate backlashes before they occur. I just love how they bent the handle and the drag star. Its not only a better way to hold the reel. Its a preferred way. One of the things I have to love the most is the price. Excellent value in one of these.

It performs almost as well as baitcasters that costs hundreds of dollars more than it does. Usually, as price goes up, so does quality. On occasions though, you will find cheaper options that will perform as well as or completely outperform there more expensive counterparts. This does not perform better but it is certainly within acceptable specs for anyone to use.

What I Don’t Like About The Product

  • Only comes in one gear ratio which is 6.4:1
  • Not as smooth as more expensive reels
  • Sometimes not sold as a combo
  • Heavy fluorocarbon line is harder to use on it

Of course, with every trophy comes a few things that put a scratch in the trophy. There are a few things about it that we wish could be improved and we are not afraid to mention them here. The first thing we noticed is that it only comes in one gear ratio. The 6.4:1 gear ratio of the Black Max is a little bit on the slower side. This can annoy some users when they want to throw erratic crankbaits or buzz a buzzbait across the surface. It is versatile but it is a bit slower. You may need to reel a bit faster than you want to when throwing those types of lures in warmer water.

Having it available in more than one gear ratio would make it much better. The next thing about it is not the braking system. The braking system is fine but the smoothness has a little to be desired. You will not be completely excited or completely terrified of how smooth the drag is. For its price point, we have to remember that every product can be improved no matter how great it is. The drag has absolutely no problem of doing its job when it matters most but it doesn’t just fly off like butter like it does on many any reels that cost more.

You may find another issue in the fact that sometimes, the reel and rod are sold separately. This can be a minus if you want the combo and you may not be able to find the rod at all. It is sold at many places. From what I have observed, it is sold as an individual reel or a combo. I have never seen the rod available by itself. This can be a problem because you have to buy another combo to replace your rod if you want another one. Finally, it has a harder time accepting heavier fluorocarbon line.

There are differences in fishing line. Lighter is fine but monofilament and braid work much better on the fishing reel. If you want to fish either of those or lighter fluorocarbon, you will be fine. If you want the heavier stuff, you will need to play with the setting a little bit to get it to work right. Even so, I believe that most anglers using this line will use a lighter pound test to begin with because of the nature of fluorocarbon fishing.

In Summary – The Black Max Is Awesome For The Price

No matter how you want to say it, the Black Max from Abu Garcia is just a good rod and reel combo. The reel is excellent, the rod is excellent, and many people would love to use it. Like everything, it is not without its minor annoyances. Even so, I believe that baitcasters used in bass fishing today all have annoyances that can be improved somehow. If it were not true, everybody would know it and completely get rid of all their rods for one model. Even the best stuff on the market has something that can better designed.

It is just one of the things that makes bass fishing fun. having the variety is just a surface-level way of saying “use what works for you”. Everything does not work for everybody. I believe many anglers who are just starting out can find a special place in their boat for an Abu Garcia Black Max reel or combo. I also believe that it is a welcome addition to the professional bass catchers that appreciate what it can offer and what place it has in your arsenal. Now go get one! Now!

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What do you think of this Abu Garcia baitcaster? Don’t forget to leave your comment below!

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  1. Robert Watson says:

    I like them. They’re great if your looking for cheap fishing gear and use it just to enjoy fishing. The one serious drawback is finding just the rod. I broke mine and can’t find a replacement.

    1. David Moore says:

      You are right. Finding the rod by itself is going to be a lot more difficult. Normally, you would find combos sold separately too but for this one, it is kind of diffcult.

    2. Same here, but I found that the berkley lightning rod MH or H pairs great with the black max

  2. I just bought a bk Max rod combo at a yard sale. Used just once and
    had serious tangled line. $20 total. Bought a BK Max reel only at a flea market. Right hand. $18 so I lean how to operate. Now I can cast and flip. I’m certainly enjoying these bate casters

    1. David Moore says:

      They really are pretty good baitcasters that work well for a variety of applications. If you need anything, let us know!

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