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Another newcomer to our shootouts is Bauer. You might be asking yourself, “Hey, where did you get one of those?” Yes, it’s true – Bauer’s have been a little hard to come by of late, but we have it on good authority that you can now get *at least some* of the models. The Bauer RX isn’t the newest model Bauer has released, but it is the newest model without the knuckle-busting drag knob on the same side as the handle, so it’s a reel that feel like it was designed by someone who had actually been fly fishing before. So, how does it stack up against the best reels in the business?
7.7 ounces. Better than most!
With more than 10lbs of max drag, the Bauer is a serious saltwater reel. Unfortunately it quickly backs off with an effective drag of only 4lbs. At half drag it loses a whopping 85% of its drag and delivers a mere 1.4lbs. That means that instead of 2 turns, you’ve really only got like 1.5 turns of drag that’s actually useful. On the bottom end it has .2lbs which is not quite enough to prevent a free spool.
Like many of the reels we’ve tested so far, the RX has a silent retrieve, which is not ideal. It does make up for it a bit with a much better outgoing click than most.
The biggest area of improvement on the Bauer RX is its spool. It’s just a little too close to what would now qualify as a mid-arbor reel. At 8.5 inches per turn, it just doesn’t have enough pick up to compete for the top spot. It’s 40% slower than the Loop Speedrunner.
The Bauer looks, and more importantly feels great. It’s a very solidly built and machined reel. You pick it up and you can just feel the quality that has gone into the machining. But back to looks. It looks great and comes with way too many customizable options to turn it into a truly unique reel.
The Bauer does well on the ergonomic front as well. It’s got an easy to grasp drag knob and a great handle. Wood seems to be the classic material of choice and while I don’t know how it’s going to stand up over the years, it’s certainly comfortable for now.
The Bauer did well in the durability realm as well. After we beat it up, you had to really look to find where the damage was.
Lifetime to the original owner + $18 fee.
This is the first Bauer I have really had a chance to play with. I’m pretty impressed. It delivered in just about every category. I can’t help but hope that with the guidance of the good folks at Winston, Bauer will be able to return to the forefront of design and top our charts the next time around.
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