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Galvan is no newcomer to the reel game. They’ve been quietly making some of the best reels on the market for years – the Torque even took 3rd place in our 5-weight shootout. Despite their success in the freshwater game, Galvan was always missing a hardcore saltwater reel. Enter the Grip. The Galvan Grip marks Galvan’s entrance into the saltwater game. They’ve taken the very good Torque and sealed it to give you a maintenance free version of their award winning reel. Here’s how it stacks up.

 

8-Weight Shootout Full Results

 

Weight

8.3 ounces. About average, but about half an ounce more than stated.

 

Drag

 

 

If there’s one thing Galvan gets, it’s drag. The Grip is no different. With over 10lbs of max drag, it’s got you covered when that bonefish gets eaten by a… shark. Back it off a quarter turn and you’re at a still respectable 5.4lbs. At the halfway mark, this drops down to 1.9lbs or 18%, while not the 50% we’re hoping for, it’s better than most. So, what does this mean? In about 3 turns you’ve got about 2 turns of adjustability. Pretty good!

Turn it all the way down and something weird happens – there’s really no drag to speak of, but it seems they’ve figured out a way to seriously curb free-spooling. I’m not sure what it is, but it works pretty well!

 

Drag Test Graphs

 

 

Sound

The incoming retrieve is fantastic and one of the best, but the outgoing is a little more muted than we’d like. Still it’s a great sound reel!

 

Spool & Retrieval Rate

The one area that could be upgraded on the Grip is the spool. It’s very wide, it’s near mid-arbor, and it’s about average in size. You’re going to get 8.8” per turn, which is quite a bit slower than the top reels.

 

Looks & Ergonomics

While the Grip lacks the fancy color options of the Torque, it’s a good looking reel. Not in an “Oooo let me see what you’re fishing with,” kind of way, but more in a, that’s a quality piece of machining kind of way. It’s also got some really good ergonomics. The drag knob is big, and so is the handle. Both are easy to grasp. They are top notch, but just not *quite* as good as the Nautilus CCF.

 

Finish and durability

 

 

Like every other reel we’ve tested from Galvan, the Grip is super durable. It stood up really well to our drop and drag tests, but wasn’t quite as good as say the Orvis Mirage USA.

 

Warranty

Lifetime to the original owner + $0.

 

Price: $535

 

Conclusion

As we expected, the Galvan Grip is a great saltwater reel. It delivers pretty much across the board for a price that’s less than a lot of high end reels. Sure, it fell short of the top 3 this time, but the testing was tough and the competition was stiff. If you’re looking for a great reel backed by a great, family-run company, this is the one. Just a few tweaks needed for the Grip II and this will be one of the top reels out there.

 

 

Buy it with Free Shipping here.

 

Pros

  • Drag
  • Durability
  • Warranty

 

Cons

  • Spool design