I wish I could tell you the reason my blog hasn’t been updated in a while is because I’ve spent the past two months doing nothing but fishing. Sadly, that would be a blatant lie. However, I have gotten out on the water a fair amount and wanted to start sharing my tales, tips and thoughts (ahh, alliteration). And what better way to get back in gear than with a good, old Lure Shelf product review.
About a month ago, I was able to pair up my favorite e21 Carrot Stix rod with a new Ardent XS1000.5 reel to create (cue cool announcer’s voice) the ultimate cranking setup. While the original XS1000.6 featured a 6.3:1 gear ratio, the new XS1000.5 has a slower 5.0:1 ratio built for tussling with crankbaits. Seeing as, at the time, I was on a great crankbait bite with Rapala DT6s, you could say I was a little excited.
Sure enough, my excitement fit the bill. Spooled with 10-pound Berkley Trilene XL, the reel performed better than I could have hoped that first trip out and every trip since. I can bomb and burn DT6s and middepth crankbaits without any fatigue. Beefing up to a deep-diving, forearm-straining, how-in-the-world-do-guys-throw-these-things-all-day crankbait will make your forearms hate you after an entire day. But they won’t hate you after five casts like with faster reels. That no-nonsense gear ratio also means you have the torque to wrangle in any bass, regardless of size.
However, the drool factor on this reel, like all Ardents, is casting distance. When casting with the wind, there are times when I feel like I’m going to spool the reel. If you’re trying to get a crankbait 15-plus feet deep, being able to cast like John Daly tees off is a wonderful ability. Against the wind, the reel was equally as impressive. Although, I warn you, showing off by casting with the wind with your magnets open and then turning and casting into the wind can result in a nasty bird’s nest and a deflation of ego. If such an instance occurs, simply pick out the backlash, put your back to the wind, let one fly and smile. Your ego will quickly restore itself when you out-cast your buddy by 15 yards. Not feet, yards.