sure has a unique quality to it, the paintjob. Sporting a matte green color, it may honestly be enough to deter someone who already has an arsenal full of dark colored equipment but do not let it fool you. Coming in around the $190 price range it sure has some impressive specs for weighing 7.5 ounces. The most notable being the ultra-smoothness obtained from the 11 ball bearings: 10 stainless steel and 1 roller. In addition to the already buttery smooth system, we have a carbon matrix drag worthy of a 20lb stopping force. One may view the slightly smaller spool as being inferior holding only 110 yards of 30lb braid, but this will also enable the user to throw smaller baits with less force. To accomplish this they opted for a dual braking system which utilizes both magnets and centrifugal pins. The Zata comes in one singular fairly universal gear ratio, 7.1:1, which pulls up roughly 29 inches of line per turn.
The drag tension cap and the star drag both click to allow for fine tuning along with the dual brakes. On the outside of the sideplate we have a magnetic dial with 28 adjustments that controls an impressive 10 magnets on the inside. To access the 4 centrifugal brakes there is a small lever on the bottom of the sideplate, which many companies seem to be integrating into their products nowadays. Once you flip this switch, it will fall straight off of the frame of the reel. There are two pretty disappointing things with this area of the reel though.
The first being there is no mechanism to keep the sideplate from falling off of the reel and straight into the water. If Abu Garcia somehow incorporated a design like 13 Fishing’s beetlewing, it would make much more sense for the price. The second thing being the switch is not labeled as lock or open which can be troublesome for those who are new to baitcasters or make frequent adjustments to the pins on the inside, all it takes is one instance of forgetfulness. I’m assuming they left this feature off of the reel so it looks cleaner, and Abu Garcia probably figured a majority of people would tinker with the magnetic brakes on the outside first, myself included. Just remember down is open and up is closed.
Now how does this reel perform? Honestly, it surpasses every baitcaster I have bought within the last… probably 8 years. It’s comparable to Steezs, Metaniums, Zillions and other “flagship” reels that I have owned which are considerably more expensive. It is even smoother and more enjoyable to use than the Concept C2 that just came out in 2020 as well. Yes, this is just my opinion, but it is what I have observed in terms of both casting and reeling it in. It functions flawlessly and doesn’t even feel like you have a piece of equipment in your hands, it is that smooth. Casting distance is also unsurpassable. A literal flick of your wrist can send you bait a full 100ft. Recently, I used it for tossing Missile Baits D bombs probably 25-50ft in front of the boat without effort just picking bass out of 15 ft water. Everything from adjustments to casting to reeling fish in, it’s all so effortless. Despite the slightly smaller spool, I do not see this as an issue at all and indeed does make casting much easier. One thing to note is even though this is hardly more expensive than a Revo SX, there is a big jump in performance, and I would highly recommend the Zata first.
BFA’s score: 11/10. I am extremely impressed with this reel and would definitely buy it in the future. If you manage to catch the Zata on sale, it may become one of your new favorite reels. It is extremely user friendly with the vast amount of magnetic brake adjustments located on the sideplate.
Check out the Zata here:
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