Product Review: Akios Fireloop Spinning Reel
I recently found myself in need of a reel and just happened to be at the right place at the right time to find one. I had seen the name Fireloop floating around the Facebook fishing groups, and after seeing one, I decided I should pick it up. I'm glad I did because this gave me my first taste of a long casting reel, and as you have seen from a couple of my other articles, I am always looking to see how I can increase my distance in casting. After having it and putting it through several weeks of testing, I have to say I do not like it. To see if it was just me, I had a few friends try it out to see what they thought, and none of them liked it. It all came down to one particular thing that threw the whole reel off for us, but we will get there shortly.
Appearance: 10/10- Looks nice and is large
Weight: 10/10- Surprisingly, it is very light for the size of the reel.
Casting Ability: 7/10- Sure, it casts good, but not a life-changing difference.
Action: 7/10- When you have the drag right, it is pretty smooth
Drag: 2/10- You're about to read about this.
Overall: 6/10- The drag is what kills this whole reel for me.
Long cast reels have been around for quite some time, and they have a solid following in the surf fishing community. The design of them is relatively simple as the arbor is normally taller, which allows the line to be laid out over a more extended lay, and on some, the top of the spool is tapered down towards the top. These two items combined allow the line to come off the spool much smoother to reduce friction and drag on your line. Combining those things, and you will get a little more distance from your cast. That's a great thing when you're trying to chuck it out there, and a few extra yards is the critical difference to getting on the fish. First, lets talk about the good things about this reel.
Second spool before it was strung up with mono
The Fireloop comes with two spools for you to string up: one for braid and one for mono or fluro. At first, this didn't make sense to me as I use braid on all of my lines, but I realized that it is an excellent addition because there are situations where you might need to switch out to mono/fluro from the braid. Both spools are very easy to handle and are easily identifiable as to which is the braid and which is the mono/fluro. Both spools offer a generous amount of line capacity, and if you did not want to fill the spool, I believe you could get away with it and not sacrifice too much distance in your cast. The tapered design does allow the line to flow smoothly off when casting.
The handle is large enough to flow smoothly without being obscene, but the knob is a little small for my liking. It is a knob style, which I do like as it gives you the option of how you would like to grip it while retrieving. My daughter liked the handle a little more on this reel than my others because she said it was easier for her to grip. It is coated in foam, so it has a little bit of texture to assist you on those days where the moisture is in the air or you have a bit of fish slime leftover from the fish you just unhooked without worrying about you losing your grip.
Abby using the Fireloop on the Okuma Longitude
Reel Action is very smooth. When you take it out of the box and throw the arm, the spool moves effortlessly and well balanced. There is an anti-reverse lever, so you can flow in either direction (if that's something you'd like). In both directions, the balance flows well. The reel itself is light for its size. This was a clever feature in the design as I was expecting so much more weight based on the initial appearance and overall size (it almost seems to be the size of an 8K).
This reel's main feature is the whole "Long Cast" I found to be just ok when I compared it to my Battle 3 DX. Both rods have the same pound test braid on the spools, so it is a fair match when casting. I can throw the 3 DX about 130-140 yards consecutively at max cast. The Fireloop I was averaging about 135-145 yards. So my gain was there, but not in a way that I would consider to be life altering, and I must buy four more Fireloop’s for the rest of my rods. I had read somewhere that you gain about 10% more distance when using a long cast, so this rings pretty true for me.
I dislike this reel and the reason I am going to replace it, however, is the "Quick Drag" feature. When I got it, I thought that the quick drag would make things so much easier for me when a fish was on, and I would be able to adjust pretty quickly to keep the tension where it should be. I couldn't have been more wrong! For me, this reel went from no tension to the max in about three clicks to the right. When I set up the drag after casting to set my sinker and give a slight bend in the tip of my rod (to keep the line tight), I would have 3-5 clicks before I was in fully locked up mode. This was too little of a spread for me to use when a fish hit because as soon as the fight was on, you had to go to max drag (14.5 lbs) to keep the spool from spinning. I have brought in several Kingfish on this rod & reel set up and each time I had to go to maximum drag to bring in the fish.
Before you get to the “You need the drag to be in a position to bring in the fish”, let me go a little further into detail. You would be correct in saying that but you also want to have the ability to adjust if needs be or to give a little to the fish if they are pulling more to prevent the hook from being ripped from its mouth. On this reel, if you back the drag down one click from max, you get almost free flowing drag on a small fish. This does not work for me personally. When I asked someone about it, I was told that it is a “European thing” and it has been tested & liked there.
Another drag-related issue I didn't like on this spinning reel is that there is almost no "clicking" sound when the drag is going off. It is a very low audible sound that you wouldn't think was drag. At first, I didn't know anything about the drag situation, but I learned one evening how key it was. While night fishing, I had a fish on and was reeling in, and I couldn't seem to get anywhere with the fish. It all sounded like it should when I was reeling in (mind you, this is night time and I'm not looking at my reel), but I was getting nowhere. I finally looked at my reel and saw that it was spinning with every crank, so my drag wasn't tight enough. I had no idea and just wasted a bunch of time trying to bring in this fish. Had it been the audible clicking you usually get from drag, it would have been solved instantly.
Though this is my first Akios product, I do not judge the company with anything negative. I am sure that I will get my hands on a different Akios reel in the future, and I will probably love it. Though this reel does cast well, it is not for me primarily due to the quick drag feature.
Thank you for sticking around for another product review! I'm glad you're here and hope that this was helpful for you. Stick around as there will be another review dropped for your viewing pleasure next Friday. If you have something you'd like me to take a look at or review, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will see what I can come up with to get my hands on it. Go forth, and do good things!