Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster Review [2021 Update]

Abu Garcia are one of the world’s preferred fishing reel manufacturers, and the Black Max Baitcaster is one of their most affordable models. Personally I love baitcasting reels – primarily due to their accuracy in being able to cast lures under overhanging trees or around logs. They do not have the casting range of a spinning reel, but for certain situations they cannot be beaten.

This article is a review of the Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster. We have gone through all of the specifications and features, as well as our own insights and what other people have noticed. After reading this you should have a clear picture of what this reel is about and whether it suits your requirements.

ON SALE $4.32 OFFBestseller No. 1
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate,...
  • Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Clear tip design for strength and sensitivity

Quantitative Score

Performance – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Durability – 2/5 ⭐⭐

Value for Money – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Overall Score – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Learn more about how we score products.

Abu Garcia Black Max Features

Abu Garcia have put together a great lightweight combination in this product. We have put together some of the key features and benefits of the Black Max.

  • Made from a one piece graphite frame that provides a lightweight design
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings and 1 roller bearing
  • Improved MagTrax brake system which claims to improve the accuracy of casting as well as longer range
  • Ergonomic bent handle and recessed reel style

Value for Money

If there is one key feature of this reel it is the price. For such a high quality piece of equipment this is extremely cheap. If you are just starting off with baitcasters and are worried about wasting money then the Black Max is for you. For under $50 (or even less if there is a sale) you can get a great, entry level reel that you can learn on.

It may not have the features of a heavier, more expensive reel, but it will certainly allow you to catch plenty of fish in many different environments. 

Lightweight Reel

This reel is only 7.3 ounces, which is extremely lightweight for a reel of this type. Comparable Abu Garcia reels are over 9 ounces, which may not sound like much but over a full day of casting this can be the difference between a sore arm or not.

The materials of construction are graphite and aluminum, both of which are renowned for being lightweight. I have used graphite baitcasting rods for years and have found hem to be very enjoyable. You can cast all day and not get a tired arm or sore shoulders. If you are interested in active fishing with a lot of casting then graphite is a great option.

If you are looking for a lightweight, affordable, entry level baitcasting reel, then the Abu Garica Black Max Baitcaster is top of the list.

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster Review

Set your Drag Correctly

Everyone who complains that baitcasting reels are too difficult to use generally have their drag set incorrectly.

This is certainly not an intuitive task and requires practice – there is a steep learning curve. But when you have mastered it, a baitcaster offers superior accuracy to a spinning reel.

So make sure you learn how to set you drag correctly to avoid low distance casts and mid-air birds-nest knots.

If you see anyone blaming Abu Garcia for baitcasting birds-nests, they have most likely not learnt how to use one properly.

Video Review

Below this is a review by KG Bass Guys showing the Black Max in the wild. Have a look to see some real world examples of its performance.

The outcomes of this particular review gave the following outcome:

  • Price: 8.5/10
  • Function: 10/10
  • Usability: 8/10
  • Durability: 10/10
  • Effectiveness: 10/10
ON SALE $4.32 OFFBestseller No. 1
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate,...
  • Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Clear tip design for strength and sensitivity

Key Specifications

  • Gear Ratio: 6.4:1
  • Weight: 7.30 lbs
  • Braid Capacity: 140 yds at 20 lbs
  • Mono Capacity: 145 yds at 12 lbs
  • Max Drag: 18lb | 8.1kg
  • Reel Spool Material: Aluminum
  • Drag Type: Star Drag
  • Retrieve Rate: 26″ | 66cm
  • Braking System: Magnetic
  • Bearing Count: 5

Pros and Cons


  • The Price – to get a high-quality reel at this price is brilliant
  • Infinite anti-reverse for positive hook sets
  • Comfortable design with recessed reel foot
  • Graphite frame and aluminum spool for durability
  • Left hand reel available


  • Baitcasters are not for beginners and can create a birds-nest knot for easily if not following proper technique
  • Does not come with all of the features of a more expensive model

FAQs About Abu Garcia Black Max

What is the weight of this reel? 

The weight of the device is 7.3 oz, making it extremely light compared to other options. 

​Can the device be used in saltwater?

Yes, the device can be used both in saltwater and also in freshwater. Make sure you give it a thorough rinse in fresh water after us to make sure it stays clean for your next fishing trip.

How much line can be put onto the spool?

145 yards of 12lb mono or 140 yards of 30lb braid can be spooled onto this reel, which is plenty for almost any fishing scenario.

What is the gear ratio?

The gear ratio of the Black Max is 6.4:1.

What is the drag?

The Black Max has a maximum drag of 17lb.


There are countless reels available in either your local tackle store or online, but not many share the features of the Abu Garcia Black Max. It has a great combination of good casting, smooth retrieve, and powerful drag that will make it a worthy adversary for large fish.

A baitcasting reel is not for everyone and certainly has a steep learning curve, but if you are wanting to learn without blowing the budget, then try the Black Max.

Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below or whether you decided to purchase this fishing reel.

Happy fishing!

Last update on 2021-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.