Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster Review


Abu Garcia are one of the world’s preferred fishing reel manufacturers, and the Black Max Baitcaster is one of their most popular models. Personally I love baitcasting reels – primarily due to their accuracy in being able to cast lures with high accuracy under overhanging trees or around structure. 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. This review is based on my own experiences as an angler. I have gone through all of the specifications and features, as well as our own insights and what other anglers have noticed. After reading this you should have a clear picture of what this reel is about and whether it suits your own personal 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 reel in this product. I 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 – this provides a noticeable reduction in muscle fatigue after a full day of casting
  • 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 affordable. If you are just starting off with baitcasters and are worried about wasting money then the Black Max is for you – you can get yourself 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 baitcasting 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


  • 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
Abu Garcia Black

Abu Garcia Black Max vs Pro Max

I always like to compare reels to alternate options so you can judge the differences and whether you would prefer a more premium or more entry level competitor. For this case I have picked the Abu Garcia Pro Max.

The Black Max is the most affordable option of the two, however it does come with a slightly lower gear ratio and number of ball bearings. If you are looking to be retrieving a fast moving lure that needs the improved performance then I would recommend going for the upgraded model in the Pro Max.

SpecificationsBlack MaxPro Max
Gear Ratio6.4:17.1:1
Weight 7.3 oz 7.3 oz
Line Capacity145 yards of 12 lb mono 145 yards of 12 lb mono
Max Drag18 lb17 lb
Retrieve Rate26 inches29 inches

Frequently Asked Questions

​Can this reel be used in saltwater?

Yes, the abu garcia black max baitcaster 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.

What is the line capacity?

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


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 2022-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.