Review of Akios 651 CSM multiplier reel

Following on from my review of the Akios 656CS; I have also been trying out another reel from the Akios S-line range. I wanted to cover as many bases as possible, in terms of options – so this one is left handed and has magnetic brakes !

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The reel comes with 2 spare brake blocks (the reel has centrifugal brakes as well as magnetic brakes) and a small reel tool. I also got a free neoprene reel case with my reel – a nice touch.

Before we look at the reel in more detail,lets have a quick look at the specification…

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Apart from the magnetic brakes and RHW, the features are pretty much identical to the 656CS. So lets take a closer look at the reel…

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Now then, no jokes about being “cack” handed ! I am right handed, but I wanted to try out a “lefty” on the kayak on the left hand rod to see if it felt any easier. I actually tried the left hand reel on both sides of the kayak – and to begin with, I thought it felt better on the right hand side for some reason ? In the end though, as a right hander, I had to concede that it didn’t feel quite right. That said, I know plenty of “leftys” who will love the left handed option which Akios provides.

A nice chunky handle, and the stainless steel is vented to make it a bit lighter (it also looks very cool !).

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As with the 656CS, the drag is very smooth, and for a reel this small, its quite powerful. The side plates are made of chrome plated brass – they are built to last, but you almost feel bad about getting your thumb marks on them ! God only knows what they will look like after a season on the kayak – but they won’t be rusting, of that I am sure.

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The knurled thumb screws make short work of getting inside the reel to change the brake blocks. Its little things litke this which can make a big difference when you are using the reel in anger…

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Onto the front of the reel – and the level wind mechanism…

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When I used to fish from the shore, almost all of my reels were converted (non levelwind) – but on the kayak I prefer reels with a levelwind. It is just one less thing to worry about when playing a fish – and casting distance is not an issue on the yak.

The right hand side plate contains the spool end float adjustment, the ratchet and the magnetic cast control knob.

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The magnetic cast control knob is indexed and clicks as you turn it.

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The range in braking between the “Min” and “Max” settings is quite impressive – and would cover all the situations you are ever likely to come across (you get some idea of the effect of the magnetic brakes in my video at the end of this review).

The ratchet is a real plus – believe it or not, there are not actually that many 6500 reels which have ratchet (or “line out alarm” as they are sometimes called). Very useful on the kayak when baiting up, changing rigs, unhooking fish or for fishing when dealing with fish which an take line (smoothound, bass, tope etc).

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View from the back of the reel showing the stainless steel crossbars…

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The reel foot is shown below – it looks strong and is made from stainless steel…

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Okay, so let’s take the reel apart, and have a closer look at the spool and the rare earth magnets which control the braking effect on the spinning spool…

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The spool is lightweight and made from machined aluminium – it has on-board bearings and also contains the pegs which house the centrifugal brake blocks (these can be removed and you can just rely on the mag brakes, but for kayak fishing, I would leave them in place).

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The spool is free floating (ie. the spindle is not built/fixed into the spool); this can be seen in the image below, along with part of the brass gearing…

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The inside of the side plate has a decent amount of grease covering it, which should also help to protect it from the ingress of saltwater.

The image below shows the cog used for the spool ratchet and the magnets used to slow the spool down…

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Just time for a gratuitous picture or the dis-assembled reel before we see it in action…

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Okay, well, you know me, and you also know that it wouldn’t be a proper review without some harsh treatment ! So I took the Akios 651CSM out on a load of trips in the Bristol Channel (along with the  Akios 656CS)…

Unfortunately, on the first couple of trips, all of the bigger fish seemed to fall to the 656CS – just a constant stream of dogfish to show the hauling capability of the 651CS. Having said that, at least the reel was getting exposure to the salt and tide, and I got to try out the magnetic brakes – which were really swish (if a little OTT for casting from the kayak !). I was also using 30lb braid on the reels, and it gave me an opportunity to take a few pictures of the reels in action…

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The odds finally evened up a bit on a trip to a ray venue in North Devon. A series of decent rays feel to both reels, the 651CSM got the prettiest ones – the spotted ray – which for their small size, put up a good scrap in the strong tide…

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Then a few small eyed rays fell to the 651cSM to give it a proper work out…

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Enough to prove that the reel is no push-over.

A quick video review giving an overview of the Akios 651/656…

 

 

My conclusion

The Akios 651CSM is a 6500 sized reel made from quality components and materials – it is built to last. It will really appeal to people who prefer a left handed reel. From a kayak fishing perspective, the magnetic brakes are a “nice to have” and certainly not a necessity, so if you are a kayak fisherman on a tight budget,  then I would suggest the centrifugal braked version. I like the ratchet and the smooth drag. The reel is very smooth to cast and can handle surprisingly big fish. From the kayak it would be suitable for catching fish on clean and mixed ground, but I would step up to the 7000 sized reels if fishing heavy ground. The reel coped with braid really well and another plus s that it is reasonably priced.

The Akios 651CSM multiplier reel is available from Veals Mail order…

https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/akios-651csm-3539.html