Review of Akios 656CS multiplier reel
Akios is Japanese for “New Beginnings” “New Life” – unless you are taking part in a Fishing trivia pub quiz (now there is an idea !) you might think this is irrelevant, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Akios was started by Simon Bradbury after he left ABU Garcia, where he worked for 16 years. During his time there, he was responsible for ABU’s baitcasting range of reels, as well as many other things – ahhhh, now you are interested ! Simon has over 35 years experience in the tackle industry – in other words, he knows his stuff !
Okay, so now you have a bit of background about the company, lets have a look at some of their reels. Here I will be reviewing one of the models from their S-Line series – the Akios 656CS.
My reel came with the usual spanner/reel tool, a couple of spare brake blocks, some low viscosity oil and a very smart little neoprene reel case. My first impressions were very good – its a smashing looking real – it really looks the part – but looks are not everything as we all know !
A quick look at the specification and features of the reel…
Akios 656CS Specification
- Gear Ratio : 5.3:1
- Line Capacity yds/lbs : 300 yards/15 lbs mono 250 yards/20lb mono
- Line capaciy m/mm : 288m/0.35mm 340m/0.4mm
And the features…
- 3 stainless steel bearings
- Infinite anti reverse
- Free floating spool
- Brass anti-corrosion chromed side plates
- Multi disc carbon drag system
- Machined brass gears
- Stainless steel power handle
- Centrifugual brakes (2 blocks)
- Line out alarm (ratchet)
- Synchronised level wind system
An impressive list of features. Let’s take a closer look at the reel…
Straight away, its obvious that this reel is made from quality materials – brass and stainless steel. The side plates in particular stand out – the chrome on brass makes for a very striking reel, and in terms of corrosion resistance – it should last a long time.
Looking at the left hand side plate, we have the spool float adjustment – all standard stuff.
As a kayak fisherman, one thing I really like, is the free spool ratchet – this is really useful for fish that run, such as tope, smoothound and bass. You would be surprised how few baitcasting reels have a ratchet (that’s the sad kind of thing I research – I definitely need to get out more !). Anyway – a great feature, if a little on the jerky side (this may just be that the reel is new).
Moving around to the front of the reel, we have the level wind mechanism. Probably not of that much interest to the long distance casting boys (who probably favour the converted Akios model), but again, very handy for kayak fishermen.
The level wind looks solid, and the cross bars are sturdy and again, made from decent materials.
Moving around the right hand side plate…
The handle is made of stainless steel and is vented, cutting down on a bit of weight, but also it makes the reel look quite sporty, which I like. The handle itself is chunky, without being too large.
The drag itself is very smooth, but don’t expect some crazy powerhouse drag rating – this reel is designed as a baitcaster. That said, the drag is plenty strong enough for the sorts of fish you are likely to expect in the UK.
The right hand side plate also houses the spool float for the right hand side. The other great thing about the S-series is the thumb screws. Maintenance becomes easier, removing the spool to change brakes also becomes a doddle, and you don’t have to worry about the screws falling on the ground (they are captive).
Moving to the back of the reel now…
More cross bars and the spool release knob. The spool automatically re-engages when the handle is turned. And a view showing the underside of the reel with the reel foot. Again, this looks fine and well made.
So, that is a look around the outside of the reel, lets open it up and have a look at the spool etc… The thumb screws make short work of dis-assembly. The spool floats on the spindle. A little too much grease in places – but to be honest, from a kayak fishing perspective, that is a good thing – corrosion resistance winds against castin distance every time in our branch of the sport.
The image above shows he brake collar and the spool spindle – the gears are made from machined brass – which is always a good thing.
The spool itself is free floating (the spindle is not part of the spool) and has bearings on-board. Its very lightweight, and no doubt casts like a dream – but as a kayak fisherman, that is not our primary concern. More importantly, again, the spool is made from quality materials. The 2 brake blocks combine to slow the spool down (I tried casting it and it was very smooth with no hint of overrun).
So that is about it for the visual tour. I suppose you want to know how it fared on a few kayak fishing trips ? Well, as I have already said, that is the real test of any item – will it stand up to the abuse of everyday use !
I decided to fill the reel with 30lb braid and took it on a number of trips in the Bristol Channel mainly to target rays. I was fishing a rubbing leader of 30lbs albrighted onto the main braid.
The first venue was a deep’ish hole with a real tidal push over it, so it would be a good test of the reel’s strength.
Lots of the usual dogfish kept the reel busy, but it wasn’t really breaking into a sweat. Then my luck changed, and a spotted ray snaffled the sandeel bait. These plucky little rays really put up a good scrap for their size, especially in the fast tide. The drag coped well.
So on to another venue. Shallower this time, but with the chance of bigger ray to really push the reel.
To cut a long story short, I had a whole load of decent small eyed rays that day; a couple nudging double figures – the Akios took everything in its stride…
So in conclusion, I think the Akios 656CS is probably the most suitable multiplier reel in the Akios S-line series for UK kayak fishing – its competetively priced, it is the right size/weight, it performs well, and most importantly, its built to last – something which is very important to me, and obviously Simon Bradbury too !
There are loads of different reels in the Akios S-line range, including left handed models, and ones with magnetic brakes (see my forthcoming review of the Akios 651CSM). I have also done a quick video review on the Akios S-series…
The Akios 656CS is available to buy from Veals Mail Order…