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*new* Ardent Apex Grand

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I was at Susquehanna Fishing Tackle in Columbia, Pa yesterday for their Bassfest event. I was walking past the Ardent booth when something caught my eye. I started talking to Tom from Ardent and he introduced me to the Apex Grand. I want to tell all of you about it because I was actually really impressed with this reel.

 

Now, before I continue, lets clear the air about something: Ardent's reputation hit a bump two years ago when they moved their manufacturing from the US to China. Many anglers expressed concerns about the potential for quality to slip, as China's manufacturing reputation is notorious. But then I tried to think of a reel brand that ISN'T manufactured in Asia and I couldn't think of one. And lets me honest, it's very difficult to build an affordable, quality reel in the US with the cost of labor here. So, keeping an open mind, lets move forward. 

 

From the moment I picked it up, I was impressed. The first thing I noticed, which I feel doesn't get talked about as much as it should, is the sideplate. This reel is almost perfectly flat on the palming sideplate, and seems to snuggle up right against my palm. No bulges, no unnatural shapes... flat. It reminded me of the shape and overall profile of the Lews Tournament Pro, but almost an ounce lighter in favor of the Grand. At only 5.9oz, its the lightest reel I ever picked up. Not only is it lightweight, but butter smooth. Testing the free spool, I pressed the thumb bar and spun the spool. The spool spun for a long time, and felt really smooth and solid. The reel handle is bent carbon fiber, and kept with the "smooth" theme as I cranked on it. It feels very solidly built, as solid as some of the high end Lews and Abu offerings that I have experience with.  

 

The frame is aluminum, which will prevent flexing and misalignment. I was surprised to find a dual cast control system, as the other Apex models only have magnetic brakes. It contains *** ball bearings and Ardent's Strike-Saver drag. The model I handled was a Right Handed 7.3:1. I'm not sure if there will be left handed models or other gear ratios.

 

I wanted to tell all of you about this reel because I thought this reel is a great value at $199.99, and I will definitely be giving it a try. Do yourself some justice, and pick one up and throw a few casts. I think you'll be happy you did.

 

Tight lines!

 

 

 

 

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Has the basics of any reel in its price range. If its your personal preference, and you find it special, then go for it.. Bit its not really special compared to other reels in the $200 range.

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I wouldn't mind ardent succeeding but man what does it say that them moving to China was an improvement when their entire premise was USA. When they went OEM, they actually improved

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Looks like they have the EVA Grip knobs on the handle. Their original knobs on their first reel have been my favorite grips I have ever used. Wish they never changed them.  Glad to hear some good stuff about Ardent again. If you get it make sure you throw a review on here about how it fishes!

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Ardent's new line up of reels look a lot more pleasing to the eye than their old Edge reels did. I was at Bassfest yesterday as well, but I was more interested in playing around with the Shimano reels than the Ardents. From what I've read, the reviews of Ardent's Edge series of reels leaned towards the negatives more than the positives. Hopefully they stepped their game up, despite being made in China now.

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Looks like a nice reel, at a great price. Does it come in a lefty?

Not sure about lefty. I hope for a lefty 7.3 and 6.5, as I reel lefty as well.

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Glad to hear some good stuff about Ardent again.

Yeah, me too. That's why I wrote this. Their products are getting better, and that makes me happy. Great company.

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Yeah, me too. That's why I wrote this. Their products are getting better, and that makes me happy. Great company.

The products aren't getting better, they're just ordering from a better manufacturer.

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Looks like they went the Doyo route.

Probably.... Still better than their gimmicky Edge series.

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Many anglers expressed concerns about the potential for quality to slip, as China's manufacturing reputation is notorious. But then I tried to think of a reel brand that ISN'T manufactured in Asia and I couldn't think of one.

Chinese and Asian are not interchangeable. I would never put a Chinese reel in the same ballpark as a Japanese built reel.

Not trying to start a p¡ssing match, but to lump them all together like that is ignorant & misinformed.

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Looks pretty sexy, but then, it's hard to compete with a Cronarch.

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Looks pretty sexy, but then, it's hard to compete with a Cronarch.

Even reels with gear ratio choices, and longer handles stock can't compete?

Sorry Senko lover, I assumed you were talking about the 50e.

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Chinese and Asian are not interchangeable. I would never put a Chinese reel in the same ballpark as a Japanese built reel.

Not trying to start a p¡ssing match, but to lump them all together like that is ignorant & misinformed.

This is very true. I wouldn't lump Korea, China, and Japan in one group.

Japan=Innovation... They make good stuff

Korea=Quality build for the price

China=Cheaper quality.. More features..

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I wouldn't mind ardent succeeding but man what does it say that them moving to China was an improvement when their entire premise was USA. When they went OEM, they actually improved

lol, never used ardent before, but i can imagine. eagle claw hooks are made in the usa, but I usually avoid them.

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lol, never used ardent before, but i can imagine. eagle claw hooks are made in the usa, but I usually avoid them.

Eagle Claw is generally trying to be low cost, and this result in low quality. The Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp series and the Eagle Claw Lazer TroKar series are great hooks in comparison... And definitely can compete w/other hooks.

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I don't have a problem with them moving their manufacturing overseas.

The rumor is these are being produced by the same company that makes Lew's, Abu, BP, and any number of other reels.  Very similar reels with only slight differences.  Thats more where my issue lies.

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