Abu have put much fresh thinking and bundles of new technology into there latest Soron range of fixed spool reels. Under-spool bearings and a special braid-specific spool are just a couple of the forward thinking features that impressed reviewer Des Westmore.
From the outset the ABU Soron STX70 is pleasant on the eye and the weight of 21.7oz underlines quality. Though the dark blue finish does feel a bit rubbery, the Soron is not a plastic reel, with Abu’s trade marked ‘X-Craftic’ aluminium alloy used for the body, body cover, rotor and bail arm. The Soron also contains 10 corrosion resisting HPCR (High Precision Corrosion Resistant) bearings plus a one-way roller bearing. A heat-treated Duragear gear-train runs on a stainless steel main shaft with a ratio of 4.8:1, which is very good for small fish or working lures. With its capacity of 300m of .35mm mono and a sealed waterproof Carbon Matrix drag rated for a maximum of 30lb, the Soron should inspire confidence if you are lucky enough to hook into something big. The bail spring is the weak link on many fixed spools but Abu have addressed that potential issue with the use of their ‘Everlast’ bail system, while the bail’s roller incorporates one of those ten HPCR bearings to keep things turning sweetly.
While I didn’t strip the reel completely, you do not have to look far to reveal some unique features. The drag is front mounted, easy to adjust and has a wide range of settings. I had no problem fishing for bream using the new 15lb Fireline braid and a delicate drag setting. I later spooled up with some hairy old 30lb original Fireline, locked the drag down hard and went speed jigging. The drag soaked up the punishment meted out but it won’t be soaking up any water, as there is a rubber seal under the drag wheel. The seal also protects two more of the HPCR bearings… the ones that mount the spool. Yes, a fixed spool with a spool running on ball bearings. Another seal is mounted below the bearings on the spool shaft so no water is getting in that way either. A deal of thought has gone into this reel for sure.
Special Spool for Braid
The Soron comes supplied with two spools, both of which are aluminium. One incorporates the Superline Spool System, which is a shallower spool for use with braid and has two rubber O-rings mounted on the arbour. The idea here is to stop braid line from revolving around the spool and to do away with the need for tape. It may well do this, but I am not sure how much use this will prove to be as the majority of anglers spooling with braid will need some mono backing anyway. The other spool is of a conventional design, but line lay is excellent in terms of profile and prevention of braid biting whichever spool is used.
Another notable external feature is the handle. This can be mounted on the left or right side of the reel thanks to left and right-hand threads of differing diameters. The handle on the STX70 is a substantial one-piece affair but unfortunately it brought the testing to a premature end because one of the reviewers lost it! Dale Edmunds is a good angler and likes to use fixed spools, so I gave him the reel to use for bassing aboard his Warrior 165. The idea was to give the reel a good workout and especially test the Soron’s claims of corrosion resistance. Dale lost the handle (and perhaps the plot) while underway on the reel’s first outing. The reel never even left the rack. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the attachment method so can only presume it was loose and the motion of the boat rotated it free. Pure Fishing did promise to send a replacement handle but it never arrived.
To try and test the reel’s corrosion resistance, I carried on taking the reel afloat and just to get it wetted. There are no signs of corrosion after several trips, but I would be the first to admit that this was not the test I would have hoped for and many questions of actual fishing performance remain to be answered. I also have a baby brother for the STX70 in the shape of the STX40 (180m of .30mm mono). This is a smaller clone of the STX 70 but it is the handle again that gets a mention. On the STX40, the handle is of a folding design and it is the folding joint that has been the only part of the reel to show any signs of corrosion. Washing down and a bit of lubrication should hopefully control this.
A Look Inside
While checking the reels over for corrosion, I decided to take off the silver plastic cover at the rear of the reel. Though some anglers thought the plastic detracts from the reel’s impression of up-market quality, it does serve a purpose in that it is this part of the body that is vulnerable to knocks and so it actually protects the metal part of the reel. I was pleased to see that ample grease had been applied under the plastic cover to prevent corrosion setting in. It should also prevent water entering the gearbox via a slot concealed by the cover. Though narrow, this slot is actually useful for applying some lube to the gears.
Despite the test being cut short, I think the Soron still came through well. I do not use fixed spools that much but the silkiness of operation and the excellent drag leave me impressed. And from an engineering perspective, there are features in the Soron that are just not normally found in a reel of this price, which is £119.99 for the STX 70 and £99.99 for the STX40. An STX60 (190m of .35mm) comes in at £114.99. The Soron is the most impressive Abu fixed spool I have seen since the Suveran… pretty good considering that reel was Swedish and this one is Chinese. For more details go to www.uk.purefishing.com