Qualia Advanz high speed jigging reel review by Jay Riordan
Earlier this year I ran into Sam at the Miami boat show and he asked me if I might be interested in testing a reel for him. Without hesitation I jumped at the offer then asked the question of what exactly I was testing. It turns out it was a reel made by a company called Qualia, the model was the Advanz Q16-IIHS. This was the Mac Daddy of their two speed jigging reels.
Do pretty reels help us catch more fish?
First impression from just holding the reel was how solid it felt. The two tone blue and gold aluminum frame doesn’t allow it to be confused with it’s competitors reels on the market, no blending in with the masses of gold or silver aluminum framed reels out there. The next thing I noticed was the handle. A massive over sized ergonomic rubber knob. At the base of the handle was the assembly for the 2-speed transmission. Very simply designed and easy to use, even with wet hands or if you were fishing with gloves.
Some say its what inside that matters.
The product specs made the reel out to be quite impressive, at least on paper that is. The company’s website touts the reel to be built like a tank. The gears are machine cut from bar stock stainless steel. They come with dual anti-reverse systems and the frames are cut from solid bars of aluminum. The spools are machined from billet aluminum. The company uses a nano-treated Tenex bearing, supposedly 10 times more corrosion resistant than stainless steel.
A few turns of the handle and you immediately notice the blistering 6.2.1 gear ratio in high. A simple push of a button and it drops down to a slow 3.1.1 gear ratio, thus providing more torque.
Lets see what your made of.
For the past six months I have brought this reel fishing with me every time I went offshore. Since the company markets it as a jigging reel I spooled it with 65lb braid and went after everything from amberjacks to red snappers and groupers. I asked various people to give the reel a try and tell me what they thought of the it. The responses were somewhat disheartening for such a nice looking reel. Some of the comments were:
“Why does it make that chirping sound in free spool?”
“Does the anti-reverse usually slip like that?”
“The knob is awkward and cumbersome.”
“Will the drag tighten down anymore?”
After loosing about two dozen or so butterfly jigs due to the inadequacies of the reel I decided it just wasn’t powerful enough to tackle big bottom fish. Off with the braid and on with 30lb mono in an attempt to use the reel for trolling and light snapper fishing.
I must say I absolutely hated the reel for snapper fishing. Way too heavy and uncomfortable to fish with all day long. However, when it came to trolling the reel did just fine. A smooth drag that was paired with 350+ yards of 30lb mono it was able to catch several smoker kings and bonitos.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
The aesthetics of the reel are pleasing. It definitely has the bling appeal that some fisherman crave. Even if your not catching any fish you’ll look like you know what your doing by having some expensive tackle.
The weight of the reel and knob design must be addressed. It was just too heavy to hold all day and constantly fighting the knob (to get it in the correct position) were more than annoying.
Anti-reverses that slip and bearings that chirp are deal breakers in my book.
Overall I would have to say that reel was only good for trolling or if you were trying to impress someone with an expensive looking reel. I think the company has some good ideas but this reel can’t compete with the other two speed reels currently on the market.