Savage Gear SG2 Reel Review

Note: since writing this review, we do not recommend these reels for saltwater fishing as in our personal experience, they haven’t been as saltwater resistant as some others at the same price point. Still – an exceptionally smooth low-cost reel for freshwater stuff.

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This is a review of the Savage Gear SG2, which is the most affordable of the range, which goes from SG2 up to the high end SG10. It’s the new kid on the spinning reel block. We fished with this on the Cornish coast, catching bass and mackerel. As lure fishing guides down here in Cornwall, we have experience with a good range of reels at this prince point. It was a good laugh playing with this reel and comparing it to some others around the same price. He’s what we reckon this reel’s good for…

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savage gear SG2 reel review

Savage Gear SG2 Reel Size Guide

First, the sizing. As always, this is the most important bit. It’s too easy to order the wrong size online, so it’s worth taking a minute to check your rod ratings before you order.

We used the 3000 size with the 9ft Daiwa Ninja which casts up to 50g and it paired fairly well. It’s a pretty light rod, but is standard for a modern lure rod. The 3000 was fine with this 9ft rod – just. It was more balanced on our lighter 8ft rod which casts up to 20g. The 4000 would have been better choice to pair with the 9ft <50g Ninja. If your rod is over 8.5ft I’d reach for the 4000.

The 3000 size from Savage Gear is a little bit smaller than a 3000 Shimano and definitely smaller than the 3000 Penn. The 2500 size would sit well on an ultra light perch fishing outfit or LRF rod. It’s the same body as the 3000 but the 3000 has a larger spool. The 1000 size would be suitable for rods casting under 10g. Personally, I would use the 2500 on an ultra light outfit and avoid the 1000, because you’d be caught like a deer in headlights if you hooked a pike in the fresh stuff or wrasse in saltwater.

View Shimano Catana Instead

savage gear SG2 reel review
The 3000 size is pretty small compared to what most saltwater anglers are used to

The line lay was exceptional out of the box

We didn’t have to adjust the line lay at all and it was perfect out of the box with the braid that came with the reel. This braid was pretty nasty stuff – coarse, sharp and low strand. It would get smoother with use, but if you can see the weave of the line you know it’s not going to be great stuff. The line lay on the reel on the other hand, was stunning.

View Shimano Catana Instead

savage gear SG2 reel review

Build quality is nice given the price of the reel

There is metal plating over some kind of composite material which makes up the reels main body and rotor. In addition to the metal spool, and this contributes to a high end feel to the reel. The non-metal parts of the reel are not regular graphite, but a composite which Savage Gear say provides extra strength. The reels body has a lovely finish which does a lot to make you forget about the handle. The handle is made from plastic and doesn’t feel as solid and ‘tight’ as the higher end models (starting at the SG4AG) or similarly priced reels from Shimano, Penn and Daiwa. There is flex there, which was the main thing we noticed that held the reel back in terms of user experience. However, the overall feel is pretty damn nice despite this.

View Shimano Catana Instead

savage gear SG2 reel review

The reel appears to have been designed thoughtfully

The reel has a line clip that works. This may sound like a minor win for the reel, but some reels like the Penn Spinfisher and Penn Pursuit have line clips that are shoddy with some lines. The spool also has a rubbery interior, so that line grips when you are spooling the reel. Apparently this eliminates the need to use backing. We used backing anyway, so didn’t appreciate this feature. Anglers new to lure fishing might appreciate this feature, as spooling your line for the first time can be tricky.

View Shimano Catana Instead

savage gear SG2 reel review

It’s not the most saltwater resistant reel in the series

I’m not sure this reel would cope well with the kind of saltwater exposure surf and boat anglers would give it. Higher end models in the series have more saltwater protection, so if you’re taking this thing in high-splash risk environments it’s probably not a great choice. For regular shore fishing and fishing from harbours – e.g. most peoples fishing – I wouldn’t be worried.

savage gear SG2 reel review

The max drag is 10.5kg in the 4000 size, which is impressive

Max drag isn’t a big deal for UK fishing due to the size of our fish. It’s nice to know the drag is there, though. This drag could be fine tuned and was trustworthy with light lines. When Will hooked a bass out on the kayak, he noticed the drag was fairly smooth, but a bit less smooth at lower amounts of tension than higher end reels. So, when a fish first takes line, the initial release of line feels like it’s ‘built up’ for a microsecond before the drag becomes smoother. He liked the drag.

SG2 vs SG4 Spinning Reel

We tested the SG2 but I’ve had a play with the whole range in West Bay tackle shop. My immediate impression was that the progressive increase in quality between the reels is insignificant until you reach the SG8 (the SG10 is in a different realm). I wouldn’t pay extra for the SG4. I’ll update this once we’ve tested the whole range on the water.

View Shimano Catana Instead

These new Savage Gear reels are lightweight, slick and have great line lay. They’re beautiful looking, too. The SG2 looks promising, but it’s too early to say about durability in a saltwater environment.

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