Accurate’s Tern 500 Narrow and 600 put to the test!

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Western Outdoor News caught an early on-the-water look at the next evolution of these powerful TwinStarDrag reels

AVALON — It’s hard to keep a secret, but that’s just what we did when it comes to two of Accurate’s new, larger Tern reels, the 500 Narrow and the 600, only just recently announced at ICAST with their sibling the 600 Narrow. Starting this week these will be the largest American made star drags on the market.

We first learned of them back on June 19-20 when we had the company’s Justin Poe onboard our Options charter to Catalina — we just couldn’t tell you. Poe, an Accurate Vice President, brought a couple of reels that were still under wraps. WON staffers on the trip — myself and Ad Sales and Marketing Director Chuck Buhagiar — were invited to try prototypes of the 500 Narrow and 600 Terns that we were told had just come off the machines that day, but we were sworn to secrecy “until the reels are ready.”

I have a Tern 300 and 400 in my quiver, and in fact caught a 35-pound seabass on the compact but mighty 300 that trip. To me, the new 500 Narrow and 600 were the spitting image of the Terns released the prior year, but larger.

ACCURATE’S JUSTIN POE and his prototype Tern 600 made short work of this 35-pound Catalina yellowtail.

Before we get into more detail on the new reels, first a refresher. Accurate’s Terns were the company’s first star drags, and like other reels the company makes at their Corona factory, are painstakingly crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum. The Terns were the first star drag reels to feature a twin drag — Accurate calls the feature TwinStarDrag. The heat-treated steel gears and gear shaft are large and beefy, and although the reels themselves are light and compact, they are powerhouses.

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Neither Buhagiar nor myself were fortunate to catch a fish on the new reels, but we watched Poe tangle with a 35-plus-pound yellowtail and an even larger seabass, one on each model. Poe is a big, strong guy, and neither one gave him any trouble, but much of that was due to the equipment.

The new reels share the same drive trains and drags.

“I would say they are very powerful but still really light,” Poe said after the experience. “The 500 Narrow is 16 ounces and makes 33 pounds of drag. It’s the perfect structure reel for yellows and seabass, where you rarely need more than 300 yards of line. Why have a bigger reel when you have all that horsepower?”

The 500 Narrow will be available in 6.1:1 and 4.7:1 gear ratios. The 6.1 is fast, picking up 45 inches of line per crank. The 4.7 naturally dishes out more torque. It will be priced at $329.95.

The 600 picks up even more line in its 6.1 version, 52.7 inches per crank. That’s smoking! Poe sees it as a fantastic yo-yo or big bottom reel depending on where you’re in the country. It holds 500 yards of 80-pound braid — a lot! Poe said that makes it versatile.

WASTING NO TIME after ICAST, Accurate got straight to work building the new, larger Tern models. Poe said they’ll be widely available in August.

The 6.1:1 version of the 600 puts out plenty of torque, but by comparison the 4.7 model kicks out an additional 35- to 40-percent — it’s a winch, yet still picks up 41 inches of line per crank. The 600 weighs 17.4 ounces.

At ICAST, Accurate also introduced the 600 Narrow, which we failed to see because it wasn’t in existence yet. That says something special about Accurate’s ability to build a new reel model — the company is agile. Poe told us he sees the 600 Narrow as the ideal wahoo reel.

“At 52 inches it’s the fastest star drag that’s ever been made in recent years,” he said. “It’s the ultimate wahoo reel, where you don’t need power you just need speed. It’s great for that.”

The 600 and 600 Narrow will set an angler back $379.95 — less than $400.

These new narrow Terns are quickly becoming favorites around the factory, Poe said. “They are the go-to reels for lure applications such as casting poppers,” he said. “Line comes off them more easily and it goes back on easily too. They feel a lot better in the hand.”

The new, larger Tern star drags are already in production. Poe sent me a photo of a tray of sideplates as illustration. They will be available this week in limited numbers, and widely available in August.

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