Tried & Tested | Matrix HX Pro Reels

This new reel from Matrix is going to be a big hit with anglers...

from Matrix
RRP  £199.99
Matrix HX Pro

by Dan Webb |
Updated on

I waited a long time to get my grubby mitts on these reels, and not just because they are shiny and new; and let’s face it every angler loves a bit of shiny new tackle. These reels are a breath of fresh air, and have been specifically designed as a UK coarse fishing reel, so you can be sure they are up to the task of anything the UK fishing scene can throw at it.

That doesn't mean they can't be used when spinning for species like bass, but if you want the most from this reel, you buy it to cope with the demands of modern day feeder and float fishing on commercials and running water. Packed with some superb unique features, it is designed to be as comfortable and useable as a reel can be, and will aid to improve your angling ability.

As a fishing enthusiast and tackle tester, I have been getting to grips with these reels for a few weeks now, putting them through their paces in all manners of angling situations, it is fair to say they are seriously impressive...

Matrix HX Pro 3000 and 4000 reels
Price: £199.99 (3000), £209.99 (4000)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

Designed specifically for UK match and coarse anglers in 3000 and 4000 sizes.

Pros

  • Screw-in handle has zero wobble and makes storage easy
  • Immaculate line lay straight out of the box

Cons

  • Be careful not to overfill if spooling up with braid due to the taper-free spool lip
  • Build Quality:
    4.5
  • Performance:
    4.0
  • Design:
    4.0
  • Value for money:
    4.0
10 + 1 ball bearings
5:1:1 gear ratio
Ultra lightweight magnesium body
Carbon reinforced rotor
Multi-disc drag system
Easy reach spool
Line capacity: 3000, 150m 0.22mm | 4000, 150m 0.24mm
weight: 291g
79cm and 86cm retrieval rate per turn

Initial thoughts

So why was I so keen to see them? Easy answer, because these reels have been designed specifically for the UK match angler. What do I mean by that, because surely all match reels are designed for the match anglers? Well, that’s not quite true. The problem is, to design, construct, and build anything from scratch costs an incredible amount of money for tooling etc. And although we like to think of fishing here in Blighty as being huge, truth is it's dwarfed by the global market.

Ever wondered why a reel with a spool that sits close enough to the rod handle to allow you to feather a cast or control line release when trotting a stick float is so hard to find? That’s because it’s not an attribute considered important by bass anglers in the US – the likely primary market for your favourite reel. Although dedicated match and feeder reels do exist, most are simply re-branded and re-purposed spinning reels of one form or another .

Matrix have produced some good reels in the past, but for them to start from scratch and build, design and produce tooling for their own dedicated match reel is a big deal with a lot of risk involved. It is rumoured that the HX Pros have cost them over £100,000 to produce, which means they cannot afford for them to fail.

The design

So, what have they come up with? Available in two sizes, the 3000 model is compact and lightweight, ideal for float fishing and lighter feeder work, while the bigger 4000 is suited to heavier duty feeder fishing thanks to its wider spool and faster 86cm per crank retrieval rate. The ultra-lightweight magnesium body is triple-sealed to prevent ingress of dirt and water, ensuring a long serviceable life.

The one-piece bail arm is thick and chunky, with a solid engaging mechanism that gives you confidence that it won’t accidentally flip over during a cast. Unusually, it has a screw in reel handle, which I found has a couple of benefits. Firstly, it gives a solid and delay-free crank with zero wobble that gives you a great feeling of contact with a fish. Secondly, it makes packing away in a ready rod bag a speedy affair, as you don’t have to align the handle with the bail arm before folding to avoid that annoying clash. The drag is a large and easily found bar across the front of the spool, great for anglers who regularly adjust their clutch during a fight.

Key features

For backwinding fans, the anti-reverse lever is elongated and tucked on underside where it is easily felt without looking, yet unobstructive. Line lay looks great and was correct straight out of the box on both models with no need for washer removal. I did have to add 50m of 6lb line as backing on the 4000 model though, as I felt it looked a bit too empty with 150m of 0.23mm line. As hinted at earlier, I found the spool easy enough to dab while breaking a speeding fish or feathering, even with my embarrassingly short child-sized fingers.

How did it perform?

On my test day at Meadowlands, I was staggered by how smooth both models felt, even the smaller 3000 which oozed power, helped by the large single handle that allowed my to crank fish to double figures without pumping.

So far so good, but then every reel feels great fresh out of the box doesn’t it?

It’s only after a good pounding that lesser models start to feel less like precision instruments and more like second hand coffee grinders. Not fully content with hauling several tons of Meadowlands' carpy finest, I decided to take the 4000 HX Pro with me to a festival and treat it to a week of winding in Upper Tamar skimmers through the wildest weather Cornwall has to offer.

Caked in groundbait and having endured more than several clumsy dunks into the margins, I’m pleased to report the reel still feels good as new.

Any downsides?

As with all reviews, I’m obliged to state the negatives. I liked using this reel so much, I really had to dig deep, but I did find one. The spool has a taper free lip which is fine with mono, but one with a more pronounced lip would be a benefit when using braided lines. To be honest, as long as you don’t overfill the spool and wet it before casting, you will not notice any difference.

There is no doubting Matrix have put an immense amount of work into this reel. It looks incredible, feels incredible and was absolutely magnificent in use - it deserves to be a huge success story for the brand.

Matrix HX Pro 3000 and 4000 reels
Price: £199.99 (3000), £209.99 (4000)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

Designed specifically for UK match and coarse anglers in 3000 and 4000 sizes.

Pros

  • Screw-in handle has zero wobble and makes storage easy
  • Immaculate line lay straight out of the box

Cons

  • Be careful not to overfill if spooling up with braid due to the taper-free spool lip
  • Build Quality:
    4.5
  • Performance:
    4.0
  • Design:
    4.0
  • Value for money:
    4.0
10 + 1 ball bearings
5:1:1 gear ratio
Ultra lightweight magnesium body
Carbon reinforced rotor
Multi-disc drag system
Easy reach spool
Line capacity: 3000, 150m 0.22mm | 4000, 150m 0.24mm
weight: 291g
79cm and 86cm retrieval rate per turn

Being hypercritical aside, the HX reels from Matrix are a seriously fantastic piece of kit and definitely something to consider if you do a lot of running line work and are in the market for new tackle. The reels not only look fantastic, but they are also superbly well-balanced and effortless to wind in, making them perfect for reeling in 400 roach in a speed match or catching 10 double-figure carp on a waggler at Boddingtons.

The solid construction and meticulous design will prevent dirt and bait from working their way into the reel and damaging it, so you can be certain the reels will stand the test of time. Whilst I understand they aren't the cheapest reels available, we think they would make a great investment if you have that sort of money to spend.

Our pick of the alternatives

The Daiwa TDR reels are a staple amongst some of the best match and specimen anglers in the country and there is good reason for this, they just never fail! These reels offer incredible performance and are proper workhorses.

Eating up 96cm of line per crank of the handle, you will not find a more effortless way of retrieving the heaviest of feeders from extreme ranges of 100m-plus. Decked out in the iconic TDR livery, it has the premium looks to match its high-end performance

Pros

  • Impressive cranking power
  • Great line clips

Cons

  • Handle knob isn't for everyone

4.

Preston Innovations Centris SD Reel

Preston Innovations Centris SD Reel
Price: £159.99

The Preston Centris SD Reels are loaded with features like the Power Drive, a super-slow oscillation worm shaft, that delivers superb winding power in a smaller reel.

The titanium shaft and full aluminium body coupled with a stunning titanium carbon rotor make this reel stand out from the crowd.

Multi washers make the micro adjustable front drag incredibly smooth. The push button release allows you to change spools in an instant.

Pros

  • Superb line-lay
  • Effortless winding

Cons

  • A little heavier than others weighing 322g

Author Dan Webb first became involved in angling journalism in 2015 and has worked as Tackle Tester at Angling Times since April 2021. He is a fanatical all-round match angler and former England Youth International.

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