Steve Souter tested the eye-catching Akios Orion 100LD boat reel and was impressed by the underlying power which isn’t obvious at a glance.
Highly engineered, compact multiplier reels lead the way in modern boat fishing. Unless you are an old school stickler, gone should be the days of embarrassingly large reels that shamelessly outgun target species. I like neat reels that effectively balance precision and power to sportingly tackle lots of different species across an array of different situations and venues. Above all, a reel should feel good in the hands, be quick and simple to operate, and vitally not lend itself to letting the angler down when absolute reliability is most needed. That’s no easy remit to fulfil, but confidence perked and two eyes surely sparkled when I unpacked the new Akios Orion 100LD multiplier.
If a reel can possess sex appeal then the devilish black and red getup of the neat little Akios makes an instant statement. A standard right-hand wind, single speed lever drag, the Orion 100LD resembles an armour-plated Mini Cooper. Spool size and general aspect is comparable to standard 20-size boat reels from any of the leading companies. The Orion swallows 250 metres of 0.45mm line, or way more than 300 metres of the 20 – 50lb braid range that I would instantly recommend it is spooled with.
All Metal Construction
Despite its modest stature there’s nothing flimsy or fiddly about this reel or its external and internal integrals. A CNC machined one-piece cage sits at the centre of the rugged all-metal construction, while the black dressed CNC aluminium frame and side plate, free-spool lever, reel footplate and even the clicker switch are all chunkily formed. The anodised solid aluminium handle stock is considerably larger than might otherwise be expected on a reel body of this size, and terminates in an excellent golf ball-sized EVA ball-grip.
Winding operation is near silent, and the handle offers a choice of two crank positions. With a predisposition for tinkering, I unscrewed the little grub screw and retaining nut and moved it to the full-length position for maximum leverage. Set like this, hauling power is formidable.
This is not a reel intended to haul out fat-headed wreck congers, or tow big blonde rays through roaring tides. However, that is not to say that this little crane is not capable of such should the unexpected occur… because there is ample muscle to flex. Front line fishing niches would be more general species such as bream, pollack and flatfish through to feisty smoothhounds and tope.
In keeping with the rest of the Orion, the drag system is strong and reliable. Capable of outputting a skull-dragging 18lbs of drag pressure, tension is easily adjusted and dialled in/out via the large knurled central pre-set knob. Lever drag operation is fluid, with the pronounced click back to free spool as smooth as it gets. Second phase/maximum drag beyond the ‘strike’ position is actioned by depressing the button and moving the lever fully forward. Line surrender, even with the drag ratcheted up is clean and unhindered.
Brass cut gear system and stainless drive gear are supported by a flush of 7 bearings. Infinite anti-reverse ensures no handle rocking or even slight back-slip. A gentle 5.2:1 gear ratio equates to recovery of more than 75cm of line per each full turn of the handle, making it excellent for shad and artificial eel work.
I spooled the reel with a 300 metres of 30lb 8-strand braid, which required considerable backing to bring the line level anywhere close to capacity. Dragging heavy leads over snaggy ground presented no issues. The forward-slung handle placement helped beat a string of codling and snag-seeking wrasse, while the need to constantly adjust bottom contact when drifting over the rough ground was a breeze working the lever and full handle.
Inshore reef pollack fishing required a change of set-up. With the handle at full extension, the retrieve on smaller lures and frozen sandeels was too aggressive for my liking, and the inclination was to wind faster than I felt would be most effective on the day. So, right there on the boat, I reached for the reel tool and changed the handle back to the ‘normal’ position. Thereafter a slower, more measured retrieve was much easier to action and control. Success also came quickly following the change, underlining that the 5.2:1 ratio is ideal or reef pollack or wreck drift work.
Despite being un-braked, a competent caster will love the Orion’s free-floating spool. The reel is a sweet runner. In free spool it runs like a tuned a shore casting multiplier. I don’t recommend a less than accomplished boat-caster attempting anything too adventurous when it comes to casting, unless unpicking nasty overruns holds some perverse appeal! Appropriately thick oil will bring spool speed under fuller control and I would not hesitate to cast lures and baits, or actively uptide with the Orion.
And, based on any impression of size don’t make the mistake of assuming this to be a light tackle only reel. I worked downtide with leads to 1 1/2 lb, and I am confident that it will handle any weight of lead.
It’s difficult to find anything to grumble about in this reel. Powerfully made and highly unlikely to bruise or buckle even if pushed to extremes, what you have here is a pocket dynamo that punches well above its weight. A line from a favourite head-thumping anthem by Los Angeles metal band ‘Five Finger Death Punch’ declares: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog!” I think that’s a strap-line that applies very well to the Akios Orion 100LD.
The price is on a par with high-end similar reels of this type, but superb build quality stands the Akios out. RRP is £299 but a quick check online found it available for less than £240. A reel wrench, screw tools, reel clamp and oil are supplied. The wider Orion range features three further reels in addition to the 100: a larger 120 version and identical left-hand versions numbered 101 and 121 respectively.
- CNC machined cage & side plate
- Anodised dual-position ergonomic power handle
- Power torque carbon/stainless lever drag
- Infinite anti-reverse system
- Brass cut gear system
- Line out alarm
- Line capacity: 250m (0.45mm) / 220 yards of 20lb mono
- Bearings: 6+1 stainless steel
- Gear ratio: 5.2:1
- Crank rate: 75.5cm / 28.5 inches
- RRP £299.99