Finally got my hands on a cheeky mojo 425. The Mojo 425 is a moderately priced reel at $360. Expensive, but not in the realm of some reels like Tibor or Hatch in this 7-9wt class. I picked this reel up for a steelhead/large trout rig. Mainly for casting large streamers and nymph rigs and also casting into wind. I haven’t had a chance to use this reel on the water yet. However, I wanted to give my initial unboxing thoughts.Cheeky is a relatively new company that debuted their first line of reels in 2008. The Mojo 425 is in their performance line of reels. They also have a more inexpensive line of reels in the Boost line and Tyro line of reels. I currently own a boost 325 on my 4wt. The boost has a smooth drag and low startup inertia. Just playing with Mojo 425 doing some strips of the line indicated to me that the drag is as smooth or smoother than the boost. The reel also seems to have a very low startup inertia, if there is any. I’m sure you’re asking yourself what is “startup inertia”. Startup inertia is the amount of energy that is required to get the reel spool moving. The higher the startup inertia, the more energy it takes for the reel to get going. A low startup inertia is essential for species where long runs are common (i.e. bonefish, permit, steelhead, salmon, stripers, tarpon etc.). Speaking of startup inertia, lets talk drag. The Mojo 425 has a larger drag knob which is a nice feature to have a on a reel for larger fish. It’s nice to have a large drag knob when playing a drag on a large fish. This becomes common once you start chucking flies in salt or hook into large salmon and steelhead.
The reel also boasts a relatively high rate of pickup due to the large arbor design. At about 13″ of line per crank. Which is great when battling big fish that you want to gain some line on. The spool itself is large enough to hold a variety of lines, I currently have mine loaded with Scientific Anglers WF7F Titan line. There is still room on the spool for plenty of backing if you choose to add more backing, which is nice when you are fishing for some permit or large steelhead. The spool is relatively easy to change with the twist of the center knob on the face of the reel. So how does the Mojo 425 stack up initially? Initially I have to say the Mojo 425 is an impressive piece of hardware. I am basing this on the comparison of two other reel brands in this class, Nautilus and Sage. I have used the Nautilus CCFX-2 in size 8/10 and 6/8. I have also used the Sage 4280. The CCFX-2 is my go to salt water reel. I have used the 8/10 and 6/8 for bonefish, permit, snook, and sea-trout in the Florida Keys. The 6/8 is a great reel for bonefish and permit (of moderate size). The line pickup on the 6/8 was great, Nautilus drags are some of the best on the market in terms of stopping power. The drag knob is large and nice to have when playing large fish. The 8/10 is another great salt reel, which I have converted to a freshwater reel for my switch rod this winter. The 8/10 has a significantly larger arbor for faster line pickup. Both the 8/10 and 6/8 have low startup inertias, smooth drags, and great stopping power. The drag knob is also a pain sometimes. Even thought he large drag knob is nice for playing fish on the drag, it is also a pain in the fact that line wrapped around the drag knob can crank the drag on accident and lower its tension. This happened to me more than once in the Keys, thankfully not with a fish on. The drag knob is a catch 22. Which I hope won’t be the case with the Mojo 425, due to it’s lower profile drag knob.
The sage 4280 has been my go to steelhead reel for about 4 years now. I have used it on my switch rod the last few seasons. The drag is ultra smooth and easy to dial in. The drag knob is not as large, but has numerical settings, which makes it great for resetting you drag if it’s bumped. The Sage 4280 is lower priced than the Cheeky and Nautilus reels. The sage comes in at $289 bucks. Which is a nice price point for those who want quality without breaking the bank. The startup inertia on this reel is slightly higher than the Nautilus CCFX-2 and the Mojo 425, but nothing that would make or break this reel being right in it with those guys
The reels are all about the same size overall. With the CCFX-2 8/10 being the largest of the 4, followed by the Mojo 425, CCFX-2 6/8, then finally the Sage 4280.
So what’s the skinny? Initially the Mojo 425 looks like a rockstar. It’s comparable to some more well known brands out there, in terms of initial observations. The true test will be on the water. After some time on the water with this reel, I will give you a complete diagnosis on what my thoughts on this reel are.