Tern 300 Review

Accurate Fishing Reels

benwah22

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A lot of people are asking for reviews of this reel. Full disclosure before I start: I'm on Accurate's pro team. That being said, I've got no financial stake in this, and my main goal is to a realistic of a review based on my personal experience with the reel in the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

Setup:
Accurate Tern 300 (Right-Handed) spooled with Daiwa J-Braid, 8 strand, 30lb, approximately 350 yards
95mm long arm, Accurate ball-knob
Temple Reef Gravitate G2 (slow-pitch jigging rod)
Jigs between 200g and 270g

Appearance:
Mine is Silver/Black
Approximately same height as a Valiant 300, and similar spool width
Left side plate is very similar to the Valiant. It's not exact, but it's approximately the same specs.
Right side of side plate with gear box is different than Valiant series.
- Gear box is larger than Valiant, but still smaller than BX series

- Star is reminiscent of the Ocea 2000/Trinidad 16N in shape and function. Solid clicks forward and reverse. No issue setting or maintaining drag levels

- Very audible clicker. I personally prefer just backing my drag down to pull line off, but if you're a clicker person, there's no doubt you'll hear it

- Somewhat bulbous right side plate next to handle. This is a personal preference thing. I'm not crazy about it, but I'm not against it either. It's required for manufacturing tolerances.

- Clutch engage: It requires more firm pressure to engage and disengage. The benefits of this are that you do not run the risk of engaging the spool when casting. Very important. It takes maybe a few more lbs pressure to open the bail. Once you use it for about 10 minutes it's almost not noticeable. I liked that it felt more secure when opening and closing, and I did it a lot.

Feel:
If you are expecting it to feel like a BX series or Valiant, it does not. Why? Because it's a totally different reel. The closest feel when turning the handle that I can liken it to i a Talica, in how it has almost this hollow feeling when the spool turns. Out of the box the reel was pretty smooth, but as with other Accurate reels, they require some break in. The reel smoothed out once I caught a few fish on it. Slightly heavier than a Valiant 300, but much, much lighter than the BX series. You'd have no problem fishing the reel all day. It palms well and had good balance.

Performance:
I grabbed this set up when we ran into some Amberjacks that were quick to hit a jig in about 90 feet of water. I figured they would give a very good idea of where the reel stood performance-wise. I caught 6 AJ's between 15-20lbs, with one double header on the jig of two 20lbers on the same jig. The handle turns are very smooth, and there is zero front or back play with the handle. I did not use a drag scale, but I had it set at about 14lbs based on my experience. Drag was smooth and not jerky. All of the fish took several runs with the strongest being the double header. The Tern put the brakes on them well, and with a little thumbing I was able to turn the fish without too much trouble. I did not crank the drag all the way down as it was not needed - so the reel had a good amount still in the tank if necessary. Casting was objectively really, really good. Very smooth casting, and noticeably further than my lever drag reels. I think this reel would be very good for all levels of snapper fishing, and most bottom species up to about 40-50lbs. Pelagic fish would not be an issue at all with this reel.

Overall:
I was very pleased and it was a very fun/capable reel in a great little package. I think I'm still more of a lever drag guy, but I really enjoy having this other option at my disposal. It's important to understand what you're purchasing - and if you're looking for a sub-$300 star drag reel, I'm genuinely not sure why you would look elsewhere unless there are specific features such as auto-engage that are make or break for you. I don't think there's anything in the category that will have similar performance, or even remotely close to the power of this reel. I would say that the stock handle is prohibitively short if you're going to be using the reel for jigging, but, then again, I prefer an extended arm. That may be personal preference. Getting the long arm for it shouldn't be too much trouble. I was very pleasantly surprised with the smoothness of the drag and overall power of this little guy. Like, actually very pleasantly surprised, especially on the double header. The wildcard is going to be longevity as I've really only had it on the water for about 12 hours but I did beat on it pretty good. I don't see any reason why the reel shouldn't last, but, if not, they come with a 2 year free maintenance plan. I think it will be a good reel up to about 300ft of water based on line capacity as stated above. Overall, you're going to get good value as it has very good stopping power at a very reasonable price.
 
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yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
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Great review, well detailed and objective.
The bulbous look has been redesigned.
That change was made very quickly. Most dealers still have the original fat boy look. Here is the new redesign.
Personally like the reel a lot an excellent value.
Walt

The new style.

IMG_0488.JPG

The original style. IMG_0492.JPG
 
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DannyNoonan

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Thanks for the writeup Benny. 14#'s of drag on 30# J-braid is pretty stiff...

I've been looking at the Terns since they first came out, but the initial run(s) seemed to still be working out the kinks. Subjective "smoothness" of turning the handle was nowhere near the Trinidad/Ocea reels, and I really like the auto-engage feature for slow pitching. Almost all of the reels I played with also had what seemed to be an uneven milling and/or anodization of the spool sidewalls - spinning it in freespool revealed a "waviness" that isn't present in any other reels that I've experienced.

Hopefully they're smoothing out these issues - I wasn't aware of the sideplate refinement. I'll keep an eye out for it in the next restock...
 
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benwah22

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Thanks for the writeup Benny. 14#'s of drag on 30# J-braid is pretty stiff...

I've been looking at the Terns since they first came out, but the initial run(s) seemed to still be working out the kinks. Subjective "smoothness" of turning the handle was nowhere near the Trinidad/Ocea reels, and I really like the auto-engage feature for slow pitching. Almost all of the reels I played with also had what seemed to be an uneven milling and/or anodization of the spool sidewalls - spinning it in freespool revealed a "waviness" that isn't present in any other reels that I've experienced.

Hopefully they're smoothing out these issues - I wasn't aware of the sideplate refinement. I'll keep an eye out for it in the next restock...
Thanks DannyNoonan

The "uneven" milling is almost identical to the Valiant series. I have no issue with it, but everyone has different tolerances for what they want in a product - so I can respect someone's personal choice there.

As for the subjective "smoothness" you've mentioned, I'll be the first to tell you that out of the box, they're not as smooth as a Trinidad/Ocea. The primary reason for this is because Accurate uses a much harder material for their gears, and requires some break in time in the gearing. There are some pro-anglers in Japan that have started using Accurates because of the significant power they bring to the table, and to speed the initial break in, they are putting the reels on a line-winding machine and just spinning the handle for 15-20 minutes, working over the gears. I know that once I fish my Accurates, they smooth out just fine. That being said, even if they didn't, I'll take a hair less smoothness in exchange for USA made and significantly more drag any day.

And yeah, I have my drag set pretty high for light line. One factor that allows this is the shock absorption that the rod allows. Slow pitch rods load up pretty well and take a good amount of the initial brunt off the strike. Also, 30lb J-braid consistently breaks at about 43lbs, so a 14lb drag setting is only marginally above the 30% rule of drag to breaking strength ratio. Seems to work for me.
 
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miaf

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Thanks for the review. I’ll be honest though, I would rather see a detailed report like yours from someone that is not on Accurate’s Pro Team.
 
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benwah22

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Thanks for the review. I’ll be honest though, I would rather see a detailed report like yours from someone that is not on Accurate’s Pro Team.
Which is why I gave a disclaimer, advised my affiliation with the company, and then provided a review of the product. I think you can see by the report that it's about as unbiased as possible.

I very much welcome other anglers to do the same, as customer feedback is critical to improving the product, good or bad.
 
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miaf

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It seemed like a commercial, as everything you said was positive. That being said, maybe there are no negatives to this reel, as Accurate makes great reels. I have the Tern 500 and haven’t had any negative issues yet, but really haven’t pulled on any big fish yet. I’m sure it will be fine though, just like all my other Accurate reels.
 
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FlatPack

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Great review, well detailed and objective.
The bulbous look has been redesigned.
That change was made very quickly. Most dealers still have the original fat boy look. Here is the new redesign.
Personally like the reel a lot an excellent value.
Walt

The new style.

View attachment 1010365

The original style. View attachment 1010577
Is this an accurate info or just the angle in the picture?....I don’t mind though as i got my Tern in Black for stealth reason :-)

3814FEE4-DEBA-4869-85A5-A29C3E6B2587.jpeg 0AC09605-26C1-4BE1-992E-13D731AF435F.jpeg
 
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yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
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Mr. Ben's review is as unbiased as it gets. He is not going to jeperdise his personal integrity for some fishing gear manufacture. His review mirrors several others I have read. The only aspect that needs additional consideration would be the drag output. The Tern claims 30+ lbs of drag. Guys are having difficulty matching those claims. But again drags need some break in to achieve max output. Time will tell if this is a real issue or not. But cannot think of any situation where using the Tern you would require more then
20-25 lbs of drag. Believe me 25 lbs is a tough customer.

Mr. Mangingisda,
Regarding the photo.... no photo shop no angle they did infact change the profile of the crank side end plate.

Walt
 
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yessokk

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Sep 18, 2006
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The Tern has an optional longer handle available. Can anyone explain the advantage of using a longer handle? Thought at first it was just a cranking torque assist. But there appears to be more to it.
Walt
 
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PezGallo21

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Thanks for the review, Ben. There appears to be a tad bit of misinformation here that I will clear up regarding the side plate. Yes, there are two sideplates. The first had the bearing outside the sideplate, which was then moved inside the side plate. This did "slim" down the sideplate and took away some of the round shape. However, it was a small adjustment that really cannot be identified without removing the spool tension knob and looking inside. The photo indicated at the "new" version is actually the first finished Tern ever photographed, so it will have the old sideplate. The photo indicated "old" style, is likely the new style just by remembering when we took that photo, but without having the reel in hand it is hard to say. Both sideplates function properly, so do not be concerned about having the older version. Some larger fish are starting to come on the Tern, as the El Gato Dos guys got a yellowfin around 65 pounds on the TX-500 in the fall! For those that have a Tern, post up your photos when you start using it, we'd love to see them.
 
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JRubino

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Mr. Ben's review is as unbiased as it gets. He is not going to jeperdise his personal integrity for some fishing gear manufacture. His review mirrors several others I have read. The only aspect that needs additional consideration would be the drag output. The Tern claims 30+ lbs of drag. Guys are having difficulty matching those claims. But again drags need some break in to achieve max output. Time will tell if this is a real issue or not. But cannot think of any situation where using the Tern you would require more then
20-25 lbs of drag. Believe me 25 lbs is a tough customer.

Mr. Mangingisda,
Regarding the photo.... no photo shop no angle they did infact change the profile of the crank side end plate.

Walt
I took my 400 out for the first time this Saturday and was thinking the same thing. Super smooth out of the box, plenty of power and as fast as it needs to be, but locked down doesn't seem like 30lbs of drag.
 
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benwah22

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I took my 400 out for the first time this Saturday and was thinking the same thing. Super smooth out of the box, plenty of power and as fast as it needs to be, but locked down doesn't seem like 30lbs of drag.

A lot of people don't realize exactly what 30lbs of drag feels like. It's A LOT. I haven't measured mine with a scale when fully locked, but I know when I did lock it down, I could not pull off line using my hand without putting a glove on to protect my hand
 
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JRubino

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Mine is brand new, may be a little stiff still. Maybe it wasn’t locked fully down. I was pulling on flouro and it definitely wasn’t coming easy, but it was coming easier than 30lbs should. Either way, plenty of drag for what I’m using it for. Amazing what a little reel the size of a business card can do.
 
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FlatPack

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A lot of people don't realize exactly what 30lbs of drag feels like. It's A LOT. I haven't measured mine with a scale when fully locked, but I know when I did lock it down, I could not pull off line using my hand without putting a glove on to protect my hand
Your right and funny how some people are locked in on the 30lb drag for these reels which you usually spooled with 30-65 lb braid....so whats your 30lb drag for and do you really need it for these reels?
 
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JRubino

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Your right and funny how some people are locked in on the 30lb drag for these reels which you usually spooled with 30-65 lb braid....so whats your 30lb drag for and do you really need it for these reels?
Not for nothing, I originally spooled my 400 with 50lb power pro before I got my Slow pitch rod for it. Spooled 430 yards with about 20 yards of mono back and definitely could have put more on. Holds a ridiculous amount of line for such a compact reel.
 
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FlatPack

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Not for nothing, I originally spooled my 400 with 50lb power pro before I got my Slow pitch rod for it. Spooled 430 yards with about 20 yards of mono back and definitely could have put more on. Holds a ridiculous amount of line for such a compact reel.
and whats your mono topshop for it? does 25-30% drag really equals to 30lb drag some people are concerned for these reel...
 
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JRubino

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and whats your mono topshop for it? does 25-30% drag really equals to 30lb drag some people are concerned for these reel...
I'm personally going to be using it for Slow Pitch, so probably 40lb flouro tops. Just because the manufacturer labels it 30+ lbs of drag, doesn't mean you have to lock it down and apply 30 lbs of drag pressure. For the price point, you'd be hard pressed to find a better option in my opinion.
 

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
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The ability to produce 30# of drag is not the main issue here. The real issue is,,,, does the product meet the claims of the manufacture or not. If Accurate had indicated 23 lbs of max drag this thread would never have survived. Have seen exactly 2 posts where anglers actually took objective max drag measurements with a scale. Both maxed out in the 23-25lb range. All the rest have been subjective opinion. This does not prove that the 30 lb specification can not be obtained with a reasonable break in. As the drag material needs compression and wear in to ensure full contact with the metal friction surfaces. The Accurate response has ensured the drag spec has been verified during initial testing. Regarding the 30 lb specification, believe me 30lb is a ton of drag which for all intended purposes you will never need or want with the targets intended for that reel. Would not recommend letting this issue sway a purchase decision. That reel is a tank and one heck of a bang for the buck.

Walt
 
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FlatPack

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I'm personally going to be using it for Slow Pitch, so probably 40lb flouro tops. Just because the manufacturer labels it 30+ lbs of drag, doesn't mean you have to lock it down and apply 30 lbs of drag pressure. For the price point, you'd be hard pressed to find a better option in my opinion.
Precisely thats my point so whats the big fuzz whether it really max at 30lb drag or not when you are not going to use it anyway...so buy a different reel instead with the 30lb drag you want...its a free country..duh..:-)
 
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J blair

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Beat the star down with a pipe like the old penn 114. I think most drag #'s are not relevant. If it fished about 30 lbs of drag thats still too much to fish on a reel that size. Some mfg measure empty spool, maybe you can find your 30# there. Anyone wonder why Benny is Accurate prostaff and not pushing Kastking? When asked about best slow pitch reel, Studio Ocean Mark was first pick. Try to get parts or service on that.
 
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