Analysis and Results
KastKing manufactures the MegaJaws Elite from die-cast aluminum, adding a carbon-fiber swing side to access its guts.
And while I’m certain there’s plenty of machining between the die and the water, casting aluminum is much more cost-effective than machining it from a solid lump of metal. That helps keep performance high and price low, something we can all appreciate.
The use of aluminum makes the MJE very stiff and very light, weighing in at only 6.4 ounces. Its overall shape and dimensions are eminently palmable, and we like the way this reel feels in hand.
Lighter than the aluminum-framed Daiwa Tatula, we feel the build quality is roughly equivalent.
Whether you’re working open water for bass holding deep to escape the heat or flipping into the gnarliest cover on the lake, you need a reel with an excellent drag system.
Your reel’s drag needs to provide consistent, smooth tension that cushions your line and forces a monster bass to work hard. And it needs to deliver the goods whether it’s set down low, up high, or anywhere between.
And to facilitate the use of heavy braid, it should sport a relatively high maximum setting, allowing you to set it properly for tests of 40, 50, or even 60 pounds.
KastKing chose a triple carbon fiber disc system for the MegaJaws Elite. We put it through its paces to see how it performed, and overall, we were impressed.
Down low, it started without hesitation and released as smoothly as a marble rolls across a glass table. As we increased the drag tension, that buttery performance continued until near the maximum, where release started to feel a bit less silky.
As you’d expect, these drag adjustments were made via a star-shaped knob sandwiched between the crank and the body.
While it may have been plastic when this reel was first released, it’s obviously not anymore, and KastKing has clearly upgraded this knob to what we think is carbon fiber.
The KastKing MegaJaws Elite we tested runs a gear ratio of 7.2:1, which in conjunction with the spool, retrieves 29.8 inches of line per turn.
That’s an excellent ratio for soft plastics as well as pitching and flipping. And while it may not be the fastest reel on the market, that’s more than enough speed for the real-world.
By comparison, Daiwa’s Tatula series offers gear ratios of 7.3:1 and 8.1:1, with retrieval rates of 32.2 and 33.9 inches, respectively. Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is available with a 7.5:1 and 8.3:1 gear ratio ripping 31 and 35 inches of line per crank, respectively. And Shimano’s Shimano SLX DC can be had with a gear ratio of 8.2:1 that pulls in 35 inches of braid per turn.
So yes, we’d love to see the MegaJaws Elite retrieving more than 30 inches of line per turn of the crank, but when you’re actually dragging a fish from heavy cover, I doubt you’ll notice the difference. What you won’t notice is cramped hands: the MJE is roughly 15% lighter than these competitors, keeping fatigue at bay longer.
Nothing beats brass for resisting corrosion, delivering torque, and providing a smooth feel, leaving stainless steel as the runner-up when selecting material for gears. Aluminum has typically been problematic, as deformation and breakage of tiny gear teeth used to be the norm.
KastKing uses precision-cut aerospace aluminum gears that have been hardened to Rockwell B 80 to prevent these issues, pairing them with manganese brass pinion gears for increased durability. The result is confidence-inspiring, and you can feel the fight-winning torque they provide.
12 shielded, stainless bearings deliver smooth performance throughout this reel, and you can count us as impressed by what we felt.
KastKing’s MegaJaws Elite really delivers on this front.
Holding no less than 150 yards of 30-pound test braid, it dwarfs the capacity of the Daiwa Tatula 100, though they’re roughly similar in size and weight. Ditto for the Shimano SLX DC and the Daiwa Tatula CT.
The Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is slightly more capacious, however.
This matters more than you might think. Especially for flipping and pitching, where getting a big bass out of the thick stuff requires lots of power, you’ll want to run heavy-test braid. And as slender as braid is, 50-pound test is going to reduce your spool’s capacity substantially.
Long casts aren’t an issue - obviously - but cutting and discarding damaged or frayed line is, and over the course of a morning, you may need to strip and strip and strip as your line is rubbed against stumps and wrapped around trees or pilings.
The MJE provides plenty of capacity, and that’ll keep you in the game longer.
Kasting has equipped the MegaJaws Elite with its top-of-the-line braking system, an auto-adjusting magnetic brake (AMB).
If you’re new to the world of baitcasters, it will flatten the learning curve substantially, revolutionizing entry into this tackle. That’s not a slick sales pitch: it casts better, more smoothly, and farther for newbies than anything we’ve tried. It really does reduce or eliminate backlash, even at low settings, and that can mean the difference between fun and frustration.
And for more experienced anglers, we found that the AMB system increased our average casting distance, especially with lures that buck the wind pretty well. We’re talking increases of 30% to 50% in casting distance when we really put some muscle behind the cast!
I’m now a huge fan of this system, and I think you will be, too.
Casting distance is further enhanced by a wide, cone-shaped ceramic line guide that reduces friction. KastKing calls this the Low Friction Tapered Vortex (LFTV), and while it’s impossible for us to assess what it adds to the braking system, rest assured that you’ll cast longer distances with this reel than you normally do.
Flipping and pitching
KastKing designed the MegaJaws Elite around the specifics of flipping and pitching, and to make these techniques easier on you, the MJE features a “flip” switch located near the rear of the reel.
That puts it right where your thumb can activate it, and when in the on position, depressing the thumb bar releases your line. To re-engage, simply lift your thumb off the bar.
There’s no need to turn the crank!
Hook setting power is transferred without a hitch or hesitation, and the anti-reverse bearing acts instantaneously, ensuring a hard lock-up. Cranking power and torque are just what you’d want for these techniques, and you can drag a fat female out into open water like you’ve caught her on your ATV’s winch.
So how does the KastKing MegaJaws Elite compare with its rivals from Shimano, Daiwa, and Lews?
Head to head with similarly-priced models, the MJE really stands out for its easy, no-backlash casting and improved casting distance.
This reel is a dream to cast, especially for new anglers, and the AMB system is everything KastKing promises.
It also offers excellent capacity, especially with heavy braid, and pairs this with a smooth, effective drag system that’s just perfect for pitching and flipping.
The MegaJaws Elite is light and palmable, too, even when judged against more expensive models from Daiwa and Shimano. Clearly, weight savings were achieved by the use of high-quality aluminum and carbon fiber, where possible. And in our view, build quality and performance are on-par with these legendary names in fishing.
But as a dedicated flipping and pitching reel, it’s a touch slower than its rivals, though nearly 30 inches of retrieve per turn is nothing to sneeze at and shouldn’t present an issue in the real world.
Overall, KastKing’s MegaJaws Elite is an excellent mid-range reel that represents a step forward for the company in its quest to unseat Shimano and Daiwa at this price point.
If you’re in the market for a new reel for soft plastics, including techniques like flipping and pitching, the MJE is a worthy competitor for reels like the Shimano SLX DC, Curado DC, Daiwa Tatula series, and Lews Speed Spool LFS.
It will almost certainly outcast any of these reels in the hands of an experienced angler, and definitely out-distance them when used by a novice. It offers the drag, capacity, speed, and torque you need to wrangle big bass out from heavy cover, and the flip switch is a very nice feature that you'll come to appreciate after just a few minutes of fishing.