I settled on getting this new FWX to pair up with my super light (1 13/16 oz.) Sage TXL. After scouring the net, I found that the only time the FWX popped up in searches was in threads where people were wanting more information, and noone had it to give. SO, I got one and here is my take on it...
You can see from the Nautilus Website that this is a great looking reel, I don't need to go into much detail about that. Skeleton carved frame with the red accent disc brake and spool cap. It is on par with the best and most stylish reels out there. It is not super sexy, but for a plain black reel it is still sexy. I'm wondering if they could have done something better with the front drag knob side to spice it up a little. It is a little bland.
Construction: It is carved out to a skeleton like many other light and popular styles right now. It is 3.6 oz, which is one of the lightest on the market, though there are a few with comparable or lighter construction. Solidly built for something so ported. I like to give these super ported reels a squeeze test to see if there is any give in them; none at all with a significant squeeze. It looks like they kept plenty of thickness to the aluminum on the reel frame; no worries there at all. The spool is a little thin, but thickens up to a very sturdy rim; again, upon squeezing the spool there was no give. Conversely, I gave an old Ross EVO the squeeze test and thought I was going to mangle it.
Drag: Same complaint as before with the FW; light duty drag. I've heard, and from the looks of the disk brake nothing has changed. It will be a lighter duty drag mechanism, which is no problem at all on this 3/4 wt. It is very smooth; though you cant really tell how smooth until you crank the drag up a little. The plastic spring loaded clickers offer a little resistance to the spool movement. It actually was enough resistance that the reel won't backlash if you forget to give the drag knob a crank before you yank a bunch of line off. Also the drag knob adjustment is not on par with the best right now. It feels a little clunky, and with other reels having indexed number settings, that puts the Nautilus a step behind. When you turn the drag knob, there is some kind of mechanism that offers a non-distinct click; but it almost feels more like a grinding of parts, rather than a sharp, clear click. This is the same drag adjustment knob as the Nautilus FW model, because I distinctly remember the feeling. The first 5 turns do relatively little to tighten the drag, and then one more turn, and the resistance really spikes. It works great, buy you will be fishing with the knob and testing the resistance to make sure you have the setting right.
Line information can be written with a sharpie on a designated spot of the spool, and taken off with rubbing alcohol (no stickers required!)
Very large cranking handle that flares out at the end
Priced toward the lower end of the High end reel market (240.00)
Interchangeable with the older FW3 spools (I havn't tried, but they are advertised as such).
MADE IN USA
Drag won't stop a tank
Setting the drag right takes a little work
Out of stock at many shops due to popularity. Stillwater fly shop told me they were 100 reels spoken for by customers with no guarantee of a delivery date in sight from Nautilus.