Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Shimano SLX DC baitcaster reel review. Now, as you are probably aware, fishing is one of those past times that holds two essential truths:
- There are a great number of variations of every piece of equipment, tackle and accessory that you could be looking for.
- Everybody has an opinion on which of these variations is best at any given time – which is generally due to the fact that that particular item has helped them catch fish.
So with that in mind, one thing I have tried to do on this site is review the products I use, as well as the ones that are popular at the moment to give you an idea of what may work for you as you head out to the water and chase the big ones.
Hence, for this review, I will run you through:
- What the product is
- How it works
- What I bought if for
- Pros and Cons
- My recommendations
What is a baitcaster reel?
Baitcaster reels are the upside-down models where the reel sits on top of, rather than underneath, the rod. Functionality can vary from the simple beginner models where the cover or closed face keeps all of the essential parts of the reel protected to the more complicated ones where casting speed and brake settings etc. can be adjusted dependent upon the environment.
There are some definite advantages to them as well including:
- More accurate when casting.
- Longer casting capabilities.
- Can handle heavier line and lure/sinker weight.
- Can handle much bigger fish for their size than spinners.
The problem with them however is that they tend to take some getting used to in terms of brake setting etc. to enhance casting distance and reduce the risk of backlash.
As above, one of the main issues that many have with baitcaster reels is that they tangle much easier when the line is being cast. This is due to a phenomenon called ‘backlash’. Put simply, this is when the spool turns faster than the lure/sinker can pull the line out during casting causing the line to continue spooling when the weight hits the water and tangle – a.k.a birds nest.
There are a number of variations here including:
- Centrifugal Brakes: Centrifugal brakes use gravity to adjust the spool speed to ensure it spins at the same rate as the cast. In this case, the brakes extend from the center of the spool running along a shelf in the center of the reel to slow it down. These can be adjusted but in most reels, this is not a simple task.
- Magnetic Brakes: Magnetic brakes are another way of controlling spool speed with easier adjustment via a small dial on the side of the unit. As the dial is turned, magnets move closer or further away from the side of the spool – the closer they are, the more they can slow the spool. These work the same as the centrifugal brakes in that they are mainly designed to work during that first ‘whip’ of the cast and release once the spool slows over the casting duration.
- Spool Tension Adjustment: This is designed for use at the end of the cast when the lure or sinker hits the water (as opposed to centrifugal and magnetic brakes which operate in the first part of the cast). In simple terms, the tension adjustment stops the spool shaft at the same time that the tackle hits the water meaning an excess line is not released.
Now, my introduction to this reel was an explanation around its “Advanced Digital Control” braking – which comprises a computerized control system to control the spool speed. I will explain this in more detail below…
What is my experience with this reel?
Ok, so as per usual, I am reviewing this reel based on the fact that I had the opportunity to borrow it from the friend of a friend who came fishing with us last week. He spent the whole car ride to our fishing spot raving about this new baitcaster he had and how you “just can’t backlash these babies”!
Now, to someone like me who can backlash a baitcaster just by looking at it, I saw this as a challenge not to be missed. I used it, loved it and whilst I did manage to backlash it once (I set the brakes on super light and cast it really hard without using my thumb), I was able to cast it really well every other time – much further than any other baitcaster I have used – and it felt really smooth.
We were fishing with a soft plastic so was casting and retrieving a lot and the whole reel just felt comfortable at every point without ever feeling like it was ‘struggling’. I also managed to catch a couple of fish on it and to be honest, really didn’t have to play with the drag much as it was able to handle it with ease.
Now, lets check out the specs etc below…
What do you get?
- Product Name: Shimano SLX DC HG 150 baitcaster reel
- Spool Size: 10/120 Mono, 30/135 Braid on Shimano S3D Spool
- Bearings: 4+1
- Ratio: 6.3:1, 7.2:1 and 8.2:1 dependent upon version chosen
- Composition: All-metal Hagane® body
- Drag: 5kg/11lb
- Brakes: Advanced Digital Control Computerized braking system
- Hagane steel body that will not flex under strain
- Easy to manage and clean
- Almost impossible to backlash
- Great for beginners
Added to this is the innovative computerized cast control system that monitors the reel’s spool speed 1,000 times per second and automatically applies the correct brake pressure to prevent backlash and maximize casting distance.
- Perhaps a little too pricey for beginners
How much is it?
I have seen these on the market ranging from around $USD190 – $250
Do I recommend it?
Those of you who have read any of my posts to do with fishing reels will know that I am not an avid user of baitcasters. I do own a Shimano Caius which I use sporadically but apart from that, it is spinning reels all the way for me.
That said, I have been trying to get more used to baitcasters hence my keenness to try this one and in short, I actually really enjoyed using it. It is probably the first one I have used where I could really play around with casting speeds and locations without having to worry about birds nest tangles.
It is smooth and easy to use and on the fish I did catch on it, the drag was definitely adequate.
All in all, if you are a newbie to baitcasters and can afford the higher price then this is the one I would choose. And if you are experienced, then you could also do a lot worse than this one in both fresh and saltwater environments.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Shimano SLX DC baitcaster reel. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.
Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
Until next time