Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Reel Preview - ICAST 2018


Exclusive First Look at the New Shimano SLX Series Reels and Rods


Date: 7/9/18
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: While the Curado DC is no doubt the biggest baitcasting reel launch for Shimano this ICAST there is another new low profile reel that is looking to make a splash this year. Entering the market for the first time is the new SLX baitcaster series. Fans of Shimano biking components will immediately recognize the SLX name, and that it is designed for value and mainstream oriented riders. The new SLX baitcaster is designed to do the same for anglers, providing a solid, versatile, and affordable everyday workhorse option.


This ICAST Shimano will be introducing another baitcaster besides the Curado DC...


Designed for Everyday Anglers: We are starting to see a theme this year. First Shimano makes DC technology more affordable than ever with the new Curado and now the company is preparing to introduce a brand new series to target value users at the $100 dollar price point. 


Meet the new SLX Series


There are quite a few 100 dollar reels on the market, most of which are perfectly serviceable offerings but often lack refinement or sheer fun factor. The SLX aims to change this by staring with a new platform and loading it up with proven features from the company's higher end baitcasters.


The SLX follows the naming convention of Shimano's biking components


The base platform of the SLX is a HAGANE body, what Shimano calls a solid metal frame, and in this case a solid aluminum construction. The SLX was designed with a compact profile and yet is still capable of holding plenty of line capacity for all applications. The reel features a relatively deep spool capable of holding up to 105 yards of 40 pound test PowerPro.


The SLX starts with an all aluminum frame to provide a solid platform


I was able to fish the new reel for a full day last week leading up to ICAST and found that it felt familiar, much like the recent Curado Series reels, and in some ways even more compact. The reel casts well, certainly not Curado K well, but surprisingly well for a reel at the $100 dollar price point. The company's reliable Variable Brake System (VBS) is not able to be adjusted externally but it does provide consistent long distance casts, and accurate short range pitches.


The SLX has similar styling to the latest Shimano reels, featuring a compact angular profile with plenty of access to the spool


The heart of the new SLX reel is the gearing, and while I expected to find an aluminum main gear I was surprised when I learned that the reel is loaded with a hardened brass gear. The SLX feels pretty smooth during retrieves as well, and each reel comes with a long handle and power knobs that are pretty much identical to what you find on the Curado K reels.


The SLX makes use of composite sideplates that are unpainted for a more raw, tactical look


The new series will officially launch in a few days at ICAST in Orlando and will be offered in six models in three different gear ratios, including the  6.31: SLX150 and left-hand retrieve SLX151, the high-speed SLX150HG and 151HG with 7.2:1 gears, and the SLX150XG and 151XG with extra high speed 8.2:1.


The SLX palms a whole lot better than the Caenan and is 20% smaller in overall footprint


The SLX reels weigh in at a very respectable 6.9oz. thanks to the aluminum frame and graphite composite sideplates. This reel looks and feels a lot better than previous generation value reels, including the Caenan, which I was never really fond of from a styling standpoint.


The new reel not only looks a lot higher end than the Caenan it is actually 20% smaller as well, making it much more comfortable to palm with. At $99 dollars the SLX may very well succeed where the Caenan did not.


To match the new reels Shimano will also be introducing SLX rods


The SLX's blue and black color is pretty distinct from the rest of the Shimano lineup but it matches up pretty easily with a lot of rods. To make it even easier to build a cost effective combo Shimano will also be introducing a new line of matching SLX rods that will retail for $99.99 each.


Shimano is making their reels and technology more affordable this year, first with the Curado 150 DC and now with the 99 dollar SLX


With versatile actions, and in lengths and powers that span just about every bass fishing technique it is possible to build an SLX combo for less than what most mainstream reels cost these days. The SLX rods are made with 24-ton carbon blanks and featuring a Titanium Oxide semi-micro guide train, the new series includes nine casting rods from medium power, extra-fast action 610 lengths to heavy power, medium-fast action 710 flipping rods - and seven spinning rods including medium-light to medium heavy power in 69 and 7 lengths. During my time with the SLX reel I paired the new reel with a few G.Loomis E6X rods and haven't had the opportunity to see the new rods in person, but will be checking them out on the show floor in less than 48 hours. Next stop Orlando.










Copyright 2000-2023 TackleTour LLC All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy information