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Complete list of all current ICAST 2014 coverage
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Glide Week : Riding the S-Wave!
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Abu Garcia Raises the Speed Bar with their Rocket!
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Daiwa’s Steez EX 100XS offers a Deadly Combination of Both Speed and Precision
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First look inside the new Curado I baitcaster
 


 


Product Insight


Bait the Finesse?!? Shimano -v- Daiwa Product Insight (continued)

Line Capacity: Line capacity is a tricky category. The only real factor here is whether or not there's enough. Certainly the less line you put on the reel, the easier it will be for that reel's spool to start up during a cast because there is less mass to get moving. This is why spool weight is such an important category to those who care. All this is affected by the type of line you want to fish and of course its diameter. Capacity on the other hand is driven by the width of the spool and its depth. So instead of spooling line onto a reel and stopping at some arbitrary point, we simply measured each reel's spool and calculated its capacity in terms of cubic centimeters. The T3 Air's spool has 5.25 cubic centimeters of capacity and the Aldebaran BFS's spool has 7.29 cubic centimeters - a difference of thirty one percent (31%). Which is better? We're going to air on the side of more line capacity gives you more versatility. Versatility - even in a reel that's built for a specific purpose is a good thing. Advantage Shimano.

Weights and Measures Comparison for Aldebaran BFS -v- T3 AIR

Reel Weights
Spool Weights
Line Capacity
Aldebaran BFS
5.1 oz
11 grams
7.29 cubic cm
T3 AIR
5.7 oz
9 grams
5.25 cubic cm
Advantage
Shimano
Daiwa
Shimano

Sweet Drag: Most discussions and debates surrounding drag in a baitcasting reel center around stopping power - what is the maximum drag anyone can exert on a fish by buttoning down on that drag as tight as their fingers will allow? More important to us, however, is how smooth and consistent is that drag - a factor we're now going to refer to as Sweet, as in "how sweet is that drag?".

How sweet are the drags on these two reels (BFS left, T3 AIR right)?

Don't get us wrong, stopping power has its place, but not in finesse fishing. Sure, you still need a drag to help you tire a fish out so you can land her, but if you're truly finesse fishing and using light line, all you're doing by buttoning down your drag to its maximum possible setting, is increasing your chances of breaking off your catch. It's not a contest of power, in finesse fishing you actually have to play the fish.

Sweet Drag Performance for Shimano Aldebaran BFS

Aldebaran BFS
Full Turn
Full + 2
Full + 4
Full + 6
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
0.31
0.90
1.52
4.17
5.35
Sustained
0.30
0.88
1.64
4.28
6.10
Biggest Drop
0.24
0.74
1.35
3.84
4.79
Change in Startup vs Sustained
3.23%
2.22%
7.89%
2.64%
14.02%
6.0%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
20%
15.91%
17.68%
10.28%
21.48%
17.07%

Prior to the acquisition of The Machine, our best method of testing the sweetness of a drag was to either catch something and back off our drag to the point where the fish was pulling line out consistently, or hook up our line to one of Zander's vehicles and ask him to move forward and backwards until we could get a good feel for the reel's drag.

Sweet Drag Performance for Daiwa T3 AIR

Aldebaran BFS
Full Turn
Full + 2
Full + 4
Full + 6
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
0.69
1.26
3.78
7.42
8.89
Sustained
0.71
1.28
3.85
7.10
8.64
Biggest Drop
0.55
1.07
3.46
6.40
7.22
Change in Startup vs Sustained
2.61%
1.94%
1.94%
4.36
2.79%
2.73%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
22.31%
16.7%
10.21%
9.81%
16.46%
15.10%

Well, with gas prices being what they are these days, we decided it was time for a more practical method. The Machine allows us to profile drag performance. We start by determining the maximum number of rotations we can comfortably perform on a reel's drag star. We then mount the reel on The Machine, pull a length of line from the spool and secure it to the test arm. The reel's drag is backed off completely, then tightened one full turn. The Machine's test arm is set to move in three stages - the travel at each stage is only seventy five millimeters, but the speed by which the test arm pulls is progressively faster.


Introducing our new, Sweet Drag Performance Charts. In Fig 1. above, you can see the Aldebaran's BFS Drag profile across 5 different settings. The dark blue curve on the bottom represents one full turn of the dragstar while the light blue curve on top is full lockdown.

Once we're done with that first test, we reset the machine, tighten the drag star with two pushes with our thumb on the drag start (as if we were fishing - effectively half a full turn or less), and start all over again. This is repeated two more times until we reach a total of six pushes on the drag star with our thumb then we tighten the reel as far as we comfortably can with our fingers to measure "lockdown" performance. We then take the data The Machine is able to record and study how smooth the curve is at each stage noting the overall high and low peak numbers, and calculate the average pressure at each setting.


Fig 2. above, is an illustration of the T3 Air's profile. Note the higher overall drag even though both these reels are classified as finesse.

Knowing the maximum a reel can go is nice, but even in cases where finesse fishing is not involved, maximum drag performance is not always the priority. We're now able to analyze start up drag, sustained drag, and even chart a reel's performance at different settings noting how the curve spikes and drops when pressure changes or even stays the same. We then graph this information in our new, Sweet Drag Performance Charts.


Fig 3. above shows both reels on the same chart (Blue = Shimano, Orange = Daiwa). Note the spikes in the T3 Air on the left side of each curve representing the drop from max startup to sustained drag. The drag on the Shimano reel gradually increases as more line is pulled out of the reel. In the end, only 0.02% separated these two reels in overall, standard deviation across all settings.

So what are we actually seeing in each reels' Sweet Drag curve? Both are relatively flat and smooth up to about two pounds of pressure. Beyond that, the curves are a lot more erratic than we would have thought. The T3 Air has greater stopping power than the BFS, but we've already said this isn't important when you're only using six pound test line. The BFS's drag engages at the adjusted pressure much more quickly than does the T3 Air, but in a finesse application, the advantages of this characteristic can be argued either way. Do you want a smooth gradual build up to drag pressure or do you want it to set on immediately? How about the drop from initial startup to sustained pressure? And what's up with those drops in pressure especially when the speed of our test arm increases (@ 75mm and 150mm vertical lines)?

Sweet Drag Standard Deviation for Aldebaran BFS -v- T3 AIR

 
Full Turn
Full + 2
Full + 4
Full + 6
Lockdown
Average
Aldebaran BFS
2.39%
4.75%
8.21%
17.83%
27.38%
12.11%
T3 AIR
3.01%
2.94%
8.72%
18.99%
24.90%
11.91%

As stated previously, most important to us, is the consistency of the drag's performance. It's obvious from the chart that this consistency varies greatly depending upon the setting of the reel's drag and at what point in the curve you're investigating. We took a look at the actual numbers right in the middle of the curve between 75mm and 225mm, calculated the standard deviation of the numbers between those two points at each drag setting, and then averaged out the overall percentages. Overall, the reels are so very close, but in a comparative analysis, even the difference of 0.2% is a difference. In the end, across four different areas of evaluation, Daiwa took a clean sweep of the category.

Sweet Drag Scoring for Aldebaran BFS -v- T3 AIR

Max Drag
Change in Start Up vs Average
Largest Drop from Average
Standard Deviation Through Range
Daiwa
Daiwa
Daiwa
Daiwa


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