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Product Insight

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

With the Calcutta D, by making the casting brakes difficult to access by design, Shimano tells us to fine tune casting with the tension knob. With the Aldebaran BFS, by requiring a special tool in order to adjust the tension knob, Shimano is telling us the complete opposite. Moreover, the tool to adjust the spool tension on the Aldebaran BFS is not useable unless you remove the handle and dragstar from the reel.

But nope, we couldn't get it to work with the handle and dragstar in place.

If Shimano Japan were smart, they would have designed the dragstar in way as to allow the tool to side between the star's arms, but they didn't do this. I couldn't get the tension knob's spanner tool to seat properly on the tension knob without taking the reel apart. Shimano did it again.

Once again, we had to disassemble our Shimano reel in order to make casting adjustments.

So, back to the ritual. Out of the box, and properly adjusted, the T3 Air's spool spun a total of 6 seconds. The Aldebaran BFS? Out of the box, and unable to adjust the spool, it spun for 3 seconds. After taking the time to disassemble the Adebaran's handle and dragstar, adjust the spool tension knob (which was adjusted too tight from the factory), and then, reassemble the reel, I was able to have it spin a much more respectable 5 seconds. Advantage Daiwa.

Daiwa easily takes the Ergonomic category based on that one inconvenience by Shimano alone.

Spool Start Up: More so than freespool time on a baitfinesse reel, the important characteristic of the spool is how easily it begins to spin. Keeping the adjustments we made above, we spooled each reel with six pound test Sunline Supernatural and took out a package of small splitshots - size 735-BB. We weighed these split shots on a jeweler's scale to verify their weight at 0.5 grams each.

735-BB split shots. On the left is a removable version weighing roughly .75 grams while the standard version weighs 0.5 grams.

The test we perform is to see how much weight we need to attach to the end of the line before the reel's spool will begin and then continue to spin. We do this by holding each reel in the air with the levelwind pointed towards the ground. This eliminates any friction from having the line rub against the levelwind or even the front of the reel.

Shown here, a Megabass IS71L undergoing one of our freespool tests.

Our results? Well, the 735-BB wasn't light enough. Both reels spin freely with just one of these 0.5 gram weights pinched to the end of the line, so we did what came naturally. We cut the split shot in half, folded it over with a pair of needlenose pliers, and pinched the line again. Again both spools spun and continued to spin even with roughly only 0.25 grams of weight at the end of the line.

This is a 735-BB splitshot we had to cut in half in order to get the spool rolling on our IS71L - the same halved splitshot used to determine the minimal weight for our T3 Air and BFS spools.

Most sane individuals would stop the test there. We here at TackleTour have never claimed to be sane when it comes to the subject of our favorite obsession. To take it to the next level, we held each reel in our hand, pointed the level wind straight to the ground again and simply let out a length of line with the reel in freespool to see if the spool would continue to spin. We did this until either the spool would begin to spin, or the length of line reached the floor. Neither spool would continue to spin. The T3 Air showed signs of wanting to move, but then stopped each time. With heavier line, we're certain at least one of the reels' spools would spin just from the weight of the line - possibly even both, but the 6lb Supernatural is so thin and light, it just didn't have enough weight. The results in this category were a draw.

Another look at two amazingly light and fast spools.

Ergonomics: If you paid attention to the section on freespool time, the winner in this category is already a foregone conclusion. Both reels are light, both reels are more than easy to palm. The Aldebaran BFS is actually lighter than the T3 Air, but the T3 Air has a clicking dragstar and cast control knob. The Aldebaran BFS has a clicking dragstar and a cast control knob that is too difficult to adjust.

There are those who will see the headline of this article, open it up and scroll to the end only to dismiss it concluding on their own that we always favor Daiwa.

The T3 Air features Daiwa's MAGForce 3d braking system with all adjustments to the brakes available on the outside of the reel. To access the Aldebaran's centrifugal brakes, you need to remove the sideplate. For ergonomics and ease of making adjustments, the advantage here goes to Daiwa.

TackleTour Product Insight Shootout : BFS vs T3 AIR

Weights and Measures
Drag Analysis
Spool Performance

Conclusion: There are those who will see the headline of this article, open it up and scroll to the end only to dismiss it concluding on their own that we always favor Daiwa. Those making these claims fail to remember I actually do not like the T3 platform. I had a very unfortunate experience with the front plate of my T3 Ballistic grooving from use of the combination of braided line and a spiral wrapped rod. If you don't use either, then the chances of this happening to you are of little concern, but it's not something you should ever be concerned with in the first place. Then there's the Daiwa Alphas Finesse, and the Zillion HLC - both reels failed to inspire.

Round 1 goes to Daiwa, but don't worry, this shootout is far from over...

In the lab, we put all impressions, assumptions, and hopes to the test. Thanks to The Machine, our analyses can be even more detailed than before and we intend to continue cranking up the tests. For now, if you're trying to decide between these two reels (price being no object), failing a field test, at this moment, we give the nod to Daiwa, but know this, the battle is far from over.

Editor's Note 3/25/13: An alert member of our discussion forum has made me aware of the fact the Aldebaran BFS does indeed have an accessible cast control knob located on the non-handle side plate. It's visible in the above photo. So my rant was unwarranted. My apologies Shimano Japan and thank you to "Best79" for the heads up!










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