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Enthusiast Review

Imperfect Perfection : Shimano's Conquest 50/51 DC (continued)

i-DC4: When it comes to casting with this reel, really, it’s all about that i-DC4 cast control system of which we’re not very fond. The one type of line we had yet to test it with was nylon monofilament so I spooled this reel with Sunline Supernatural. This is among the smoothest and nicest handling nylon monofilaments I’ve fished in quite some time.

Though understated, this reel is still very elegant.

i-DC4 is centered around the set it and forget it approach to casting brakes.  There are four modes to this system I-W, I-A, I-M, and I-L. Each setting has its own inherent purpose borrowing from the system we saw in the Antares and Calais DC reels only without the option of fine tuning the brakes with a separate, external dial.

I miss the original Conquest 51's top bar.

In the Antares and Calais DC systems, you open the reel’s non-handle sideplate to access a dial that lets you set the reel in L (longcast), M (multipurpose), A(accuracy) or W(wind) modes. You then close that sideplate and are allowed to make fine adjustments within each mode via the external dial.

Yes, the cast control knob clicks.

With i-DC4, the DC system makes those adjustments for you “intelligently” eliminating one step and simplifying the task of adjusting your brakes. Less time thinking and adjusting equates to more time enjoying yourself out on the water, or at least that’s what we surmise the purpose of this system to be.

As does the drag star.

Does it work? Sort of. After a few years with this system, I’ve found the best way to approach it is to keep the mode adjustments in mind, but to also not expect the brake system to take the responsibility of controlling your spool away from you. In other words, continue to use your thumb for best results.

The reel comes with a 70mm handle.

The Conquest 51DC was much better behaved using nylon monofilament than my Metanium MG DC was trying to use braid or fluorocarbon, but I still managed to experience the occasional professional overrun.  And yes, I did experience one bad enough to have to respool out on the water. Trouble is, the only line I had on hand to respool with was fluorocarbon. That lasted about another 10 casts and then I spoiled the spool once again. i-DC4 is simply not a very good braking system for fluorocarbon lines and far too touchy overall to be considered “DC”.

Out on the CA Delta casting Evergreen International's Wild Hunch crank.

Casting: All that aside, once you understand these limitations and decide to make a cast with this pint sized little reel, you are greeted to the fine tune of the DC-whine and because you have a somewhat standard sized spool on this reel, you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to spool the reel or not. This was a constant concern when I fished the Cardiff 51DC. Matched with the G.Loomis NRX 852JWR this combo is downright deadly.

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I threw many different types of baits with this combo, but my absolute favorite was topwater. Evergreen International’s One’s Bug was the beneficiary of initial topwater casting responsibilities on this combo and it performed flawlessly. It was as if I was casting an injection molded Lunker Punker or the ima Big Stick on a much heavier powered rod and reel combo. The way the 51DC sang on each cast and the amount of line that was flying off the reel to allow for distant casts with accuracy was inspiring. On several occasions I absolutely outcast my ability to make a good hookset, yet I still had plenty of line on my spool.

The Conquest 51DC may be small, but I was never lacking for power.

Retrieve: The 51DC sports a 6.2:1 retrieve ratio. Its spool has an inside diameter of 21mm and an outside diameter of 30mm so you can expect a rate of retrieve of anywhere between sixteen and twenty three inches per turn of the handle depending upon how much line you have out at the time. The handle itself is only 70mm in length and where handles this short used to bother me, I’ve softened from this position to where I didn’t even notice the short length of the 51DC’s handle until it came time to sit down and write this article. The knobs on this reel’s handles are the grey, septon material, contoured, lefty/righty knobs Shimano is known for and each knob is supported by two bearings.

You can expect a rate of retrieve of anywhere between sixteen and twenty three inches per turn of the handle depending upon how much line you have out at the time.

Actual smoothness of the gears and handle during retrieve is very good and typical of the Conquest series. Additionally, though the reel is small, I did not notice any deficiencies in terms of power. Keep in mind, I was only fishing 10lb test line on a 2 power stick.

The Conquest 51DC is rated at 3.5 kg of maximum drag pressure.

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