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Enthusiast Review

 

Daiwa Japan's Ryoga Shrapnel - Take No Prisoners (continued)

 

Casting Range: Reading the online literature for this reel, the Shrapnel's intended purpose is as a frog reel for Snakehead. I had a hard time, initially, wrapping my head around the fact that this reel is made to throw frogs! When we're in bass fishing mode, and see a reel of this size, the immediate assumption is a reel for big baits.


One thing I thought was out of place is this plastic thumb bar.

So in the middle of testing some big baits with this reel, I tied on a Spro Bronzeye Shad 65 (1/2 oz) and let go a few casts. To my surprise, even with 25lb nylon monofilament, the Shrapnel handled that bait with ease. Working a frog with an 8'-0" stick and a big fat reel, on the other hand, I something I could not do for more than a couple of casts, but the Shrapnel can certainly handle its intended application.


The cast control knob is smartly knurled.

Of course, we here at TackleTour are infamous for imposing our own will on a piece of tackle despite its designed intent, and in the case of the Shrapnel, it's all about big baits. Long story short, to no one's surprise, it's pretty easy to cast big baits with this reel too.


You want casting brakes? This is all you get.

Brakes: Another curious bit about this reel isn't that it comes equipped with centrifugal brakes (though that is a departure for Daiwa), it's that those brakes are not adjustable. Remember the 2-point centrifugal braking system in the PX68 SPR (small plug reel) where there was a single rod at the end of the spool with two plastic counterweights? The Ryoga Shrapnel has an upsized version of this same braking system - hence the ease by which you can cast smaller baits like frogs on this reel.


The Shrapnel is relatively straight forward to break down.

Knowing this, you have to be somewhat cautious when you make a cast using larger baits with this reel and be smart with your thumb to moderate the spool speed. The Shrapnel is not a reel for beginners, but on the other hand, once you get the hang of it, casting this reel is second nature.


Two bearings per knob.

Features: Though the brakes on the Shrapnel are not adjustable, it does come with a spare set of lighter brakes that you can swap out if you so choose. Also in the box with the reel is a vial of oil, but the Shrapnel does not come with a reel cover. There is one bearing on the reel's levelwind worm gear and each knob has two bearings of support.

 

Features Ratings for Daiwa Ryoga Shrapnel

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
1
2
3
2
1
2
11
14
7.86


These new knobs are very comfortable to grip and give you an extra sense of security thanks to their size.

Design & Ergonomics: For as big of a reel as the Shrapnel is, it is actually not very difficult to palm. Granted, it will take a toll on you over the course of a full day fishing because the reel is over 13 ounces (actually good considering its size), but the non-handle sideplate has a tapered edge so it doesn't cut into your palm as you hold the reel. The 90mm handle is a really good length and the large knobs are really comfortable to grasp. The Shrapnel is relatively easy and very straight forward to break down so there are no issues there.

 


The Shrapnel is easier and more comfortable to palm than I would have thought.

 

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Daiwa Ryoga Shrapnel

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
3
3
4
20
25
8.0


Although the Shrapnel is capable of so much, for bass fisherman, it's all about those big baits.

Application: The Shrapnel is actually quite a bit more versatile than one might think. Thanks to a brake system that doesn't limit the size lure you can throw, the reel's only real drawback is its size. But if you want to fill this reel only halfway with some 14 pound test monofilament and use it to chuck deep diving cranks a mile and really, slowly, work them back to you, the Shrapnel can handle that. Anything from an unweighted Senko to a punch rig to jigs and of course big, oversized baits, the Shrapnel can handle that too. Then let's not forget it's actual intended purpose - as a reel for working topwater frogs in the thickest, nastiest cover for a fish that can measure three feet or more in length! This reel's only real limits are its ergonomics.

 

Application Ratings for Daiwa Ryoga Shrapnel

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
4
1
5
5
20
25
8.0

 

Ratings:

Daiwa Ryoga Shrapnel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality As clean and precise out of the box as they come 10
Performance Surprising how easy this reel is to use in other applications 9.2
Price JDM comes at a steep price 5
Features Built solid with extra bearings and even a spare set of brakes 7.86
Design (Ergonomics) As comfortable to fish as a 300 sized reel can be 8.0
Application Surprisingly versatile thanks to a lightweight brake system 8.0

Total Score

8.01
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Brake system extends versatility of this reel - Limited production so might be hard to source
+ Really smooth drag performance - Not available domestically
+ Such a solidly built reel thanks to it's all machined aluminum construction - Brake system might be tricky for those with little experience with casting gear
+ Saltwater safe (surf reel anyone?)  
+ Available in left and right hand retrieve! - the Black Sheep was right hand only.  


See that smile on my face? It can only mean one thing - Ultimate Enthusiast Award for Daiwa's Ryoga Shrapnel!!

Conclusion: From its name to its all black motif to its versatility in casting baits in a wide range of sizes and weights, the Ryoga Shrapnel from Daiwa Japan is a take no prisoners reel that might just ruin you for anything else of similar size. Seriously, what product gets a "5" in price rating and still scores an "8" in total score from us? I expected this reel to be big (it's smaller than I thought), heavy (it's a "light" 13.7 ounces), and unwieldy due to the non-adjustable, 2-point centrifugal brake - it blasted through all those assumptions and really makes me wish I had a couple more so I could store one or two away for safe keeping while I beat up another. As it stands, since this review is over, this reel might just go back in the box to be preserved for posterity. When a piece of tackle inspires that much fondness, you know it can only mean one thing. The Ryoga Shrapnel easily wins our Ultimate Enthusiast Award.

 

Looking for a Daiwa Ryoga Shrapnel? Check out JapanTackle.com but act fast!


 

 

 

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