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The discontinued but ever so brilliant Shimano Metanium MG (continued) 

Retrieve: In today's market of rising bearing counts, the Metanium MG is specified with a lowly 5 bearings. Take one turn of the handle and you wouldn't know that it was lacking. Granted, our reels were aided by the ZPI Carbon Handle upgrades complete with bearing supported knobs, but the Metanium MG is more than respectable when it comes to being smooth. With a lab tested and very versatile retrieve of 22" per turn of the handle, we found ourselves working everything from buzzbaits to lipless cranks to Carolina rigs to weightless plastics to spinnerbaits all with equal ease and efficiency.

The Metanium MG's sideplate pivots away to provide access to the reel's spool


Drag: Typical to Shimano's build, the Metanium MG possesses a smooth, flawless drag delivering an approximate 5lbs of tested, maximum pressure with a full spool of line. Performance on everything from hookset to battling any a variety of feisty fish from striper to catfish to black bass was flawless on our test models. Were it not for the non micro-clicking adjustable drag, this reel might very well be perfect.


Detail shots of the Metanium MG


Ergonomics: Anyone familiar with the original Metanium and Chronarch series from Shimano will know they are among the most comfortable reels to cast and palm. While not of the lowest low profile reels out there, the Metanium MG is among the top when it comes to comfort and ease of use. The thumbar is located perfectly on this reel and plenty of access to the spool is provided for line maintenance.


The Metanium MG sports a very comfortable palming profile


Durability: One of the disappointing things about this reel is its finish. The lustrous silver paint of the Metanium MG is very prone to scratches, knicks, scuffs, and scrapes. In fact, we discovered on one shore fishing expedition, simply placing our rod and reel down and having the reel rest upside down against a rock was enough to deliver scar. While many attribute rashes such as these part of the normal cosmetic wear and tear of a reel, the ease by which the Metanium MG's finish gets marred is difficult to deal with.


The downfall of the Metanium MG's beautiful finish is its vulerability to blemishes

Availability: As of late 2004 and early 2005, Shimano Japan has halted production of the Metanium MG. Through careful research and timely correspondence, these reels can still be sourced new, but it is growing increasingly difficult as the months continue to roll on by. We've been unable to uncover any news from Shimano Japan of plans to offer a new version of this reel but given the popularity of light weight baitcasters in recent years, it's hard to imagine there not being a new Metanium MG in the works for future release.



Shimano Metanium MG Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The only thing we don't like about this reel is the ease by which the paint is marred 7
Performance Solid & Smooth Shimano Performance 9
Price A middle high end reel with a middle high end price 8
Features Magnesium construction, titanium coated whiffle spool, centrifugal brake control 8
Design (Ergonomics) Almost perfect if only it had that clicking drag 9.5
Application Very versatile but for freshwater applications only 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J An absolutely stunning finish L Finish scars easily
J A nice, light package L No micro-click adjusting drag
J Outstanding palming profile L Reel is no longer in production
J Easy access to spool for line maintenance L Stock handle is undersized for general application bass fishing
J Smooth performance  

Conclusion: A reel not without its faults but nevertheless, among the favorites in this editor's locker within the TT vaults. The combination of just the right weight and perfect ergonomics far outweights its other shortfalls of an easily scarred finish and lack of a micro-click adjusting drag. For added protection of the reel's finish all one has to do is make use of a reel cover during transport and take care in laying the rig down when not in use. Awareness is part of the solution. For the opportunity to fish this near perfect reel, a little tender loving care is hardly too much to ask. The sparkle of this reel's finish in the sun and it's smooth, solid, reassuring performance is ample payback. Until next time, keep collecting!!












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