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A Burgundy with a Compact Body : Shimano Japan's Scorpion 1500/1501 XT (continued)

Field Tests: Our Scorpion 1500/1501 XT reels arrived late in 2009 as we were preparing for our 2010 series of reviews. First tour of duty for these reels came at Falcon Lake, Texas where, in preparation for the structure on this lake, I took my reels into Hi’s Tackle Box in South San Francisco and had them set up with 60lb hollow braid by Izorline tipped with a 30 and 40 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.

The 1501-7 is the same reel with a 7.0:1 retrieve ratio

Casting: The Scorpion 1501 XT sports the same exact spool as the Curado E. There’s no iridescent finish and no extra ports in the spool.  The spool itself weighs a mere thirteen (13) grams and features Shimano familiar SVS braking system (centrifugal brakes). Startup and casting are also familiar and reliable with small baits from about a quarter or three eighths of an ounce on up to big baits weighing several ounces.

The '-7 version of this reel comes with a black handle instead of silver

That’s right, the Scorpion 1501XT makes a very good big bait alternative for those of us who like smaller profiled reels to toss these oversized baits because it can easily hold 100 yards of your favorite 20lb test line and or your favorite braided line tipped with a mono or fluorocarbon leader. The only downside is this reel is not available in a slow, 5:1 retrieve ratio, but the 6.3:1 ratio is a nice compromise.

A close-up reveals the retro-fightin' drag star is ported

At Falcon Lake, Texas, one of the sure, go to bites was fishing a Senko Texas rigged with a 3/16th ounce bullet weight. Total weight of this bait offering is somewhere between half to five eighths of an ounce so pretty much right in the wheel house of any competent reel. The Scorpion 1501 XT handled this offering as expected in both casting and pitching situations and that expectation was that it would excel.

The Scorpion 1500/1501 XT is specified with 4.5kg of drag pressure

Retrieve: Another common difference between the Japanese and North American market reels is the length of their respective handles. Most JDM reels come with shorter handles that often prove to be a frustration to North American anglers so much so that the desire to replace these short handles as spawned an entire aftermarket industry of trick handles in longer lengths. If you’re a seasoned Enthusiast, you’ve been down that Bassart and ZPI carbon handle path more than once.

To access the reel's breaking system, it's a familiar flip of the key and about an eighth of a turn counter clockwise for both the left and right hand retrieve models

The Scorpion 1501 XT in both retrieve ratios come standard with a 84mm handle – the same as that of the Curado E. It’s nice to not have to give a second thought to the reel’s handle length. If only the Scorpion came with the same, mutant septon grips, that’d be something.

Inside reveals nothing new, it's the standard Shimano SVS breaking system

Actual performance of this reel when engaged and pulling line in is, again, as expected, smooth and reliable. Handle play while still not rock solid sound is much improved over reels I’ve had in the past at somewhere between a sixteenth to three thirty seconds of an inch in play.

The keyed hatch is a preferable implementation to the lever located at the bottom of the reel as found on the Metanium XT

Next Section: How about the Drag & Design and Ergonomics










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