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

Drag: The Scorpion 1501 XT comes equipped with the same retro shaped, micro-click adjustable drag star as the Curado E only the Scorpion XT’s is painted to match the reel and ported for that extra “ooh” and “ahh” factor. These aren’t just straight holes drilled out for weight either, the wholes on the Scorpion XT’s drag star are beveled in a tear drop shape that accentuates the lines of this component overall.

The reel's line guide is coated with a titanium finish for added durability with braided line

With the retro-fighting star tightened down as tight as my fingers would allow, I was able to achieve nine pounds of pressure via the drag and even at this pressure, line pulled out of the reel amazingly smooth. Manufacturer specification on this reel’s drag is 4.5 kg which is roughly 9.9 pounds. Close enough and probably a discrepancy yielded by my inability to turn that drag star further with just my fingers.

The deep, metallic burgundy color is very attractive

Design & Ergonomics: Most of these points have already been brought up in our review of the Curado E but it bears reinforcement in a simple, concise statement: Shimano got it right with this reel. From the Scorpion 1501’s smaller, palmable size, to its 200 sized reel’s line capacity, to its sub 7.5oz overall weight, to its standard handle size, to its deep metallic burgundy finish, this reel just about has it all. Yes, I said just about.

We'd like to see a better material used for the thumb bar on this ~$250 reel

Areas for improvement would be the reel’s plastic thumb bar – though black and more stealthy on this reel than on the Curado E’s grey thumb bar, never the less it looks cheap and unrefined. Remember, this is a plus two hundred dollar reel. The reel’s spool tension knob does not have a micro-click adjustment. Sometimes Shimano offers this enhancement on their JDM models, but such is not the case with the Scorpion 1501 XT. It should be. Of course, I’ve already talked about the mutant septon grips more appropriately referred to as the Septon PV Power Grips.

What's your choice, 6.3:1 or ...

Applications: The Scorpion 1500/1501XT is available in two retrieve ratios and is suitable for any number of applications where either high line capacity of lower test lines or good line capacity of heavier pound test lines is ideal. Its smaller and lighter form factor compared to the former Scorpion 1500/1501 (Curado 200B), ensures you can fish this reel comfortably for several days in a row, not just one.

Price & Availability: The JDM version of Shimano’s Curado E has been out for roughly a year now. It is easily sourced from any number of online e-tailers specializing in JDM tackle including JapanTackle. The price on this reel fluctuates with our deflated dollar, but generally speaking it is available in the range of $250.



Shimano Japan Scorpion 1500/1501 XT Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A nicely assembled reel 8
Performance A reel that does really well with everything except the light stuff 8.5
Price For JDM gear, a good price, for USDM gear, unless you need the left hand options, stick with the Curado E 7
Features It's all about having huge line capacity for a very small reel 9
Design (Ergonomics) This reel's form factor is very very good 9
Application A really good multi-purpose reel 8.5

Total Score

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:


J A 200 sized reel in a 100 sized reel's body L Going overseas comes at a price
J Two retrieve ratio options for BOTH left and right hand retrieve users L No mutant septon grip option
J Comes with a standard sized handle  
J Keyed hatch instead of release knob  


Conclusion: It was a good year’s worth of time between my experience with the Curado E on Dream Lake Alabama and the receipt of my Scorpion 1501 XT reels. First thing I did when I received my Scorpion 1501 XTs? I purchased a Curado E7 so I could steal the knobs, swapped them, and then gave the Curado E7 away. The lengths an Enthusiast will go to in order to set up their gear just right.

... 7.0:1? Both are available in left and right hand retrieve

There’s no denying that the overall impression the Scorpion 1501 XT delivers is very very good. But as previously mentioned, the reel could stand for a few refinements as well to further distinguish it from its USDM counterpart and help consumers justify the increase in net cost due to the poor exchange rate. Certainly the exchange rate is no fault of Shimano Japan nor is their goal to attract buyers outside of Japan, but in this global economy, that’s exactly what does happen so to ignore this possibility is to be unrealistic. Further, when you offer up a reel with the same form factor in two different markets, but with different retrieve ratios and finishes, you are essentially creating a market outside of the one for which the product was initially intended from both sides.

Shimano USA does not offer the Curado E in anything other than 7.0:1 in left hand retrieve. Fortunately, there's a choice with Shimano Japan's Scorpion 1500/1501 XT.

All that aside, the Scorpion 1500/1501 XT series of reels are a fine re-introduction to Shimano Japan’s lineup. The previous incarnation was sorely missed when discontinued several years ago in favor of the smaller, 1000 size. Previously to get this type of line capacity out of a Shimano Japan low profile baitcaster, one had to take the leap all the way up to the Antares as the Metanium is a 100 sized reel or settle for the oversized, Speedmaster that was only available in a 7.1:1 retrieve ratio. Neither alternative was very attractive given the cost of the Antares and the size of the Speedmaster, so the Scorpion 1500/1501 XT is a welcomed sight.

Looking for a Shimano Scorpion 1500/1501 XT? Try JapanTackle.com










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