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Enthusiast Review


Shimano Japan Renews Their Shining Star : The 2022 Aldebaran BFS


Date: 4/27/22
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal


Making its debut in 2009, the original Aldebaran was positioned as Shimano Japan's answer to Daiwa Japan's little purple wonder, the Alphas (debuted in 2004). Since that time, Shimano's compact casting wonder has slowly evolved into a finesse casting specialist. For 2022, Shimano Japan has updated the platform with a refined braking system and weight saving ergonomics to deliver a sub five ounce wonder for bait finesse enthusiasts. Here's our look at the '22 Aldebaran BFS.


Shimano 22 Aldebaran BFS Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 6lb / 50yds
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 4.8 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
21 - 26.5
23 - 29
Weight 4.7 oz
Spool Weight 6 g
Handle Length 80 mm
Bearings 10+1
Bearings per Knob 2 Bearings
Levelwind Bearings 1 Bushing
Rated Max Drag 3.5kg ~7.7lbs
Origin Made in Japan
MSRP 48000JPY (~$436)

Introducing Shimano's 2022 Aldebaran BFS

Impressions: Shimano's Aldebaran has undergone several transformations through the years. Yet, despite those changes, the manufacturer managed to maintain a general, comfortable, compact shape. The 2022 Aldebaran is no different, but what stands out about this iteration is the unusual color Shimano has chosen. Typically coming with a dark gray or silver finish, the '22 Aldebaran is a kind of steel blue or a dark cool gray in color.


Since its introduction, the Aldebaran has been among Shimano's most compact, low profile casting reel platforms


It comes with a very shallow spool rated to hold up to fifty yards (50yds) of six pound (6lb) test line. Enabling the finesse casting ability of this renewed Aldebaran is a newly tuned iteration of Shimano's FTB (finesse tuned brake) system. This system consists of a series of magnets and is tuned this year to enable the Aldebaran to cast bait rigs down to two grams (2g) in weight which is roughly equivalent to one sixteenth of an ounce (1/16oz).

Recent iterations have been all about fostering its knack for casting light baits on light line. A movement known as Bait Finesse (BFS)

Real World Tests: I wasted little time getting the '22 Aldebaran BFS out on the water. It arrived just two days before a planned testing trip with Zander and I had a brand new G.Loomis IMX 892C JWR that needed a partner. I quickly spooled the reel with some forty pound (40lb) Yozuri Super Braid and tied a leader of six pound (6lb) Seaguar AbrazX for its first round of tests hoping I had enough line on the spool. That line combo wasn't really my first choice, but I didn't have any thinner braid on hand and I was in the midst of upping my connection knot game hence the decision to not go with a straight shot of fluorocarbon. Incidentally, my connection knot of choice was a Uni to Uni.

Spooled with braid and a top shot/leader of fluorocarbon and yes, my connection knot (visible on the spool) still needs work

Casting: My first test with most BFS reels is a drop shot rig. While usually of a weight that's not very challenging for today's BFS enabled reels, the less than aerodynamic nature of these setups proves to be an unexpected challenge. Matched with the IMX892C JWR, the '22 Aldebaran BFS felt pretty status quo to me. I wasn't feeling anything new and was reminded of the other reels I've fished with the same brake system. Through that first day I switched things up with a light Ned rig too and came to the same conclusion.

Shimano's Finesse Tune Brake (FTB) is magnet based

On a subsequent trip, I respooled the Aldebaran with a combo of 40lb YGK G-Soul x8 Upgrade PE and a leader of six pound (6lb) Seaguar Gold Label FC and matched the reel with my OG G.Loomis MBR721C IMX (complete with a Weibe seat). My first cast with basically the same drop shot setup on this combo was eye opening. That bait rig launched out of the Aldebaran BFS. I was hesitant to use the MBR721C because it's only six feet in length, but the castability of the Aldebaran easily made up for any deficit the rod's length may have presented - at least in casting.

Pulling down one from my collection for some bait finesse fun

Already a very easy reel to palm, the Aldebaran BFS practically disappears on a Weibe seat

Naturally, the Aldebaran BFS was not the only piece of tackle I needed to test - it wasn't even the only BFS reel, but each time I went back to it, I found myself liking it more and more. It wasn't so much the distance I was able to achieve with this setup, but the distance I was achieving with very minimal effort put into the cast. However, I'm not certain if this is an effect of any actual adjustments to the FTB system or Shimano's MGL III tuning. I tend to think it's more the latter. Whichever the case, when paired with yet another rod, my NRX 852C JWR, I found this reel equally adept at casting micro-jigs and Ned rigs at a total lure weight of probably three grams (3g) or just under an eighth of an ounce (1/8oz) at the lightest because all were tipped with tiny soft plastics.

Just about every catch on finesse gear is thrilling

It took three tries, but the ultimate pairing for the 22 Aldebaran BFS among sticks in my collection was with an NRX 852C JWR

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