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Enthusiast Review

 

Shimano Japan Renews Their Shining Star : The 2022 Aldebaran BFS (continued)

Retrieve: Click the spool over after the cast, turn the handle, and the '22 Aldebaran BFS is smooth, but nothing to really remark upon. It comes with a standard length, eighty millimeter (80mm) handle with two bearings under each knob. Shimano uses standard, flat, thin knobs on this reel with a slight triangle shape. They are very comfortable to grasp and in perfect proportion to the reel.


The stock, 80mm handle and very comfortable, flat knobs


The Aldebaran BFS comes in two retrieve ratios. I fished the fastest (8.9:1)

I fished the 8.9:1 retrieve reel and found it perfectly suited for my needs. Because the reel and spool are so small, depending on how much line you have out, actual rate of retrieve is only somewhere between twenty three to twenty nine (23-29) inches per turn of the handle anyway. All pretty status quo.


Many of the gears in recent reels are like works of art. That of the 22 Aldebaran BFS slides right into that group

Power: Inside, the Aldebaran BFS features a micro-module enabled aluminum gear aggressively ported to further reduce weight. I'm not normally a fan of aluminum gears over the long haul, but they make perfect sense in a finesse reel where you're fishing light line techniques. The reel is never really subject to the duress other reels fished with heavier line will experience. On that note, actual power of a BFS reel is of little concern. What really matters with finesse reels is that drag.


Micro-module gearing

Drag: The '22 Aldebaran BFS is equipped with a single, carbon matrix material washer delivering a maximum rated drag of just under eight pounds (8lbs). Operation is very smooth and reliable - a critical characteristic of any drag on a finesse tuned reel. Fans of the audible drag will be happy to know the '22 Aldebaran is so equipped. Personally, that jury is still out for me. I think I'm coming to enjoy it on my finesse tuned casting reels, but I'm not a fan of it on my reels for conventional baits and certainly on reels I use for big baits. Fortunately, if you are adept at servicing your own reel, this feature is usually quite simple to disable if you choose.


Drag pressure is enabled via a single, carbon matrix material washer

Design & Ergonomics: If there is one aspect of the Aldebaran platform that has been consistent through the years, it's the afore mentioned size and shape. It has been among the most comfortable platforms for me to fish through the years and the '22 Aldebaran BFS is no different. Very easy to palm, light in weight, with a handle that is not too long, nor too short, and with very comfortable knobs on the handle - no fancy materials or shapes, just flat, easy and comfortable to grasp knobs.


Aggressive styling from the handle side

Beyond that, the '22 Aldebaran BFS is chalk full of Shimano's latest tech and terms including the afore mentioned FTB system and MGL III spool. The frame material is not explicitly called out, but given the reels weight, I suspect itís magnesium. The main gear is aluminum, the drag star has micro-click adjustments adjustments (the cast control does not), and Shimano has kept the double bearing support of the pinion gear (X-Ship) in this reel. A bearing in support of the levelwind worm gear would have been a nice touch, but there is only a bushing. About the only thing I don't like is the way the external brake adjustment dial feels slapped onto the sideplate last minute. I feel more thought could have gone into that element.


Just about as low as you can go these days with a casting reel

Price & Applications: Originally introduced at 36,800 JPY back in 2009, the Aldebaran platform, like everything else, has slowly crept up in price. The new '22 Aldebaran BFS retails for 48,000 JPY or roughly $436 given today's exchange rate. It is perfectly suited for light line applications in pursuit of bass and with its newly tuned FTB system, likely a very applicable reel for other species as well. I was pleasantly surprised by this reel.


The Aldebaran is still made in Japan

Ratings:

Shimano 22 Aldebaran BFS Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean lines, tight tolerances, pretty typical of this manufacturer 9
Performance Beyond my expectations with very surprising casting performance 9
Price Most good things come at a steep price and the Aldebaran is getting up there in both categories 6
Features Very effective braking system, clicking drag, bearing supported knobs 8
Design (Ergonomics) Size and shape is very comfortable - some may not like the color. I'm kind of neutral on it. Handle length is sufficient and knobs are super comfortable to grasp 8
Application A very capable for light weight baits and line but really designed for a specific application. This is a BFS specific reel and it performs very well in this role 7.5

Total Score

7.91
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
+ Lightweight, Hagane magnesium frame - Unattractive brake adjustment dial
+ Very easy casting reel - Only a bushing at the levelwind worm gear
+ Comfortable to palm  
+ Appropriate length handle and size of knobs  


Shimano's 2022 Aldebaran BFS really makes fishing light baits with light line on casting gear easy and fun

Conclusion: So in the end, the '22 Aldebaran BFS really surprised me. However, I'm left to wonder whether that FTB system is really tuned or is it simply the effect of that six gram (6g), MGL III tuned spool that has me so enamored? While I tend to think it has more to do with the latter, what's really important here is the combination of the two together in the compact platform that is the '22 Aldebaran BFS. The result is a reel that really makes fishing light baits with light line on casting gear easy and fun. There are those who won't like the color, or the price, but all that means is more inventory for those can appreciate what this reel has to offer. If you're one of those ready and willing to take the plunge, stop hesitating and join the fun!

 

Looking for a Shimano 22 Aldebaran BFS?

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