Cardiff or Conquest? You Choose: A Battle of 50s
Field Tests: Having spent far too much time in the big bait area of the market, I found I’ve lost touch with all my former finesse equipment. As such, I had a difficult time matching the Cardiff 51s DC up with a worthy stick. Of course, even more challenging than finding a proper stick for this reel was deciding upon what kind of line to spool on it. The immediate downside to this reel was the fact it comes with a very shallow spool – something Jeremy Sweet warned us was likely with any 50-sized DC reel.
But don't be fooled, this is a light line, shallow capacity reel all the way.
Braid was out because there is not enough room on the reel for backing to prevent the braid from slipping and I didn’t really want to use tape. Additionally, I did not want to fish the braid straight in finesse situations and there didn’t seem to be enough room for good amount of braid mainline and fluorocarbon leader, so I decided to just go straight fluorocarbon. Megabass Dragon Call 10lb test line was the winner and I was able to spool on forty yards of this line.
Though spec'd differently, we were only able to fit 40 yards of 0.26mm diameter line on both the Cardiff 51s DC and Conquest 51s.
Fifty sized reel aficionado’s immediate question will be, “ how does that compare to the Conquest 50/51s?” Well, I can report my Conquest 51s holds forty yards of Megabass Dragon Call 10lb test line as well, and yes, the Shimano versus Daiwa crowd will also want to know the new PX68L holds ninety yards of this very same line and diameter.
A look at the spools reveals the same size in the Conquest 51s (left) and Cardiff 51s DC (center). A Pixy PX68L spool (right) is included for argument's sake.
Casting: The initial pairing for this reel fell to a rod that, at the time, I had assumed was a purely finesse stick and that was Evergreen International’s Black Raven. After a couple of fruitless casts with an eighth ounce shakey head rig, I quickly figured out I had mispaired the Cardiff 51s DC so the combo went back into the rod locker until the next trip.
A look at the overall diameter of each spool as well.
On our next outing, I paired the Cardiff 51s DC with my Megabass F4-72GTZ. Fresh off of duties from the 2009 Crankbait Rod Wars, I was looking for a reason to fish this stick again anyway and the Cardiff 51s DC provided the perfect vehicle for this return to duty. While still not quite capable of getting down to trout bait weights, the Biwako Guide Special allowed me to fish the Cardiff 51s DC as I had intended, and that was as a finesse bass reel. With this combo, I was now able to cast down to eighth ounce shakey heads tipped with four and six inch Roboworms quite easily.
Our Cardiff 51s DC initially spent time on the Evergreen Black Raven.
Naturally, the heavier the bait offering, the better and further the baits flew but that was more to do with the rod’s capability than the reels. Paired with the right stick, the Cardiff 51s DC is a very capable caster and the DC brakes initiate rather quickly on both a cast and pitch discernable, of course, by the familiar, high pitch whining of the electronic brakes.
But the Megabass GTZ Biwako Guide Special was a better fit for this stick.
The Cardiff 51s DC employs a similar brake system to that of the Metanium MG DC with the four segmented areas for wind (W), all around (A), middle distance (M), and long casting (L). All four segments are bolstered by the new, intelligent DC system that supposedly continually adjusts to the casting profile of each angler. I still don’t buy it.
The Cardiff 51s DC shares the same, "intelligent" DC system found on the Metanium MgDC.
What I will say about the Cardiff 51s DC is that it seems to handle fluorocarbon lines better than the Metanium MG DC did. While I certainly had my run-ins with professional overruns on this reel (I haven’t met a reel yet that I can’t blow up), they were no where near as frequent as with the Metanium MG DC when I had that reel spooled with fluorocarbon.
We didn't like this system on the Metanium MgDC because it did not handle fluorocarbon very well at all. The Cardiff 51s DC performed better in this department.
Next Section: How about the retrieve on these little guys