Cardiff or Conquest? You Choose: A Battle of 50s
Retrieve: The Cardiff 51s DC sports a trout sized 70mm handle so bass guys are likely going to want to replace it. I endured and fished this reel stock because I really liked the aesthetics of the handle and the Daiwa Megabass Monoblock reels have gotten me used to short handles. One big bonus, at least with the specimen I got is there is virtually zero handle backplay with this reel. Whatever they did with this reel, if anything, it feels a lot more solid in hand with a no-backplay handle.
This reel comes standard with a 70mm handle.
The cork knobs on this reel (again, very Daiwa Millionaire-esque) are bearing supported and as one expects from a Shimano product, the reel overall is very smooth on the retrieve. Certainly not as buttery as the Calais/Antares series, but every bit as refined as the Conquest series.
Note the very Daiwa Millionaire-esque cork knobs.
Drag: Just like most Shimano freshwater baitcasting reels, the Cardiff 50/51s DC comes with a single disc drag washer that performs smoothly and precisely with performance metrics very close between startup and sustained drag pressure. This is critical when fishing light line as any sudden starts or stops can easily result in lost fish. We were able to achieve maximum sustained drag pressure of five pounds in our lab which is plenty considering the reel is made to be fished with four pound test line.
A look inside the Conquest and Cardiff reveals virtually identical guts.
Interestingly enough, the Conquest 51s, a reel that is specified with one hundred yards of capacity for six pound test line – yet tested out in our lab with the same capacity as that of the Cardiff 50/51s DC only produced three pounds of maximum sustained drag pressure for us.
Main gear in place ...
To get to the bottom of this, we took both reels apart to see what was underneath the hood and it appears they share the exact same internals only the Cardiff comes with a finesse tuned DC braking system while the Conquest has a finessed tuned version of the SVS brakes. Even more curious then, is the difference in maximum drag pressure. Perhaps the discrepancy has more to do with a reel to reel variance than a real design difference.
... main gear removed. Which reel are we looking at again?
In this category, comparisons to the new Daiwa Pixy are really unfair since the PX68 is built for targeting bass, and Cardiff 50/51s DC trout. The Conquest 51s might deserve a head to head comparison with the PX68 since it does bare the “Conquest” name and not “Cardiff”. In that case, while the Conquest 51s’ drag may be smoother throughout its range, the PX68’s drag is just as smooth up to about five pounds of pressure and then above six and especially as you approach eight pounds of drag all the way through what we were able to test as nine and a half pounds of maximum sustained drag, the PX68 stutters rather unpleasantly
Even their drag stacks are identical.
Availability: The Cardiff 50/51s DC is readily available and has been for close to a year now. Its price fluctuates based upon the current exchange rate case in point being when this specific reel was acquired, going rate for the reel was $800. These reels can now be found for right around $680. Keep in mind this is a Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) product with no USDM counterpart so if you need maintenance performed or need to order parts, you will pay a premium sending parts or the entire reel back and forth to Japan.
The Cardiff 50/51s DC has been out for almost a year and retails for an MSRP of 61,200 JPY.
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