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Rod Review

Anglers need make no compromises with the exceptional value offered by Shimano’s Compre rods

Date: 6/9/04
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.83 + Best Value Award

Most anglers identify Shimano as a reel company first and foremost, but recent introductions into the rod market with both freshwater and saltwater rods have made many an angler look twice at pairing their Shimano reels on the company’s own branded rods. We take a look at Shimano’s freshwater flagship Compre rods to see just how well these contenders stack up against the competition. 

Shimano Compre (CPC-X66MHA) Specifications

Material IM8 Graphite
Length 6'6"
Line Weight 10-20lb
Lure Weight 1/4-1oz
Guides 9 plus the tip
Rating Medium Heavy
Color Cherry
Action Extra Fast
MSRP $79.99

The Shimano Compre rods make use of high quality components and feature the Fuji New Guide Concept for a nice overall package. The rod features a dark cherry color, but in the sunlight you can see beneath the clear coat and examine the finely wound IM8 blank. The attention to detail on this rod is impressive, and the lightweight composite cork butt caps and gold inserts exemplify just how far Shimano was willing to go to prove they are indeed a bona-fide rod builder.


For our tests the Shimano Compre was paired up with the king of round reels, the Calcutta TEDC


Complete Test Rig for Shimano Compre (CPC-X66MHA)

Rod Compre CPC-X66MHA
Reel(s) Calcutta TE 200DC
Line 12lb Trilene Big Game


Real World Test: I decided to pair the high end Compre rod with the premium Calcutta TEDC for a truly first-class offering. I pitted the combo against black bass and striped bass on local lakes abundant with structure to determine the rod’s casting ability, accuracy, and sensitivity attributes.


Casting accurately was just as easy as casting for distance with the Compre's confident action

The exposed blank allows easy access to the main blank, and the nicely recessed seat allowed even our round Calcutta DC to sit low enough that it was possible to palm with ease. Our 6’6” test model proved to be competent at feeling out structure with deep running cranks, as well as quick sets on dropping senkos. One thing I particularly liked about this rod was the fast action, which allowed me the best of both worlds when it came to long and accurate casts and well managed pitching in and around structure.

Shimano utilizes high quality Fuji components throughout the Compre's construction


The rod is both effortless to use and comfortable, due in big part to the use of Grade A cork on the handle, and an alluring composite cork butt cap that is a good deal more comfortable than traditional plastic caps when pressed up against your forearm during casts. The subsequent purpose of the composite cork butt is to further reduce overall weight. Shimano engineers put a lot of thought into designing a lighter weight Compre rod, and the butt as well as overall blank were tweaked to reduce any possible excess mass. The result is a rod that is definitely lighter than previous generation Compre rods, one that feels more dexterous and precise to cast.

A composite cork butt is both comfortable and lightweight

Sensitivity: When Shimano first introduced some of their rods they used proprietary reel seats, but have now wisely migrated to Fuji ® exposed reel seats. The Fuji reel seat offers a comfortable streamlined feel and looks right at home on the Shimano IM-8 blank. Together with the new Fuji Guide Concept, Hardloy Guides, and gudebond thread wraps the Compre delivers respectable sensitivity. While not as responsive as say, Loomis IMX graphite, the rod felt similar to most IM-8 rods we have tested. While other specialty rods can offer more sensitivity few can even come close to the Compre's overall value when you figure in the affordability of this rod.

Attention to detail is what the Compre is all about, notice the composite cork insert on top of the cork handle

Power: While the rod was rather typical in the sensitivity department, the power and pure load handling of the Compre was definitely notable. When fishing for Stripers we ripped a variety of large jerkbaits putting great strain on the tip of the rod, and once a fish hooked up we deliberately clamped down on the drag to increase shock and loading on the rod. To our surprise the Compre was able to compensate nicely with a taper that exhibits confidence and power through out the spectrum. While we don’t recommend it, we deliberately “high sticked” the rod with sizeable Stripers and the rod never showed any signs of tension. In fact the rod arc’s nicely all the way through the mid section and we were able to win every bout with the Stripers.

Fuji Guide Concept Hardloy guides are a special blend of high grade aluminum oxide, are diamond polished, and permanently mounted on the frames

Here’s where Shimano has the competition sweating bullets. The Compre proves that Shimano can compete with well known rod manufacturers in terms of performance, and can do so bearing a price tag that is well below industry standards for a chief offering. At a price of only 79.99 the Compre is an outstanding value! So good in fact that we recommend any angler that is looking at an IM-7 based Clarus rod should seriously consider spending just 20 dollars more to upgrade to the Compre. The additional 20 dollars gets you higher modulus graphite and moves you up from Aluminum Oxide guides to the diamond polished Hardloy components.


The Compre was just as good ripping hard for Stripers as it was for finesse fishing for largemouth

Warranty: What could be better than a Limited Lifetime Warranty? The answer… an over the Counter Limited Lifetime Warranty. Shimano ensures anglers have no down time by allowing customers immediate exchanges at participating dealers. This service is yet another nice touch to an already robust total offering.


Shimano Compre (CPC-X66MHA) Specifications

Construction/Quality Shimano designs a rod with very high quality components, and the attention to detail is very impressive 9
Performance The rod offered respectable sensitivity and excellent power. The new Compre is far better than previous Compre rods, and performed well for a variety of different techniques 8.5
Price An amazing price for so many features, the Compre delivers premium level performance with a price tag that just doesn't match! There are plenty of rods out there with lesser components that cost 30-50% more money 9.5
Features Nice features like Fuji Guide Concept, gold inserts, and a composite butt cap all add up to a feature rich package 9
Design (Ergonomics) The design isn't revolutionary but its very nice. The reel seat and generous grade A cork handle are in the perfect position fro finesse fishing 8
Application This particular rod can be used for a wide variety of fishing ranging from bass to flats fishing. The rod felt just as good during extreme casting as it did while making precise pitches 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Top notch components, and detail in design L Not as sensitive as some specialty rods
J Powerful blank  
J Great Lifetime Warranty  
J Excellent price!  

While our test Compre rod focused on Bass, Shimano does offer the Compre in a wide variation of models to tackle applications ranging from ultralight backcountry trout to hardcore Muskie fishing. Eight special saltwater flats rods are also available in this series, making it possible for all types of anglers to benefit from the Compre’s amazing performance to price ratio. Our test rod performed as good or better in all categories than many premium bass rods costing twice as much, proving that Shimano can build a premium rod and still make it affordable enough for all anglers. While we have no doubt that most anglers will still continue to view Shimano as a reel manufacturer first and foremost, we also believe that it will become increasingly common for many anglers opt for a 100% Shimano rig the next time they look to buy their next reel. While the refinement is respectable, the value certainly is undeniable, the Compre represents a fantastic overall package for a very reasonable price, making it an easy choice for our Best Value Award.

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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