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SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster


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Reel Review

Sweet to the “Core,” Shimano’s new premium magnesium baitcaster (continued)

Casting cont'd: With the 100MGFV version distance is a secondary requirement over accuracy as anglers flip and pitch with the convenience of the Instagage II one piece thumbbar. When you compare the Core and the Steez the casting distance is just about dead even, as the tuned free floating spool helps start up quickly as well as reduces friction. Both reels can cast small baits extremely accurately.


Jeremy gets into a nice bass with the Core at El Salto


Retrieve: Crank on the Core and it immediately feels different than other magnesium reels. The vast majority of magnesium reels focus on lightweight, precision and refinement over power. The Core in comparison manages to strike a balance between weight and power thanks to the Mg frame and oversized high efficiency gearing. The Core feels surprisingly powerful when towing baits, or when fighting fish. So while the reel is ideal for fishing plastics, it can easily handle even large crankbaits and mid-sized swimbaits. 


The Metanium Mg features more traditional colors


The Core feels smooth, but not as smooth as the Metanium Mg which features bearing supported handles versus bushings. At first this didn’t really translate into a much smoother retrieve but after a few months the bearings retained the fluid feel better than the bushings. The Core and Metanium Mg reels while smooth, do not match the super-refined feel of the Calais during retrieve most of which is due to bearing count and the magnesium frame versus more solid aluminum. This same reason is why the Daiwa TDZ and Steez reels give one the impression of a bit more “connection” to the gearing than some of the heavier competitor reels.


The Metanium Mg is available in both retrieves, but not the Instagage II flipping switch


The bearing supported knobs (two bearings in each) in the Metanium Mg certainly help with the reel’s smoothness, but there’s no mistaking that somewhat hollow feel typical of magnesium framed reels. Additionally, Shimano Japan continues to offer the majority of their reels (the Metanium XT is the lone exception that comes to mind) with short handles. In this case, the new Metanium Mg comes with handles that measure 74mm from the center of each knob.


The Mg7 features more bearings than the Core, and the handles are bearing supported


The Core 100MG will retrieve up to 26-inches of line per crank, while the Core 100MGFV will retrieve up 30-inches. Both reels can hold from 110 yards of 10-pound test, up to 90 yards of 12-pound test. The blistering 7.0:1 retrieve ratio in the 100MGFV makes this the better lure for power fishing plastics, as well as topwater lures like buzzbaits where the extra speed helps these type of baits plane quicker.


e Mg7 features the same 7.0:1 retrieve as the Core 100MGFV


Drag: El Salto, Clear Lake, and the Delta are all home to massive bass, but what they say about El Salto is true. If you haven’t caught a double digit fish yet, this is just about the best place to get into one. While fishing with the team from Shimano I locked into what I immediately knew was a big fish. It ran, or at least it tried, but the Core’s powerful Dartanium drag proved to be more than a match for what I later discovered was a 11.5oz lunker.


Zander tests the Core's casting accuracy on the Delta


Next Section: What a Drag!










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