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Don't be Fooled, Here's the Deal on Shimano's Exsence DC !! (continued)


Power: In the seemingly unending race to see who can produced the faster reel, one would assume manufacturers have abandoned the need for power in a reel, but with a few of the manufacturers, this is not the case. Shimano has been one of these manufacturers who, as they increase the retrieve ratio of their low profile lineup, manages to deliver good power behind those gears.

The guts of our Exsence DC.

Not surprisingly, even though the Exsence comes with a single gear ratio of 8.0:1, this reel has very good power. Enough to fish deep cranks if you're a glutton for punishment and big bodied baits too although the IPT is going to be a bit high for most big bait fishermen.

The Exsence main gear.

Casting Range: This reel can handle a good range of baits starting with quarter ounce plugs and working your way up the line. For a DC reel, this reel's range is actually quite impressive. Anything from about half an ounce, or maybe five eighths and an ounce on up and you can spool this reel with very little effort. Be careful when casting with the Exsence!

Recognize this rotor type? Shimano's latest low profile DC!

Brakes: While Shimano America Corp. has pretty much abandoned their DC platform reels - at least their freshwater bass sized reels - Shimano Japan continues to refine the technology. Present in the Exsence is the i-DC+ braking system fine tuned for superlines but with a special mode for fluorocarbon line and two specialty purposes.

Adjusted via this dial, the Exsence's i-DC+ is my favorite thus far.

SP - Located at the top of the reel's external brake dial is an "SP" mode that enables anglers to make a cast with little or no monitoring with your thumb. Braking force is applied immediately upon your cast and slowly increased until your bait hits the water. The intended use is not for those who do not know how to thumb their spools, but rather, to aid in circumstances where you cannot see your reel - like during night fishing.

There's really no need to access this reel's spool while out on the water, but if you do, be careful because the sideplate complete detaches.

This mode is intended only for use with braided line, so to test this reel's capabilities, I respooled with some Sufix 832, tied on a five eighths ounce practice plug and heaved away. On the first couple of casts, I couldn't help but stop the spool with my thumb out of habit. After a while, I made a conscious effort to lay off and sure enough the spool slowed down to the point where the plug hit the water and then it stopped. In two out of three tests, the line on the spool overran a tiny bit but nothing one pull of the line after the reel was engaged could not straighten out. On the other instance, the line on the spool was perfect.


Shown here spooled with Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon, the Exsence was designed to be fished with braid.


BB - The next mode on the Exsence's brakes is "BB". This is the reel's Big Bait mode where a constant, strong braking force is applied through the cast to keep the spool under control. I did not field test this mode but saw no reason to doubt its effectiveness.

What is that white gear inside the main gear?

F - This mode is tuned to support use of this reel with fluorocarbon line. This is the mode I used the majority of time while fishing this reel since my first few initial trips were taken while the reel was spooled with some Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon is a very touchy line ready to jump off your spool at any opportunity. The Exsence's i-DC+'s F mode does a good job of keeping fluorocarbon in check.

It's the Exsence's clicking mechanism for the drag!

Standard - The remaining 1/4 turn of the dial is designated from "MIN - MAX" and represents the standard braking mode tuned especially for use with superlines. Though the adjustment range is quite small, the brakes are very effective for keeping braided line in check. Turned to minimum and with that five eighths of an ounce practice plug, I cast all the way down to the backing on my reel with very little effort.

No bearings at this worm gear.

Features: The Exsence comes standard with a host of features some of which we score, others we do not. Among the key features for which we check are externally adjustable brakes (check), bearings at the levelwind (none), bearings at the knobs (check), micro-click adjustments (drag star only), a reel cover (none), and oil in the box with the reel (check).

The handle measures 90 millimeters from the center of each knob.

Bonus features in the Exsence include X-Ship (double bearing supported pinion gear), anti-rust bearings so this reel is safe for saltwater use, and of course the i-DC+ braking system. Lastly, demonstrating it's intended use as a reel for saltwater applications, the Exsence also sports a clicking drag.


Features Ratings for Shimano Exsence DC

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

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