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Enthusiast Reel Review


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

 

Design & Ergonomics: As mentioned earlier, the Exsence is built upon the same body design as the former Chronarch D and the existing Core 100 line of reels. It doesn't sit as low on the rod as some of the current generation baitcasting reels, but in my hand, this reel is very comfortable to palm. It's weight, at 8.5 ounces could be better and breaking down the reel is just a little bit tricky because the screws that hold the handle sideplate to the frame are located on the spool side of the reel.


The Exsence sits low on the rod and is comfortable to palm.

Otherwise, the reel's handle length is a very comfortable 90 millimeters and the knobs are Shimano's very comfortable custom left and right contour designed grips (though these do not say "Septon" on them).

 


But most current generation low profiles do sit even lower than this reel.

 

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Shimano Exsence DC

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
5
4
3
22
25
8.8

 


The spool tension knob does not click.

 

Application: Built for use as a saltwater inshore reel, the Exsence really is so much more than that. It's capable of supporting a wide range of applications so long as you're OK with the 8.0:1 retrieve ratio. I'd love to see Shimano Japan re-introduce the standard array of retrieve ratio options, and make this reel available through Shimano America Corp. just like the Metanium and Antares.

 

Application Ratings for Shimano Exsence DC

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
3
4
5
22
25
8.8

 


But the dragstar does. I like the flattened ends on the dragstar. This small little tweak makes the drag much easier to adjust while fishing.

 

Ratings:

Shimano Exsence DC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Mid to high end from Shimano, you get the idea 9.0
Performance Even better than the Chronarch D 9.2
Price Shimano took the former Chronarch D, installed a DC braking system and with the current exchange rate, the reel is only $50 more than that reel... this is an excellent value! 7.5
Features That i-DC+ is a very good braking system! 7.86
Design (Ergonomics) Essentially a Chronarch D with DC brakes 8.8
Application A really versatile reel as long as you're conscious of the retrieve ratio 8.8

Total Score

8.53
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Available in left and right hand retrieve - Only available in Japan
+ The best DC braking system I've fished to date - Single retrieve ratio only
+ The Chronarch D lives on with DC brakes!  

  

Conclusion: Just when the former Chronarch D was beginning to gain a foothold and appreciation for that reel was building, Shimano America Corp. killed the lifecycle and entered their dark period. Shimano Japan wasn't so quick to kill the reel off and instead repurposed and improved the design for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). The Exsence DC was born, but for the first year only in right hand retrieve. In 2013, they debuted the reel in left hand retrieve and while on a trip to Japan in the Fall of 2014, it was one of the products I sought out to purchase and bring back to the States.

 


A $350 Best Value Award?!?!

 

On April 1, 2014, leveraging Shimano America Corp's decision to bring over the JDM Metanium and Antares reels for sale in North America, we made an announcement on our Facebook page that the company had extended this offering to the Exsence. Likes and comments on the post skyrocketed though many we wary of the date. Not a half hour after we made the post than Shimano America Corp. called us asking who, what, where, when, and how we heard this information because their phone lines were blowing up from retailers across the country asking about the reel's availability. Apparently no one informed all these people of the calendar date? The impact was made, so we revealed the joke, but the impression must have lingered. Only time will tell if they received the real message or not.

 


Yes, Best Value Award for a $350 DC reel that performs like this!

 

Whether the Exsence makes its way over to this side of the ocean or not, the point is the reel is available through all the usual channels and if its 8.0:1 retrieve ratio does not cause you pause, then our more favorable exchange rate makes this reel more attractive than it may have been were this a Chronarch D DC reel. No doubt if it does make its way over to domestic availability, retail on this reel will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 as Shimano builds in excise fees and domestic warranty support. So if you've liked what you've read in this review and have a usual source for your JDM product orders, get on your computer and order one now before the pricing dynamic changes. In the meantime, at its current price to acquire, the Shimano Exsence DC wins our Best Value Award in the very rare enthusiast sub category!

 

Looking for a Shimano Exsence? Try one of these reputable dealers:

 

Japan Tackle : PLAT : Japan Pro Fishing : Fishing Marunouchi


 

 

 

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