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Enthusiast Review

Bordering on Greatness: Shimano Japan's Final Dimension Bass Rods (continued)

Sensitivity: Sensitivity of this rod is very good although, as with the Daiwa Steez Compile-X rod, I found myself wanting for more. It's an expectation that probably comes with the price tag and reputation of these two companies. The blank on this rod appears to be the same bias construction as that of our previously reviewed Shimano G4 and it's a blank we like. The criss crossing pattern on the blank is also reminiscent of Megabass's Orochi lineup.

The blank seems to feature the same Bias + STX construction as our previously reviewed Shimano G4 rod.

The entire foregrip turns and serves as the locking mechanism for the reel seat.

Power: The TS-168M fishes the same as that of the Megabass Elseil and G.Loomis MBR842C GLX in that they're all medium powered rods. To expect much more from them in terms of power and fish moving ability would be asking too much, but just the same, I never found myself in a situation where the TS-168M let me down. This is one fine rod.

Battling a feisty fish pulled out from that fallen tree.

The TS-168M's ratings are deceiving. It is best with baits to about 5/8ths of an ounce in total weight.

Features: Aside from the its somewhat unique blank, perhaps the most notable feature of the TS-168M is its reel seat. It is a very aggressive looking seat that is also very comfortable to hold. The Steez 103HLA sits just about perfect in the seat and the ergonomics were perfect for my hand.

Another look at the TS-168M's aggressive reel seat...

... featuring seductive contours on top.

Application: As mentioned earlier, the TS-168M was designed for precise casting situations with baits like jigs an spinnerbaits. It delivers as promised and is a fun stick to fish with a variety of baits including cranks, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, and just about any kind of soft plastic. It's ratings are deceiving, but if fished with the mindset of it being a typical medium powered rod, there should be little to no difficulties.

Looking for competition for your buddy's Daiwa Steez rods? This is it.

The TS-168M matched up with Cal's modified "Batman" reel.

Warranty: Purchasing this rod for use outside of Japan? Don't expect any warranty coverage. It's as simple as that really. Shimano's line of Final Dimension sticks is made for their home market in Japan, so be sure to check with your vendor of choice regarding help with warranty claims.



Shimano Final Dimension TS-168M Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A finely crafted stick as one might expect from Shimano Japan 9
Performance Worthy of Shimano Japan's top end 8.5
Price JDM + Top of the line = ouch! 4
Features Everything but a hook keeper 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Almost perfect... almost 9
Application A multi-purpose medium powered stick 8.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J A conventional look, with subtle, high end styling L Ratings on this rod are incorrect
J Super clean detailing L Difficult and costly to acquire if you live outside of Japan
J Top end components
J The reel seat alone could win our Ultimate Enthusiast Award!


Another winner from Shimano Japan.


Conclusion: Are you a Shimano faithful looking for a stick or series of sticks to put up against your Daiwa Buddy's Steez lineup? Well, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, the rods do exist. The bad news is, you have to import them from Japan. Assuming you don't live there, this means you instantly lose in the comparison to the Steez because there is no US warranty support for Shimano's Final Dimension series of rods. If this is no concern of yours and all you care about is the best Shimano has to offer in terms of a bass rod, this stick is it and it is a very worthy contender. Top end components matched with high end styling and performance. This is what the Enthusiast market is all about and this is what it takes to win TackleTour's Ultimate Enthusiast Award!


Special thanks to our friends at Japan Pro Fishing for making this review possible.











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