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Enthusiast Tackle: Reel Review

The Makings of an Import Legend - the Shimano Scorpion 1000/1001

Date: 11/22/04
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.75

For many tackle enthusiasts, it all starts here, the Shimano Scorpion 1000/1001. Sharing its heritage with the ever popular US Market Shimano Curado, the Scorpion 1000 has become the benchmark of what an import reel has to offer. Discussion forums throughout the internet praise this reelís value and performance, and at online auction houses, despite the reelís import status, sales are closed almost daily. Just what is it that makes this reel so popular? Could it be its color? Maybe its unique brake adjustment? How about its titanium coated perforated spool? We here at TackleTour have taken the Shimano Scorpion 1000 series to the task to share with you what we think about this very popular little reel.

Shimano Scorpion Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 12/109
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 6.2:1 (22 inches per turn)
Weight (actual measured) 8.1 oz. (8.2 oz or 233 grams)
Bearings 4BB + 1RB
Additional Features 4x4 SVS, Titanium coated SIC line guide, Titanium Coated Duralumin Spool, contoured knobs for left and right hand retrieve.
MSRP ~$160.00

The first thing that strikes you when opening the box of this Scorpion reel is its color and it seems to be one of those dividing points of discussion meaning you either hate it or you love it. Considering this color can be likened to a deep burgundy Bordeaux thatís been aging in the cellars of a tried and true wine producer, we here at TT rather enjoy this unique finish on a fishing reel. Then, naturally, as you pull the reel out of itís hold, the reflex reaction is to click the freespool over and give that titanium coated perforated spool a whirl. It does not disappoint spinning freely and effortlessly for a good seven to eight seconds. The biggest challenge after all this initial inspection, is finding a rod to compliment this intriguing import from Shimano Japan.


The Scorpion 100/1001's unique color is just one of its many endearing qualities

Field Tests: We loaded this reel up on a variety of rods and with a variety of lines in order to determine what felt best. What we settled on for testing purposes was 10lb Yozuri Hybrid and a Kistler Helium LTA He70MC. This combination weighed in at a respectable 11.8 ounces, and really served to compliment each other well. Next, we took to our favorite fishing spots in Northern California to see what this almost legendary reel had to offer.

Matched with our Kistler Helium LTA He70MC, the Scorpion proved to be a very comfortable reel to palm

Casting/Pitching: True to the hyperbole, our Scorpion 1001 was a very easy casting and pitching reel. The externally adjustable 4x4SVS brake system is a welcome departure from Shimanoís covered sideplate, and the reel manages to launch any variety of offerings smoothly and effortlessly even into the wind. In our tests, we were able to cast everything from split shot rigs using a 3/0 weight and #2 light wire hook to three quarter ounce lipless cranks all with relative ease. But perhaps our favorite offerings with the Scorpion were weightless plastics such as the Zoom Horny Toad and Yamamoto Senko. Not once were we disappointed by the Scorpionís casting performance and we were even more impressed by how well the reel facilitates pitching presentations.

Among the features of the Scorpion 1000/1001 are an externally adjustable cast control system, titanium coated perforated spool, contoured septon grips, and micro click adjustable drag

Retrieving: The Scorpion is a very smooth retrieving reel. The contoured septon grips, though not bearing supported, still provide an amazingly comfortable form and texture to grip while turning the handle. The handle itself is 70mm in length. A size we found sufficient for working plastics, but too small for working moving baits such as cranks, spinners and buzzbaits. The shorter length simply does not provide sufficient torque for working these types of baits all day long. There are a number of options for installing compatible 80 and 85 mm handles including taking the handle off of a Chronarch SF, but it would far less complicated if a standard length handle were an option from the beginning. Lastly, the infinite anti-reverse on the Scorpion is another area in need of improvement. Holding the spool down with oneís thumb, you can feel quite a bit of play in the handle. This play never became an issue while fishing with the reel, but is simply a gauge we like to use to get an idea of the engineering tolerances associated with the reelís design. The Scorpion is obviously not a top end import reel, nevertheless, weíve come to expect more when purchasing the name Shimano.

The Scorpion 1000/1001 sports attractive contours including a front design reminiscent of a stylish auto

Drag: Another area that can use improvement is the Scorpionís drag. Though sporting the classic Shimano smoothness, the actual strength of the drag is a mere three pounds of maximum drag pressure as measured in our lab. Though sufficient for finesse applications, we found this amount of pressure lacking when fishing horizontal baits. To compensate for this low amount of drag pressure, we resorted to clamping our thumbs down on the spool during hooksets and while fighting hard charging fish. On the brighter side of things, the actual drag adjustment is enhanced with the classic micro-click adjustment often reserved for higher end reels.

Refinements such as a pivoting sideplate, cast aluminum spool tension knob, aluminum handle with septon grips are often refinements only found on costlier reels


Ergonomics and Design:  The Scorpion 1000 series reel has a comfortable low profile design that is easily palmed even by those with the smallest of hands. The sideplate of this reel flips open and pivots away easily, staying attached to the reel and facilitating easy access to the titanium coated perforated spool. The finish on the reel itself is a metallic burgundy paint that is moderately durable. Scratches and scuffs are somewhat disguised with this finish since the underlying color is black. Though constructed entirely of aluminum, one thing the painted finish does do is give the angler a sense that the reel is constructed of plastic rather than a lightweight metal. Because of this, the reel does not feel as refined and solid as it should.



Shimano Scorpion Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly constructed though lacking those refinements to give one a sense it is a real solid reel 8.5
Performance Casting performance can be likened to reels costing twice as much, however drag performance is lacking sufficient power for a multi purpose reel 8
Price Attractively priced especially given its import status 9.5
Features The best feature of this reel is the external 4x4 SVS brake adjustment -  a feature we would welcome on all Shimano Reels 9
Design (Ergonomics) A very attractive reel that is comfortable to palm and easy to use Ė except for the short, 70mm handle 9
Application With an upgraded standard length handle and slightly stronger drag, this reel could be used for most anything related to freshwater fishing. As such, it is better suited for finesse applications or other slow, methodic presentations. 8.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Casts as well as reels costing twice as much L Drag more suited for finesse applications
J Externally adjustable cast control system L Short handle
J Very comfortable profile L Finish gives the reel a plastic feel
J Comfortable septon grips L Anti-reverse is not quite infinite
J Reasonable price point  

Lacking some of the refinements of other higher priced import offerings, yet teasing you with some of the same performance characteristics of those reels, we found the Scorpion 1000/1001 reel a good value overall and an excellent choice for someone just sinking their teeth into the enthusiast market. Of its shortcomings, we find the lack of a standard length handle the most frustrating and the first item likely to receive attention from those purchasing this reel to support horizontal bait presentations. Aside from that, while the micro-click adjustable drag hints at ultra-fine refinements, the easy casting performance and availability of an externally adjustable cast control are the true benefits of this reel. Itís not hard to see why this reel has such a following and why it has reached near legendary status in all the online discussion forums.









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