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Enthusiast Review


The Potent Sting of Shimano Japan's Scorpion MGL


Date: 9/2/20
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.33 - GREAT

Nothing excites me more about a Shimano branded reel these days than seeing three specific initials attached to the end of the model name, "MGL." It is this single approach, technology, design philosophy, whatever it truly means, that has solidified my confidence the brand's product. The initials "DC" used to inspire a similar enthusiasm, and considering the subject of today's review, it's a little ironic the original 2011 Scorpion DC kind of extinguished that fire. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I made the effort to acquire the subject of today's review hoping it does not have the same effect of dampening my enthusiasm for MGL. Here's our look at Shimano Japan's Scorpion MGL.


Shimano Japan 2019 Scorpion MGL Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12lb/120yds
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 15.4 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
Weight 7.8 oz
Spool Weight 14 g
Handle Length 90 mm
Bearings 7+1
Bearings per Knob 1 bearing, 1 bushing
Levelwind Bearings 1 bushing
Rated Max Drag ~12lbs
Origin Made in Malaysia
MSRP 27000 JPY (~$230)

Introducing Shimano Japan's Scorpion MGL

Impressions: Once the gateway reel to many an enthusiasts' addiction, most anglers now know Shimano Japan's Scorpion is simply their version of the Shimano America Corp Curado. The reels are identical in just about every way save for the color and finish treatments. Yet something about fishing a Scorpion versus a Curado just feels more enthusiast. Maybe it's that burgundy color scheme; maybe it's the fact you can't get one through normal channels here in the US; maybe it's the persistent belief Shimano Japan puts better parts in their JDM version. More likely, it's all of the above. Regardless, the Scorpion MGL is actually a model you cannot find in the Curado lineup. For whatever reason, there is no Curado MGL - at least not at the time of this writing.


The Scorpion MGL is officially a 150 sized reel


Shimano Japan's Scorpion MGL is offered in three retrieve ratios and in the manufacturer's low profile casting reel size of 150. As far as I can tell, all that means is this is a 200 sized reel in body, with a spool that's just a bit more shallow. It comes with a line capacity rated at one hundred twenty yards of fishing line that measures 0.31 millimeters in diameter or roughly twelve pound test in US lines.

Spot duty onboard my iRod IRA710PRG-H

Real World Tests: I acquired my Scorpion MGL 151XHG (8.5:1 left hand model) during the Summer of 2019 from Jun and Kayo Sonada of JapanTackle, but aside from some spot duty here and there, the reel kind of sat on the shelf for a while as I worked my way through other reels slated for review. In truth, it's just a little large for my liking, so it was continually cut from my testing lineup during the process of narrowing down the combos to focus my efforts upon for each testing trip. Not a great start for this reel, but it finally earned a more regular spot in my lineup spooled with some 20lb SpiderWire Ultracast (0.248 mm diameter) on board my Phenix M1 MX-UR80H swimbait stick.

The Scorpion MGL comes equipped with Shimano's latest externally adjustable SVS Infinity braking system

Casting: Shimano's Scorpion series reels were their first with externally adjustable centrifugal brakes. When patent restrictions preventing this convenience in US models were lifted, the manufacturer capitalized, and now all their casting reels with centrifugal brakes, including Conquest, can be adjusted without opening the side plate. Of course, now that this opportunity has opened up, Shimano has found ways to conceal the adjustment dial to present a cleaner look. For the Scorpion MGL, the dial can be found at the front of the reel on the underside of the non-handle sideplate.

On that MGL spool are four centrifugal brakes

Normally, one of my first points of curiosity with a casting reel is how well it allows you to present a reasonable low end lure weight of one quarter to three eighths of an ounce, but given the size of this reel, low end was never a consideration. Instead, my primary concern in casting this reel was to validate whether or not that MGL tuning made it as easy to cast as other reels with those initials. The quick answer is yes. Casting and pitching come very easy with this reel and I especially liked its performance throwing Molix's new Glide Bait. The reel's rigid aluminum frame works in concert with the MGL spool and SVS Infinity brake system for effortless casting performance.

Available in three retrieve ratios, I fished the 8.5:1

Retrieve: Click that handle over and the Scorpion MGL communicates a refinement I don't recall experiencing with this series before. The manufacturer has trickled down their Micro Module gearing technology to this reel and when combined with their well established X-Ship (double bearing supported pinion gear), the result is Chronarch/Metanium-like smoothness.

I sensed this refinement after spinning the Scorpion MGL's handle when it was fresh out of the box, but I wanted to be sure the reel behaved the same under load. It does and that feel really elevates the level of this reel.

The XG models come with a 90mm handle. The standard and HG model comes with an 84mm handle

Power: I don't know what it is about Shimano, but they find a way to deliver high retrieve ratio reels that have good power and torque. Throw in a 90mm standard handle on the high speed, XG, version of this reel and the Scorpion MGL as surprising leverage even when pulling deep diving cranks in the water. I've disassembled reels before to compare gear sizes and all, and while Shimano's gears usually match up favorably in size, if not winning all the comparisons, the differences are usually not monumental. Afterall, you can only go so large with the gears. Instead it's the engineering and the way the teeth are cut in those gears, the strategic placement of bearings, the rigid aluminum frames. Shimano has it down to a science.

Micro Module gearing has trickled down to Scorpion

Drag: Shimano, and for their part, Daiwa as well, have never touted penultimate maximum drag strength in their low profile casting reels. Rather what they provide are drags that provide smooth, consistent resistance to hard running fish in order to tire them out without risking the failure of your line or fishing rod.

The Scorpion MGL's drag is typical of Shimano with a single, fibrous washer nestled within the main gear. It's a proven design that has served consistently well for over a decade. The Scorpion MGL's drag performs in this long standing tradition and was both smooth and consistent during my time with the reel.

The Scorpion MGL is rated at 12lbs of maximum drag

Next Section: Enthusiasm renewed?









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