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Enthusiast Review


The Potent Sting of Shimano Japan's Scorpion MGL (continued)

Design & Ergonomics: As mentioned earlier, the Scorpion MGL is a 200 sized reel in shape and size, but has a spool that is more shallow hence its designation as a 150. At 7.8 ounces, the reel is a little heavy by today's standards, but depending on your application, this may or may not be a hindrance. In my application, throwing glidebaits and paddletails on a swimbait rod, it fit right in, but it's not something I'd personally choose for general application work. The XG version of this reel comes with a nice, long 90 millimeter (mm) handle as stock - a far cry when most JDM reels came with a 70mm handle. The HG and standard model are equipped with 84mm handles.

The reel's sideplate stays attached when open

Aside from all the legend and mystique that followed it, one of the reasons that Scorpion 1000/1001 series from almost twenty years ago was so popular was the finish Shimano Japan put on the reel's spool. That finish was the source of countless performance claims that even I bought into. It was great fun and gave the reel a lot of character when in reality, what we were really dealing with was a Curado 100 B with a different paint job, a spool of different finish, and some SARBs.

Shimano Japan returns to one of my favorite features, the left/right contoured grips

Subsequent models, though superior in performance, never seemed to capture that same mystique or popularity, at least not with me. The 2010 XT came close, but was missing that fun finish on the spool. Later models, mentioned earlier, even abandoned the burgundy finish. Just as Shimano America Corp saw a drop in popularity of the Curado when they abandoned the green, Scorpion is simply not the same without that signature burgundy red.

The spool tensioning knob features an accent of color

In the Scorpion MGL, Shimano Japan returns to that signature color, but they also re-introduce other key touches: The reel's dragstar is that classic, throwback, fighting star shape; the grips are once again contoured for left or right hand retrieve; the sideplate swivels away instead of detaches. Unfortunately the spool doesn't have that fun, iridescent, faux-titanium finish, but something new this reel does have that no other Scorpion reel that I'm aware of has, is an actual logo of a scorpion placed on the cast control cap. This reel has a lot of character built into its design.

I almost missed this. Shimano Japan having a little logo fun on their reels

Price & Applications: Shimano Japan's Scorpion MGL carries with it a standard price of 27,000 JPY which translates roughly to $230 depending on the exchange rate. If you're lucky enough to be in Japan browsing one of their tackle stores, the chances of finding it for less are probably pretty good. Having been there myself, I discovered quite often reels are not sold at regular retail. I still regret not loading up on the 2013 model year Metanium when I was in Japan that same year and found it in a huge tackle shop discounted to $230 each.

The Scorpion MGL retails for 27,000 JPY or somewhere in the neighborhood of $230 depending on the exchange rate at time of purchase

If you don't mind it's size, the Scorpion MGL is available in three retrieve ratios in both right and left hand retrieve, so it's suitable for any number of applications. I've grown far too accustomed to smaller framed reels over the last several years, so find that 200 frame size a little large for general application work. On the other hand, this size reel is becoming my new norm for throwing swimbaits in that six to eight inch size range.



Shimano Japan 2019 Scorpion MGL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean and precise, typical Shimano 9
Performance Casts really well and is solid throughout the retrieve 9
Price JDM mystique without that super high price tag 8
Features MicroModule gearing, MGL supertuning, three available retrieve ratios X-Ship 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) 200 size, shape & weight but with a shallower spool... 90mm handle is a nice touch 7.5
Application Three retrieve ratios make it easy to find the one that suits your need and plenty of line capacity for many different applications plus it is saltwater safe! 8.0

Total Score

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:


+ Shimano's MGL Supertuning - Just a little large in size for me. Would love a Scorpion 70/71 MGL
+ MicroModule gears are smooth and powerful  
+ JDM mystique without the price tag  


Conclusion: With the Scorpion MGL, Shimano Japan continues the platform's legacy as the gateway to enthusiast tackle addiction. Traditionally, it is not the highest performing or most refined product, but the combination of performance per conversion dollar spent together with that black market appeal manages to ignite that rebellious streak in every angler seeking greener pastures in a product from a different market.


To be honest, I felt I had outgrown the Scorpion platform...


To be honest, I felt I had outgrown the Scorpion platform. The 2016 70/71 model was fun to fish but eventually revealed itself to be just a re-sleeved Curado 70/71; the 2017 DC was very capable, but suffered in my eyes in the shadow of its 2011 predecessor; 2018 saw the birth of the long overdue Scorpion BFS only to be overshadowed by the much more refined Conquest BFS. Things looked pretty dire when the Scorpion MGL couldn't even break into my test day arsenal on a consistent basis.


...but with MGL, my enthusiasm for the Scorpio platform has been reborn


Then it happened. I ran out of other product to test and forced myself to find a purpose for this reel. Once I worked past the fact the Scorpion MGL is larger than what I typically liked to fish, and realized it's perfect for mid-sized big bait duty, the subtlety and nuances of its character began to reveal itself. The retro fighting star, the stealthy brake adjustment dial, the pivoting sideplate, micro module gears, MGL spool, 90mm handle, comfortable ergo grips, no USDM counterpart, it's as if that scorpion logo on the reel's spool tension knob came out and stung me casting a spell of appreciation. Yes, my enthusiasm for the Scorpion platform has finally been restored. The gate is open once more. MGL has done it to me again.


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