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Enthusiast Review


Built to Vanquish the Competition, but Equal to Stella? (continued)

Power continued: This all goes hand in hand with the frame and body design. In Shimano speak, a HAGANE body is designed and built to eliminate flex and distortion keeping the reel's guts in precise alignment during use. You cannot have one without the other hence HAGANE referring to an overall design concept.

Bail operation is very reliable

Bail Operation: The Vanquish's bail is a one-piece titanium wire with precise and reliable operation. It holds open during a cast and closes with authority either by hand or rotation of the handle. It does not feel quite as forceful as that of the Stella.

The line guide is bearing supported - in fact it is itself a bearing

Line Twist: Line twist issues were minimal with my C3000SDHHG though this was somewhat mitigated by the use of braid as my main line. Taking the line roller apart reveals an integrated, one-piece rollerbearing design that quite frankly makes too much sense. I was confused at first because I couldn't disassemble the roller piece to determine whether there was a bearing or bushing inside. I managed to find a way to isolate the interior race from moving as I spun the outside race and sure enough, the friction free operation could only mean there was a bearing involved in the assembly.

Made in Japan

Design & Ergonomics: Shimano uses a lot of fancy marketing terminology to describe their product these days - especially their fishing reels. For the Vanquish we have a HAGANE body and gear which we've already discussed, but this reel also features X-Ship and an MGL rotor among other things.

The spool is supported on the shaft with a bearing

X-Ship: We've discussed this feature before most notably in casting reels, and the concept in a spinning reel is the same. Shimano uses X-Ship to improve gear durability. They do this by supporting the reel's pinion gear on either end with a bearing to maintain alignment and minimize any occurrence of friction when under load.

The MGL Rotor is a design, not the material. The rotor feels like it is constructed out of Ci4+

MGL Rotor: While the first time I heard the term X-Ship was during an introduction to the latest Stella years and years ago, MGL is a term that feels like a carryover from the company's casting reels. When I hear 'MGL,' I think of the light, easy casting spools on the reels bearing that moniker. So how does this translate to a spinning reel? Well, the initials, 'MGL' actually stand for the term 'magnumlite,' and like HAGANE is more of a concept than material. In short, magnumlite means lighter and better balance. In a casting reel, it's the MGL spool that results in better casting performance. In a spinning reel, an MGL rotor results in less start up inertia as you turn the handle for smoother operation of the reel.

The rotor, body/sideplates, and handle all have the same resonance when I tapped on them

This lighter and better balanced rotor is really independent of material, and on the Shimano Japan website, there is no discussion of what material the company uses for the Vanquish's rotor. In my opinion the material is Ci4+ because the rotor and handle have the same resonance when I tap them with my fingers and the handle is obviously Ci4+. The reel's sideplates have this same resonance but at the front of the reel, just under the rotor, this resonance changes to something more solid. Shimano Japan's website states the Vanquish's body is magnesium just like the Stella, but to me, it feels as though there's a mix of magnesium and Ci4+. Overall, the reel has that hollow, kind of plastic feel that's a signature of carbon reels and bike frames. There must be a blend of the two materials switching back and forth in key areas. The spool and reel foot, on the other hand, feel like actual metal.

The Vanquish retails for just over $500 (depending on the model and exchange rate at the time of transaction)

Price & Applications: If you're feeling like a Vanquish is in your future, but are unsure as to what application it'd best be suited, fear not. This reel is available from the 1000 through 5000 size with many sizes having a couple different retrieve ratio options and price ranging from 57,000 to 59,800 Japanese Yen (JPY). The cost in dollars will vary depending on the exchange rate but at the time of this writing, that roughly translates to $500 through $525.


Shimano 20 Vanquish C3000SDHHG Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A super clean, stealthy package 9
Performance Super smooth all around but not quite as light a startup as the much more affordable Vanford 8.5
Price Better than Stella or Exist in terms of "value" but we're still talking $500+ for a spinning reel 6.5
Features Full of Shimano's reel tech but not the latest features that you can find in the current Vanford 8
Design (Ergonomics) Super light and this model came with a shallow spool 8
Application This model is built for finesse, but there are a bunch of other sizes and options from which to choose 8

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:


+ Super light overall package - I'm not a huge fan on Ci4+ as a frame/sideplate material on spinning reels due to the feel. Zander on the other hand likes them, and while they are not as rigid as aluminum or magnesium, feels the light overall weight is a worthy tradeoff
+ Double handle may look a little odd on a spinning reel but functions well - The Vanquish delivers a great balance of weight/performance but doesn't match the Stella's level of refinement
+ Handle turns with ease  
+ Smooth operation  
+ Shallow spool options available  


Conclusion: I acquired the Vanquish C3000SDHHG from Japan Tackle during one of my "I need something new to fish" moods. I liked its weight spec and was curious to try that double handle design once more. After procuring the reel, I came across a discussion or three on our forum, as well as comments on Instagram, with the opinion that the Vanquish was a less expensive Stella. I do not share this opinion.


The Vanquish is a high performing reel worthy of accolades, but a Stella it is not.


Yes, the Vanquish is a high performing reel and worthy of accolades all on its own. In fact, I like the fact it's lighter than the Stella. However, in terms of refinement there's just no comparison. A couple turns of the handle in a side by side comparison is all you need to make this evaluation. Unfair comparisons aside, the Vanquish is a wonderful tool complete with a host of Shimano's latest advancements in a super light weight, stealthy package. 


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