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Enthusiast Review


A Shining Star Amidst a Milkyway of Reels: The Antares by Shimano

 

Date: 5/26/14
Tackle Type: Enthusiast
Manufacturer: Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.45 ULTIMATE ENTHUSIAST

+ EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD!

Introduction:
Just about every reel manufacturer has what can be referred to as their flagship products. More often than not, this is their most expensive reel in each category for which they make a product. In the case of low profile baitcasting reels, Daiwa has the Steez, Abu Garcia has the Premier and so on. Whenever a manufacturer debuts a new technology, usually this debut is made in their flagship and in following years, they trickle this technology down. Shimano Japan's flagship low profile baitcasting line is the Antares (USDM Calais). In 2012, this reel was updated a new set of casting brakes, new gears, and the company's already well integrated X-Ship. Here now is our look at the 2012 Antares by Shimano.


Introducing the 2012 Shimano Antares from Japan.

Shimano Antares 2012 Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 8/140 : 10/120
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 12.8 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
5.6:1
7.4:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
16.5" - 25"
22" - 33"
Weight 8 oz
Spool Weight 16 g
Handle Length 84 mm
Bearings 10+1 SARB
Bearings per Knob 2 bearings
Levelwind Bearings none
Tested Max Drag ~13lbs
Origin Made in Japan
MSRP $599.99

 

Quality/Construction: Antares has always been an immaculate reel. And while I adored the solid feel and performance of these reels (Antares, Antares 5, Antares AR, Antares DC), after a while, they always ended up sitting in my reel drawer instead of joining me out on the boat because they were simply too heavy. When I heard Shimano Japan debuted a new Antares in 2012, I paid little attention because I thought it was the same old heavy design.


This version does not have DC, but it is still wicked.

Fast forward to this past Fall when Shimano America Corp. followed through on their promise to bring JDM reels over to the States and I saw, sitting in the display case of my local tackle store, Hi's Tackle Box in South San Francisco, the new Antares. I asked to check it out and immediately noticed something was missing - that telltale heft of the older generation. I did not realize, until that moment, that the new Antares was made of magnesium not aluminum and while it certainly wasn't as light as the new Metaniums, it was a weight I felt wouldn't feel cumbersome after a few hours. I bought it.


A view from the back.

Fit and finish of this reel is as one might expect from Shimano's flagship - perfect. Shimano continues with the chrome finish on their top end low profile reels and it is a finish that would highlight rather than hide any flaws were there any to be found. Knob tolerance on this reel is as tight as it gets, but there is a very very small degree of backplay in the handle itself.

 

Quality Ratings for Shimano Antares 2012

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
4
5
19
20
9.5


And one from the front with the Cylon-like line guide.

Performance: I fished the new Antares spooled mostly with 55lb Daiwa Samurai Braid topped with a 12lb leader of Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon aboard a Poison Glorious Biwako Special casting stick, but it also spent some time on my Edge Rods 806-1 cranking stick.


This reel comes standard with an 84mm handle.

Retrieve: The Antares 2012 features Shimano's first iteration of their "Micro-Modulus" gearing. While the size of the gear remains relatively the same, Shimano cut more teeth into the gear to increase the contact points theoretically making the reel perform more smoothly. It worked. The micro-modulus gearing coupled with x-ship (double bearing supported pinion gear) make this reel is the smoothest I've ever had the pleasure of cranking.

Performance Ratings for Shimano Antares 2012

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
4
5
5
5
24
25
9.6

Drag: The 2012 Antares sports Shimano's traditional single fiber disc Dartanium drag system. We were able to achieve a maximum thirteen (13lbs) of pressure on this reel with finger tight adjustment. Note results will vary depending upon how much strength you have in your fingers and how far down you can crank that drag star.


Fig 1: The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our
2012 Shimano Antares.

To us, anything over ten (10) pounds of pressure on a bass reel is more than sufficient. The factor we value more than maximum pressure is how smooth and consistent a drag performs. For just about every reel we test, this factor, which we've dubbed as "Sweet Drag" becomes more erratic as drag pressure is increased. If you view the chart above for our Antares, you can see our case in point. At the lower levels, up to roughly 2 pounds of pressure, the Antares is super smooth. Once we crest four to five pounds of pressure, the drag performed a bit more erratic.


The 2012 Antares features Shimano's tried and true drag system.

This chart was developed with data gathered in our lab while the Antares was strapped to The Machine. Out on the water, I noticed none of this inconsistency while battling fish. In fact, the drag felt like butter out on the water it was so smooth. Then again, I rarely fish with my drag buttoned down. Nevertheless the Antares's score in this metric is a split in the difference between what we measured in the lab, and what I experienced while fishing.

Sweet Drag Performance for Shimano Antares 2012 (2.5 Turns to Lockdown)

Lock - 8
Lock - 6
Lock - 4
Lock - 2
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
0.75
1.05
3.19
6.77
11.17
Sustained
0.75
1.14
3.64
7.47
11.16
Lowest Value
0.62
0.94
2.82
6.45
9.22
Change in Startup vs Sustained
0.2%
8.1%
14%
10.3%
.10%
6.5%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
17.5%
17.2%
22.5%
13.6%
17.4%
17.6%
Drag on this reel was tested with the dragstar fully tightened. Then with each successive test, the drag was backed off with two short pushes of the dragstar with our thumb.

 


Big news here is the new, micro modulus gearing.

Next Section: Power to spare, and smooth too


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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