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A Question of Access in Shimano's New Calcutta (continued)

But then word on the street was there would be no 100 size for the US Market. Were they serious? A quick message for confirmation into our contacts at Shimano America Corporation verified this rumor. I was disappointed but still looked forward to checking out the new series firsthand.  

The new Calcutta 12 is identical to the USDM Calcutta D here.

Basically that meant if I wanted to check out and experience the joys of having a 50-sized reel with the line capacity of a 100, I’d have to do what I always do and order one from Japan. You see, my preference for JDM reels doesn’t stem from a perceived performance and features upgrade. No, my reason for procuring JDM reels made by Shimano is the fact that we cannot get all the models and sizes here in the States!

Unscrew the two fingertip knobs on the original Calcutta and everything pulled out for access to the spool.

We’re talking Calcutta/Conquest 101DC, Metanium MG DC, Calcutta 51DC, Metanium MG (6.4:1 & 7.1:1) in left hand retrieve, Conquest 51s, Scorpion 1501XT in 6.4:1 (Curado E series), and the list goes on. My favorite Shimano reel, the Conquest 51 was available in the US as the Calcutta 51 TE GT, but not with the same exquisite detailing on the sideplate and the much more attractive forged handle so that reel was indeed an upgrade.

Unlike the Calcutta D, the original Calcutta's gear set was prepared for easy access secured under the black plastic housing.


True Size: So instead of waiting for a reel that would never materialize, I went ahead and procured a Calcutta 12 101 from Japan. I was anxious to verify whether or not this reel really had the 50’s form factor.

It's JDM counterpart, the Calcutta XT was the same way.

When it arrived, the first thing I did was compare it to my Conquest 51. As you can see from the photos, the new Calcutta 100 is indeed the same size as the 50. I was pretty excited. Then I mounted it on a rod so I could feel, in my hand, that indescribable, perfect, ergonomic fit of palming this 50 sized reel. That moment did not materialize – something was wrong.

The Calcutta 12 and D feature smaller bodies per size, but the palming size of the 100 is still the same as the old 100, not a 50.

It had actually been a while since I fished my Conquest 51, so I swapped reels to check. Yes, there really was a difference. The new Calcutta 100 is physically the same diameter as the previous generation 50 – at least on the non-handle sideplate, but the two reels do not palm the same. The 100 still palms like the old 100.

A look at the Conquest 51's reel foot. Notice how far it is recessed allowing that incredibly low palming position on the rod.

Flipping the two reels over it’s easy to tell why. The Conquest 51’s reel foot is recessed quite a bit more than the Calcutta 12 101’s, hence the difference. So to provide the same line capacity as a 100 in the 50 size, the reel foot had to be pushed out of the frame. Understandable, but in the end it’s a wash. The Calcutta 12 101 is small, but it’s not as comfortable to hold as a Conquest 50/51.

Another look at the recessed reel feet side by side.

Next Section: A question about "access" to the VBS









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