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Reel Review


[kroe-nark] : Casting Reel ... 1. must have (continued)

Drag: For 2017, we're changing things up a little bit and putting our Sweet Drag charts on the bench. We'll pull them back out for shootouts where the comparative data is really important, but we've found that the majority of reels test out pretty close to each manufacturer's ratings with regard to maximum drag so we're going back to highlighting our real world experiences with each reel.

The big, brass main gear of the Chronarch MGL.

With the Chronarch MGL, this means typical Shimano sweet (smooth and consistent) performance. I backed down off of max drag on this reel using light pressure with my thumb to stop the spool on hooksets, then let the rod and reel work in concert to tire my catch enough for me to land it. Through a handful of fish, the Chronarch MGL's drag performance was really good.

A look at the reel's rather conservative drag washer.

Design & Ergonomics: The Chronarch MGL does in fact share the same form factor as the previous generation Chronarch Ci4+. In fact, the spools and sideplates are interchangeable. However, you can scrap the idea of simply sourcing the MGL spool to insert in your older generation Ci4+ because the sideplates, while interchangeable, have slightly different braking mechanics inside, so you need a spool AND sideplate - or at least the guts of the sideplate. At that point, you might as well just buy the Chronarch MGL and save yourself the aggravation.

Only one bearing per knob - but the knobs are contoured for left and right hand retrieve.

Otherwise, the 6.2:1 gear ratio Chronarch MGL comes with a 90mm handle. I remember when this size handle seemed really large, but somehow it just feels normal now - even on the diminutive Chronarch MGL. This handle length is also provided with the HG (7.1:1) but jumps to 96mm on the XHG (8.1:1). Additionally, Shimano keeps the same, old school fighting dragstar on the newest Chronarch.

No bearing under the levelwind.

As mentioned earlier, in hand, the Chronarch MGL feels the same as the Ci4+. I think Shimano rates it as a 100 sized reel and it fits in my hands very comfortably. It's easy to palm and even the often overlooked thumbar is well placed. I like the fact Shimano uses a chrome finish on the thumbar instead of an all plastic look. It just gives the impression of this innocuous little device as being more solid and refined.

Externally adjustable centrifugal brakes.

Shimano continues to go the extra mile and contours the handle knobs on the Chronarch MGL specifically for right or left hand retrieve. It's a small touch (no pun intended), but one I really appreciate and it speaks to the refinement of this reel.

A knurled cast control knob.

Price & Applications: The Chronarch MGL is made in Japan and comes with a USDM price of $279.99. It is also available internationally through outlets such as JapanTackle.com for the current price of $271. Note international prices will fluctuate depending on the exchange rate and there are no differences between the JDM and USDM versions of this particular reel.

Made in Japan.

If there's a downside to this reel it's the fact Shimano does not recommend its use in saltwater environments. The frame and sideplates are a composite material that are not sensitive to saltwater (unlike a magnesium reel), but for some reason, the Magnumlite spool is susceptible to breaking down if the reel is exposed to saltwater.


Shimano Chronarch MGL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Familiar fit and finish 9.5
Performance I can't think of anything negative to say about its performance 10
Price Still under $300 7
Features Three letters ... M G L 9
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to palm, nice long handle 9
Application Only downside? - not saltwater safe 7

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:


+ One cast and you will know - Not approved for saltwater use
+ Micro-Module BRASS gears - Non handle sideplate fully detaches
+ Nice standard handle length - Only one bearing under each handle knob and a bushing at the levelwind - not a bearing
+ Did we mention the reel's casting ability?  


Conclusion: When it comes to your bass fishing reels, are you polyamorous or monogamous? In other words, do you have a bunch of different reels from different manufacturers or do you zero on on one manufacturer, one reel, to do it all? Here at TackleTour, we don't have the luxury of being monogamous with our reels. We have to fish around - it's in our job description. But that doesn't mean we can't be polygamous.


Warning, this reel may lead to many unspeakable, unforeseen, and unmentionable purchases.


While it's not common for any of us to have more than one copy of the same exact reel - especially after we've finished reviewing it, as I was writing this review, I just ordered my second Chronarch MGL. I'm not sure what came over me. I was just writing away and clicking around to verify specifications, availability, and pricing and next thing I know, I was checking out my cart at TackleWarehouse!


That smile can only mean one thing - Editor's Choice Award winner!


The Chronarch MGL is sleek, stealthy, refined. It casts so very easily and with distance, and those micro-module brass gears make turning the handle effortless. You can adjust the centrifugal brakes from the outside, it's handle is more than adequate in length, and in the end it will likely inspire an unspeakable, unforeseen, and unmentionable purchasing binge or two. Speaking of two, when a product inspires enthusiasm like that, it can only mean one thing. The Chronarch MGL is this Enthusiast's, Editor's Choice!


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