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Enthusiast Review

Be Very Careful of What You Ask: Shimano Japan's Metanium Mg DC (continued)

Drag: It doesn't take much to get the drag moving on the Metanium Mg DC. At medium settings to where the reel can sustain a pressure of three to five pounds, startup was pretty much consistent with sustained pressure. In the lab, the drag exhibited some skipping and jumping, but out on the water, with the reel mounted on a rod, I felt none of this jerkiness while battling largemouth bass to five pounds.


The I-DC4 brain comes out with just a turn of the handle

Cranked down as far as the fighting star-styled drag star would allow, I was able to get a full nine pounds of sustained pressure out of this reel. Pretty impressive for a lightweight, magnesium reel.

Just be careful not to drop it in the water!

Design, Features & Ergonomics: If you're a fan of its non-DC counterpart, the Metanium Mg/Mg7 or the sturdier, Antares AR, you will enjoy the styling and ergonomics of the Metanium Mg DC. It is a very comfortable reel to palm, sits nice and low on the reel seat, and what's more, it's relatively light!

While the styling of the cast control knob is appreciated, we'd like it even more if it had the positive reinforcement of micro-clicks

The one shortcoming of note on this reel is the lack of a clicking cast control knob. Another is, despite the presence of two bearings under each knob, the contoured grips do not spin very freely. In fact, I had to take each knob off the handle to verify whether or not there were any bearings because on free spin, the knobs make a couple of rotations and just stop as if there were rubber bushings under the knobs instead of bearings.

A reminder that this reel is indeed, made in Japan

On the positive side, I appreciate the 80mm handle, contoured Septon grips, dressed up thumb bar, and simplified DC system. The 0.9 ounce weight gain over the standard Metanium Mg is barely noticeable and a welcome penalty for the advent of the DC system. The retro fighting dragstar is both ergonomic with its flattened flanges, and a welcome styling detail we've appreciated since seeing it on the Antares DC.

One last look at the Metanium Mg DC

Application & Availability: The Metanium Mg DC is a good general purpose bass reel and is also available in a faster, 7.0:1 retrieve. Distribution of both the right and left hand retrieve versions of both reels has been at full force within Japan since late March. Just about all the more popular vendors of JDM rods and reels have this product in stock so acquisition is only a mouse click or email away.


Shimano Metanium Mg DC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A light, yet solid reel 9
Performance Fine with normal baits, labored with big baits, only one DC setting felt different from what you get with the standard Met Mg and a bit touchy with FC lines 7
Price On par with the Daiwa Steez? Ouch. 6
Features Convenience not previously available in a DC reel. 8
Design (Ergonomics) A big improvement over the non Mg Metanium XT 9
Application Rated for fresh and saltwater, but I'm still leery of taking any Mg reel to a true salty environment 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J It's all about that DC whine L Not available in a US Domestic version - at least not yet
J Comfortable ergonomics L High cost to acquire, but we expect that from a DC
J I-DC4 offers greater convenience, and is ultimately, easier to use than SVS L Intelligent DC while effective, is not much beyond the standard Metanium's SVS system
J Quick and easy access to the spool for adding oil to the bearings L DC system is touchy with FC lines even in "I-A" mode.


Conclusion: So, the bottom line, is this the end all and be all of low profile baitcasting reels? Not quite. It is certainly just about everything I have sought in a low profile baitcaster from Shimano. It's light, it's comfortable to palm, it's small, and it has that addictive DC whine. I can overlook the fact the reel felt burdened retrieving a Triple Trout in the water and the fact it's a bit touchy with fluorocarbon lines, but the actual DC system featured in this reel doesn't offer all that much more cast control or distance than Shimano's tried and true SVS system save for that one "I-L" setting. I expected more and those looking for the most bang out of their deflated buck will probably be better off sticking with the standard Metanium Mg/Mg7.


High on the grin factor scale, the Metanium Mg DC isn't perfect, but it's a really fun reel to use.


On the other hand, from a pure Enthusiast's perspective, regardless of the marginal gains in casting distance, the true benefit this reel presents is in the area of convenience. Setting the brake system option and leaving it to the reel's internal brain to dynamically make the necessary micro-adjustments needed to keep line fluff at a minimum or eliminate it all together according to the force of your cast - well, it's that extra ten percent of coolness factor that most Enthusiasts covet. In other words, while it doesn't necessarily perform better than the standard Metanium Mg/Mg7, because of this new intelligent DC system, the reel is actually easier and more fun to use. Throw that fact together with the addictive DC whine, and for the afflicted Enthusiast, the grin factor on this reel is undeniable. Does this sound like yet another recipe for TackleTour's Ultimate Enthusiast Award? You bet!











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