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Product Insight - BFS



Peeling it Back - The BFS Shallow Spool Challenge


Date: 3/27/24
Tackle Type: BFS Reels
Manufacturer: Various
Reviewer: Cal


Introduction: 2024 marks my twentieth year here at TackleTour. Although my first published piece on the site was the renowned, original Daiwa Alphas casting reel, my gateway product into the world of JDM tackle was actually Shimano's Scorpion 1000. This was Shimano Japan's variant of the Curado 100b. It was burgundy instead of green, had an externally adjustable brake system, and featured an iridescent spool that was purportedly titanium coated.


It's difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact this reel is 20 years old - Daiwa Japan's original Alphas


At the time, that Scorpion 1000 had the early internet fishing audience reputation as being the best casting machine made due to the easy startup of that magical, iridescent spool. In fact, to prove the point of how little force was needed to get the Scorpion 1000's spool to begin rotating, there was a test published online. What the owners of that site did was to clamp small split shot weights to a leading edge of line from a couple different reels and record how much weight it took for the spool to begin rotating as line peeled out of the reel. The winner was, of course, the Scorpion. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the website or find that article, but I know some of my contemporaries recall the test of which I speak.


This reel and its iridescent spool was the start of many enthusiasts' addiction to JDM tackle - Shimano Japan's Scorpion 1000


Why do I bring any of this up? It's not just an opportunity to walk down a nostalgic aisle of tackle. With the current influx of finesse tuned casting gear, I felt it was time to borrow from that fabled test to see how it might uncover some mysteries or at least help answer some questions I have about casting reels and shallow spools. Because believe me, I have questions.


So what's the deal with shallow spools, do they make a difference in finesse presentations?


Madness Leads to Method : To begin, I took inventory of my current selection of BFS reels. I have roughly a dozen on hand still with another half dozen reels or so modified with aftermarket shallow spools. Should be enough to get a reasonable amount of data. Some of these reels still had line on them, most of them had bare spools. To eliminate as many variables, I'd need to spool each reel with the same fishing line. For best results, that line needed to be braid, because braid does not suffer from memory issues that might in turn affect how easily the line will begin to peel off the spool. That meant I had to decide on a cost effective finesse braid to use for these tests. Bonus points if this line were available in a bulk spool.


At the core of these tests, I needed an accessible (i.e. affordable) finesse braid. The folks at Spro stepped up by sending in a few spools for the cause


The first line that came to mind was Spro's Finesse Braid tested back in 2022. I remember it fished very well and was reasonably priced. I couldn't find bulk spools of this line offered anywhere online, so I sent a message to Spro explaining to them my intended use and asking if there were any bulk spools available. Unfortunately, there were not, but Spro did the next best thing and sent me a box of PE #0.8 to use for my tests. It was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, obviously, because I had the line I needed. A curse because now I had to actually follow through with this idea.


My original thought was to use split shots


The next thing I needed were the weights. I searched high and low for my stash of BB sized split shots but couldn't find them, so I just ordered some from TackleWarehouse. Upon arrival, I weighed a few on a digital gram scale and received the same result for each (0.5g). They were lighter than I expected, but seemingly perfect for these tests. Then I figured I needed an and easy way to attach the weights to the end of the line for consistency. I decided I'd tie a loop knot at the tag end of line, so I just needed a way to hook the weights onto the loop.


It soon became apparent I need something lighter (from left to right, 0.4g, 0.3g, 0.2g, 0.1g)


I thought at first of using a hook with fishing line dangling off the end and split shots attached to that line, but I was afraid the hooks might weigh too much and the length of the setup might affect results (extending the lever arm). Then I thought of a more simple approach of using a paper clip, or portions there of, and clamping different numbers of split shots to the paper clip. Weighing a couple of paper clips, I got the same reading as the BB split shot, 0.5g.


The primary difference in Daiwa's '22 Silver Wolf is that its spool is more shallow than the reel from which it is derived, the '21 Zillion.


Afraid those 0.5 increments were going to be too big of a step, I decided to trim the clip creating a hook and shank. Then I'd have a nice, simple straight edge to which I can attach the split shots. Weight of the section I trimmed first was 0.2g.


Kicking things off with Daiwa Japan's Gekka Bijin


I had in the back of my mind that it only took a single split shot, or maybe a portion there of, to get the Scorpion 1000's spool to move, so at this point, I figured it was time to run a test on my test. I pulled out my Daiwa Gekka Bijin, filled it with a fresh supply of Spro's Finesse Braid in PE #0.8, tied a loop knot at the end of the line, and hooked that 0.2g section of paper clip. I then put the reel at the edge of a table, pulled out enough line so that the paper clip hung just below the bottom edge of the table (a random but repeatable starting point), clicked the reel over into free spool, and to my surprise, line began to peel out effortlessly.


Abu Garcia Japan's LX992Z was a kind of under the radar introduction in 2020

The split shots were going to be far too heavy. So instead, I clipped more off that first section of paper clip to get a reading of 0.1g on the scale and tried again. Once again, line peeled off the spool. That's the lowest weight my scale can register, so for a structured, but somewhat unscientific test, I decided this will be good enough. I then created several more paper clip weights at increasing increments of weight until I had pieces weighing 0.1g, 0.2g, 0.3g, and 0.4g. If I needed to go higher, I'd use the split shot at 0.5g. Would this work? Only one way to find out - time to get testing.


Daiwa Japan's PX68 SPR is an under appreciated BFS platform

Scorpion 1000 : First up? Trying to recreate that Scorpion 1000 case as a point of reference. It took two spools and some change of Spro Finesse Braid at PE #0.8 to fill the spool! But I got there and all it really took was 0.3g of weight for line to begin peeling off the Scorpion 1000. I should note I adjusted the spool tension knob on all these reels so that the side to side play of the spool just barely stopped. I was really surprised. That result seemed to spark a memory of that original article that the testers used pieces of a split shot to see how little weight it took to get that spool moving. A third of a gram is pretty light and indeed impressive for a conventional casting reel.


Abu Garcia's Revo4 EXD came with two spools. The most shallow of which is very capable of finesse presentations


Aftermarket Shallow Spools : Curious as to the relative ease by which the Scorpion 1000's spool began to move, I also tested two other reels for which I had stock spools, but also aftermarket shallow spools. So not only could I compare the peel weight for these reels in standard configuration against the Scorpion 1000, but I could see how much of a difference - if any - the shallow spool options really offer.


Comparing the aftermarket SLP Works option for the Alphas vs the standard spool


The two reels? Daiwa's original Alphas, and a Megabass Monoblock (Grigio Stone). For the Alphas, equipped with its stock spool, it took 0.4g of weight for line to begin peeling off the reel. I was surprised. I thought it'd be the same as the Scorpion 1000. The aftermarket shallow spool I have for the Alphas is an SLP Works Alphas SV 105. This isn't a true shallow spool, but it's slightly more shallow than the stock Alphas, and 3 grams lighter in weight (13g vs 16g). It took 0.3g of weight before line began to peel off the SLP Works spool installed in my Alphas.


Roro's MX30 transforms the Monoblock into a BFS machine


The Megabass Monoblock Grigio Stone in stock configuration held quite a bit of #0.8 finesse braid - more than the Scorpion 1000. Surprisingly, line peel began for this reel at 0.3g. The shallow spool option I have for this reel is a true finesse shallow spool, Roro's MX30. I was really anxious to find if there would be a difference here because out on the water, it's very easily discernible. To my delight, it required only 0.1g of weight for line to peel off the Monoblock in this configuration. So maybe there was a benefit to this exercise after all.


There are those who consider the '18 Aldebaran MGL a finesse reel when in reality, it's better suited for general applications


Next Section: Peel tests. Are BFS reels created equal?









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