Precious : Shimano Japan's 2016 Antares DC
Got that? FL = most brake control (4), X = least brake control (1). Simple, right? We're not done. When the non-handle sideplate is closed, you'll notice another dial that you can adjust. This helps you fine tune that braking force on the fly to suit whatever conditions you may be facing at the time. There are seven clicks and eight actual positions on this dial hence 4x8 (4 internal adjustments, 8 outside adjustments).
Making this system even more evil is the inclusion of an MGL
I fished this reel the majority of the time with the internal dial set to NM, or 2 on that scale of 1 - 4, and the external dial somewhere in the middle. As one might expect, even though I was using fluorocarbon line on the nylon monofilament setting, the 4x8DC braking system is pretty flawless and controlled my casts just fine. It should be noted that Seaguar Tatsu is among the easiest handling fluorocarbon lines on the market, but I am by no means immune to the frequent professional overrun. I fully expected to sacrifice a spool or two of line before dialing this reel in, but that simply was not necessary.
Shimano retains the vintage fighting star.
And the knobs contoured for left or right hand retrieve.
My precious is equally adept at low speed presentations too and made an excellent pitching reel on board the Super Stallion Inspirare. The only thing I did not test with this reel was bait finesse applications. The 16 Antares DC's spool is standard depth and just not something I wanted to fill with four to six pound test line. It would be a more practical and applicable test if there were a shallow spool option for this reel.
Of course this reel features micro-module gearing.
Both the pinion and main gear are made of brass.
Power: I acquired the low speed version of my precious for these tests, so power was more or less a foregone conclusion. Outfitted with that ultra smooth and buttery micro-module gearing, my precious was able to retrieve deep diving cranks like Strike King's 10XD and Lucky Craft's SKT Magnum DR without my breaking a sweat. However, it would be nice if my precious came with a longer handle than 84mm.
The drag washer takes up the entire surface area inside the main
Drag: The drag rating for this reel is pretty conservative at only five kilograms or roughly eleven pounds. Many will balk at this rating given how many of today's reels approach and even exceed twenty pounds of maximum pressure, but as we've stated all along, what we value is a smooth and consistent drag over maximum pressure and Shimano certainly knows how to deliver on this. My precious's drag, like its gearing, is buttery smooth and more than sufficient to help tire out those aggressive largemouth bass.
The knobs are supported by 2 bearings.
But the levelwind worm gear is not, nor is there provision to
replace a bushing with a bearing.
Design & Ergonomics: I noted earlier how this reel was a full ounce lighter than the 2006 iteration. In addition, while the 2016 Antares DC shares most of the same form factor as the standard, non-dc 2012 Antares, Shimano has streamlined the reel's top plate to match the more triangular and squared off look of the current Metanium and Chronarch reels. In fact, this same "grill" can be found on the Curado and Citica as well demonstrating that Shimano is going for a family look at the front of their reels similar to how car manufacturers like to match the fronts on their different car models.
An often overlooked aspect of Shimano reels - the line guide is
tapered like a funnel.
The extra bearing in support of the pinion that makes up X-Ship.
Price & Applications: This is where we scare all but the most fanatical enthusiast away and why we chose to dub the 2016 Antares DC as my precious. This fine, evil, little reel carries with it an MSRP of 76,000 JPY which when translated by the exchange rate at the time of this writing equates to $682. To put that into perspective, that's three Scorpion 70/71s or two Chronarch MGLs with money left over in either comparison for some fishing line. Those are some serious enthusiast tackle buff struggles right there.
2016 Shimano Antares DC
This reel is pristine right out of the package
The 4x8DC braking profile is truly advanced. Matched with the internal mechanical advancements Shimano has made? ... incredible
You have to be a true fanatic
You name it, this reel probably has it right down to the brass gears... although no bearing at the level wind worm gear
We're in on the family top plate/grill look, but not sure about the paint + ion plating mix and a longer handle would be nice
Two retrieve ratios to cover a wide range of applications. Just maybe not BFS due to line capacity.
: 2 =
poor : 3
: 4 =
: 5 =
: 6 =
fair : 7
= good :
: 10 =
Pluses and Minuses:
| + Noticeably lighter than the 2006 version
|| - Finding a way to justify more than one or two
|+ Buttery smooth drag and gears
||- No bearing or way to install one at the levelwind worm gear
|+ 4x8DC system just keeps getting better
||- Handle is standard length but a longer one would be nice
|+ Not just micro-module gears, but brass micro-module gears for better durability
||- The two different finishes is odd. Pick either and run with it.
||- Freshwater only
I'm sure I've stated it before but it truly bares repeating. If there is one tackle manufacturer that embraces the concept of a flagship product and brand, and executes on that concept, it is Shimano with their spinning and baitcasting reels.
The 2016 Antares DC is not a reel for the masses. Nor is it intended to be. What it represents is a showcase of what Shimano can accomplish when they are not concerned with budget or price points or market share.
When they did let those concerns distract with what they could accomplish from an engineering perspective, we got the Chronarch E, Curado G, and the Calcutta D.
See the difference in finish from the plate to the side plate?
At some point shortly after that dark period, they saw the light and now we have the 2014 Calcutta, Curado 70, Chronarch MGL, Metanium and Metanium MGL, Stella FI, Sustain FG, Ultegra, and the list goes on. The company has taken the road of slowly globalizing their reel catalog making it easier for the fanatical enthusiast to acquire grass-greener JDM models even if some of the differences may only be cosmetic.
Acquiring the 2016 Antares DC and then taking the time to fish it
is like getting behind the wheel of a concept car.
Sitting a top of all this madness, and along side the Stella FI by the way, is the 2016 Antares DC. Acquiring one and then taking the time to fish it is like getting behind the wheel of a concept car. You hesitate to put your foot to the pedal, but given the chance, adrenaline takes over and before long, you put it on X-mode and floor that precious until it screams. And oh yes, the most important thing of all, the 2016 Antares DC, a.k.a. my precious, screams. Don't believe me? Purchase one, spool it up, mount it on your favorite rod, tie your favorite lure to the end of the line, toss it out with all your might and then just listen.
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