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Enthusiast Reel Review (Comparison)


Enthusiast shootout, the Daiwa Alphas and Shimano Scorpion Mg duel for the supertuned crown
 

Date: 3/6/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano & Daiwa Japan
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: Alphas 9.0 : Scorpion MG 8.67

Introduction: At the close of 2004 we presented a heavyweight shootout between the flagship baitcasting reels from the Japan divisions of Daiwa and Shimano. As a sequel to that stalwart battle, we decided to follow on with a match up that's slightly more attainable and a bit more relevant: the Daiwa Alphas versus the Shimano Scorpion MG.


A great match up, the Daiwa Alphas versus the Shimano Scorpion MG


Daiwa Alphas Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12/100
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 5.8:1 (22 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 6.6 ounces
Measured Max. Drag 5 lbs
Bearings 6 + 1 roller
Features MagForce V, Duralumin Spool, CRBB (corrosion resistant bearings)
Upgrades ZPI Carbon Handle + Daiwa Cork Knobs and Bearings
MSRP ~$265
Cost of Upgrades $127
Total Cost of Test Model $392

 

Scorpion MG Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12/90
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 6.2:1 (22 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 6.0 oz (6.2 oz with upgrades)
Measured Max. Drag 2.5 lbs
Bearings 4 + 1 roller
Features 4x4 SVS external adjustment brake system, ARB bearings, Duralumin Spool, Magnesium Alloy Body
Upgrades ZPI Carbon Handle + Shimano Septon Ball Bearing Knobs
MSRP ~$250
Cost of Upgrades $132
Total Cost of Test Model $372


Impressions: Both of these reels are spec'd to impress right out of the box. We've already documented the unique finish of the Daiwa Alphas in our October 7, 2004 debut Enthusiast article and it continues to mesmerize to this day. The Shimano Scorpion sports a sleek, sophisticated, silver finish that is smooth and polished giving the reel a much more refined feel to that of it's non-MG counterpart, the Scorpion 1000. And while the original handle on the Scorpion MG is elegant with it's weight reducing, gold highlighted holes, we found the length and lack of bearing supported knobs disappointing.


Closeup views of the carbon handle upgrades and external brake force adjustment dials on both reels.


The TackleTour Enthusiast solution? Purchase the aftermarket 85mm ZPI Carbon Handle upgrade ($85 shipped) and acquire a Shimano Calais handle from Shimano USA ($50) so that we can use the bearing knobs on this new handle. To carry it one step further, we purchased the identical Daiwa compatible 85mm ZPI Carbon Handle together with the Daiwa Cork Knobs for our Alphas. Matched with these handle upgrades we headed out to our local waters for a head to head shootout.


The Comparison:

 

Setup: We paired each of these reels on matching medium weight GLoomis MBR842C GLX casting rods and spooled them with 12lb Yozuri Hybrid line. The MBR842C is G.Loomis's 7' finesse casting rod but is suitable for any a variety of techniques ranging from crankbaits to weightless plastics - a very versatile rod that is very well matched with each of these reels.


Our upgraded Daiwa Alphas with an aftermarket an 85 mm carbon handle and bearing supported cork knobs.

 

Casting/Pitching: The weight, or lack there of, in both these reels makes casting and pitching an absolute joy to perform. While both reels are more than capable of delivering your bait on target with the slightest of motions, our Alphas edged our Scorpion MG in actual performance requiring much less effort to deliver our baits where we wanted them placed. Both overhead casting and underhand pitching performance of the Alphas is extraordinary. Our Scorpion MG was actually a bit of a let down even when compared to our standard Scorpion 1001. To remedy this, we added a couple drops of the Yellow Label Rocket fuel and performance was transformed to what we expected from the reel out of the box.


Our upgraded Scorpion MG with an aftermarket an 85 mm carbon handle and bearing supported septon grips.


Retrieving: Both reels offer the same rate of retrieve at twenty two (22) inches per turn of the handle. Though neither reel quite delivered that Antares AR buttery smoothness, replacing both stock handles with bearing supported knobs, improves the retrieve on both of these reels to just about as silky smooth as you could want. The added leverage of the 85mm carbon handles was a welcome upgrade from both reels' stock handles, and proved especially effective when retrieving fast moving baits.


 

Both the Scorpion MG and Daiwa Alphas sport attractive finishes and ported spools.

 

Drag: Both reels deliver smooth, non-studdering drag performance with our Alphas testing out at an inspiring 5lbs maximum drag pressure and our Scorpion MG delivering a disappointing 3lbs. While bonus points are awarded to the Scorpion MG for a micro-click adjustable drag, the Alphas easily wins this matchup for the afore mentioned maximum drag pressure.


Viewed from the side, the sleeker, more aggressively angled profile of the Alphas is quite apparent as compared to that of the slightly more rounded profile of the Scorpion MG.

 

Ergonomics: Anglers with medium to small size hands will really love the feel of both of these reels. The Alphas has a slightly lower profile than that of the Scorpion MG. As such, the Scorpion MG is actually more comfortable to palm because it cups comfortably into the palm of your hand. The Alphas feels so low and small when you palm it, it's almost as if the reel isn't there. This sensation was magnified during this comparison when switching between setups and actually became a little disconcerting as we had to make conscious efforts to adjust our grip on the Alphas setups to take advantage of the reel's casting ease. We applaud the incorporation of externally adjustable brake controls on both reels.


The detailing in both the Alphas (left) and Scorpion MG (right) leave little room for disappointment

 

Design: The finish and detailing on both of these reels is top notch and just what you'd expect from the Japan Market divisions of these goliath companies. One edge goes to the Alphas for its unique, iridescent paint while another edge goes to the Scorpion MG for its more attractive "diamond grip" cast control knob and sculpted drag star. In the end, the pluses and minuses of these reels works out to a draw.


Scorpion MG Ratings:

Shimano Scorpion MG Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly crafted though the infinite anti-reverse is not so infinite 9
Performance A capable casting and pitching reel though out of the box performance was disappointing at first 8
Price Excellent value for an MG reel 9
Features External cast control, ported duralumin spool, but light drag and short, stock handle 8
Design (Ergonomics) Nice attention to detail and wonderful palming profile 9.5
Application A very versatile reel though not quite as capable for casting finesse baits as is the Alphas 8.5

Total Score

8.67


Scorpion MG Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Light weight Magnesium Frame L Underpowered drag
J Micro-Click Adjustable Drag  
J External Brake Adjustment  
J Attractive Finish  


Daiwa Alphas Ratings:

Daiwa Alphas Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly crafted with the only detraction being the stamped metal dragstar 9
Performance Perfectly tuned out of the box with an astonishing 5lbs of max drag pressure 9.5
Price Pricey for an aluminum framed reel 8
Features Lightweight, ported duralumin spool, MagForceV cast control system 9
Design (Ergonomics) Super low profile and height in the reel seat, unique, iridescent finish 9.5
Application A very versatile and capable reel. 9

Total Score

9


Daiwa Alphas Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Very light for an aluminum reel L Lack of refined micro-click adjusting drag
J Stronger than expected drag  
J MagForceV cast control  
J Attractive Iridescent Finish  


More detail shots of the Alphas (left) and Scorpion MG (right)


Conclusion: Once again Daiwa Japan takes the prize in our Enthusiast Shootout. As reported in our initial review of the Alphas, Daiwa has put together quite the little powerhouse in this diminutive reel. While we were delighted with the improvements we felt in both reels with the addition of our handle upgrades, we were quite surprised by the ease with which the Alphas outperformed our Scorpion MG. We've come to expect more from Shimano and have grown to truly appreciate what Daiwa has to offer in today's market. Until next time. Keep collecting!



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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