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What the... Finesse Alphas? (continued)

Retrieve: So what does an increase from a 5.8:1 to a 6.8:1 retrieve ratio translate to in an Alphas? Back in 2004, we reported the original Alphas with a line pick up of twenty two inches (22") per turn of the handle. We tested the Alphas Finesse Custom out at twenty five and a half inches (25.5").

The Alphas Finesse Custom features an 80mm handle and knobs that are more reminiscent of USDM reels than JDM.

The handle knobs on this reel are removable and reveal one metal bushing and one bearing per knob. In actual use, the knobs spin very freely and contribute to the overall smooth feel of the Alphas Finesse Custom.

The main gear is new and increases the reel's retrieve ratio to 6.8:1.

The closest thing we came to in testing the reel's actual power was fishing a TnT Bait Company's Claymore Jig. This is a bladed swimming jig similar to a Chatterbait. I didn't catch any fish of significant size with this reel and it had no problems pulling the Claymore Jig through the water. Because of its shallow spool, this is not a reel anyone would consider for deep cranking anyway.

A look inside the Alphas Finesse Custom.

Drag: As mentioned just above, I did not catch any fish of significant size with this reel so the opportunity to put the drag through a true, on the water test, never materialized. Back in the lab, we tested the Finesse Custom's limits to five pounds of maximum drag pressure.

And the reels extensive drag stack.

Opening the reel up reveals a very extensive drag stack of fibrous washers but not the same material as carbontex which seems to be the de facto standard these days. So if increased drag pressure in this little reel is what you want, swapping these washers out might get you there. However, they were sufficient in our nearly year long tests.

What the Finesse?!?! A feisty spotted bass from Lake Berryessa, CA.

Availability: Daiwa Japan's Alphas Finesse Custom was a new for 2011 reel. It is currently available through the usual online JDM tackle dealers. We acquired ours from long time TackleTour friends and supporters, JapanTackle.com. There is no USDM equivalent to this reel in Daiwa's lineup.

Daiwa Japan's Alphas Finesse Custom was new for 2011 and is readily available from the usual online tackle dealers specializing in JDM gear.


Alphas Finesse Custom 105H/105HL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality No complaints here 8.5
Performance Marginally better at finesse baits as compared to the original 8
Price The exchange rate does not help one bit right now 6
Features Shallow Spool, Standard MagForce... eh 7
Design (Ergonomics) I do not care for the stamped metal handle and conventional rubber "grippy" knobs 6
Application Works ok as a finesse option, but if you swap out the spool with a standard Alphas spool, you get a general application reel - oh wait, why not just get a regular Alphas then? 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:


+ For those who want it, the shallow spool option is nice to have - The exchange rate really hurts this reel
+ Faster retrieve ratio is also a nice option - Needs a better handle and knobs
  - Not as big a difference in casting lighter lures as I'd have hoped when compared to the original


Conclusion: Is this reel different enough from the original to warrant attention? Probably. The shallow spool option and increased line pickup are nice enhancements and even though this reel is labeled for freshwater use only, if you need a finesse tuned reel in brackish water situations, this would probably be a safer choice than the Pixy or even a Steez.


A nice Clear Lake bass courtesy of a Phenix Recon cranking stick and TnT Baits Claymore Jig.


But if your aim is to find "the best" finesse tuned baitcasting reel at all costs - at least within Daiwa's lineup - spend the extra cash and get yourself a PX68/68L. They share the same form factor and retrieve ratio, but the PX68/68L has a stronger drag, is lighter, and is a much more capable reel for finesse situations and more.


This reel makes a nice match for the Steez Megatop stick but we still prefer the PX68/68L for finesse applications.


Daiwa Japan seems to be on a variant craze the last couple of years. How many more interpretations of the Zillion do we need to see? Granted, the Zillion Type R is really a fantastic reel, but the HLC, PE, and now J Dream? Enough. Getting back to the Alphas, though I did grow to really like the Alphas Ito Ai, for my money, bring the original Petite Purple Powerhouse back and I'll be happy. If I want a finesse baitcaster from Daiwa, I'm putting my money towards a PX68/68L.










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