The Dark Knight - Shimano’s Exsence Spinning Reel
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Introduction: This Icast
Shimano’s biggest reel launch was the Curado K but on the spinning side the
company also made a number of significant moves as well including the redesign
of the Sustain, which took home Best of Show in the saltwater reel category.
While the Sustain will no doubt find plenty of homes on the decks of both
freshwater and saltwater boats it was another even more aggressively styled
reel, the Exsence, that really caught my attention. The Exsence looks like
something straight out of the batcave, ready to do battle with anything that
comes its way, fresh or salt.
Light and with a solid feel, something doesn't
quite add up...
The Dark Knight: The Exsence looks more like something you
would find in Batman’s arsenal than mounted on a spinning rod. It is completely
murdered out, but unlike many other black reels has a completely matte finish,
one that looks deep and rich. The reason? This is not a run of the mill aluminum
reel, nor is it a carbon composite based reel.
The new Shimano Exsence makes use of magnesium in
the frame and CI4 for the rotor
The very first time I rotated the handle on the reel I knew
something about the reel was different. It felt rigid and solid much like a
metal based reel but it was light like a carbon based one, so which is it? The
answer is neither. Like reels of season’s past this new reel uses the expensive
to work with magnesium. Which is another reason it was so hard to distinguish
what the Exsence was made of is because the entire reel has been given the
stealth treatment. Everything down to the bail wire on this reel is completely
The entire reel is murdered out, even the bail
This stealthy reel might as
well be on Batman’s utility belt as it packed with flagship features, providing
both bass and inshore anglers with everything they need in a lightweight
package. Wait, inshore anglers? Isn’t this reel made out of magnesium?
John walks us through the Exsence features and
explains how the reel is both freshwater and saltwater capable
Here is where that black coating comes in, it really is armor.
The entire reel features a water repellant coating that can stand up to the
rigors of saltwater fishing and inside the reel there is a special water
channeling labyrinth construction that makes it even harder for water to
penetrate and effect the reel’s core components, X protect provides excellent
water resistance without sacrificing light gear feel and rotor rotation.
Sleek like the Batjet
The rotor on the Exsence is Shimano’s Magnumlite design and is
made out of CI4 material which is now lighter and stronger than the original
first generation CI4 providing even more effortless handle rotation by reducing
the weight by 25% and requiring 22% less inertia it is easier to start and stop,
which only contributes to the reel’s light and responsive rotational feel.
One mean looking spool
As you might expect other proven Shimano features like micro
module gearing and X-Ship are all here and when it comes time to do battle the
Exsence will also dole out plenty of fish stopping power with a drag rating of
20lbs. on the 3000 and 24lbs. on the 4000 size. The Exsence is only available in
those two sizes, and while I really wish there was a 2000 size even the 3000
feels extremely light, and still manageable as a bass reel. In comparison the
3000 size Exsence weighs in at only 7.1 ounces versus the 2500 size new Sustain
actually weighs more at 8.3 ounces!
One of the reasons this reel is so refined, and
expensive, is that it is made in Japan
Bruce Wayne: It is hard to be Batman all the time, and
takes significant resources, and the price of the Exsence will ground you.
The Batmobile doesn’t come
cheap and neither does the Exsence at $539 dollars for the 3000 and $549 dollars
for the 4000 size. While it would be extreme to say that you need to be a
millionaire like Bruce Wayne to afford one, let’s just say that this reel will
likely be one for the enthusiasts.
The Dark Knight of reels, truly menacing