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Shimano's Fully Machined BFS Masterpiece (continued)

Retrieve: To give this reel a better workout and test its retrieve, I briefly tied on a Spro Little John 50 crank, made a few casts and tested the reel both with a slow retrieve and burning the bait back to the boat. I made these casts out to open water because I really had no interest in an intentional hookup given I only had 5lb test fluorocarbon spooled on the reel!

Shimano pulls out all the stops with the Conquest BFS outfitting the reel with X-Ship and the company's Micro-Module gearing. The result is an unbelievably buttery smooth retrieve very reminiscent of the standard Conquest 100/101.

The knobs feel similar to the old Septon material, but they aren't labeled as such. Either way, they're very comfortable to fish.

Power: Unlike the Conquest 100/101, the Conquest BFS is only offered in a 6.8:1 retrieve ratio and power is hardly a concern when we're talking about using six pound test or less with this reel. The reel comes with a standard 84mm handle that provides plenty of leverage while cranking. The reel has enough power when you need it but make no mistake, it does feel like a finesse reel first and foremost, best suited for finesse presentations versus extended reaction bait duty.

The Conquest BFS features Shimano's micro-module gearing.

Drag: The drag on the Conquest BFS is rated to four kilograms (4kg) which is just over eight pounds (8 lbs) of pressure, but again, when using finesse line, max drag is a non-factor.

What's important here is the smoothness in drag performance and to that point, the Conquest BFS has a very sweet (smooth and consistent) drag. Shimano goes old school with this reel employing just a single, carbon fiber washer inside the main gear.

The reel's drag consists of a single washer.

Design & Ergonomics: We've touched upon the majority of these aspects already through out the review, but overall, Shimano's Calcutta Conquest BFS is more than comfortable to fish with all day long aided with mechanical and ergonomic advances like X-Ship, Micro-module gearing, anti-rust bearings, a clicking dragstar and spool tension knob, flip open side plate, and a body more reminiscent of Shimano's past 50 sized round reels than 100.

One of the likely reasons these BFS reels are only offered in Japan is most US anglers wouldn't know what to do with a spool this shallow!

Price & Applications: At the time of this writing, the Conquest BFS was retailing for right around $450 at JapanTackle.com (prices on JDM products fluctuate with the exchange rate). It is at a price that will test your enthusiasm, but if you are a fan of the round reel, you already know the quality and precision that goes into Shimano's Conquest baitcasters. Additionally, if you're a fan of the BFS movement, then the Conquest BFS is a difficult reel to resist. To top it all off, it's even rated as saltwater safe.

This reel's price will test your enthusiasm but if you're a fan of round reels and the BFS movement, then the Calcutta Conquest BFS is a no brainer.


Shimano Japan 2017 Calcutta Conquest BFS Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Quite possibly more a piece of art than a tool for fishing 10
Performance True BFS tuned performance in a round package 9
Price The price will definitely test your true enthusiasm 6
Features Loaded with Shimano flagship features 9
Design (Ergonomics) As comfortable a round reel as there is to fish 8
Application Safe for fresh or saltwater 9

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:


+ Like fishing with a machined piece of art - Only real disadvantage is cost of ownership and the fact it's not officially sold stateside
+ Excellent casting performance  
+ Buttery smooth retrieve  
+ A worthy addition to the Calcutta legacy  

Shimano Japan really got it right with the Calcutta Conquest BFS

Conclusion: If you're a round reel fanatic AND a dedicated BFS fisherperson, you probably already own this reel. If not, you were probably waiting affirmation from this review. Either way, if you do check those two boxes and you do not own this reel, your excuses for waiting are now all invalid. Try as I might to be critical of every piece of tackle that lands in my hands for a write up here on TackleTour, Shimano's Conquest series really hits a soft spot with me - especially when they get it right. The combination of machined precision and artistry together with actual performance never ceases to amaze me. Couple that with a variant specifically tuned for finesse fishing and the Calcutta Conquest BFS is everything I wanted the Conquest 50/51S to be yet wasn't. With praise like that, you know it can only mean one thing. Shimano's Calcutta Conquest BFS has earned TackleTour's Ultimate Enthusiast Award!


Looking for a Shimano Japan 2017 Calcutta Conquest BFS? Try JapanTackle










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