The Shimano Torsa, a dream come true in terms of versatility
for offshore anglers
Shimano has a fondness for breaking barriers with technological innovation. Last
year the company took "conventional" baitcasting to a whole new level with the
very "unconventional" Digital Control technology brought to reality in the
sophisticated Calcutta TEDC reels. This year it looks as if its now turn for
saltwater anglers to have something to celebrate. The Shimano Torsa is a dream
come true in terms of flexibility for offshore anglers, this incredibly
innovative new reel promises to deliver more speed, more power, more
versatility, and improved castability, all with a greater level of refinement
than ever before seen in a single premium offshore reel.
The extremely versatile Shimano
Torsa...there's nothing conventional about this new offshore dream come true
Evolution of a dream: The roots of the
Torsa go back over five years when Shimano America's Vice President Dave
Pfeiffer first saw the need for a small, high speed, high power lever drag reel,
with excellent castability. While the company currently has a number of reels
that excel in a number of these areas there is nothing on the market that offers
anglers all of these capabilities in one easy to use package.
Size should not
limit a lever drag reel, thought Pfeiffer, who fishes the Southern California
coastline in small, highly maneuverable boats. Fishing like that, anglers have
to react fast. There’s no place for heavy tackle. But, at any given time you
still want to catch big fish. Anglers need the power and drag of a large reel.
Star drag reels, which are extremely castable and typically smaller than most
lever drags, were not the answer. When trolling a star drag reel with heavy
line, you can’t adjust the drag the way you can with a lever drag reel. On the
other hand, the small lever drags on the market were just smaller versions of
the larger reels: Slow, bulky reels that did not offer much in terms of
castability. Ultimately, nothing existed that fit the needs. So, Pfeiffer asked
his team, “How do we build a reel like this, from the inside out?”
The Torsa features an oversized
sideplate and spool. The handle side of the spool is actually larger than
the sideplate side!
Fishing has never seen
anything quite like the Torsa™ a High Speed, High Power lever drag reel that’s
extremely castable and features Rapid Fire™, an interchangeable,
technique-specific cam system. Most importantly, its evolution began on the
water. “In the past, you would come up with the appearance of the reel first,
then pack it full of specs,” said Jeremy Sweet, product manager for Shimano
American Corporation. “But with this reel we let the design develop from the
targets and goals.” This is Shimano’s driving philosophy for Torsa. “We didn’t
say the market needs these specs and then moved to build it. Instead, we went
out on the water and said ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could build a better lever
Instead of putting the
project in the hands of a lever drag designer, Shimano Japan put one of their
top engineers on the job, Kenichi Kawasaki, a baitcasting reel designer with
expertise in castability. Kawasaki is a true fishing fanatic who put everything
he had into this project. The result is perhaps the most exciting big game reel
the industry has ever seen to date, and without question certainly the most
Speed & Power:
designing Torsa™, one main goal was to redefine all current ideas about speed
and power. Traditionally, lower gear ratio means more power, and higher gear
ratio means less power. So with the release
of Torsa, Shimano included the largest gear they could build. This gear is 22%
larger than the Trinidad drive gear and 67% larger than the venerated TLD 25.
The amount of power generated by Torsa's "drivetrain, oversized handle shank and
Ergonomic Power Grip is unbelievable. Power of the reel is a Super Stopper
one-way roller bearing with Assist Stopper back-up ratchet anti-reverse system.
The system has no backplay for solid hooksetting power and the reliability of
two anti-reverse systems. "The oversized drag washer, can generate" incredible
drag pressures for a reel its size, and is created using the same proven
material used in" the Tiagra series of 2-Speed lever drag reels.
innovative of all is the Rapid Fire Quick Change Drag Cam System (multiple
cams shown here)
Castability like a baitcaster:
Once again, Shimano set
out to change another aspect of the reputation of lever drags: Poor Castability.
Due to how lever drags are constructed, they are inherently poor casters. The
drag washers, drag plates, cooling shields and bearings are included in the
spool assembly. This increases the overall weight of the spool. A heavy spool is
bad for castability because it takes much more energy to get the spool to begin
to spin. This is called startup inertia. Why is this bad? Once the spool begins
to spin, the resistance drops rapidly. So there is a very inconsistent spool
speed and an excellent chance for backlash. As a result of the typical lever
drag design, the lob cast evolved. However, for most other applications, anglers
were forced to use Star Drag reels when they needed to cast small baits, due to
their excellent castability. With Torsa™, the tables are now turned.
The Long Range Special Cam ships
standard with the Torsa, this is the drag that was originally designed for the
Starting with meticulous machining of the Cold
Forged Aluminum spool, the overall weight of the spool was drastically reduced
to lower the startup inertia. At the same time, most of the mass is distributed
outward. This results in the spool spinning longer, much like a premium
baitcaster." Proven VBS technology uses centrifugal force to slow down the spool
at the beginning of the cast, then reduces the braking force as the spool slows.
This gives a much more consistent spool speed, which translates into a more
manageable cast. And lastly, the handle side of the spool is taller than the
non-handle side. This extended spool lip gives the angler a very consistent
surface to thumb during the cast. All of which results in a superior more
difference in the drag curve which is instantly achievable with the B.F.S.
cam, there are a total of 7 other cams available
Innovative Rapid Fire Quick change drag cam
system: Most revolutionary of
all is the Torsa's incredibly inventive quick change drag system. With the new
Rapid Fire Quick Change Drag Cam System this versatile reel can change to cater
to specific techniques. By simply putting the reel into freespool and backing
off the preset knob, the angler removes the drag cam from the reel. Then, by
inserting one of 8 available Rapid Fire drag cams, you completely change how the
reel is set up to fish within a matter of seconds. No tools required, and no
screws to fall onto the deck of the boat. From light line world record seekers,
to braided line fanatics looking to tackle huge fish on small tackle, to the
specific needs of chunk fishermen in the Northeast, Torsa can do it all.
The drag cam fits into the center
of the reel and is easy to identify based on color and label on the cam
The Torsa comes equipped with the L.R.S. (Long
Range Special) Rapid Fire Drag Cam, which was made popular by reels in our
Tiagra line. There are 7 other cams available at your Torsa retailer depending
upon your target fisheries. Each of these cams dial in a specific drag curve to
match your intended application.
Changing the cam is quick and
easy. 1. Move the drag lever to free, 2. Unscrew the drag cam, 3. Seat and
thread the new cam, 4. Move the drag lever back into Strike position
Pricing & Availability: As you can expect
the Torsa will carry a price tag that corresponds with the reel's first-rate
performance, innovation, and refinement. In a surprise move Shimano released
this reel before ICAST 2005 and is actually starting to ship them now. They are
just becoming available at many e-tailers, and should start showing up in the
cases at retail stores shortly. There are currently four sizes available ranging
from the TS16N (28.6oz) to the TS30 (31.1oz). All models feature 8 BB + 1 RB
(all A-RB) and the frames are constructed out of cold forged then machined
aluminum components. These reels with the L.R.S. drag cam included will range in
price from $669.99 to $699.99.
In addition to the standard L.R.S. drag cam
Shimano will offer the 12# Light Line Special, 6# Light Line Special, 50# Bottom
Fishing Special, 20# Bottom Fishing Special, Kingfish Special, White Marlin
Special, and the Chunk Fishing Special. These cams will be sold separately and
retail for 49.99 each.
Never before have saltwater
anglers had such a combination of power, speed, refinement, drag control, and
castability in one single reel
After rigorous field testing Dave Pfeiffer remarked "I knew then we had
something, there's no other reel on the planet with this type of versatility."
So versatile in fact that Shimano envisions that the evolution will never end
for this reel. The original Rapid Fire itself was designed with input from
anglers on the water, and Shimano expects that as more offshore anglers start to
use the Torsa and expand its boundaries they will come back to the company with
ideas for more cams and more techniques. In this way the reel's versatility
truly can expand to meet the unique needs of a great many saltwater anglers.
Perhaps Jeremy Sweet, Product Manager at Shimano America said it best when he
remarked "A lot of people's fishing techniques have evolved because of tackle.
Now we are making the tackle evolve to the angler's techniques." One thing for
sure is that for many saltwater anglers the Torsa is a dream come true, and
there are going to be a great many anglers firing up their cars to dash to their
local the tackle shop and be the first to snatch up one of these sweet new
reels. Hey Honey, where's my keys?