A New Star Emerges in the Dark Enthusiast Sky : Shimano Japan's Aldebaran
Of course, that did not stop me from taking it out of its packaging to check out. The Aldebaran comes with its own neoprene cover, a perk becoming more and more common with the JDM product and a much appreciated one at that. The reel itself feels very light though out of the box mine came in ever so slightly higher than specified at 158 grams / 5.6 ounces (as opposed to the manufacturer specified 155g/5.5oz).
The Aldebaran's spool (left) is just a hair smaller in diameter than that of the Scorpion 1000, but just enough to where the Scorpion's spool will not fit into the frame of the Aldebaran.
The first thing I did after I had it out of the box was to pull the spool out and see if the Scorpion 1000/1001 spool would fit. It did not. The diameter of the Aldebaran’s spool is a hair smaller than that of the Scorpion’s so the Scorpion spool won’t even fit into the frame of the Aldebaran. The outside widths of each spool are identical though the Aldebaran’s spool seems to begin its taper to the center just a hair sooner than that of the Scorp. In addition, the Aldebaran’s spool is deeper than that of the Scorpion providing a bit more line capacity.
The width of the spools are very close, but the depth of the Aldebaran's is greater hence the better line capacity.
More side by side comparison’s reveal the Aldebaran’s non-handle sideplate is not as tall as the Scorpion’s and the gearbox for the Aldebaran is of the HEG variety. That’s good news for those that prefer the extra bit of power Shimano’s oversized gears provide.
Another look at the difference in size between the two reel's gearboxes.
The Scorpion's clicking dragstar is continued with the Aldebaran and the cast control knob is silent. Back to the non-handle sideplate, gone is the external brake adjustment but access to the spool’s brakes are provided via the tried and true keyed lever instead of flip switch at the back of the reel found on the Metanium Mg and XT. Further, the keyed lever is enhanced by a positive click, maybe one-eighth turn of the lever guarding against over tightening of the sideplate – a very refined and welcomed enhancement.
Gone on the Aldebaran is the external brake adjustment feature of the Scorpion.
Several turns of the Aldebaran's handle reveals very smooth operation with just a hint of that hollow, geary feel associated with Mg reels. Of course, the necessary spin of the freed spool reveals a roughly five second spin time – very respectable.
Ready for business mounted on a Shimano FD TS-168M.
The Aldebaran certainly impresses out of the box. It is clearly a more mature and refined version of the former Scorpion Mg and one can only hope performance improvements are just as progressive. Speaking of which, time to get the Aldebaran out on the water!
And spooled with 10lb Megabass Dragon Call Fluorocarbon.
There was no gentle break-in period for the Aldebaran. First chance we got, I spooled the reel with 10lb Megabass Dragon Call fluorocarbon and packed it away for our trip to Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Matched with our previously reviewed Shimano FD TS-168M, this combo is about as perfect as it gets for an Enthusiast.
From this angle it almost looks like the old Scorpion 1000/1001 Mg.
Casting duties on this day were one ounce spoons and distance was the key as we launched our lures as far as we could employing a steady, medium paced retrieve back to our spot and then repeated this cycle time after time after time waiting for a school of Lahontan trout to swim by and slam our baits. There’s no finesse about this style fishing and the cast and retrieve duties for a reel are relentless as we stand in the same spot, making the same cast for over six hours. Wading in ice cold water in depths up to chest high in the wavy waters of Pyramid lake, your fishing gear gets dunked repeatedly and must continue to perform because you never know when that school of cut throat trout is going to swim by and wreak havoc with your rig.
The very first fish landed on our Shimano Aldebaran, this beautiful Pyramid Lake Lahontan Cut Throat Trout.
A New Star in Shimano Japan's lineup