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Reel Review


One for the Enthusiasts: The Shimano Antares A70 Baitcaster with MGIII


Date: 6/26/19
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander


Introduction: Every lineup needs a flagship, and in Shimano’s low profile baitcasters series the one reel to rule them all is the Antares A70, the smallest and most advanced non-DC equipped Antares the company has introduced. Designed to usher in a new benchmark in refinement and casting performance, with the implementation of the new MGII spool design, this reel might just be the company’s most sophisticated yet.


Shimano Antares A70 Baitcaster Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 10 pound / 105 yards
Frame/Side Plates Magnesium frame, aluminum sideplates
Gear Ratio 7.4:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated 31
Weight 7.8 ounces (220g)
Spool Weight 13.2 grams
Handle Length 84mm
Bearings 10+1 total
Measured Max. Drag 11.9 pounds tested (11 pounds official rating from manufacturer)
Origin Made in Japan
MSRP $599.99


With the kind of styling and refinement that rivals a luxury timepiece or exotic car the Antares A 70 invokes desire, envy, and credit card debt


Impressions: Once called the Shimano Calais Series here in the domestic market, Shimano’s effort to unify their global offerings sees the new Antares now sitting on the top of the company’s extensive baitcaster lineup. Shimano has a lot of very affordable baitcasters in the rest of the portfolio, and while workhorses like the Curado K and aggressively priced SLX reels make up the bulk of the sales volume, it is reels like the Metanium, Conquest, and Antares that set the benchmark for Shimano performance and technology.


"My Precious" comes with a protective bag. Please don't keep the reel in there...it wants to be fished

These are the premium reels where the company typically debuts their new technologies and features, and the ones that are still built in the company’s factories in Japan with the most stringent of quality standards and controls. They are also the most expensive offerings available, and are designed to target only the most serious enthusiast anglers, and tackle junkies. Which sounds a whole lot like many of our readers.


Though the reel looks like it is made out of aluminum the frame is magnesium


No exposed bolt on this handle.... sleek and sexy all around

As with all previous generation Antares reels, the new A70 is immediately recognizable with a polished finish and slick liquid-metal look and feel. What is different with the A70 is the smaller profile, and this is the most compact Antares to date, and possibly the most aggressively styled as well. It is only after palming the A70 did I realize just how much smaller and more compact the new reel is, and I also felt like it was quite hefty for a magnesium reel.


Like the previous generation this reel is actually more of a hybrid, and makes use of a magnesium frame and aluminum sideplates, to deliver what the company believes is the best balance of strength, refinement, and weight.


A wrench is required to remove the recessed handle bolt which is hidden underneath a cap that is locked in with a screw


The 84mm handle is swept for greater stability

As you might expect, this latest Antares packs in the features. All the goodies are here, including micro module gearing, X-Ship, SVS Infinity cast control, Silent Tune, S3D spool design, and a brand new MGL III spool. The reel weighs in at 7.8oz. and has a fast gear ratio of 7.4:1, but unfortunately for fans of left handed baitcasters only the HG right handed version is available domestically (sorry Cal), but left handed JDM versions in 6.2:1 and 7.4:1 gear ratios do exist, but are pretty difficult to obtain here in U.S. Check back with our friends at JapanTackle for availability of these JDM versions. 


Mounted on a G.Loomis Conquest rod and ready to do battle

Next Section: Let the real world tests begin...









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