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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage
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One for the Enthusiasts: The Shimnao Antares A70 Baitcaster with MGIII

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Small but Mighty, the Megabass Dark Sleeper Swimbait
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SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster
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Selecting the right Rod, Reel, and Line for Your Walking Bait Arsenal
 


 


Reel Review

 

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

 

Real World Tests: I fished the Shimano Antares A70 on a number of rods over the last few months, but mostly on the G.Loomis Conquest, Megabass Destroyer, and Dobyns Xtasy series rods, as I tried to pair the reel with similarly positioned flagship class rods. I targeted largemouth and spotted bass using a variety of lure types, including reaction baits, swimbaits, and mostly plastics with light fluorocarbon lines. I didn’t test the reel with braid, and all of the tests were conducted with Seaguar Tatsu 10lb. or Hi-Seas 100% Fluorocarbon 6 to 10lb. line. Since the reel’s frame is made out of magnesium I was curious about durability but wanted to get this review completed quickly, and will continue to monitor and report on the reel’s long term performance, as I continue to fish it in both fresh and brackish water conditions.

 


The reel's SVS infinity braking is adjusted with an easy to access external dial


Casting: While magnesium reels offer reduced weight and overall improved ergonomics they sometimes can feel somewhat “hollow” when casting and retrieving. The new Antares mitigates this with a number of features including reinforcement of the main magnesium body with those aluminum side plates for better isolation, and a new MGIII spool design that is designed to be both lighter and reduce vibration. The result is a reel that strikes a fine balance between weight, casting performance, and overall refinement.

 


The dial can be infinitely adjusted for fine tuning the centrifugal cast system. No DC system here.


The first few times I casted the new Antares I noticed two things right away. First, how effortless the reel was to cast, and second how well it was able to cast very light baits. The reel’s overall maximum casting distance is impressive, and this reel is able to rival the max casting distance and short range precision of DC equipped reels.

 


One of the biggest differentiators is the new MGL III spool


Line seems to peel off quickly, and effortlessly, which is primarily due to the MGL III’s spool size, and weight. The Antares spool is slightly larger in diameter than reels like the Curado or Metanium and this taller spool allows more line to come off per revolution of the spool. This means anglers can cast further with the same energy. Also with a tall and shallow spool, you move the weight outboard which also enhances casting distance.

 


A look at the taller MGL III spool and attached brake weights


The previous Antares and Conquest model reels use this same design philosophy, and even though the difference between the spools may seem minimal (34mm diameter compared to 32mm for the MET and CU models), there is an effect to performance and handling. In addition to these dimensional tweaks Shimano sought to achieve incremental improvements in the MGL spool design by reducing vibration.

 


The MGL III spool weighs only 13.2 grams


MGLIII Spools were designed to be lighter and have less vibration than the previous versions, really taking advantage of SilentTune which reduces bearing vibration by isolating the bearing holding the spool. By minimizing even minute amounts of vibration, reduced inertia is needed to cast lightweight baits, and less vibration also increases the potential for improved casting distance.

 

How refined is this new design? Dan Thorburn of Shimano explained that the balance is so critical on these spools that they do not advise using tape as a base for braided line, and instead suggest using a few feet of mono backing to splice the braided line in.

 


Adding a full spool of 10lb. Seaguar Tatsu doubles the weight!
 

This isn’t the same SilentTune that was originally debuted in earlier Shimano baitcasters either. The SilentTune design has undergone some improvements that started with the Bantam model reels to further improve tolerances, and refinement. These changes along with the latest generation of SVS Infinity make for a very smooth casting reel, with the durability the Antares is now becoming known for. In the age of ultra-lightweight reels, the Antares takes a departure from going all in on weight reduction, and instead focuses on durability and ultimate casting smoothness, which is something that anglers will be able to detect in just a few casts.

 


The Antares A is an excellent caster when it comes to achieving long distance with ease


It is always amusing to me when I watch some youtube videos of cast comparisons, or see arguments about how far reels cast, and whether one can out-cast another, and how max casting distance is used as a singular factor of how “good” a reel is. The fact is that there are an incredible number of factors that influence casting performance, and when you are dealing with the difference between yards on premium reels everything from the user’s varying casts, to the type of line used and the condition of that line, or even a gust of wind during the cast, can impact the max distance significantly. I can get the Antares A70 to outcast the Bantam pretty easily, but I could also out-cast the Antares with the Curado 150 DC when I really tried.


Most anglers will get a long enough cast out of any of these reels to successfully deliver their lures, even with more affordable reels in Shimano's own lineup.... big surprise. The true beauty of the Antares A70 is just how effortless and refined each cast is, and especially how well the reel handles lightweight baits. During tests, casting even 1/4 to 1/10oz. jigheads was stress free, when spooled with the right line (10lb or less). Yes, it can cast far, but where the Antares A70 really shines is in the reel’s exceptional casting precision, and smooth and consistent delivery.

 


What makes the reel so special is how fast the spool starts up, making casts with even lightweight baits effortless


Next Section: Smooth casts, Smooth Retrieves...

 

 

   

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