A Question of Access
in Shimano's New Calcutta
Preface: Sometimes, during the course of reviewing a product, there's news and information
we want to share during the process. Rather than wait for the entire review to play itself out, we can now share these stories with you through our Product Insights. Most of the products we discuss in these features will have full blown follow up reviews, but some may not even make it that far. We hope you enjoy this new series and our debut article on Shimano's new Calcutta.
Taking a moment during the review process to take a closer look at Shimano's new Calcutta and compare it to past models.
Introduction: Enthusiast tackle buffs have long argued the benefits of products manufactured and sold for the Japanese market versus those intended for North America. In recent years, the big two (Shimano and Daiwa) seemed to have been on the path of globalizing their product lineup. In other words, one product line world wide and no more wasting resources manufacturing the same product with varying features for different markets. In the current economic climate, this only makes sense.
The original Calcutta, introduced nearly 20 years ago, launched a new era in bass gear for Shimano.
The Calcutta: When Shimano debuted the original Calcutta nearly twenty years ago, for them, it simultaneously launched a new era bass fishing gear. Following the Calcutta’s debut, came the Chronarch 100a, Calais, Sustain, Stella, but up until that time, the majority of their product was low to mid market gear. Do you remember the Bantam Black Magnum?
In Japan, it was released as the Calcutta XT.
Yet even back then there was a Calcutta for the North American Market and one for Japan (The Calcutta XT). Earlier this year, Shimano Japan introduced the Calcutta 12. Gone was the “Conquest” name and in was a retro-looking, smaller form factor Calcutta borrowing on styling cues from the original, North American Market version of 20 years ago. A few short months after, word began to leak out of a new Calcutta for the North American Market as well. Photos showed what seemed to be the same exact reel. Was the Calcutta now a global product?
So does the Calcutta 12 (JDM version) have what it takes to set a new standard for Shimano?
We sure hoped so. Following last year’s
controversy surrounding the Curado and Chronarch transitions we were looking forward to
a new launch news from Shimano. A month or two prior to ICAST, Shimano had their sales teams touring tackle shops across the country giving them a peek at the new
Calcutta D reels along with a heads up as to sizes and availability.
On the left is the former Calcutta Conquest 51. On the right is the Calcutta 12 101.
JDM vs USDM: In Japan, the reel was being made in sizes 100 through 400 all in left and right hand retrieve versions. They eliminated our readership’s favorite size, the 50, but reports were the 100 had been downsized to that of the 50, the 200 to that of the 100, and so on. How exciting was that news? A 50 sized Calcutta with the line capacity of a 100? Hey they accomplished this same thing with the Citica and Curado Es, so why not the new Calcutta?
The Conquest came with a forged handle an drag star, an upgrade from the USDM Calcutta GT TE.