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Enthusiast Review

 


 

Shimano Japan's New Gateway JDM Reel

 

Date: 12/25/16
Tackle Type: Enthusiast
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.8 - BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction:
Shimano has been on a tear of late introducing new, budget friendly reels like the $99.99 Caenan and $79.99 Caius. When I first heard about the new Casitas, I confused it with the discontinued Castaic thinking this new reel was a reintroduction model of the former flipping reel. It wasn't until Zander had his USDM model out on a few trips before it clicked in my head that this was an entirely new model inserted between the Citica and Caenan.

 


Introducing the JDM Shimano Casitas MGL.

Imagine my additional confusion when Jun Sonoda from JapanTackle.com contacted me to discuss the JDM version of this same reel, the Casitas MGL. The "MGL" designation escaped me for a moment and I simply assumed this was part of Shimano's effort to globalize their product line. Then I realized in true JDM fashion, that Shimano Japan tweaked this Casitas by giving it a higher performing spool. So does this more budget friendly reel perform like a true JDM counterpart? Let's find out!

 

 

Shimano Casitas MGL Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/110
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 12.6 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
6.3:1
7.2:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
15"-26"
17"-29.5"
Weight 6.8 oz
Spool Weight 12 g
Handle Length 84 mm
Bearings 4+1
Bearings per Knob 2 bushings
Levelwind Bearings 1 bushing
Tested Max Drag ~17.9lbs
Origin Made in Malaysia
MSRP $148


The Casitas MGL's improvement over its USDM counterpart? That new 12 gram MGL spool.

Quality/Construction: The Shimano Casitas MGL sports a body and frame made of an undisclosed "composite" material. Translation? It's made of some type of plastic or plastic/graphite composite. The reel's finish is the same or very similar to the USDM model - a dark grey, metallic paint. The frame and sideplate tolerances are excellent, but as with most Shimano reels, there is a little bit of backplay in the handle. The knobs on our test model have no wiggle whatsoever and are as tight as I've found on a stock reel.

 

Quality Ratings for Shimano Casitas MGL

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
3
5
18
20
9.0


Spooled and ready to go.

Performance: I mix and matched my Casitas MGL on a number of rods but it found its primary duty on my Kistler KLX-FNR72MH. I alternated between Lucky Craft's Iron Athlete topwater line and some Daiwa JBraid in 50lb test.


The 100/101 HG is a 7.2:1 reel.

Retrieve: The number one concern over any reel made with a graphite/plastic composite frame and body is how does that reel feel when you turn the handle. Does the material have an impact on the reel's quality of retrieve? For the Casitas MGL, the answer is yes and no. Yes, you can tell that the reel is not made of aluminum or even magnesium, but at the same time, the feel does not feel cheap. It has that typical hollow feel you'd expect from a non-aluminum reel, yet it feels a little more solid in hand than reels of similar composition from a few years ago. If Shimano could tighten up that backplay in the handle, this reel would feel even more solid.


A view from the reel's backside.

 

Performance Ratings for Shimano Casitas MGL

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
4
4
5
5
22
25
8.8


Drag washer is standard, Shimano single disc drag.

Drag: Smooth and consistent drag performance is a hallmark of Shimano reels. The Casitas MGL does not disappoint in this area. One characteristic of drag performance that many choose as their benchmark when making a decision of which reel to purchase is maximum drag. This is not an area, that I, personally, value - especially not over the characteristics of smoothness and consistency.


Fig 1: The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our Shimano Casitas MGL.

But of course, because this statistic is important to many others, it's something we test in each and every bass sized reel that comes into headquarters. How did the Casitas MGL perform? How about a peak maximum drag of 17.93 pounds and a average, sustained max drag of 14.64 pounds? Not bad for a reel rated at 12 pounds max drag.


A look at the Casitas MGL's main and pinion gears.

Sweet Drag Performance for Shimano Casitas MGL (#.# Turns to Lockdown)

Lock - 8
Lock - 6
Lock - 4
Lock - 2
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
1.7
4.3
7.1
10.7
11.9
Sustained
1.7
4.6
7.5
10.2
14.7
Lowest Value
1.4
4.0
6.7
9.3
11.5
Change in Startup vs Sustained
3.2%
7.1%
6.4%
4.0%
23.5%
8.8%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
19.9%
13.4%
10.9%
9.6%
21.4%
15%
Drag on this reel was tested with the dragstar fully tightened. Then with each successive test, the drag was backed off with two short pushes of the dragstar with our thumb.


Our Casitas MGL 101HG came with an 84mm handle.

Power: Just like its USDM counterpart, the Casitas MGL comes in one of two retrieve ratios, 6.3:1 or 7.2:1. Our test model was a 7.2:1 reel so not necessarily a reel you'd depend upon for power applications. Just the same, thanks to its gear design (not quite micro-modulus gearing) the Casitas MGL performs more than admirably when pulling medium diving cranks through the water. If you're stuck with no other options, it will also pull some deep diving cranks through the water. I just wouldn't depend on it for a full day of fishing deep cranks. There are definitely better tools out there for that task and ones that will not wear our your shoulder.


The SVS Brakes on this MGL spool feature only 4 brake blocks.

Next Section: Casting range and brakes...




 

 

 

 

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