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Reel Review

TackleTour's 2005 SuperCast Championship : The Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light vs The Shimano Conquest 101DC

Date: 10/30/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa Japan & Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal


Total Score: I'ZE Light 103L 9.08

                                       Conquest 101DC 9.08

Introduction: Our year-long tribute to the small round baitcaster concludes with this article, and how fitting that our first ever SuperCast Championship would come down, once again to a matchup between the enthusiast rivals Daiwa and Shimano. On one rod, we have a standard, current production model reel with a supertuned handle, on the other, we have a limited production, limited availability, supertuned reel tailored with the enthusiast in mind. Which reel will prevail? Are they really comparable? Have we perhaps, changed any opinions and cured any phobia's you might have of the round baitcaser? Let's take an in depth look at our two, 2005, ultimate, round baitcasting reels, The Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light 103L and the Shimano Conquest 101DC.

The four reels from our 2005 TT Supercast Shootout. Clockwise from top left, our supertuned Abu Garcia Mörrum Ultra Mag S2, our Daiwa Millionaire Ringa 103L, our Shimano Conquest 101DC, and our Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light 103L

The Finale: Looking back at our archive, Daiwa is running on a 6 shootout win streak against Shimano. Does the Conquest 101DC even stand a chance against the Limited Edition Daiwa Millionare I'ZE Light? Their identical, overall scores of 9.08 after the semi-final matchups would say yes, and of course, each reel had different scores within the matrix. So what are these differences and who will be crowned the champion? Let's find out! 

Our Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light 103L mounted on a Megabass F4-610XDti Elseil

I'ZE Light 103L: Fresh off of victory over its 2005 fraternal twin, the Millionaire Ringa, we spooled our Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light with a new batch of line, added a couple of drops of factory lube to the bearings, and wiped it down in preparation for battle. In case you've forgotten or are tuning in late, this limited production reel became available in June this year. It comes with a host of features all aimed at shaving nearly 2 ounces off its weight when compared to the standard CV-Z 103. These features include duralumin gears, a Type R+ tuned GIGAS spool, titanium drag washers, a machined frame, and weight saving holes in almost every possible non-structural component. The result? Our I'ZE light weighed in at an even 7 ounces out of the box. Very respectable for a round baitcaster and an actual 1.6 ounces less than the stock CVZ 103 reel.

Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Light Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12lb (0.290mm)/120yds
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 5.8:1 (23 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 7 oz
Measured Max. Drag 5+ lbs
Bearings 10 + 1
Features MagForce V with External Adjustable Sideplate, Type R+ Tuned GIGAS Spool
MSRP $550


Our Shimano Conquest 101DC mounted on a Megabass F4-610XDti Elseil

Shimano Conquest 101 DC: Pressed into everyday duty since its victory over erstwhile rival, our supertuned Abu Garcia Mörrum Ultra Mag S2 SX 1601C, we also gave our Conquest 101DC a spool of fresh line, a couple drops of the same lube that came with our limited production I'ZE Light, and wiped it down for good measure. As you may recall, our one upgrade to this reel was the installation of an 85mm ZPI carbon handle to replace the stock, 70mm handle that came with the reel. Otherwise, this reel is stock, and we might add, part of Shimano Japan's current line of production reels.

Shimano Conquest 101 DC Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 10/135
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 5.8:1 (23 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 8.4 oz
Measured Max. Drag 4+ lbs
Bearings 10 + 1
Features Digital Control Braking System, Duralumin Spool, MicroAdjust Cast Cap & Drag Star, ARB Bearings
Upgrades ZPI Carbon Handle + Shimano Septon Ball Bearing Knobs
MSRP ~$550
Cost of Upgrades $70
Total Market Value of Test Model $620

Type-R+ vs Digital Control: This is where the obvious battle-line between these two reels is drawn: magnetic cast control versus digital - a mechanical system versus an electronic system. Many would argue that Shimano's Digital Cast Control system is the most advanced braking technology available. We do not take exception to this claim, but ask, is high-tech necessarily better when it comes to our fishing gear? Daiwa's Type-R+ tuning consists of a tapered braking surface on the reel's spool in an effort to provide less actual surface area for the MagForce V brakes to influence. The result is faster startup of the spool and more feathery control at low speed presentations which in turn facilitates the casting and pitching of lighter, more finesse type baits. A relatively simple solution.

Mechanics versus Technology: Daiwa's Type-R+ Magnetic Brake Control (left) system versus Shimano's Digital Brake Control (right)

Shimano's system, in theory, is the polar opposite kicking in mostly at high spool speeds with little to no braking effect during slow speed presentations. However, as we found out in the first of our semi-final matches, the 100 series DC reels from Shimano, unlike the larger 200 series DC reels, are actually quite effective with baits down to about one quarter of an ounce. The question is, will this be enough to compete with Daiwa's Type R+ System? The line has been drawn and the theories explored - we have an idea of how things should work out, but the question is, will they? Let's see how our reels did in our head to head field tests.

Field Tests: Knowing what to expect during our on the water tests always helps in forming a strategy when evaluating tackle. But of course, expectations and reality do not necessarily coincide with one another when it comes to real world conditions. Though we kept our previous ratings matrices intact, we ran the gamut with these reels in comparing them to one another by first wiping the slate clean of everything we've learned about them in our previous shootouts, and then starting fresh with an entirely new series of tests. Here's how it all played out.

Setup: We spooled each of our finalists with 12lb Yozuri Hybrid and chose, for this mega-showdown, two different, but extreme rods worthy of this monumental shootout: the Megabass Evoluzion F4-610XDti Elseil and the Megabass Orochi F7-69DG Super Destroyer Mephisto. On the Elseil, we fished standard offering bass lures including soft plastics, cranks and spinnerbaits. With the Mephisto, we tested these reels in support of heavier offerings - the increasingly popular swimbait.

Our I'ZE Light 103L mounted on a Megabass F7-69DGS Orochi Super Destroyer Mephisto

Pitching: As expected our Type R+, super tuned I'ZE Light pitched, effortlessly, our svelte offerings of a 5" Zoom Fluke (weighed at 1/4 oz) and, on separate occasions, a quarter ounce, skirted, grub head by Critterbait Tackle Company. Flukes are a bait most fisherman throw on spinning gear due to the difficulty in casting these offerings with baitcasting gear, but thanks to our I'ZE light and Megabass Elseil, we were able to pitch the fluke a good fifty feet with little effort. One adjustment we did have to make was to turn the cast control on our I'ZE Light up to maximum during periods of headwind to help control the occasional backlash.

We were not expecting anywhere near this level of performance from our Conquest 101DC but when paired on this same rod, in the same headwind conditions, with the digital cast control adjusted to the middle of the dial, we were able to match, pitch for pitch, the distances achieved with our I'ZE Light combo! Our quarter ounce, skirted, grub head glided easily across the water, as did our 5" Zoom Fluke in a surprising display of performance. Though distances achieved and ease of casting were equal, we give a slight edge to the Conquest 101DC in this comparison due to its greater range of brake control adjustment under headwind conditions. Winner: Edge - Conquest 101DC 

Next Section: The battle continues...









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