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ICAST 2017 Coverage



The Dark Knight - Shimano’s Exsence Spinning Reel


Date: 7/14/17
Location: Orlando, FL
Admission: Buyers & Press Only
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: This Icast Shimano’s biggest reel launch was the Curado K but on the spinning side the company also made a number of significant moves as well including the redesign of the Sustain, which took home Best of Show in the saltwater reel category. While the Sustain will no doubt find plenty of homes on the decks of both freshwater and saltwater boats it was another even more aggressively styled reel, the Exsence, that really caught my attention. The Exsence looks like something straight out of the batcave, ready to do battle with anything that comes its way, fresh or salt.


Light and with a solid feel, something doesn't quite add up...


The Dark Knight: The Exsence looks more like something you would find in Batman’s arsenal than mounted on a spinning rod. It is completely murdered out, but unlike many other black reels has a completely matte finish, one that looks deep and rich. The reason? This is not a run of the mill aluminum reel, nor is it a carbon composite based reel.


The new Shimano Exsence makes use of magnesium in the frame and CI4 for the rotor


The very first time I rotated the handle on the reel I knew something about the reel was different. It felt rigid and solid much like a metal based reel but it was light like a carbon based one, so which is it? The answer is neither. Like reels of season’s past this new reel uses the expensive to work with magnesium. Which is another reason it was so hard to distinguish what the Exsence was made of is because the entire reel has been given the stealth treatment. Everything down to the bail wire on this reel is completely blacked out.


The entire reel is murdered out, even the bail


This stealthy reel might as well be on Batman’s utility belt as it packed with flagship features, providing both bass and inshore anglers with everything they need in a lightweight package. Wait, inshore anglers? Isn’t this reel made out of magnesium?


John walks us through the Exsence features and explains how the reel is both freshwater and saltwater capable


Here is where that black coating comes in, it really is armor. The entire reel features a water repellant coating that can stand up to the rigors of saltwater fishing and inside the reel there is a special water channeling labyrinth construction that makes it even harder for water to penetrate and effect the reel’s core components, X protect provides excellent water resistance without sacrificing light gear feel and rotor rotation.


Sleek like the Batjet


The rotor on the Exsence is Shimano’s Magnumlite design and is made out of CI4 material which is now lighter and stronger than the original first generation CI4 providing even more effortless handle rotation by reducing the weight by 25% and requiring 22% less inertia it is easier to start and stop, which only contributes to the reel’s light and responsive rotational feel.


One mean looking spool


As you might expect other proven Shimano features like micro module gearing and X-Ship are all here and when it comes time to do battle the Exsence will also dole out plenty of fish stopping power with a drag rating of 20lbs. on the 3000 and 24lbs. on the 4000 size. The Exsence is only available in those two sizes, and while I really wish there was a 2000 size even the 3000 feels extremely light, and still manageable as a bass reel. In comparison the 3000 size Exsence weighs in at only 7.1 ounces versus the 2500 size new Sustain actually weighs more at 8.3 ounces!


One of the reasons this reel is so refined, and expensive, is that it is made in Japan


Bruce Wayne: It is hard to be Batman all the time, and takes significant resources, and the price of the Exsence will ground you.


The Batmobile doesn’t come cheap and neither does the Exsence at $539 dollars for the 3000 and $549 dollars for the 4000 size. While it would be extreme to say that you need to be a millionaire like Bruce Wayne to afford one, let’s just say that this reel will likely be one for the enthusiasts.


The Dark Knight of reels, truly menacing


Exsence begins: The Exsence is downright sexy, a reel that you want to own because it is built with the latest technology, is so refined, brings back magnesium, and simply because it looks so darn cool.


I’ve been fishing so many carbon based spinning reels I had almost forgotten just how nice and refined magnesium reels can feel, and as an added plus this one doesn't disqualify itself from being used in brackish and saltwater either.


I can imagine half a dozen spinning rods that the Exsence would look incredible paired with, and who wouldn't want to fish with something that looks like Batman's grappling gun? The Exsence is slick enough to inspire envy among others, it is just like the Joker said “where does he get those wonderful toys?”









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