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Enthusiast Review

Stop Whining? It's Shimano Japan's Scorpion DC


Date: 2/22/12
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.92 - GOOD

If there is one group of reels that rarely fail to intrigue me they are the digital brake control reels of Shimano and perhaps more accurately, Shimano Japan. As a whole, these reels may not be perfect, and you can still experience professional overruns -especially if you're as professional as we are - but the shear joy they enable each and every time you shoot your cast is nothing short of addicting. Up until recently, however, Shimano's digital brake control (DC) was only available in their upper end reels. Last year, the manufacturing giant trickled DC technology down to their Scorpion level baitcasters (equivalent to the USDM Curado E / Chronarch E) and reports are the Scorpion DC is one of the hottest selling reels in Japan.


Introducing the Shimano Japan's Scorpion DC7.

I-DC+: The trouble with Shimano Japan and their DC reels is, you're never really sure which interpretation of their heralded digital control you're going to get. As explained in our review of the Conquest 50/51DC, we were anticipating a chance to test out the new DC+ system leveraged in all the newer Conquest DC reels, but Shimano chose to use i-DC4 in the 50 size reel instead - a system with which we were already familiar and not very thrilled.

Featuring an all new DC system, i-DC+.

So first check with the Scorpion DC was, which system would we be getting? Turns out, it's another brand new interpretation dubbed i-DC+. If we can criticize Daiwa Japan for pumping out variant after variant of the same reel platform just to confuse and make us want to spend more money, we need to give equal gripe time to Shimano Japan for doing the same with their DC braking systems. Fortunately, Shimano America Corporation has not adopted this same practice.

Same shape and profile as the Scorpion 1500/1501 XT.

Hopefully this new, i-DC+ will prove more worthwhile to us than the i-DC4 system. Supposedly, with i-DC+, you simply choose your line type (nylon, fluorocarbon, or polyethylene) and the braking system will adjust accordingly. It's as simple as that? Let's find out.

Shimano Japan Scorpion DC7 Specifications

Rated Line Capacity 12lb (.285mm) / 130m : 14lb (.310mm) / 110m : 16lb (.330) / 100m
Tested Line Capacity 15lb Seaguar Tatsu FC / 82yds
Retrieve Ratio 7.0:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) tested 28" at full spool
Weight 7.2 ounces / 205 grams
Number of Bearings 6+1 (1 bearing + 1 plastic bushing per handle knob)
Drag 9lbs Max
Handle Length 85mm
Micro Click Adjustments Drag star only
Brake Type i-DC+
External Brake Adjustment? Yes
Origin Japan
MSRP $34,650 JPY (~$450) ... can be found for $25,988 JPY (~$345)


Impressions: The Scorpion DC is built upon the very familiar frame of Shimano Japan's Scorpion XT 1500 and Shimano America Corporation's Curado E/Chronarch E. In the non-DC interpretation, this frame is a 100 sized reel with a 200 sized reel's line capacity. Enabling a reel with a DC braking technology usually results in slightly less line capacity. Such is the case with the Scorpion DC for while the XT 1500 is rated as holding 110 yards of 0.350mm diameter line, the Scorpion DC is rated as only holding 100 yards of 0.330 Diameter line.


But of course, with the DC label!


Otherwise, the frames, weights, handle length and types, are all the same. The Scorpion DC features a silver and dark grey paint job while the Scorpion XT 1500 is that deep metallic, burgundy.

Rigged and ready for some action aboard a St. Croix Avid casting rod.

Field Tests: The Shimano Japan Scorpion DC7 is one of several reels that made it down with me on my Fall 2011 trip to the Amazon. Riding the coat tails of my Antares DC7 that I brought down last year, I jumped at the opportunity to acquire a smaller, lighter, less expensive DC enabled reel for my follow up trip.

I-DC+ is all about set it and forget it.

Casting: I had it spooled with 50lb Suffix 832 and paired the reel with both a G.Loomis 804C JWR GL2 my Megabass F6-68X4 Cover Hacking. Traditionally, DC reels perform their best with baits in the three eighths to one half ounce range and above. Down in the Amazon, this is was of no consequence since pretty much everything I was throwing was at least one half ounce in weight.

Choose your line type and make a cast, but no more whine!

Really, the Scorpion DC performed flawlessly, but the one thing I just could not get over? Shimano Japan inexplicably decided to silence this reel. Gone is the familiar, comforting, and all together addicting DC-whine. It's a characteristic that really shouldn't matter as long as the reel performs - which it does - but having grown so accustomed to that sound on my top-dollar DC reels, I felt short changed not having it on my Scorpion DC.

Of course, the whine doesn't help you catch fish.

At first, I thought it was broken. But I could tell the system was working for the simple fact my line was being managed as it came off the spool on each cast. Unfortunately, because the sound was gone, I paid more attention to how far my baits were flying through the air and quite frankly, the Scorpion DC offered no real benefit in distance over the other reels I had brought with me on the trip. The i-DC+ system performs the function of managing overruns very well, but there is no benefit in casting distance.

Broken in on a recent trip to the Amazon aboard a G.Loomis GL2.

Nor is there the option, as with the system in my Antares DC7, for selecting a setting to maximize casting distance. No, the only optional settings on the i-DC+ are for telling the fishing reel, what type of line you have spooled on. Otherwise, it's a set it and forget it kind of system.

A Butterfly Peacock caught on a hair jig.


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