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Reel Review

A Push for True Market Alternatives : The Shift Baitcasting Reel


Date: 12/8/11
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Rapala Canada
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.83 - GOOD

Last year we looked north of our borders and sampled Rapala Canada’s new Shift bait casting rod and liked it enough to coin a new phrase in “CDM” or Canadian Domestic Market fishing tackle. But as any tackle aficionado would know, in order to be considered a true alternate market for tackle, let alone a manufacturer who caters to this market, there has to be available, reels to go with those fishing rods. Rapala Canada knows this as well and earlier this year, they sent us one of their new Shift Baitcasting reels to put through the paces.


Rapala Canada Shift Baitcaster Specifications

Line Capacity 12lb (0.35mm) / 70 yds
Retrieve Ratio 6.5:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) tested 24" per turn with full spool
Weight 6.4 ounces
Bearings 13+1
Drag 5lbs Max (tested)
Origin Made in China
MSRP $179 (Canadian Dollars)


Impressions: Rapala Canada's Shift series of rods are an impressive collection of sticks at an even more impressive price point. They set the bar of expectations pretty high, but those are fishing rods. The formula for rods is somewhat simple, offer a quality blank, assemble it with modest detailing, and spec it out with quality components all at an affordable price and you'll likely have a winner. Fishing reels are an entirely different ball game, so when we finally got our hands on the Rapala Shift Baitcasting reel, we looked upon it with a rather reserved, if not skeptical eye.


Introducing Rapala Canada's Shift Baitcasting Reel.


The first thing we noticed is the fact the Shift Baitcaster is a pretty compact reel. It's almost Daiwa Alphas/Sol compact but not quite.  Coming in at 6.4 ounces, it's weighted just right and really fits well in your hand – especially when matched up with a Shift baitcasting rod! So initial impressions were very good. Time for a test out on the water.

The Shift Baitcaster is a compact size and features a standard 80mm sized handle.

Field Tests: We broke in the Shift Baitcaster on a trip to Clear Lake, California where we were joined by the owner of Hi’s Tackle Box, Jonah Li. Earlier this year, Jonah got word through his network that there was a good rip bait bite going on so we ventured out together to check it out.

It comes with externally adjustable magnetic casting brakes.

Casting: Rapala’s Shift Baitcaster features a magnetic braking system with an external dial for fine tuning adjustments. Rapala Canada’s interpretation of this braking system results in smooth, controlled casts in bait ranges from three eighths of an ounce on up. The reel itself was more than satisfactory for duties casting and retrieving rip baits and thanks to its compact size, it was very comfortable to use as well.

A look at Rapala Canada's implementation of magnetic brakes.

Retrieve: Rated with a pretty standard for today’s technology, 6.5:1 retrieve ratio, the Rapala Shift Baitcaster tested out at twenty four inches per turn of the handle with a full spool of line. This number will diminish depending upon how much line you have out on your cast.

The handle and dragstar on this reel have an aggressive design.

Rapala’s Shift Baitcaster is available in both left and right hand retrieve, and when I cranked the eighty millimeter handle, I was rewarded with smooth and sound performance.

Albeit, with a slightly familiar geometry.

Next Section: Let's take a look inside









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