Shimano's High End, Light Weight Champion, Vanquish '23
Total Score: 8.25 - ULTIMATE ENTHUSIAST AWARD
It's only been a couple of years since my first experience with Shimano Japan's Vanquish line of spinning reels, so when reports of a refresh was in the pipeline for 2023, I was hesitant. However, craving a new spinning reel for this season and not feeling the need for a Stella or Exist, Vanquish kind of hit the sweet spot, so as soon as the pre-order became available at JapanTackle, I bit the bullet. Here's a closer look at Shimano Japan's '23 Vanquish C3000SDHHG.
Shimano Japan '23 Vanquish C3000SDHHG-C Specifications
|Line Capacity - Rated
0.18mm (~4lb) / 120m(130yd) : PE0.8/150m
|Line Capacity - Spool Volume
|Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
28 - 30
||6.2 oz (measured)
|Bearings per Knob
|Line Roller Bearings
||Made in Japan
||67,500 JPY (~$495)
Introducing Shimano Japan's '23 Vanquish C3000SDHHG
One thing I've always enjoyed about the Vanquish is how light these reels are. The C3000SDHHG is the same model I wrote up in 2021, and weighed in at the same 6.2 ounces. Interestingly enough, the rated line capacity on the '23 is slightly more than the '20, however, my calculations of the spool's volume is less in the '23. There's likely a discrepancy between how I measured the spools. It's always tricky with spinning reels because I try to take the outer diameter measurement at the inner edge of the beveled lip and may not always be precise. In any case, it's sufficient to say the spool is very shallow and comparable in numbers, to somewhere between the '22 Aldebaran BFS and the '22 Daiwa Gekka Bijin.
Taking the diameter of the spool at the bottom of the beveled
lip, we came up with a spool volume somewhere between the '22 Aldebaran BFS and
'22 Daiwa Gekka Bijin
Otherwise, as spinning reels go, I'm really beginning to appreciate the double handle option. I used to think this was awkward and heavy, but Shimano's implementation on the Vanquish, using their Ci4+ material to craft the handle, makes it light so the reel does not feel overly imbalanced by the weight of the handle. The nice, small knobs help to keep the weight down and the length of the handle, from center of post to center of post is a generous 90mm. There's a lot to like here.
I was rather anxious to get this reel on the water
Real World Tests:
Still in the early stages of my dive into finesse braids, looking at the Vanquish's super shallow spool, this was the perfect opportunity to extend that experience by loading the reel with some Varivas
HighGrade PE in #0.6 gau. I then installed a leader of 6lb Seaguar Gold Label using an Alberto knot with the assistance of Uncle Jim's Alberto Knot tool. I can tie the knot without this handy little tool, but boy, is it easier with, and these connection knots with finesse braid are so small!
Matched with a G.Loomis DSR822S NRX+
The next decision I had to make before hitting the water was which rod would get the honor of christening this new reel. Actually, that decision was quite simple because I happened to have a new stick begging for a partner. Last year, Zander gifted me a G.Loomis NRX+822S DSR so I could experience one of his favorites. This was my first NRX+ stick and more than worthy of the Vanquish C3000SDHHG.
Measured center of knob to center of knob, the double handle is 90mm long - just
like a lot of today's casting reels
Retrieve: As I've probably mentioned in previous spinning reel write ups, casting is kind of a moot point with me. There are always subtle tweaks and adjustments manufacturers offer in spool design that supposedly increase casting performance, however, I can rarely tell. Unlike their top of the rod counterparts, casting is so easy with spinning reels in general it's hardly worth discussing. For me, the proof of any spinning reel is the ease by which that handle turns and if there's any back and forth play.
Line flies off a spinning reel's spool so easily, I hardly notice
difference in performance these days between models
This test will tell you how clean and precise the inner workings of the reel are because not only are you turning the gears, but the rotor function and spool are all connected (of course) and determine how easy or difficult it will be to turn the handle. More often than not, this is directly proportional to the weight of that rotor. That's why manufacturers make it a point to tell you about what material the rotor is made. Like everything involved in rotational forces, lighter is better and the Vanquish's rotor is a carbon fiber composite of Shimano's Ci4+, a very light material.
Bearings supporting the main drive shaft are shown in red. #35 is
actually orange but difficult to see and shows the bearing at the line roller.
The yellow colored bearings in the lower right hand corner illustrate those
beneath each handle knob.
The result? The Vanquish offers Stella like performance with how effortless it is to turn the handle. So effortless, I tried the breath test to see if I could turn that handle simply by blowing on it. Suffice it to say, it did not work, but I did get some weird "Cal is off his rocker again" glances from Zander, so that was fun.
Start up inertia is effortless with the Vanquish
Once I got over that effortless start up inertia, I turned my attention to handle play and smoothness. The '23 Vanquish gets high marks in both of these categories as well. The handle is solid and retrieve is buttery smooth and without that hollow feel I got from the '20 Vanquish. I don't know how Shimano was able to mask that sensation, but I applaud the accomplishment. The Vanquish has a magnesium frame with Ci4+ body parts, but the '20 version felt like a full Ci4+ reel to me. The '23 feels like a proper, magnesium framed reel.
One of those feisty steel-mouth fish I alluded to
Drag: As luck would have it, during the Vanquish's test period, we hit one day where the bass were super feisty. Usually, bass will pull hard when initially hooked, then tire as you maintain consistent pressure and you can get them to the side of the boat to land. On one particular day, the bass were making repeated runs after coming to the side of the boat similar to how steel head behave. I jokingly referred to them as steel mouth instead of largemouth.
These felt washers make up the Vanquish's butter smooth drag
The opportune aspect of this day was it allowed me to appreciate the incredibly smooth operation of the Vanquish's drag - repeatedly. With each surge and run of these hyper steel mouth, the drag on this reel sung out with a musical "zzzzzzzz" to the point I kept a constant monitor of how much line was on my spool. Fortunately, I never made it to bare metal, but I did have my concerns!
The C3000SDHHG is not a model you'd seek for power fishing
Next Section: A Better Vanquish?