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Rod Review

Shimano ups the ante with the re-introduction of the Crucial

Date: 1/06/05
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.83 + Best Value!

With their introduction of the original, pearl white Chronarch a decade ago, Shimano has built a strong and almost impenetrable reputation in the fishing world by producing quality fishing reels and backing them up with one of the most highly skilled and customer friendly warranty service departments you can find in any industry. While many marvel at the marketing and engineering success of their reels, Shimano fishing rods, despite offering competitively priced, quality products, have had to fight an uphill battle to break through the highly competitive and fiercely battled mid-level fishing rod market. With the re-design and re-introduction of their top line freshwater series of rods, the Crucial, Shimano has now given notice that they’re finished playing nice and are turning up the heat in this already volatile market.

Shimano Crucial CRC-D66M Specifications


IM9 Graphite






Cork (split rear grip)

Foregrip Length

2 inches

Reargrip Length

8 inches

Line Weight

6-12lb test

Lure Weight

1/8 – 3/8 ounce


10 total (Fuji Alconite)

Power Rating



Dark Metallic Green


Extra Fast

Rod Weight

3.6 ounces



Shimano has gone both technique specific and general application with their re-introduced Crucial line of fishing rods. But perhaps the most eye-catching in this entire lineup is their Drop Shot / Shaking special. Available in four spinning and two casting configurations, these rods are sure to catch many an anglers’ attention with their split rear grip and exposed reel seat design. They are surprisingly light for a mid-level production rod and the attention to detail in their assembly is quite remarkable. Once we lifted this rod out of the rod rack, it never left our hands until placed into the car to take home!


The Shimano Crucial 6’6” Drop Shot special shown here with a Scorpion 1001 MG

Real World Test:  Needless to say, we were extremely anxious to get this stick out on the water to see what it could do. For our tests, we paired this rod up with an equally light Shimano Scorpion 1001 Mg and spooled the reel with 10lb Yozuri Hybrid. Together, the entire combo weighed in at only ten ounces. Balance was superb and we couldn’t get to a lake quickly enough to see how lively this rod would feel on the water.

Complete Test Rig for Crucial CRC-D66M


Shimano Crucial CRC-D66M


Shimano Scorpion 1001 MG


10lb Yozuri Hybrid

Casting & Pitching: With its extra-fast tip, the CRC-D66M casts both drop shot rigs and weightless Senkos very well. The light action tip loads easily and rebounds well to send offerings sailing across the water to your destination. What’s more, for a 6’6” rod, the CRC-D66M is an amazing pitching rod as well. We were able to accurately and quietly place our baits up to an estimated fifty to sixty feed away with relative ease.

The Shimano Crucial CRC-D66M is a very light and well balanced fishing rod.

Sensitivity: Where this rod truly shines is in its sensitivity. Shimano has done an excellent job with this rod, creating a tip that is so ultra-sensitive, you can feel the “tick” of your rod tip from simply reeling in the slack after letting your bait sink to the bottom. This especially holds true while fishing the Senko. We rigged Senko’s both straight weightless Texas style and wacky (weightless and drop shot) and were simply amazed with regard to the feel this rod afforded us. Not once while fishing this rod in depths from two to twenty feet did we have to wait for our line to move off to the side to signify a fish. Each pick up was transmitted quickly down the length of the rod letting us know it was time to set the hook. The CRC-D66M delivers a feel not common among rods at this market point.

From it’s extra fast tip (middle) to its parabolic bend (right), the CRC-D66M is well suited for its intended application.

Power: As one might expect, from such a sensitive, lightweight rod, the CRC-D66M is not exactly a powerhouse and is best suited for finesse applications in waters that are relatively free of heavy cover. That having been said we certainly encountered no problems with our quarry of black bass to one and a half pounds and actually, quite enjoyed the exhilarating battles that ensued with every hookup. The power curve of the CRC-D66M is quite parabolic – an action coveted by most deep water drop shot anglers, but not really apparent until you have a fish at the end of the line. At the same time, the extra fast tip of the CRC-D66M does well to transmit strikes without feeling mushy. This delicate balance in action is well suited for finesse applications.

Detail shots of the Shimano Crucial CRC-D66M. Note the unusual bait keeper (Top Left) intended really, to help stow drop shot weights, but also effective as a hook hangar.

Design & Features: Shimano has taken some relatively bold steps in the detailing of their new drop shot line of rods. The CRC-D66M has the look and feel of a rod costing twice as much with the most notable detail being the split rear grip of the rod. This split grip not only adds a little flash of interest in the rod’s appearance, but also helps to reduce its overall weight. Located at the end of the rod above the butt cap, the bait keeper is intended more to hold a drop shot weight than it is an actual hook. However, it serves both purposes well even if it does not appear to be the most solid state hook holder available. The guides for the Shimano Crucial line of rods are Fuji Alconite which are Fuji’s new, mid-level offering sporting durable, lightweight frames and ceramic inserts. Lastly, located at the very end of the rod is a decorative plate with a stamped Japanese character “Kanji” representing strength. While a nice touch, we feel Shimano missed a golden opportunity here to insert an engraved counterweight that would truly elevate the stature of this line of rods. Overall, the CRC-D66M sports a fine array of components features not found on many rods costing twice as much.

The character insert at the base of the CRC-D66M is the Japanese character Kanji whose literal translation is gusty or strong.

Application: Designed as a technique specific rod, the Shimano Crucial CRC-D66M serves very well as a finesse fishing rod for drop shot and shaking presentations. The tip has just enough play to aid you while gently shaking the worm to tempt those pressure fished bass and not too much to where the shaking becomes unnatural. In fact, one of the ways we found to impart action on the worm with this rod was to tap the base of the rod instead of trying to shake the tip. Taps are transmitted to the tip on a slack line and are an easy way to impart subtle movements in the worm while leaving our rod hand ready for that hookset. We also found this rod quite effective at pitching and casting Senko’s and as an effective shallow crankbait rod.


Warranty: Following suit with the Compre series, Shimano offers a limited lifetime over the counter warranty with their Shimano Crucial line of rods. This is a very reassuring feature for those concerned with warranty coverage and shows how dedicated Shimano is to customer satisfaction despite their large corporate status.


Shimano Crucial Ratings (?/10)

Construction/ Quality

Our CRC-DD66M was very well crafted with components inline or slightly above what one would expect from a mid-market rod



Extremely sensitive, the only thing we found lacking in this particular rod was power, but again, it is a finesse rod



Extremely competitive, amazing when you consider all the nice little touches that Shimano added in



With a split rear grip, exposed blank reel seat, and Fuji alconite guides, this rod is about as feature laden as can be


Design (Ergonomics)

Eye catching design and well balanced. Rear grip could be a tad longer.



A technique specific rod for finesse bait applications.


Total Score:


Pluses and Minuses:



J Extremely Sensitive

L Questionable bait keeper

J Super light weight

L A little soft in the power department

J Contemporary Design


J Attractive price point


J Quality components


J Great tip action for casting and shaking


With the re-design and re-introduction of their top of the line freshwater Crucial Fishing Rods, Shimano is poised to make a serious move into the mid-level mass produced fishing rod market. A market crowded with indistinguishable also-rans where finding the true values and worthy investments is almost as difficult as running into that one-hundred fish day. The Crucial CRC-D66M is one offering that has the potential to catapult the entire Shimano Fishing Rod line. As sensitive as any rod we’ve fished, and as aggressive in appearance as some custom sticks, this finesse fishing rod has some serious upside. With just a little more refinement and perhaps, a tad more power, we’d easily be willing to pay close to twice the asking price for this rod, yet, as it stands, the CRC-D66M is a fantastic value and worthy of consideration by any angler seeking eye-catching design and true fish catching performance at one incredible price.









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