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Event Article: El Salto with Shimano

Fishing El Salto with pre-release Shimano Tackle and Jimmy Houston (continued)

The Rods: It is in the category of rods that Shimano has come the furthest in the shortest amount of time. Let’s be honest just four seasons ago Shimano rods were not on our list of priorities for review, nor were they regularly discussed on our forums. When the Clarus and Compre rods were rolled out and backed with an over the counter warranty the train started moving, and when the company introduced the Crucial rods anglers started jumping on that train in droves.


All the spinning reels down to the new Saros feature a sleek one piece bail


Since then Shimano has built a reputation of best bang for the buck for their rods, offering a whole lot of stick for the money. As the company gained ground in the rod market they slowly edged their way up, and are now butting up against rod offerings from some of the industry’s most popular brands including St. Croix and even their own acquisition…. G.Loomis. On the rod side Shimano America leads the direction for this market entirely, and the new rod series was the hard work of Robby and Justin at Shimano.


The new reel seat has been pared down to provide more access to the blank


As with their new reels Shimano's rod team did plenty of homework before determining their strategy for creating the new sticks. They decided to build a rod that was extremely sensitive, very lightweight, designed to fish bottom contact baits, be application specific (Drop Shot, Carolina, Texas, Jigs, Ika, Split Shot), and most importantly be both innovative and completely new in the Shimano lineup.

The new rod features a clever stealth hook hanger integrated into the grip itself!


The new rod series features an IM-10 blank, Fuji Sic concept guides, custom split reel seats, a custom minimal fore grip, and will weigh in nearly 10% lighter than the already light Crucial series.


The spinning rods feature a comfortable "seamless" carbon reel seat


The new rods that we got to fish with at El Salto are truly premium offerings, and really positioned right at the threshold below the enthusiast category. These rods have an especially low weight reel seat that reminds of us both the Japanese ultralight and Airrus Ultra XL implementation; however Shimano has designed them so that when paired with a Shimano reel they are seamless and more comfortable to hold.


Ted Sakai Product Manager - Accessories tests the load on the new rods


The use of carbon helps reduce weight, and increase sensitivity on the spinning rod version, while the casting models push for complete access to the blank. Shimano also makes the move to dense but lightweight EVA foam like the imports, and the rods feature a beautiful split grip implementation. The hook hanger on these rods is very innovative, and can’t actually be seen on the blank, as they are implemented into the grip itself.


A serious "hint" for saavy readers


Fish after fish we felt these rods were by far the most sensitive rods Shimano has built till date. If you liked the Crucial series the new rods are going to blow you away. Jeremy and Dan said that they hadn’t intended the new rod series and baitcaster to match in color and design, but you would never know it as they look and feel awesome together.


When the fishing was good honey holes could easily support multiple boats pounding the same spot with success


We ran braid through the rods the entire week, and the sensitivity of these rods definitely helped us detect more bites, and once we were hooked up we often had to drag the fish right out of some very nasty El Salto structure. The rods load very well, and have a surprising amount of muscle for such lively tipped rods.


Steve is in charge of Sales at Shimano, and was the host of the entire event


There will be a total of 15 rods in this family when they are introduced, with 8 casting and 7 spinning versions. Mass production of these new rods actually has already begun, and though the team at Shimano has been testing them for a long time it was on this El Salto trip when they were first revealed to certain dealers and press. 


Zander rests during the Siesta before heading out for some more fishing, these were seriously good accommodations


Though we are positive there will be more introductions at ICAST this exciting new rod series will be positioned above the Crucial and retail for 199.99-219.99. We have no doubt that this new rod series will find an immediate following among fans of the Crucial series, as they offer many of the great elements found in those rods, and a ton of other performance oriented features.


The Anglers Inn is comparable to the best hotels, and we certainly were not "roughing it" out at Lake El Salto

Next Section: Big Fish El Salto Style









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