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Enthusiast Review

Bordering on Greatness: Shimano Japan's Final Dimension Bass Rods

Date: 4/13/08
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Shimano Japan
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.92


Introduction: If you, like I, were looking forward to something a little more aggressively styled with clean, new details from Shimano's line of bass rods debuted at ICAST 2007, then you might want to keep reading and see what the factory over in Japan has been producing for their home market for the last several years. Introducing the Shimano Japan Final Dimension (FD) series of bass rods.

Shimano Final Dimension TS-168M Specifications

Material Proprietary Graphite
Length 6'-8"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 8.5"
Line Wt. 10 - 20lb Test
Lure Wt. 7 - 28 grams (~1/4 oz - 1 oz)
Pieces 1
Guides 9 + Tip (Fuji Ti/SiC)
Power Rating Medium
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 5.1 ounces
Manufacturing Country Japan
MSRP 55,000 JPY

Impressions: Who says rods with foregrips are boring? The Shimano FD TS-168M which we painfully acquired for review is rather conventional in style, but with super clean, sophisticated detailing to make any worthy Enthusiast reach for their wallet. Actually, upon closer inspection one can see this stick, one of several in Shimano Japan's top-end line of bass rods, is anything but conventional. A custom reel seat, stylized winding check, carbon weave detailing are among the features on this fine stick.


Introducing the Shimano Final Dimension TS-168M

Lab Tests: With a lure weight rating of 1/4 - 1 ounce, and a line rating of 10 - 20 pound test line, the TS-168M from Shimano Japan sounds a lot more like a heavy powered rod than medium, but holding it in hand it feels a lot more true to that "medium" power rating. To find out a bit more about this stick, we hooked it up to our RoD WRACK so we could see with what other rods it lines up based on past test subjects.

Lab Results for Shimano Final Dimension TS-168M

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Action (Taper)
Measured Weight
Balance Point
Shimano FD TS-168M
5.1 ounces
F4-610XDti Elseil
Medium Fast
5.3 ounces
G.Loomis MBR842C GLX
4 ounces
*No real pronounced spine.

Rate of Deflection (RoD): What we found is that the TS-168M aligns very well with two of our favorite medium powered rods - the F6-610XDti Elseil from Megabass, and the MBR842C GLX from G.Loomis. In fact, on our RoD Deflection chart, these three rods appear almost identical.

Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of the TS-168M (yellow curve) against both the F4-610XDti from Megabass and the MBR842C GLX from G.Loomis.

Spine, Weight, and Balance Point: Interestingly enough, though we found what feels like a spine on top of the TS-168M, the rod has no real pronounced spine. Its weight is respectable at 5.1 ounces, though we expected better balance for a rod of this weight. During our session on the RoD WRACK, the line from our reel came in contact with the rod's blank with only eight ounces of load.

With style like this, foregrips may be on a comeback.

The new Fuji ACS has nothing on this reel seat.

Real World Test: On the water we took with the TS-168M fishing it, of course, with Daiwa's top end baitcaster the Steez. Although a clash of the titans, these two products just match up well with one another.

Another look at the trick reel seat on the TS-168M

Complete Field Test Set-Up for Shimano Final Dimension TS-168M

Daiwa Steez 103HLA
14lb Toray Superhard FC
12lb Sugoi FC

Pitching and Casting: The TS-168M casts crisply and precisely as it is designed to do. It is intended for close quarter presentation of jigs and spinnerbaits and really does so quite well. Roll casts with the TS-168M are particularly rewarding.

Making a roll cast amid standing timber

The TS-168M plus Steez 103HLA combo balances well in hand.

Pitching jigs is also fun with the rod's sweet spot at about a 3/8 ounce jig with trailer. Over the course of testing, I also threw jerkbaits, cranks, and shakey head rigs on this rod and it handled all of them fine. It's a good, light duty, general purpose as one might expect from its medium power rating.

"Clean" does not begin to describe this stick.

The obligatory butt cap of a JDM rod.

The puzzling thing with this rod is its recommended lure weight range. I would not go much above 5/8ths of an ounce let alone all the way up to the rod's rating. This rod is just not stout enough for baits heavier than 5/8ths of an ounce.

Check out this subtle but well executed detailing at the butt end of this rod.

Shimano's Final Dimension rods feature Fuji Ti/SiC guides

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