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Reel Review


More Bang for the Buck : The Shimano SLX DC Baitcaster Series (continued)


When examining the SLX DC and Curado DC I-DC4 systems side by side they looked identical. I wondered if Shimano had implemented anything in the firmware to change the profile, and performance, between the two reels. During fishing I found they casted very similarly, so I ended up heading to an empty field with a typical 1/2oz. rubber casting plug and making six casts with each reel in Mode 1 spooled with 10lb Trilene Big Game to further quantify any differences. I tried to do this back to back between reels so changing wind conditions would not alter the distance results.


The SLX DC makes use of brass gearing for long term durability


I was able to achieve an average of just under 200 feet for both reels (198.2 feet average for the Curado DC, and 197.6 feet average for the SLX DC to be exact). There are so many variables when it comes to casting, and while I tried to set controls including using the same 7'10" rods, identical lines, and the same casting plug, the changes in wind, unintended changes in my casting motions, and just how tired I got running back and forth in that field definitely had some bearing in the final results. My take is that the systems are identical, and the casting performance between the two is also virtually the same. This is a very good thing for the new reel considering the SLX DC is $60 dollars cheaper than the Curado DC.


Though reasonably smooth the gearing does not feature the precision cut MicroModule implementation found in the Curado DC


In regards to dreaded backlashes the SLX DC is not impossible to birdnest, but unlike traditional reels you actually have to somewhat neglect the reel to invite backlashes, especially when the reel is set on Mode 4 and you can actually cast the reel without any thumb action and still manage to not blow up the spool.


A look at the SLX DC's primary brass gearing


Retrieve: With such an impressive casting performance why would anyone buy a Curado DC over the new SLX DC? The two biggest reasons are retrieve and refinement. Once you have cast your bait and start cranking you will notice that the Curado DC is considerably smoother, and especially so when under the load of a deep crankbait or battling a fish.


While the SLX DC's brass gearing does an admirable job delivering a consistent retrieve it is still no match for the MicroModule gearing found in the Curado DC which helps give the more expensive reel a smoother and more powerful overall feel.


Ergonomically the SLX DC palms well and feels very similar to the standard SLX


The Curado DC also benefits from CI4+ sideplates, more bearings, and the implementation of X-Ship, all of which only help make the reel feel even more solid and refined with each and every cast and retrieve. The painted finish and aluminum components, like the anodized green drag star, also give the Curado DC an edge when it comes to looking, and feeling, more high-end.


Polymer bushings support the power knobs


Overall the SLX DC's retrieve is on par on with the original reel and our test reel has held up well over the season. The fact that Shimano offers all three retrieve ratios (6.2:1, 7.4:1, 8.5:1) in both right and left hand retrieves is excellent as this new series covers the complete spectrum of applications and mainstream angler preferences.


Under load the SLX DC is noticeably less smooth than the Curado DC


Drag: The SLX DC delivered 11.2lbs. of drag pressure in our lab tests which is right above Shimano's own rating of 11lbs. of maximum drag. This is also near identical to the rating we found in the original SLX reel, and like the non DC version this new reel makes use of a carbon and felt drag stack that sandwiches the primary brass gearing.


The SLX DC features the same multi-material drag design as the original SLX


It would have been nice to see an upgrade to the drag over the standard SLX reel but there isn't anything wrong with the proven system. What this drag lacks in terms of maximum pressure it makes up for with smooth and reliable performance, there simply isn't much to fail here.


A swept handle supports the massive handle knobs

Next Section: SLX DC or Curado DC? Value vs. Refinement









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