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Reel Review

Making a Power Play, the Shimano Tranx Baitcaster (continued)


Drag: In parallel with plenty of winching strength the Tranx 300 also boasts some pretty decent stopping power as well, all courtesy of an ample amount of surface area leveraged within, and surrounding, the main drive gear. In total there are nine drag washers that make up the stopping surfaces in the Tranx.


The drag is comprised of both steel and carbon washers, lots of them

A combination of metal and carbon gears and washers delivered 23.4lbs. of pressure in our lab tests, which is nearly a pound and a half more than Shimano’s own rating. We have found that Shimano rates their drags with a little buffer headroom, or maybe we just tighten the drag down past what is considered “maximum” in our lab tests.


The Tranx delivers good ergonomics overall. Though it offers plenty of power and capacity it isn't overly wide or long, it never feels unwieldy

As we observed in our initial preview in the lab we found the Tranx’s drag to be smooth and powerful but also somewhat lacking in terms of the range of adjustment. The working range of the drag is in the upper 30% of the drag setting, so backing the star drag back just a little reduces drag pressure significantly. With a full rotation of the drag there is almost no counter pressure whatsoever, making this much more of an all-or-nothing setting. The plus slide is that anglers can make quick adjustments on the fly, the downside is the ability to fine tune a complete range of drag pressure settings is made more difficult with this particular reel.


Big and yet still palm-able

Ergonomics: The Tranx 300 weighs in at 11.6oz. which is certainly no lightweight but also what I would expect for a reel of this class. Though it doesn’t look that large it is heftier than the Curado 300E, which it somewhat replaces, which weighed in at 10.5 ounces.


Power taking the fun out of winching in fish? Not one bit!

Though the Tranx is a relatively large reel it does palm quite comfortably and also feels natural in hand, mostly due to the front section of the reel which comes down abruptly to give the reel a more compact profile. The one thing I did notice about the reel is that it does sit a little bit higher than I would like on many reel seats, this is due primarily to the space required to accommodate the diameter of the high capacity spool. While not uncomfortable the reel does look slightly perched on the reel seats of freshwater rods.


I found the Tranx 300A to be an excellent swimbait reel

Shimano offers the traditional double paddle handle only in the lower speed reels, while the high speed reels all come with the single “Power Handle.” I still personally prefer the double paddle handle for freshwater applications and working higher speed baits, and am more used to a single handle for power applications when additional leverage is required, like tossing irons when inshore fishing. While both versions offer anglers respectable ergonomics anglers will have to commit to one or the other, unlike the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast which comes with an interchangeable casting and power handle.


The handle is slightly offset, and large knobs provide plenty of grip

Next Section: Making the Power Play...









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