Shimano is an iconic fishing brand with a rich history of innovation that continues to keep up with the fast and ever-changing Australian fishing scene. A perfect example is Shimano’s new addition to its bait cast range, the SLX DC that Hooked Up sent for me to review.
The SLX DC
Shimano’s DC technology has been around for quite some time in models such as the Calcutta and the Curado. DC stands for Digital Control and relates to adjustable braking settings controlled by a microcomputer built within the reel. This seems like a fancy way of utilising braking systems/cast controls that most baitcasters already have however the DC does not affect or restrict the cast-ability of a lure as much as a standard braking system does. When set correctly, the system allows for unrestricted casting distance while disallowing over spool. This means that the reel allows you to cast a much broader range of lure sizes and weights. I determined this when fishing with this reel using different methods for barra, including deep and shallow water, small hard bodies, vibes and unweighted prawn lures. I was able to quickly adjust the DC settings while leaving my usual adjustments the same i.e. cast control and manual braking (which I leave loose to allow for maximum distance and broader cast application).
Where the DC really comes into its own is when skip casting under overhanging mangroves/trees and undercut banks with unweighted lures. Skip casting takes a lot of practice and control when using baitcasters because there’s a fine line between pulling the lure up short and a massive birds nest. I skip cast using loose braking settings and control the cast with my thumb on the spool. The DC takes a lot of the thumb work out and provides a more comfortable and confident cast which in turn allows the angler to be more accurate and increase the chance of a bite.
I won’t go too in-depth with features and ergonomics however I will point out that I have used this reel in saltwater applications for the past few months to which I have not had any issues with intrusion or corrosion. I have targeted multiple saltwater species with the SLX DC including landing a very large (10+kg) cod from deep water on a vibe. I fish quite heavy and quite heavy handed and the gearing and drag system on the reel is impressive to say the least. I have been using the 6:3:1 ratio model and I am able to turn fish and control a precarious situation quite easily due to the cranking power that low gearing provides coupled with the oversized handle diameter.
Spool capacity is more than enough for most applications and, for a 150-size reel it is quite small and comfortable in the hand when casting all day but packs the same punch that a regular 150-200 size reel would. There are three gear ratio options that allow this reel to serve in multiple applications from high speed line retrieval for cross/up current casting and long retrieves such as vibing (8:2:1), general purpose applications (7:2:1), and slow working lures with the ability to proper bring the hurt (6:3:1).
At around $250 I believe the SLX DC offers great value for money by providing anglers with a huge casting advantage and mechanical quality while not hurting the hip pocket. You’re getting quality parts, drag and braking features that the higher end DC reels have with less of a price tag.
After using this reel for quite some time I believe it can be utilised by anglers all over Australia targeting multiple species and in different applications. The DC system is second to none and the compact design mixed with heavy duty features allow the SLX DC to target everything from meter barra to bass and everything in between. As far as value for money, it is a reel not be overlooked in that mid-range price bracket. For someone who isn’t/wasn’t a diehard Shimano fan; I am certainly more than impressed.