Spheros SW - Nonsense & Nonsability

This is a one-off newsletter sorta thing. It was supposed to be only about the 2014 Spheros SW, but then I thought I could add some bits of news that won't fit the small space on the News page, rant about random things, seek your opinions, etc. I'll probably remove this page later when the contents become irrelevant not to clutter the Blog page.

6 years ago Shimano released the Spheros SW, a reel that I fished thoroughly and liked a lot then reviewed, and since then it has become my MOST recommended reel, usually to those seeking a versatile and flexible saltwater reel without a firm commitment to one fishing style. It's hard to get an exact count, but searched the sent email folder for "Spheros" and it returned +700 results which would mostly be outright recommendations.

At the beginning it was pretty straightforward; someone tells me what they need a reel for, and I tell them to get a Spheros SW if I thought it's the best fit. Soon after, Shimano decided to make everyone's lives miserable, so they released a JDM (Japan Domestic Market) version of the Spheros SW that had lower grade gearing and lesser construction than the original export version. It was lower in price which made it appealing to visitors of auction sites, therefore I had to look for images and assemble a quick pictorial guide on how to distinguish them externally and began including it every time I suggested the Spheros SW to someone. You're probably familiar with it

But would Shimano be satisfied with that amount of misery? Not a chance! Last year they came out with yet another "Spheros SW", which is a mash-up of existing freshwater reels and a completely different concept and platform from the original Spheros SW. Now every time I recommend a Spheros SW I'm forced to include the above pictorial guide to steer them towards the export version, then add another clarification that I'm not talking about this latest Spheros SW and include a link showing how it looks

This, from Shimano's official site, and to the left I added a realistic rendition of myself unable to fathom what they're doing. In all honestly, they couldn't have done anything different had they intended to force me to stop recommending the Spheros SW altogether. Instead of typing a response in 20 seconds, I now have to pause, open another tab, fetch a link and copy it, go back and paste it in my reply, then go again and fetch a second link, paste it in the reply, then type an explanation of what each link is. Absolutely vile psychological molestation that makes me more than qualified to join the #MeToo movement!! I posted a note on the news page last October, but not all visitors read that page which led to a ton of confusion in their message. Some thought the 2014 Spheros SW has been discontinued and replaced with this one, others were bewildered why I told them to get a Daiwa BG for their $100 budget when the "Spheros SW" costs the same and I rate it higher on the lists. I would then have to answer that the Spheros SW I rate higher is the original one which costs much more, while the one they saw for less money is that latest reincarnation of the name.

Anyway, this whole ramble is not to persuade them to change the name because no one gives a damn what I think. Rather it should serve as a single link to include in my replies when I tell someone to buy a Spheros SW so they'd know which one I mean. Now let's hope those clowns won't release a fourth Spheros SW because I swear to Lucifer I wouldn't just quit recommending the reel, rather I'd call it a day and shut down the entire site and spare myself the anguish! At least I could then relax and focus all my energy on stalking Naomi Watts so I could finally see her when she comes to testify at my trial and sentencing 

Moving on

Seriously? You're all over social media calling this a Stella SW copy? Have you gone completely mad, or do you need an urgent visit to Specsavers? That's not the point though, what I need to ask you is which size/speed of the Saltiga do you want to see reviewed? I am asking because I was pretty surprised by your favourable responses to the 2019 Stella SW review where for the first time I did a mid-sized one. The Saltiga will be available in my default full size, the 20000-H, but if you'd rather see another size/speed reviewed just make your pick and send it to me via the contact form HERE.

Send your pick ASAP because I need to place the order within a week. Unfortunately I can't afford to buy the entire line-up of reels that I test, so what I do is I usually buy 2 pieces (one backup) of the size that will be featured in the review then source loaner dealer samples and/or exhibition pieces in other sizes of interest for comparisons etc. Let me know quickly so I could secure my reels in the first shipment. (Update Feb 16th 2020- Voting is over, thank you).

In other news, fishos from coastal America ask me why I'm yet to give a verdict on the Tsunami SaltX and what's taking so long. The thing is, I showed it to you when it first debuted in the coverage of ICAST 2018, but it only hit retail shelves recently. As you likely know I need to wait for official release to buy and test the same retail reels you'd be buying, therefore the delay was caused by the late release, not by my legendary laziness. I should form an opinion sometime before summer I hope.

Moving on, a business named "jigging master" retails a spinning reel with text on its foot saying "jigging master Taiwan". The text could cause confusion, so needed to mention that I believe it's a Chinese made branded reel in order to prevent any potential confusion.

What else? Yep, I finished playing with the Okuma Makaira 10000 last year, and no review is required; the 10k is every bit as good as the 20k and 30k, just smaller. My review of the Makaira two years ago as well as its placement on the top picks should therefore be considered representative of the entire series, all sizes.

Speaking of the 30K Makaira, a few have forwarded me a composite image making the rounds- it's a side by side comparison between 2013 Stella SW 30K mounted on a rod and the Makaira 30K mounted on a rod as well. The commentary accompanying that image states that the rotor of the Makaira 30K is closer to the rod than the rotor of the Stella 30K, which the commentary assumes is some sort of a fault in the 30K Makaira. Take a second here to think about it, and tell me if you can catch the problem in that conclusion. I'm sure some of you can..... Well, as I've mentioned probably nine thousand and sixty eight times, the 2013 Stella SW has that parallel foot design, which Shimano dropped in the subsequent 2019 model. When the 2013 Stella sits parallel to the rod without tilting upwards, of course the clearance between the rotor and rod will be larger than with a standard tilting reel of the same size class. Meaning the 13' Stella SW 30K is the abnormal reel here, not the Makaira 30K. Mammoth sized reels naturally have less clearance between the rotor and rod because of the oversized front portion, which is something that people accept when they opt for them. You can't fault normal reels for it, based on a bad comparison with an outlier reel that has an unusual parallel foot.

Please everyone, be very careful with what you hear and read. We live in a time when anyone who can sign up for a social media account becomes an "expert" technician with a million followers cheering their every word, practically making the internet a big madhouse in which fantasies become solid facts shared countless times. I never publicly shame anyone because these are not bad people nor motivated by malice. Just well meaning folks trying their best but inadvertently spread misconceptions and misconstrued findings. You need to maintain vigilance, always question and scrutinise, and never take anything automatically as a fact. Not even from me because whether you believe it or not I'm the biggest dolt you'll ever meet.

The Lists have just been updated, and in the current design of the page you'll know it's been updated when the highlight around the date changes colour. A few things have happened here; the Quantum Boca 100/120 sizes were discontinued therefore I removed them. Such a shame because these were excellent value in this budget heavy duty offshore slice. With the Boca gone from the table the Fin-Nor Offshore squeezes back in, having been pushed out of the top 5 a few years ago by the defunct Boca. As seen in its review I rate the 2016 Fin-Nor Offshore a  tad lower than its 2006 predecessor because of the less slippery spool finish, still it's a very capable reel for those who want an actual tank for little money.

Also done messing about with the new Stradic FL, and it basically kicked everything else's butt in this category and made its way into the top picks. An absolutely magnificent reel which in my book is on par with the 2010 freshwater Stella (FE), all for about $200. If you've read the review of the Sahara FI you'd see how challenging my fishing environment can be when I fish certain rivers and bonds. Cast accuracy and line control are of paramount importance to me or some really nice lures will get entangled and I'll lose precious time replacing everything. The new Stradic FL lays thin braid to absolute perfection, and has as good a line control as I've seen. When I do these finesse casts I no longer fear the dreaded tug feel on the spool followed by unmitigated chaos. Blown away by that reel and really want to publish a full review of it, but not before I hear from a good number of you that you want it. For some reason my reviews of smaller reels bomb big time, and I'm embarrassed every time I look at the little traffic on the aforementioned Sahara review. Let me hear if you want it. (Update Feb 16th 2020- Voting is over, thank you).

Another reel that appears on the lists in this update is the Okuma Azores Blue. A nicer reel than the discontinued silver version, and to me it stands out in this entry price level for its drag performance. That drag produces unmistakable refined feel and responsiveness, usually not found in reels costing this little.

Lastly, you were rightfully upset that I broke my promise to post the updated "What Reel" last year, but I had become aware that the new Saltiga was being prepared for release therefore I made the decision to hold and wait until after I test it. The "What Reel" guide is something that's very close to my heart, and it takes so much time and energy I want it to be as comprehensive and durable as possible. By durable I mean it needs to be relevant for at least two years, and had I published it right before the new Saltiga came out it would've become irrelevant pretty soon. Can't really remain relevant when it doesn't have a verdict, positive or negative, on one of the big three, right? I hope you'll understand.

That's it. Will be waiting to hear your input on the two questions included. Now go catch some fish or do something useful instead of reading this drivel


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Alan Hawk
January, 11th, 2020

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