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Spheros SW... or is it?

This is a one-off newsletter. It was supposed to only address the confusing use of the name "Spheros SW" by Shimano, but it ended up being too short I decided to include some unrelated remarks that won't fit the small space on the News page. I'll probably trim it down in the future as these extra bits become irrelevant to avoid cluttering.

6 years ago Shimano released the 2014 Spheros SW, a reel that I fished thoroughly and praised roundly in its review. It then went on to become my most recommended reel during these years, usually to those seeking a versatile and flexible saltwater reel without a firm commitment to a particular fishing style.

At the beginning it was pretty straightforward; a fisherman tells me what he needs a reel for, and if I thought the Spheros SW fit the job I'd tell him to get one. Soon after, Shimano decided to make everyone's lives miserable, so they released a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) version of the Spheros SW that had lower grade gearing and lesser construction than the original export version. It was cheaper which made it attractive to people who frequent auction sites where it was sold by overseas sellers.

Shimano Spheros SW Confusion -

Consequently, I had to find good images showing the external differences between both versions and assemble this pictorial guide, which I began including in my reply each time I recommended the Spheros SW to someone. You've probably seen it before.


But would Shimano be satisfied with such a small amount of misery? Not a chance. In 2019 they came out with yet another "Spheros SW", but this time it wasn't even remotely related to the original reel. This 2019 "Spheros SW", which came in sizes 3000 and 4000, was a mash-up of existing freshwater reels built on a completely different platform that shared nothing with the 2014 Spheros SW. This meant that each time I recommended the Spheros SW I was forced to include the pictorial guide to steer them towards the export version, then include yet another clarification that the 2019 "Spheros SW" was essentially an April fools' joke that just didn't come in April.

Shimano Spheros SW Confusion -

Here it is, from Shimano's official site, and to the left I drew a realistic rendition of myself unable to comprehend what they are doing.

Shimano Spheros SW Confusion -

Even worse, Shimano's European site lists both the original and this 2019 "Spheros SW" on the same page with a specifications' table that includes both as if they were actually the same reel.

The confusion caused by that 2019 release was immense, and I could see it first hand in readers' messages. 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 in a small size when the "Spheros SW" supposedly comes in that size and I rate the Spheros SW higher than the BG, a few asked why I said that the Spheros SW was fully sealed when their 2019 "Spheros SW" was clearly not, etc.

Shimano 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 made me more than qualified to join the #MeToo movement

Anyway, this whole rant is not to persuade them to change the name because no one cares what I think. Rather this page should serve as a single link to include in my replies when I tell someone to buy the 2014 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 that it would make me not only quit recommending the reel, but 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 sentencingShimano Spheros SW Confusion -

Moving on to random notes

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, depicting a side by side comparison between a 2013 Stella SW 30K and a Makaira 30K both mounted on rods. The purpose of that image is to complain that the rotor of the Makaira 30K is closer to the rod than the rotor of the Stella 30K, which is supposedly a disadvantage of the 30K Makaira. Well, the problem with that comparison is that the 2013 Stella SW has the unusual parallel foot design, which Shimano dropped in the subsequent 2019 model due to complaints. This means that when the 2013 Stella sits parallel to the rod without tilting upwards, the clearance between its rotor and the rod will of course be larger than in the case of a normal tilting reel of the same size class. Meaning the 2013 Stella SW 30K is the abnormal reel here, not the Makaira 30K. Mammoth sized reels naturally have smaller clearance between the rotor and rod because of the rotor's size, which is something that people accept when they opt for this size class. You can't fault normal reels for it based on a bad comparison with an outlier reel that has an unusual parallel seating.

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 one large madhouse where misguided fantasies become solid facts just by the virtue of number of "shares" or "likes". I never publicly shame anyone who's only trying their best and not motivated by malice, so I'm only clearing up facts without any intent to offend those well meaning folks who inadvertently create misconceptions. As a reader 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.

What else? Yep, .

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

Also done testing the new Stradic FL, and it basically outshined everything else in this category and deservedly 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 else 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 for a line control that's as good as I've seen, it's light, quiet, and with its smooth drag and overall reliability the reel is a superb value for money. I wanted to publish a full review of it but I didn't sense enough interest, and I do not want to repeat the embarrassment of the Sahara's review which received less than 20% of the traffic usually received by the reviews of saltwater reels.

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.

That's all. Now go catch some fish or do something useful instead of reading my drivel.


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Alan Hawk

January, 11th, 2020