Review: Shimano SLX DC 150XG

Take a fishing reel brand with a legendary reputation, add digital technology to prevent backlashes, and offer the new baitcaster for less than $200 and you have an easy sale.

Review: Shimano SLX DC 150XG

Shimano SLX DC 150XG reel

Flick a spinnerbait or Pop-R with the Shimano SLX DC 150XG and you’ll hear the familiar whine of the digital control braking system. It’s tough to describe, of course, but it’s a low yet noticeable “wheeeeeee” as the digital system checks the spool to prevent backlashes.

The first time I heard the sound was several years ago while fishing with Florida pro angler Bernie Schultz. He’s been sponsored by Shimano for years. We were at the legendary Bienville Plantation in north Florida working a line of pads and vegetation. The first cast, I wasn’t sure. With the second, I thought I’d broken something in the reel.

“That’s the digital braking system,” Schultz told me. “It won’t backlash.”

He explained how the digital system controls the spool to prevent overruns. Whether you try to fling a jig half a block or throw a spinnerbait into a stiff wind, it won’t backlash. Perhaps a loop or half-loop, but nothing that resembles a 1980s hair band after performing in a wind tunnel.

At the time you could buy Digital Control (DC) reels in Japan for a pretty penny. I never did. Now, however, Shimano’s famed Curado line features the DC system at a more affordable $249. It’s also available in the SLX DC, too, for about $189, with the SLX DC reel having fewer features than the Curado DC.

The SLX Series includes the DC, XT and basic SLX reels at different price points anglers will appreciate.
The SLX Series includes the DC, XT and basic SLX reels at different price points anglers will appreciate.

Can you sell a $249 reel to a bass angler? The Curado name is legendary, of course, with the “green reels” of years ago still holding a special place in some anglers’ hearts. Some of us still have those. But now, by adding the Digital Control aspect, the Curado series takes a step up. And that’s a big selling point.

The DC system incorporates a microcomputer system that during the cast monitors the spool speed 1,000 times every second. As it does, it slows the spool to prevent a backlash. This is after you’ve adjusted the reel to one of four brake settings: Max Distance (for calm conditions), Braid/Mono, Fluorocarbon or Skipping. It’s easy to set and change. If an angler can operate a sonar unit to find a largemouth bass hovering by a stump on a creek channel, then he can adjust a reel setting.

This I-DC4 digital system joins some of Shimano’s other top features in the Curado line, including its Super Free spool, lightweight Hagane metal body that resists flexing, a carbon drag system and low-profile design. Six models in the Curado DC lineup include gear ratios up to 8.5:1.

The DC system is available in the SLX DC reel, too, which may appeal to a segment of anglers eyeing price points. The SLX DC also has the Super Free spool, Hagane metal body and low profile. It also is available in six models, with gear ratios up to 8.2:1.

 

Maybe No DC?

If some of your customers aren’t keen on the technology angle, that’s fine. I’ve heard more than once over the years about a desire to keep it simple. That shouldn’t be a problem for you when it comes to reels.

The Curado and SLX lines offer features in the DC series except for the digital system. The Hagane body is one standard, because weekend tournament and diehard anglers want a strong reel. The SLX series also has a low profile, brass gears and the Shimano SVS Infinity Brake System.

I’ve been using an SLX DC for about a year with a wide variety of lures, from jigs and soft plastics sight fishing for largemouth, to topwaters and crankbaits. It’s held up wonderfully in heat, cold, nasty weather and with summer frog slop slime (which required a soft brush and water to clean). I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to any angler seeking a solid, dependable baitcaster. It’s a fantastic reel that fishes way above its budget-friendly price point.

With the Curado and SLX lines, with or without the Digital Control, your customers will have winners in their hands.

Pro angler Bernie Schultz of Florida has used Shimano’s reels with the DC system for years and swears by their effectiveness.
Pro angler Bernie Schultz of Florida has used Shimano’s reels with the DC system for years and swears by their effectiveness.


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