Shimano’s latest magnesium baitcast reel has finally hit the scene in America under the “Core” line up of reels. Introduced earlier this year in Japan, as the “Aldebaran”, this reel is touted as Shimano’s smallest and lightest baitcaster ever. Many bass anglers (including myself) have been waiting for this diminutive wonder to makes it way over to the United States. Thankfully Shimano delivered this past summer during ICAST 2009. Much like the previous generation JDM Scorpion 1000 came to be the US Chronarch 50 Mg. It only seemed inevitable for this platform to assume top position as Shimano North America’s domestic lightweight since the 50Mg was discontinued late last year. While the two reels target two different price points, it’s only natural that those interested in the new 50Mg7 are in fact fans of the 50Mg.
Holding the new Core 50Mg7 is certainly an eye opening experience. Its ultra low profile frame is a substantial departure from those used to palming the round shaped platform utilized for the Chronarch 50Mg reels. This all new profile has a much lower stance and has much more aggressive geometry that is very much like last years Curado E, albeit much more compact. The 50Mg7’s 80mm handle is almost the same the 50Mg’s were it not for the inclusion of two S A-RB ball bearings under each knob. The 50Mg7’s red accents, black frame and tapered TI level wind insert are all reminiscent of the larger 100 size Core reels. Septon grips are standard on this reel as is the 1/8th turn easy access side plate found on last years Curado E platform.
With a measured weight of 5.565 oz this reel is certainly a joy to fish soft plastics with for any extended period of time. Palmability is excellent, even with respect to other diminutive bass reels like the highly touted Daiwa Steez. This reel easily casts ¼ oz baits on 10lb to 14lb mono and is appreciable at chucking even 1/8oz lures with the right rod and 4-8lb line. Its excellent castability can mainly be attributed to its diminutive spool size, which is in fact smaller than the 50Mg spool, and the inclusion of a tapered titanium level wind insert. The stock drag is capable for majority of bass fishing applications topping out at over 10lbs. This is much better than the Chronarch 50Mgs miniscule 5.5lbs which has certainly caused some terse moments when hooking into a lunker on braid. While I wouldn’t hesitate to flip with the Core 50Mg7, it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice.
The black and red coloring of the Core series of reels certainly is attractive when paired up with a domestic spilt grip rod such as the Shimano Cumara. The subtle red highlighting around the cast control cap and handle porting is rather “sporty”, compared to the subtle TDZ esq finish on the JDM Aldebaran. Also, with regards to the TDZ, one can’t help but see the angular frame geometry and drag star are quite reminiscent of the now defunct lineup. The glossy surface treatment is a familiar and welcome element, especially on magnesium based reels such as this one. I’ve always liked this coating as the rather matte finish found on Daiwa’s TDZ and Steez always seemed more prone to the perils of boat rash. Despite the inclusion of this coating on the 50Mg7 Shimano still recommends the utilization of “preventative maintenance” after use in saltwater.
Overall refinement for the Core 50Mg7, while a level above the original Core 100 and the Chronarch 50Mg, is still below Daiwa’s flagship Steez. To be fair the Steez and Core 50Mg7 aren’t on the same playing field since the Steez retails for over $100 more. While the Core’s clicking dragstar, bearing supported knobs, and 1/8 turn access hatch are tight; that notorious Shimano “back play” is still present. However, incorporation of HEG gives the 50Mg7 a more refined and powerful retrieve over the 50Mg. The lack of a clicking cast control knob, while not really necessary, is still apparent, and would be greatly appreciated for a reel at this price point.
With a retail of over a $120 more than the old Chronarch 50Mg many anglers might have themselves asking if forking over the $369.99 retail is in fact worth the price delta to step up to the Core. My answer to that question would be…it depends. Given such a wide price gap between the two I will definitively state the Core 50Mg7 is a more refined and lower profile performance package as you would expect it to be. Weight difference between the two remains negligible at .4oz and casting performance is about the same and would almost be a mute point if you were to supplant ceramic spool bearings in either. In reality it all boils down to application, personal taste, and budgetary concerns. If you’re a diehard Shimano fan and want the smallest low profile baitcaster they’ve ever offered, then go ahead and indulge in a Core 50Mg7. However, if you are one of those anglers that absolutely loves the Chronarch 50Mg and can’t see using anything else for a long time to come, well then scour the net and pick up another one. Regardless of your choice, you wont regret the aquistion of either as you’ll end up with a quality magnesium framed reel that should serve you for many years to come.
The Shimano Core 50Mg7 proves to be quite the performer. It truly is a small, durable, saltwater safe (assuming proper user maintenance), domestic market finesse reel. The palmability of its diminutive frame is much appreciated, especially for those who love lightweight reels. Its new and aggressive shape becomes more addicting every time I take it out on the water. As a result, it will ultimately become a staple in my arsenal. In summation, the Core 50Mg7 is a sweet reel that would make a great addition to any bass anglers baitcasting line up.
CORE50MG7 Magnumlite spool on Left
(weight: 11.2g, outer hub dia: 31.65mm, inner hub dia: 17.65mm)
CH50MG Low Mass Drilled Spool on Right
(weight: 12.3g, outer hub dia: 32.70mm, inner hub dia: 20.60mm)
Magnesium Domestic Bliss: Note the Core 50Mg7 has the most compact frame.
The Shimano Core 50Mg7 can be found online at: