Shimano has stood tall as one of the leading providers of fishing gear as well as other great feats in engineering. Among the company’s impressive line of products are undeniably some of the best fishing reels ever made.
In comes the Shimano Bantam. This brute of a reel is a testament to the company’s willingness to progress and innovate to provide anglers with more pulling power and drag to ensure nothing gets between you and the lunker you’ve been dreaming of pulling into your boat.
In this review, I’m going to break down all the details that make the Shimano Bantam MGL an awesome reel. I want you to understand the features that help this reel stand out in the crowd.
The Bottom Line: Shimano Bantam
This reel debuted in 2022, and the thing that stands out most about it is its backbone. It’s a rigid reel designed to provide a lot of power in a low-profile baitcaster. The reel offers an easy-to-adjust infinity brake system and a buttery smooth cast off the super-free spool, which we’ve come to expect from Shimano.
Keep in mind that all of this power comes at a price, and I’m not just talking about the sticker tag. The reels are a bit heavy, coming in at around 8 ounces, which sure isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s heavier than a number of lightweight baitcasters.
Shimano Bantam MGL Specs
- Gear Ratio: 6.2:1, 8.1:1
- Mono Capacity: 10/120
- Braid Capacity: 30/135
- Weight: 7.9 oz
- Max Drag: 13lbs
Features: Shimano Bantam
The Shimano Bantam boasts a grocery list of features. There are so many that I can’t even get to all of them, but I want to make sure to cover the most important ones in this section.
One Piece Aluminum CoreSolid Body
The Bantam’s body construction is a masterclass in robust design. Crafted from a single piece of aluminum, the CoreSolid Body enhances rigidity and minimizes flexing under heavy loads, ensuring smooth and consistent operation even in challenging fishing conditions.
Shimano’s HAGANE technology combines a rigid body with cold-forged gearing designed to never flex or bend. This results in a lifetime of high performance and hard fighting without the risk of gear failure.
Lightweight Aluminum MGL Spool
The Lightweight Aluminum Magnumlite (MGL) spool is a game-changer for casting distance and control. By reducing spool inertia, the Bantam minimizes backlash potential, allowing anglers to achieve longer, more accurate casts with ease.
SilentTune Vibration Reduction
Vibration reduction is more of an “aesthetic” feature. The vibration won’t impact your fishing, but it makes the reel feel cheap. All of Shimano’s premium reels come with a vibration reduction feature that just makes the line fly off the spool so fluidly.
Super Free Spool
The Super Free Spool design maximizes efficiency during casts. By removing spool friction and minimizing resistance, the Bantam ensures that energy is harnessed for longer and smoother casts, all while maintaining control and precision.
The Bantam possesses serious winding power with a smooth and effortless retrieve. This is due to the infinity drive system that helps create a nice balance in the drag, which is especially useful for long battles with large fish when inshore fishing for tarpon and other canal species. I compare the backbone and smoothness of this reel to the Shimano Nasci spinning reel.
Shimano Bantam: Field Test
To truly test the power and performance of the Shimano Bantam MGL, I had to enlist the help of a dear friend and trusted fishing guide. He took me out on Lake Erie right as the sun started to cast its golden rays over the water.
I paired the Bantam with my Shimano SLX rod as we loaded up near a dam right off the coast of Northeast Ohio.
Despite its weight and density, the reel felt comfortable in my palm. What I love most about the design is the sense of reliability it provides. If you pair it with the right rod, line, and lure, you know you have a bundle designed to pull anything inside the boat.
With a flick of the wrist, my lure soared through the air, propelled by the Lightweight Aluminum MGL Spool. The spool’s reduced inertia translated into effortless casts, each one stretching farther than the last. The Bantam’s Super Free Spool design ensured that my efforts were met with minimal resistance, resulting in a seamless and satisfying casting experience.
|Line Capacity (lb/yd)
|Retrieve Rate (in)
Unmatched Durability: Combining the single-piece CoreSolid body and HAGANE construction was the right move to create a reel that is truly one of the most durable ever made.
Enhanced Casting Distance: The MGL spool and Super Free design not only create a spool that is slick, but the enhanced design ensures even line lay.
Noise and Vibration Reduction: The SilentTune technology helps the line fly off the spool in a way that feels premium.
Bulky and Dense: It’s a reel that feels a little heavier than it is due to the design and material use.
The Shimano Bantam baitcasting reel epitomizes Shimano’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of fishing reel technology. With its innovative features, field-proven performance, and exceptional craftsmanship, the Bantam stands as a testament to Shimano’s dedication to enhancing angling experiences.
While its advanced features may require some adjustment, the rewards in terms of casting accuracy, control, and overall fishing success are well worth the investment.
- How to Choose a Fish Finder For All Times and Conditions - March 1, 2024
- Flipping Rods: Experts Punch, Flip and Pitch the Best Sticks - February 2, 2024
- Panfishing in Florida: Bluegill, Sunnies, and Crappie - January 19, 2024