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Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel Review

We’ve got a good one for you this time in this Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel review.  In this review we will go over all of the reasons why this mid-tier reel which is available in 5 sizes and a variety of gear ratios is perfect for all of your offshore jigging and bottom fishing techniques. 

If you’re in the market for a reliable and high performing conventional reel from Shimano, this one is a great option. It works well with jigging, trolling, and casting plus it has a variety of features that make it stand out among other reels in this price range.

This saltwater reel takes your fishing to the next level by offering Shimano’s High-Efficiency Gearing and an ultra-high gear ratio. This means you’ll get smooth cranking no matter how much of a fight you find yourself in. 

The incredibly rigid one-piece Hagane body eliminates flex in the drivetrain which increases your leverage, strength and durability against the hardest fighting saltwater fish such as grouper, kings, tuna and AJ’s. 

The Bottom Line

recommended for saltwater

  • A great option for offshore jigging, live bait and bottom fishing
  • Very solid construction with cross carbon drag system
  • High level of manufacturing with strong smooth High Efficency Gearing
  • Very durable aluminum frame

The Shimano Torium reels are excellent and are available HERE.

For precision and accuracy, you get the variable braking system and aluminum cold-forged spool which help you get that perfect cast regardless of the conditions. 

With a name like Shimano, you know you’re dealing with a great reel from a company who understands quality and while you pay a bit for this, it is similar to buying a Lexus vs. a Toyota — it is generally just a better fit and finish.

The Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel comes in five different sizes ranging from 14 to 50 with eight total models. (Three of those models being left-handed).  With a wide option of sizes and gear ratios you can select just the right reel for you targeted species whether your going for smaller snapper or those hard pulling AL’s.

Features

Hagane Body – This reel labels itself under the “metal series” and the word Hagane actually means steel. This frame offers a rigid design that graphite cannot compare to.

Metal frames usually have a higher price tag because you won’t experience any frame twist like you would with graphite. The only thing that can compare to a metal frame is high-grade aluminum and its typically cheaper. 

The importance of this very stiff frame can not be understated.  The frame keeps all of the gears in alignment which means that you get a very smooth feel when retrieving a fish and the gears will not wear out as quickly as there is almost zero play in them.

AR-B Anti Rust Bearings – The reel contains Shimano’s one-way roller bearing for their anti-reverse mechanics. These bearings will hold up in all conditions and prevent corrosion due to extreme saltwater fishing.

All bearings that go through the A-RB treatment are ten times less likely to corrode than standard ball bearings. They come with a no shield design that makes it easy to clean out any debris and lubricate during maintenance. 

Super Stopper With Assist Stopper – One thing that always separates Shimano reels for me is their super stopper. It eliminates any back play on the reel, and once it’s in gear, you get an instant and effective hook set every time the fish takes your bait. 

Cold Forged Aluminum Spool – This Shimano reel screams durability and strength. They use a cold forging process compared to a die-cast to form the open faced spool on their Torium line of reels. As an angler, you end up with a stronger piece of aluminum on the spool so you can handle higher stress and pressure from a taut line. 

HEG – High-Efficiency Gearing – The HEG system is designed to prevent the reel from binding under pressure and it includes not just the gears but also the sideplates and frame. This system reduces twist on the gears and when combined with the enlarged drive and pinion gear you have a high-performance reel that is designed to crank in larger species. 

Precision “Click” Star Drag – The star drag system has a very definite click that allows to to know exactly where the drag is set.  The other advantage of this is that it keeps the star knob from reversing and taking drag off of the reel unexpectedly.

Oversized Clicker Button For Ease Of Use – The size of the clicker button is generous and makes it very easy to engage and disengage.  When the drag is set to a low setting, the clicker alarms you of when a fish has taken the bait and is running with it.  I don’t know about you but I never get tired of hearing the scream of the reel when I get a fish on. 

Manual Oversized Clutch – The clutch system is manual and has a nice large lever to make it very easy to switch between free spool and drag. This is a manual clutch so it will not automatically engage when you crank on the handle.

Adjustable Handle Shank – The adjustable handle shank helps reduce the weight of the reel without having to sacrifice strength and durability. You get the best of both worlds with the Shimano Torium Star Drag reel.

 Features at a Glance

  • Hagane Body
  • AR-B Anti Rust Bearings
  • Super Stopper With Assist Stopper
  • Die-Cast Aluminum Frame
  • Cold Forged Aluminum Spool
  • HEG – High Efficency Gearing
  • Precision “click” Star Drag
  • Oversized Clicker Button For Ease Of Use
  • Adjustable Handle Shank

If we take a look at the specifications on the Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel, we have five different sizes ranging from 14 to 50. Each of these offers a selection of line ratings, and they have ratings for both mono and braided. 

The smallest of the reels – the 14, gives you 300 yards of 14-pound monofilament while the largest 50 size offers 490 yards of 40-pound monofilament.  If you prefer braid then the size 14 offers 240 yards of 65lb and the size 50 can be loaded with 540 yards of 100 for your biggest catch.

If you combine the Shimano Torium Star Drag with a fast action rod like the Shimano Trevala Jigging Rod you’ll feel every tiny nibble; plus, you’ll have the right reel to get a solid hook set and crank in the biggest of fish. This reel has a thin spool which is ideal for jigging with braided line because it’s easy to manage and produces a solid connection between the fisherman’s hand and the rod.

With the Shimano Torium Star Drag, you’ll have no problem finding one small enough to fit the smaller reel seat on the Shimano Trevala Jigging rod. 

This reel is a great choice for offshore live bait fishing and bottom fishing. One thing that stands out is the flexibility in the variation of fishing you can do with this reel. You get everything you need packaged up into a reel that is priced accordingly between $200-300 retail depending on what size you choose. 

Something I personally love about the Shimano Torium Star Drag is the smaller profile of the reel overall. You’re able to palm the reel if you’re vertical jigging. It’s also a great step up from the original Torium reel if you have fished one of those models previously.

Every reel you pick up from Shimano comes equipped with a one-year manufacturers warranty, and they have service centers all over the world. When you purchase the reel, you’ll have the opportunity to register it on their website in the event that something goes wrong and in many cases you can have it serviced and or repaired at your local repair shop.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelMono Cap (lb/yds)Braid Cap (lb/yds)BearingsMax Drag (lbs)Gear ratioLine Retrieve (in)Weight (oz)Retrieve
TOR14HGA14/300
16/270
20/200
40/375
50/370
65/240
3+1176.3:13815Right
TOR16HGA16/450
20/320
25/260
50/530
65/330
80/250
3+1246.2:14618.9Right
TOR16HGAL16/450
20/320
25/260
50/530
65/330
80/250
3+1246.2:14618.9Left
TOR16PGA16/450
20/320
25/260
50/530
65/330
80/250
3+1334.6:13419.4Right
TOR20HGA20/420
25/340
30/280
50/710
65/375
80/310
3+1246.2:14619.2Right
TOR20HGAL20/420
25/340
30/280
50/710
65/375
80/310
3+1246.2:14619.2Left
TOR20PGA16/450
20/320
25/260
50/530
65/330
80/250
3+1334.6:13419.8Right
TOR30HGA25/420
30/350
40/260
50/1015
65/515
80/415
3+1246.2:14619.8Right
TOR30HGAL25/420
30/350
40/260
50/1015
65/515
80/415
3+1246.2:14619.8Left
TOR30PGA16/450
20/320
25/260
50/530
65/330
80/250
3+1334.6:13420.3Right
TOR5040/490
50/440
65/845
80/710
100/540
3+1304.9:14333.2Right

Shimano Torium Star Drag Field Test

For this field test, we paired the Shimano Torium 30 with the Shimano TVSC63L Trevala Jigging Conventional Rod. This combination works perfectly for vertical and butterfly jigging as well as for live bait for a variety of reasons. When you pair this rod with the Shimano Torium, you’ll have a combination that can withstand large hard fighting species while still producing a feeling of finesse in a heavier duty setup. 

For the initial test, I took this setup on my recent trip to Southern California where were were targeting yellowtail in mid-water column between 150 and 200 feet.  Since this is a high-gear model of 6.2:1 with a retreival rate of 46″ per crank it was very easy to move the butterfly jigs through the water.

Later on in the day we had some great top water action and I was able to cast the irons effortlessly and then get a quick retrieve just below the surface.  The combination of this rod and reel worked extremely well.

Something I’ve preached so far, but I’ll say it again is the size of this reel fits perfectly into your hand when you need that extra grip to get the fish into the boat. The rigid one-piece body proved its worth and the setup felt extremely solid.  It is kind of like the difference between an average car vs a higher-end model where the fit and finish just makes it feel and perform better.

The second time I took the rod out I was visiting my friend Jack down in Cape Coral and we took the Del Rio out to our favorite grouper hole about 100 miles off shore.  The water down there is incredibly shallow when compared to fishing off the coast of California.  We were 100 miles out and only in 100-130 feet of water on one of our favorite wrecks.

I dropped the rig down with a nice 4″ pinfish and a 4 oz. piece of lead and thump thump boom I was on.  The gear ratio of this reel makes quick work of getting the catch back to the boat which can be very important on a day like we had where there were a number of sharks in the water.  Personally, I prefer to get the whole fish back to the boat not just the head and shoulders 🙂

We made quick work of getting our limit of groupers all in the 27″-29″ range so then it was time to see if we could hook into a few AJ’s.

All in all I was very impressed with the solid feel of the reel and how smooth it was.

Pros

  • Hagane Rigid Body = No Flex
  • Easy to adjust star drag system
  • Overall smoothness and feel

Cons

  • Issues with the star drag and speed control being too close together

Alternatives

I always think that the best way to understand the quality and performance of a fishing reel is to compare it to other similar reels in price, size, and performance. Let’s take a look at some of these to see how they stack up to the Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel.

First, let’s look at the Daiwa Saltist Black and Gold Star Drag. This reel offers a one-piece aluminum frame, so it also has a metal body. It’s not quite like the Hagane body, but it’s solid and doesn’t flex under the load. 

This one also has an infinite anti-reverse which eliminates all back play for a solid hook set. This high-speed retrieval reel is close in comparison to the Shimano, and is very comparable in price.  Read the full Daiwa Saltist Black and Gold Star Drag Review HERE.

We also want to look at the Okuma Cortez Star Drag. You get a great reel for the money here, and this star drag reel works perfectly for trolling and jigging just like the Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel. Here you’ll find a graphite frame and corrosion-resistant side plates that make this reel great for saltwater fishing but don’t offer the same level of strength that you get with the Shimano reel.

One interesting feature of this reel is the Magnetic Cast Control which uses magnets on their smaller models. It helps you get a smooth cast, and when the reel slows down, the magnets engage to prevent back spooling. You’ll also pick this reel up for about 3/4 the cost of the Shimano.  Read the full Okuma Cortez Star Drag Reel Review HERE.

Finally, let’s take a look at the Penn Squall Star Drag. This reel is the smallest of the squall series and is intended for the angler who desires an open round conventional reel without a level wind system. 

One of the standout features of this reel is the live spindle design that allows the spool to float freely from the pinion gear and spindle. The result is less friction on your cast, leading to longer casts with less work. 

You should be able to reel in the Penn Squall Star Drag for nearly 2/3 the cost of the Shimano Torium Star Drag, so it’s definitely a bargain at this price.  Read the full Penn Squall Star Drag Reel Review HERE.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a middle of the road conventional saltwater reel for jigging and bottom fishing then this reel provides you with enough power and strength to take on the heavy loads.  On the flip side when paired with a quality rod like the Shimano Trevala Jigging rod you can still finesse fish for your smaller bottom dwellers.

The high-efficiency gearing and star drag makes this reel easy to use while the Hagane body and high efficency gearing system provide you with the strength and durability you need to battle your bigger and hard charging fish.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Shimano Torium Star Drag Reel
Author Rating
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