Ultegra SPOD XTD reel review

Shimano's stunning new Ultegra Spod XTD will make easy work of spodding, Spombing or – more latterly – Air Bombing. 

These are three ways of introducing feed quickly, accurately and in quantity to the spot. 

I reckon that your spod reel should be the best you own – think how much work it gets through in a  season. It needs the winding power to retrieve a spod or similar without you having to pump the rod like a nodding dog on a parcel shelf. 

It also needs to have a brisk gear ratio, and the gears themselves must handle more punishment than any other reel in your bag.

To that little lot you must add a braid-friendly spool that delivers a line-lay good enough to cast way over 100 yards with ease. The line clip (or, better still, three) should be able to withstand being whacked time and time again, really hard, by a braided line thin enough to slice its way through anything other than stone. 

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the clutch mustn’t slip, ever, and the line roller has to be perfection personified to totally eliminate braid spin? 

Enter the Shimano Ultegra Spod, with all these attributes and then some. The XTD boasts an elongated aluminium cranking handle with enlarged thumb knob, which gives even more winding power and creates an unrivalled sense of balance. Shimano’s unique X -Ship gearing virtually guarantees a wobble-free retrieve. My one criticism is the instant drag system, a wasted feature on any spod reel.

 However, the front-setting drag can be locked down completely solid, so there’s no slippage when casting a fully-loaded Spomb or spod – good news for your fingers!  

A 5.2:1 gearing ratio retrieves 124cm/49ins of line per handle crank, while its super slow spool oscillation produces a line – or braid – lay to rival that of the most expensive big pit-type reels. 

Add all-black looks, a sleek parallel body, and lightweight 630g (22.2oz) feel… what a reel!

Price: £134.99