Shimano’s Baitrunner system is legendary and it continues to earn worldwide acclaim as design and new fishing applications are developed. There are four different sized reels in ‘D’ range of saltwater Shimano Baitrunners. Des Westmore reports on how the 8000D shaped up after a full year of torrid abuse.
I have been using the Shimano Baitrunner 8000D reel for a full 12 months for both heavy lure fishing and uptide work, with the majority of that fishing carried out on a 4-6oz uptide rod. Shimano ‘Baitrunner’ is a registered trademark and experience has given me cause to like and appreciate genuine Baitrunner reels not only for the underlying workmanship, but crucially for their fishing performance and solid reliability.
I have owned a Shimano Baitrunner 3500B for a long time and though the identifying model number is very different in this instance, the 3500B is only a little smaller than the new 8000D which has a stated line capacity of 250 yds of 17lb mono. What the new 8000D represents however, is at last a Baitrunner designed and for Saltwater users. I have had no problems with my old reel, so my initial expectations of this one with regards to long-term ruggedness were high. I currently have loaded it with 300 yds of 30lb red Power Pro, which required just a small amount of backing.
Packed Full of Features
The Baitrunner 8000D is only listed as having vari-speed oscillation – level 2 on the Shimano chart – but line lay is excellent with braid and much better than my five-year old 3500B. The 8000D is fitted with minimal bearings: three Anti-Rust ball bearings plus a one-way roller. Despite not being crammed full of bearings, operation is silky smooth. Anti-reverse can be switched off and the handle is of a very similar design to the Shimano Navi fixed spool.
Further features include: Graphite Frame, Graphite Sideplate, Propulsion Line Management System (Propulsion Spool Lip, S-Arm Cam, SR One-Piece Bail Wire, Power Roller III) to reduce line twist, S-Concept: S-Rotor, S-Arm Cam, Direct Drive Mechanism (Thread-In Handle Attachment, Waterproof Drag with Dartanium II Drag Washers (Cross Carbon), Dyna-Balance, Floating Shaft and Fluidrive II Gearing. That’s lot of features, and, of course, on top of that you get the famous Baitrunner system for a RRP of £175.
Brilliant BR Function
I don’t use fixed spools a great deal but when I do, I like the Baitrunner feature. I often use a fixed spool for casting away from the boat or uptiding for bream, especially with lighter leads or if fishing in a cramped space… fixed spool reels are very forgiving of a crap casting technique. In these situations, especially when using circle hooks the baitrunner feature is excellent. Just flick the Baitrunner lever and dial in enough pressure to just cancel out the tide. The fish can then move off after taking the bait and you just lift into it and it’s hooked. Well, that’s the theory and most of the time it works.
The drag is very smooth on this reel and it has done everything I have asked of it. My only concern is if you wanted to I would however be less inclined to use the 8000D in more extreme fishing situations such as all-out the speed jigging or heavy-duty uptiding. The gear ratio is 4.8:1 – which lessens the need use the rod to ‘pump’ heavier fish – with a recovery rate of 91cm per turn. This is a hard reel to criticise in any area but I could definitely detect some small amount flex in the reel foot when winding in heavy loads. While this does not affect anything I would do with the 8000D, it is something that warrants taking into account. The length of the reel body probably doesn’t help, with the reel foot mounted to the body some considerable way behind the handle. I would still have to give the reel 8-out-of-ten for general performance and because of the flawless Baitrunner system.