Like many anglers, I enjoy shopping for gear and reading about it as much as I do fishing itself. In the off-season, learning about what’s new in fishing tackle becomes almost an obsession, but not quite! When I do find a rod or reel that suits me well, I like to share my thoughts with other fishermen. In that spirit, I’d like to offer a brief review of a reel I’m quite partial to: the Shimano Tribal Ultegra 5500 XTA.
Fishing Tackle – About the Shimano Tribal Ultegra 5500 XTA Reel
The Ultegra 5500 XTA was released at a Shimano trade show, and it has met with considerable approval. Although small, this is a perfect reel for larger carp, and other species as well. It’s also light, weighing just 570 grams (before you wind on the line), and features a front spool baitrunner system. A baitrunner reel, by the way, is one that is identical to a fixed spool reel, with the exception that it’s capable of baiting fish with the bail closed, whilst still having the reel completely in free spool mode. I’ve found this reel to be perfect for all distances, from short to quite long.
Fishing Tackle – Key Features of the Ultegra 5500 XTA
The first thing you notice about the Ultegra 5500 XTA is that it has a very unique look. It sports a RealTree™ finish. RealTree, I’ve learned, is the world’s leading company for versatile and distinctive camouflage patterns, such as the popular Hardwoods™ finish on this reel. This is a manageable, scaled-down version of a bit pit reel, which makes it a great choice for many anglers. Despite its size, it’s capable of casting significant distances, and delivers excellent line lay, along with plenty of control. The reel comes with a spare spool and a carrying case. Expect to pay around £189.99 for it.
Fishing Tackle – More About This Shimano Ultegra Reel
The Shimano Ultegra reel has a unique character that offers a sleek, modern design and a solid feel, both of which are backed by superior performance. The ergonomics are superb, so the reel is supremely comfortable to hold, even for extended periods. The casting distance is excellent. You can expect a range of 100 to 120 yards, using 4oz leads. The reel’s handle is large and comfortable, due to its biomechanical design. It cranks about a yard of line per turn. The baitrunner system is very easy to engage, requiring just an anticlockwise quarter turn of the outer drag knob to set it. I’ve found the clutch to be super-smooth, a feature that’s quite important to me. A set of washers is included as well, so it’s simple to customise the taper of the line lay. Although I’m usually not concerned with a reel’s appearance, I do have to admit that the 5500 XTA is quite striking, and seems destined to become collectible.
The Shimano Tribal Ultegra 5500 XTA reel would make a great addition to any angler’s collection of fishing tackle.