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Alex's Column 25 August 2023

With the exception of the pandemic closures, each year I attend the Australian Fishing Trade Show held on the Gold Coast.

This is the industry tackle show when, for two days, only people involved in the tackle industry can attend.

Primarily, it’s for tackle companies of all sizes to show their tackle – especially new tackle – to tackle shop owners and chains from around Australia, and hopefully take lots of orders in time for Christmas and the summer fishing season.

After the trade-only days, the show is open to the public and keen anglers from South-east Queensland and beyond swarm in.

One of the great things about the show for Territory anglers is the proliferation of fishing tackle that is suited to our Top End fishing scene, especially for barra fishing.

It just blows me away to see so much tackle targeted to north Australia, and therefore the NT in a big way.

Leading the pack in that regard is Australia’s biggest fishing tackle company: Shimano Australia Fishing.

No other fishing tackle company in Australia supplies high-end, performance gear to the level offered by Shimano, and it’s been that way for a long time.

This year, the new Stradic FM threadline was an absolute show-stopper.

In fact, it won Best In Show in the fishing reel category.

The new Stradic comes in sizes 1000 to 5000, with the 4000 and 5000 ideally suited to Top End barra and light tackle sport and reef fishing.

The reason this reel is so good is the incredible array of features you get for your money.

The Shimano Stella is the company’s top-of-the-range threadline reel across all sizes.

It’s the Rolls Royce of threadline reels in Australia… but it comes at a hefty four-figure price.

The new Stradic FM may not be in Stella’s class, but it has many technological features that have flowed down from Stella, including: Anti Twist Fin line management which eliminates wind knots and loose loops; the Duracross high-density felt washer which combines smoothness with durability; and Infinity Drive technology to enhance line lay and casting performance.

The bottom line is that, when you spin this reel, you can’t help but be impressed with its silky, gossamer-smooth operation… and at less than $400 for the Stradic FM 4000XG.

Now, what sort of a tackle show would it be if Shimano didn’t produce a new barra baitcasting reel?

In this instance, it’s the latest Curado M Series which is available in 6.2:1 and 7.4:1 gear ratios.

The first thing I noticed when I cradled this sweet little reel was just how light it is; at 210-215g, it is the lightest 200-size baitcaster across the whole Shimano line-up.

I won’t go into all the technological features; you can Google them.

What I will say is that this is one slick reel, and with a pleasing new design.

Priced at well under $400, I’m sure it will appeal to Top End fishing guides and amateur anglers alike.

I also reckon it would make a perfect Christmas present for the barra fisho in the family.

Moving right along with yet another new reel from Shimano, one that will appeal to many Top End anglers, it was hard not to stop and check out the latest Calcutta Conquest MD which comes in two sizes: 300XG and 400XG.

There’s not much change out of a gorilla for one of these rock-solid pearlers, but I reckon either would have a myriad of applications in Top End waters.

I’m also keen to try one in PNG on those bull-dozing Niugini bass.

Also new and on display was the Shimano Calcutta Conquest 200A.

There’s an army of loyal Calcutta fans out there, and this premium casting round reel that fits in the palm of your hand is packed with Shimano’s most-advanced features.

Packed with Shimano Stella-like features, the new Shimano Stradic FM won Best Of Show award in the fishing reel category.

The stylish, all-new Curado 200 HG will certainly find popular appeal amongst Top End barra fishos.

Loyal Calcutta fans will be rapt with the three new Calcutta Conquests which are now available in the Top End.


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