Shimano TranX 200HG
If you’re after a robust, saltwater baitcaster, one with ultra-smooth winding, long-cast efficiency, super-fast gear ratio and nearly 6kg braking ability, you need to check out the Shimano TranX 200HG. Review by Alex Julius I fell in love with the Shimano 300HG which was an absolute weapon on Papuan black bass on a Nuigini trip last year. Ironically, not two weeks later, I was wandering through the Shimano stand at the Australian Fishing Trade Show when I spotted the new TranX 200HG. Shimano had kept that one quiet as I hadn’t heard even a whisper about its impending arrival, and what a pleasant surprise it was. I put my order in immediately and it has already become my favourite barra baitcaster.
The new Shimano TranX 200HG series is a beefed-up, saltwater-designed baitcaster which incorporates Shimano’s Core Protect concept to take on the toughest salt and heavy-duty freshwater water assignments. The TranX 200 is more than just a compact version of TranX 300; it’s much smaller – the same size as the Curado 200. Shimano’s TranX 200 is silver with black handle and accents, and appears to share the same profile as the Shimano Curado 200K which has a satin black body. Where it differs significantly – given its robustness – is in the internals. The Core Protect feature ensures ultra-smooth winding while minimising saltwater intrusion into the reel’s gearbox. The TranX 200 utilises 3 +1 stainless shielded anti-rust bearings and employs the reliable SVS cast control braking system with an external adjustment wheel on the palming side-plate for maximum casting control. All the critical components are held precisely in rigid alignment by a durable Hagane aluminium chassis. The spool bearing is housed on the spool shaft rather than mounted in the chassis (as per Curado) for extra spool support when drag pressures are near maximum. The drag star features click indents, which makes for easy reference when making adjustments to the cross carbon drag which yields line smoothly – even at its maximum 5.5kg drag – with typical Shimano reliability. Handle length on the HG model is a generous 10cm giving plenty of leverage and cranking power. ON THE WATER The TranX 200 has a familiar feel once out on the water. As mentioned, it has many similarities to the Curado K 200 which is not necessarily a bad thing given that the Curado is such a wellregarded, even iconic, reel. My observation on this is that Shimano has upgraded the level of saltwater proofing and taken the durability and robust characteristics to an even higher level in the TranX – a Curado on steroids if you like! Mechanical operation has been faultless: the thumbar spool release transitions in and out with a reassuring, positive click while winding, as mentioned, has been a particularly smooth experience. Once I adjusted the external cast controls to my liking, it was no surprise that the TranX 200 casts sweetly with a variety of lures, both hard-body and soft. And it gets some real distance too. Given it’s a 200 size reel, finesse baits were not on its agenda, but from 8-10 grams and upwards. It’s great. General barra duties, both casting and trolling, were well handled and during a crossover jigging session on the bluewater the TranX accounted itself well on a variety of reef species and a couple of biggish Spanish mackerel. The HG model features a fast 7.2:1 gear ratio and can hold 190m of 30 pound Power Pro braid. It weighs 220 grams. Other models include the 200A with a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and a left-hand model with a 7.2:1 ratio as well. For absolute peace of mind, all TranX reels have a 10 year Shimano warranty. http://www.shimanofish.com.au/