As leading tackle manufacturers strive to create the latest developments in equipment and technique, anglers benefit by having access to innovative gear that propels them to feats once unimaginable. The days when offshore fishermen heaved back on heavy duty 50-wide outfits are long gone. Today, truly giant game fish are being subdued on compact equipment that seems more suitable for mackerel than marlin.
While there are a number of high performance reel manufacturers in existence, Shimano leads the pack. The Japanese company manufactures and distributes a wide variety of products including the finest quality cycling components, rowing equipment and of course, fishing tackle. Their influence on the industry is unparalleled and after three decades of experience fishing their equipment across a wide array of venues, it is my firm belief that Shimano manufactures the most advanced and best performing fishing reels in the world.
The entire Talica lineup utilizes cold forged aluminum frames and spools, which result in the tightest tolerances for incredible smoothness.
With a longstanding tradition of providing anglers an extensive lineup of reel models designed for nearly every species, tactic and venue, selecting just one new reel can be a daunting task. If you are anything like me, the two main aspects you’ll likely consider first are line capacity and drag capabilities. With these factors in focus, it’s hard for anyone to overlook the versatility and performance attributes of the Talica II 16. Shimano spent years designing, researching and testing the ergonomics and performance features of the entire Talica series and claim they experimented with multiple gearbox angles and shapes before final production. This lightweight conventional reel is a serious workhorse and as soon as line starts screaming off the spool you’ll be a firm believer!
A blend of the Trinidad star drag reel and the Torsa conventional reel, the Talica family of conventional reels was originally designed for anglers aboard long-range vessels hailing out of San Diego. On these boats, casting distance is a critical component to scoring yellowfin tuna and aggressive yellowtail, mahi and wahoo. The only problem is that casting ultra light sardines and anchovies a great distance with typical conventional reels is anything but simple. Those with years of experience can easily underhand live bait 50 feet, but for beginners the task is no walk in the park. Thankfully, Shimano came to the rescue with the introduction of the Talica series. With a lightweight machined spool and high-grade greaseless ball bearings, the Talica freespools with zero resistance, which facilitates easy casting of ultra light ‘dines and ‘chovies. It also offers more speed, power and refinement than ever before. However, as effective as this reel is on the stern of the Royal Polaris, in recent years it has worked its way east and anglers in Florida have learned it is suitable for much more than long-range endeavors into the fertile Pacific.
Upon first glance you’ll notice the Talica II 16 has a silver anodized frame with a gold anodized drag lever and spool. The reel not only looks sleek, but also feels perfect in your hands. The entire Talica lineup utilizes cold forged aluminum frames and spools, which result in the tightest tolerances for incredible smoothness. For extreme corrosion protection the reel is coated with Shimano’s proprietary E.I. surface treatment. During the fabrication of aluminum components microscopic pores remain in the metal. While anodization fills many of these holes, E.I. surface treatment is forced into the pores and further protects the metal from corrosion. This is particularly important considering the Talica is well suited for braided line, which can trap moisture on the spool. Additionally, Shimano backs the Talica with a 2-year warranty and claims that E.I. surface treatment provides twice the corrosion resistance compared to standard anodization.
Every Talica model is equipped with High Efficiency Gearing (HEG) to further assist in subduing powerful game fish. To increase leverage and cranking power the designers at Shimano first increased the gearbox to fit the larger main drive and pinion gears. Next, they incorporated a one-piece frame with integrated set plate and a one-piece stamped side plate to eliminate flex and binding of the gears and frame under pressure. The system provides incredible cranking power in either low or high gear, with immense torque and impressive performance in any scenario.
While the standard Talica is outfitted with a L.R.S. (Long Range Special) drag cam that offers maximum drag needed for beating big tuna and was made popular by reels in the Tiagra line, the single speed Talica also comes with an interchangeable 20 lb. monofilament cam. With a slower drag curve, the 20 lb. cam was designed for scenarios where anglers need to apply minimal tension on strike when feeding baits to wary billfish.
The single and two speed variations are highly versatile and similar in every detail besides the two-stage gearing, but the Talica 20 BFC (Billfish Concept) was specifically designed for competitive sailfish and white marlin anglers. When big money is on the line anglers can’t afford to fish with anything less than the very best. Unlike the original Talica, which was designed for braided line, the BFC was created for 20 to 30 lb. monofilament and features a special drag cam with slow ramping curves specifically suited for kite fishing and dredge fishing. The specialized cam enables anglers to fish a minimum of three pounds of drag at strike.
Although the Talica is not the most affordable reel on the shelf, this is a high-grade piece of equipment you will cherish for many years and the price tag is a perfect representation of its incredible performance attributes. With the introduction of the Talica, Shimano has produced what are arguably the most high performance reels in their class and quite possibly the world’s greatest conventional reels ever designed. As the transition to lightweight, compact equipment for trolling, live baiting, bottom fishing, jigging and kite fishing continues, anglers will greatly appreciate Shimano’s workmanship and dedication to constant product development. The Talica represents the pinnacle of performance in a lightweight yet robust package. Whether you prefer jigging amberjack from the deep or grinding it out with pinwheeling tuna, wrap your hands around a Talica and feel what you’ve been missing.