Following on from the hugely successful Ultegra XTD, which re-invigorated Shimano's place in the affordable mass market, this dedicated spod reel slipped out late in 2016 with none of the fanfare it deserved.
The Aerlex XTB 10000 Spod, to give it its full name, ticks so many boxes. Super-sharp looks? Yep. Mammoth cranking power? Of course. Instant Drag function for marker-float work? Absolutely. An RRP of under £85? You bet.
The looks and super-competitive pricing speak for themselves, but let's look at its credentials as a workhorse, as the reel you will use most in your fishing life.
Each turn of the handle brings your spod or Spomb 1.15m closer to the bank on the retrieve. It's the high-speed (5.3:1) gear ratio that makes this seriously impressive stat possible. When you're at a water that demands regular baiting, you'll be very grateful for it!
This impressive package also includes a Shimano Power Roller on the bail arm to reduce line twist and three line clips. We reckon line-clip oneupmanship might be heading the way of blades on a razor, but it'll prove handy for a few anglers.
We'll be giving this reel a proper long-term test in due course, but with Shimano already famed for reliability we reckon this could finally be a worthy challenger in the spod-reel arena.