Love chasing big fish on light tackle? Can’t really justify buying a Stella? Let’s check out the it’s more affordable sibling, the Twin Power.
The 30-year-old Twin Power is a lesser glamorized powerhouse of a reel that deserves more notice. Not as iconic nor as prestigious as the Stella, these reels have the benefit of being the silent but deadly sibling.
Upon their release in Yokohama early this year, their main focus was STRENGTH AND RIGIDITY.
Shimano focused their efforts on making this reel rigid, stable and durable. With extreme focus on rigidity, and reduction of flex during battle, claiming that it is the strongest Twin Power yet.
Twin Powers have benefited from trickle-down technology from the top range Stella, only one series behind in terms of features and materials used. Ranked as the second best in the Shimano reels lineup, it definitely has power under the hood.
These reels are made in Japan so you can rest assured that these reels are built with perfection in mind.
Only downside I see are the current sizes available. The Twin Power FD series for 2020 only comes available in 1000 – c5000 sizes.
We may have to wait until next year before they release the SW versions. I’m not expecting too much as the world’s current condition isn’t really suitable for the fishing gear and equipment market.
Will keep my fingers crossed though.
For now, let’s take a closer look at a very capable inshore saltwater reel, that will be comfortable and capable offshore as well.
Having just held the reel in my hand recently, the c5000xg to be exact, due to delays in shipping and all that drama, it feels exactly like a 18’ Stella.
I haven’t tried out the reel yet, but I can already tell that this bad boy has some serious fight in it.
The looks are a stark change from the previous model, with a dark gray base with gold accents. A very familiar colorway.
There is a very mild and subtle improvement in the cranking smoothness compared to the 17’ model. It could be that this one is new out of the box though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Also, the c5000 sized reel comes equipped with a Yumeya ball knob, somehow adding a placebo smoothness effect.
The Micro Module Gear II and Silent Drive upgrade also added to the buttery smooth cranking. Expect the Hagane gears to perform well under pressure too. Proven effective for years.
Body markings and branding are limited to the TP logo on the spool and size number opposite. Keeps things classy and elegant, which I like very much.
Was tempted to do a sniff test and smell the reel upon unboxing. Remembered that there is a fatal disease that spreads through breathing so yeah, changed my mind quick.
That’s all for the first impressions so let’s take a deeper dive into what makes this reel a suitable alternative for the top-range Stella.
The box, manual and website only states that the Twin Power has the full-metal HAGANE body. Quite a vague description to be honest, which made me do some more digging.
Shimano field tester Kenshi Kuroda mentioned in his blog that the reel’s body is a hybrid mix of aluminum and Ci4+.
Only time will tell if this hybrid mix of metals will last, but previous iterations from Shimano have proven worthy time and again. We just have to wait and see for ourselves.
Unlike the trusty Saragosas, the Twin Powers do not use any graphite materials in its body and rotor at all. This will prove beneficial in the long run. If Saragosas survive time and again with graphite components, the full-metal construction of the Twin Power will surely stand the test of time.
Let’s move on to the Twin Power’s most touted upgrade.
Shimano has upgraded to a full-metal rotor for this year’s Twin Power.
Magnesium for the smaller sizes and aluminum for the 4000 and c5000 sizes.
The full-metal rotor definitely added more rigidity. Eliminating the mushy feel or flex when under pressure.
The one piece bail also adds to the overall rigidity, eliminating unnecessary removable and moving parts from the equation.
I spooled up some old line from my Saragosa to the new reel, hooked it up to a light popping rod and did some load tests on some furniture.
Was very hard to test things out at home alone, but I can confirm its rigidity. This will be very good for battles with fish under pressure.
Expect solid hookset and battles without the rotor or body flexing. The body does not deform under high loads as Shimano has upped its torsional rigidity.
Here we have a perfect example of a trickle-down benefit from the Stella range.
With the upgraded Long Stroke aluminum spool like the 18 Stella, the Twin Power gets a taller upgraded spool, which Shimano says adds to the casting performance of the reel.
Apart from the spool height, they’ve also gone with aggressive stylish porting. The porting looks like chef’s knives in a line, but looks good, nonetheless.
The Shimano website, box, and manual fails to mention the specific drag materials present in the reel.
They only have the “Rigid Support Drag” label which I believe is the upgraded drag support housing similar to what the Stellas have.
But upon checking the drag washers, my c5000xg had the Cross Carbon drag washers installed. This basically means that the washers are cross hatched, making a rough texture for more grip and ventilation to prevent overheating.
This is not surprising at all, as the Stellas down to the Saragosa SW reels have them installed too, making it equally suitable for saltwater use.
With a maximum drag rating of 11kg, it is more than enough to subdue our targets. Remember this is 11 kg drag on a c5000 / 4000 sized reel.
Check out Hideyuki Matsuoka subdue a 40kg yellowfin tuna on the c5000xg Twinpower here.
Had my cousin grab a stickbait tied to the line and run around the street to test out the smoothness of the drag. Results were as to be expected from a reel of this caliber. No jumping, stuttering or inconsistent rubbing. A smooth and consistent release with even pressure at all times.
As mentioned above, the sizes are currently limited to 1000 – c5000 only. The SW or larger saltwater models have not been released yet, but we can hopefully expect them to come out early next year, if conditions improve.
For light offshore casting for tuna, wahoo, macks, mahi mani and other pelagics, the c5000 size is a capable reel. Inshore bottom bashing, light jigging and general lure fishing in saltwater this reel may quickly become my favorite.
The lifespan of a reel heavily relies on the maintenance it receives. If a reel is constantly exposed to the elements and rarely get serviced, it may have corrosion issues in its near future.
The Twin Power gets some trickle-down love from the Stella in this department.
Ditching the old Core Protect waterproofing, it now has the X-protect system, making it more water resistant. Shimano also states on their manual that it safe to be submerged in saltwater.
I still won’t recommend you do this as keeping your reels above the water as much as you can results in a longer service life. Less corrosion = more fun.
The X-protect and X-shield means they are “almost” fully sealed. The waterproofing of the reels is accomplished by smart design and strategic placement of grease where it’s important.
Shimano prevents water intrusion by designing a series of interlocking lips where the spool and rotor meet, with grease applied at the very last innermost lip preventing water intrusion.
The Twin Power is not a cheap reel. A definite “you get what you pay for” scenario.
It has all the qualities you would want in a inshore saltwater designated reel. Power, smoothness, strength, and rigidity. It will perform for sure.
I cannot speak for its durability yet. It’ll take a proper year or so of hard use before we can accurately judge its durability and ease of maintenance.
But if you are keen to get yourself a high-end performance reel, this is as close as you can get to a Stella without the same price tag.
With most of the top of the range features installed, this is an excellent alternative to the expensive Stella.
Will you get a Twin Power for your next trip?
Photo credits: Shimano Australia