I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

• Shimano Callisto Review

The Shimano Callisto CSO100 was my very first baitcaster. I bought it as a combo at Walmart for around $40 in the summer of 2006. Later that fall they were selling closer to $60. I'm not sure why I found a cheaper price. They paired it with the 6'6" Shimano Sojourn medium action rod. The reel by itself costs around $40. This reel is a good starter baitcaster, but I still use both of mine.

Here are the stats.
Right hand retrieve
26" line per turn
8lb/185yd, 10/170, 12/150, 14/110
8lb drag
1bb, 1rb
6.2:1 ratio
only 7.8oz (222g)

I wanted to give a baitcaster a try and had heard bird's nest horror stories about them. I did some reading and most people were very satisfied with the Shimano brand. Not knowing whether I could get the hang of a baitcaster, I decided to go find something on the inexpensive side. The Shimano Callisto was the first and only inexpensive Shimano reel I could find. It came as a combo with a rod too.

What's not to love?

I had used monofilament in my reels for as long as I can remember, so that's what I spooled on. I backlashed quite a bit starting out and then read a little about lines like fluorocarbon and ultimately, came upon a line called Yo Zuri Hybrid. I picked up a spool of that stuff and fed it on my Shimano Callisto. I found that I experienced fewer backlashes. The confidence in the reel began to build, which is always a very good thing. In no time at all, I became very proficient with this reel.

The Callisto has a graphite constructed body and a precision aluminum spool. It has two bearings and that's not a lot. There is one stainless steel ball bearing and one stainless steel roller bearing. I did appreciate the magnetic brake controls however. This EasyMag system was definitely easy. I went from throwing backlashes and casting too far to the left to fully understanding how a baitcaster needed to be fine tuned. The instructions that came with the reel helped explain the centrifugal braking system. The manual includes instructions on adjusting the magnetic and friction controls. This reel also features the Super Stopper anti-reverse and Quckfire II clutch bar casting system.

From the manual
"Super Stopper anti-reverse uses a one-way stainless steel roller bearing to eliminate backplay. It helps you drive the hook immediately upon hook-set. In addition, the Callisto features Assist Stopper, a backup anti-reverse pawl to ensure zero failures."

I had read somewhere that the gears were plastic. I cannot confirm that, but a commenter here pointed out that the gears were not plastic except for the two that spin the level wind and worm shaft. I have also read that there is either a bearing or gear upgrade to something close to what the big boys have. I haven't found any info on that upgrade and I'd like to know what it costs.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the Shimano Callisto as my first baitcaster. I was so satisfied that I bought another. It's now become a backup reel in my collection, however, it's always a handy rig to have a 1/4oz spinnerbait or crankbait tied on. One is rigged on a more sturdy medium Gander Mountain Guide Series rod and the other is on the original medium Sojourn rod. A 6.2:1 ratio is pretty good for most use and the drag has held up against some fun fishing. Pulling in only 26 inches of line per turn is a tad on the weak side and might leave you cranking like a madman trying to take up slack fighting a fish. I sometimes have trouble keeping a plastic frog on the surface. I doubt the Callisto requires that much maintenance, although I did poke around and oil a couple of spots with some Hot Sauce. I do mean only a couple. Never use too much oil folks. You might also notice that in the photo below one of the handles on the crank is a little bent. I don't recall when that happened, but I don't think it took much to do that kind of damage.
Other than the few weak points I've mentioned, one other problem I have with this reel is the distance coupled with the whiny noise we all come to recognize in baitcasting. It does make a whine when you cast and my second Callisto doesn't feel the same as the first, but after some recent tinkering, I squeezed out more distance with less whine. If you buy one, keep that in mind. Maybe they all aren't created equal. I can now throw a 1/4oz spinnerbait 80 feet by my eyeball estimation and a 1/4oz rattle trap at least 110 feet. That's comparable to the more expensive reels in my arsenal.

The 6'6" Sojourn rod (SJC-66M) is an average performing medium power rod and although rated for lures 1/4oz to 3/4oz, I'd avoid throwing anything over 1/2oz as the tip can't seem to handle the weight well. There are exceptions. For instance, it handles a 3/4oz Norman DD22 crankbait like a pro even if the tip bends. On the other hand, a lure like a Stanley Bull Ribbit feels more like a wet towel hanging on the end. I think the tip has a faster action to it. I have to cast anything that heavy with an underhand swing as if I'm lobbing the lure. The guide at the tip on my first rod has worn down quite a bit too and has been replaced (Heat the shank of the tip until it slides off. Then put a new tip on). The line rating for the Sojourn is 6 to 15lb, but I rarely pay attention to line ratings. The cork foregrip is low-set and unobtrusive which is the style I prefer. The rod also features a hook keeper just in front of the foregrip on the superior surface of the rod. Some rod makers put the hook keeper on the side and others have none at all. I'm no expert at rod balance, but to me it seems a little off and favors the tip more than the handle. Aside from what I have mentioned, the Sojourn rod is excellent for the price.

The Shimano Callisto is a great starter baitcaster combo and definitely one you can keep using. I love both of mine and always get the urge to buy another when I come across one in a store.

Related Posts:
Taking Apart The Shimano Callisto
Adjusting The Shimano Callisto

Related Links:
Callisto CSO-100 Manual
Callisto CSO-100 Schematics


Anonymous said...

No, the gears are not plastic, in answer to your question, except the two small gears that spin the worm shaft and level winder. The rest are brass gears or aluminium ones.

Anonymous said...

i have this identical rod and reel combo which i bought for 45$ at sporth authority,its great as a starting bait caster or even for experienced people,holds up great against big fish,dont worry about the specs and bearings,its smooth and reliable,get used to it and u wont backlash anymore

Anonymous said...

I just bought this reel and spent 3 hours down at the river, some frustration for sure but soon got used to it. I think I will like it more tomorrow. My rod was also a little light at 7' and 1/8 - 1/2 oz. and tried a big Walleye lure, nice birds nest for sure. Definitely has its limitations but will work well under the right circumstances.

Anonymous said...

i used it the first time in sw and landed a 10lb bluefish using 12 lb mono. was a great fight and the drag was smooth. no regrets.

Corey Willey said...

Love shimano fishing reels in general but bait casting is not for me. Give me a good spinning reel all day. Too many birds nests