Reviewed: Shimano T-Curve Revolution Travel rod & Saragosa SW 5000

FOUR mates and I recently undertook a DIY boating and fishing adventure in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, launching from Derby and spending nine days in the Buccaneer Archipelago. Such an epic trip was ample excuse to upgrade my fishing gear.

The gap in my fishing armoury was a decent light-medium spin outfit. After some discussions with Fisho editor Jim Harnwell and the boys from Shimano, I decided on a T-Curve Revolution spinning rod matched with a Saragosa SW 5000 threadline reel. After giving the set-up something of a baptism of fire in the Kimberley, I’m happy to report it was the perfect choice.

The rod I chose was the T-curve Revolution Travel Bluewater LT Spin 703, one of a series of three-piece rods designed to fit into a suitcase or bag for easy transportation by the travelling angler. So called travel rods were once seen as something of a gimmick – but not anymore. Cheaper airfares but tighter restrictions on aeroplane luggage have increased the demand for compact rods, while modern construction techniques and materials mean that these multi-piece rods are now serious sport fishing tools.

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Loaded up with PowerPro the Revolution/Saragosa combo cast lures a mile and retrieved them with ease.

Designed by Ian Miller and constructed from Shimano’s TC3 three-ply weave carbon graphite blank, the Revolution Travel rods are finished with high quality Fuji reel seats and guides. As a result, they are light but extremely strong. The Spin 703 is 2.13m long and rated at 5 to 10 kg, but there are a range of other options in the series.

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Not surprisingly the Saragosa SW 5000 threadline reel was ideally matched to the rod. Shimano has incorporated a number of special features into these reels to ensure they are eminently suitable for use in salt water. Gasket-based sealing systems keep even high pressure water out of both the drag and reel body to prevent corrosion, ensuring a long working life. The reel is constructed from aluminium and graphite, so it too is light but strong.

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That’s all very well, but how did the rod and reel combination perform? Well, I thoroughly tested the Spin 703 in the Kimberley, nailing good numbers of queenfish, barra, cod, trevally and a host of other hard-pulling tropical species. Despite looking a bit clunky around the joints because of the need for some extra thickness in the blank wall, the rod performed flawlessly under load, bending into a perfect arc and providing ample power for guiding fish away from structure.

The reel, too, was very smooth and comfortable to use. This was no doubt aided by a counter-balanced rotor and a one-piece bail arm for guiding line onto the rotor. An oversized handle knob in combination with up to 10kg of drag pressure, a gear ratio of 5.7:1 and a line retrieve of 97cm per turn of the handle made for plenty of cranking power when needed. Meanwhile, with the spool loaded up with 14kg PowerPro Super 8 Slick, I could cast quite small lures an absolute mile. This was in part due to the v-shaped lip on the spool that allows line to flow of the reel in smaller loops, thus decreasing friction.

Overall I really enjoyed using the T-Curve Revolution and Saragosa combo, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one who finds this a great set up for medium-sized sportfish all over the country – and all over the country you can most certainly go with such a purpose built travel rod.

You can check out the full story of our Kimberley adventure in an upcoming issue of Fisho.

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