The Shimano Scimitar Salmon & Steelhead series of rods is probably one of the better all-around values you can find when looking for an inexpensive option.
Even better, this fishing pole also doesn’t make the same kind of missteps you often see from less expensive options, but it still has some of the same limitations.
However, given that Shimano spinning casting rods tend to err on the side of offering a quality product, figuring out where on the bargain spectrum the Scimitar lies can be a bit difficult.
That’s why this review breaks down the Scimitar to see if it can keep the price low while still allowing for modern all-around lure fishing techniques.
- Smoother casting than most
- Incredibly low price
- Extremely durable blank
- Only a fast action
- Limited length options
- Not a great warranty
Construction (craftsmanship, make quality)
This rod construction isn’t one of the standard powerful graphite rods and instead employs a graphite composite construction.
This approach sees the use of both graphite and fiberglass fibers combined with increasing the general durability of the pol without having to sacrifice too much in the way of sensitivity, allowing it to work when catching most people’s favorite species of freshwater fish.
That said, those of you familiar with Shimano as a maker of excellent products might be surprised to find none of the brand’s more advanced manufacturing techniques used on these fishing rods.
Still, with the solid balance struck between a strong and sensitive blank, the Scimitar is a decent option for all types of fishing applications.
One interesting choice Shimano made involves the handle which trades an anglers comfort for increased durability.
It should be worth remembering that this doesn’t generally impact how well the fishing pole performs in practice and might even offer a modest increase in sensitivity as denser materials transfer vibration better (like the kind you feel when a fish strikes).
There’s not really that much to note here except for the fact that Shimano actually removed some of their lengths from their main lineup.
This means that while you might be able to find a seller who has a Scimitar spinning rod longer than 7′, it’s just overstock.
The graphite composite blank of the Shimano Scimitar aims to split the difference between strength and sensitivity, making this one of the more powerful graphite spinning casting rods.
What this means in the real world is that the Scimitar blank comprises carbon graphite and fiberglass threads woven together.
However, by using both materials to gain their benefits, also means that the Scimitar dampens both of their desired effects.
As such, these casting rods are not as durable as pure fiberglass or metal rods but aren’t as sensitive as pure carbon fiber rods either.
Regardless, this does mean that you shouldn’t have to worry about the normal wear and tear of regularly using this pole.
Beyond the pole’s blank, the Scimitar also employs aluminum oxide rings for the guides which work especially well for a pole that’s likely to find its way into the hands of a less experienced angler.
Keep in mind that this also means the guides aren’t going to be quite as strong as stainless steel, though Shimano makes some pretty bold claims.
To ensure that you get the most from your budget-friendly fishing pole, the Scimitar also comes with a full cork reargrip and cork foregrip.
However, it’s worth noting that this pole uses compressed cork as opposed to rubberized or other types of cork that use different treatments to either increase its durability or, more often, comfort.
All Shimano Scimitar rod actions fall in the fast category which is actually pretty standard– even for mid-tier models but especially for beginners.
Moderate action rods, or even the crisp action of an extra fast option, allow for more specialized fishing situations but also regularly see a jump in price when compared to a series with a single standard.
Crisp Tip Action
That said, the Scimitar series rod coming with only a fast action means that all of the other heavier actions for anglers looking to increase their casting distance sit by the wayside.
Granted, this isn’t really that much of an issue for a beginner, but it definitely limits your ability to effectively use this fishing rod in some of the deeper coastal waters.
The Scimitar offers ideal powers for most freshwater fish, though they certainly can’t handle 50+ pound catfish or anything like that.
Still, the majority of the models are either medium-light or medium power which, when combined with the composite blank, makes for plenty of backbone when fighting a wily fish.
It’s worth noting that, regardless of the power rating, you will still want to be a bit careful when reeling in a big fish.
This is because the blank might be able to stand up to the pressure and abuse, but the guide inserts are another matter.
This means you need to be careful how you hold the rod when reeling in a fish to avoid the inserts popping out.
Given that the Shimano Scimitar doesn’t use carbon fiber alone for its blank, you should expect this fishing pole to tip the scales a bit more than some other models.
That said, this is still more of a medium-weight spinning rod with the cork handle, the aluminum oxide guides, and the skeletal reel seat all doing their part to decrease the weight.
Rods from the all-new Scimitar series feature aluminum oxide guides, though you won’t find any fancy Fuji system on this spinning rod.
Still, Shimano claims that their lightweight aluminum oxide guides are suitable for braided fishing lines which open this pole up to use with a wide range of spinning techniques not available to most aluminum oxide guides.
Granted, the company notes that they can’t guarantee this performance with every line material or even every type of braiding.
However, Shimano boasts that their own braided line shouldn’t cut the guides (or the blank for that matter) like they tend to with other aluminum oxide components (or pure carbon fiber blanks).
However, a word of warning for anyone with experience using a fishing Scimitar AX spinning rod as that is a different model and uses Shimano Hardlite guides which are a proprietary alloy of stainless steel.
As such, those familiar with that fishing pole will likely enjoy the smoother cast but can fall into the trap of overestimating the guides’ durability.
Handle (material, shape, etc)
The Scimitar casting rods come with a cork handle, but since it doesn’t use a true split grip, this ends up being mostly a cork rear grip.
However, Shimano doesn’t specify the grade of the cork, so at this price, you likely shouldn’t expect it to be “premium.”
While this might otherwise present durability issues, Shimano also provides a solution for that.
The cork rear grip uses a compressed cork butt cap to afford more strength and leverage when fighting energetic fish.
Still, this also comes with its own trade-offs as the compressed cork doesn’t always afford the all-day comfort found with softer, thicker cork handles.
Uses (Who is this good for)
Because the Scimitar sits at an entry-level price point, it makes a great starter pole for beginners or an inexperienced angler moving on from a cheap, stainless steel model.
At an extremely affordable price, you don’t have to worry about longevity quite as much since even getting only a few years out of this option still makes it a great value.
That said, even experienced fishermen can find value in the Scimitar as a budget-friendly option for inshore applications.
For example, the Scimitar is a perfect freshwater rod, useful for any type of predator fishing.
This makes it a great casting rod for salmon or trout fishing but may not be ideal for surf fishing with larger, stronger species.
All Shimano poles are covered by a limited one-year warranty for manufacturing defects and a no-questions-asked 30-day warranty.
However, Shimano requires that you both: purchase the rod from an authorized dealer, which may not include your local fishing shop, and include proof of purchase.
The latter is pretty easy so long as you keep the receipt, but the former may require a bit of research when buying the rod to satisfy.
This means that when shipping to the manufacturer under the standard 30-day warranty, the cost of return shipping pretty much invalidates most of the benefits of the warranty in the first place.
However, the one-year warranty, while still stuck with some of the processing fees, covers manufacturing defaults at a much lower rate.
Conclusion (Wrap Up)
The Shimano Scimitar Salmon & Steelhead spinning casting rods are awesome products in the right hands, but they’re definitely not the right choice for everyone.
If you need a pole that sits anywhere at the end of any standard casting rods spectrum, this is not the product for you.
That said, if an all-around solid pole works, this pole is an amazing value.
Shimano is well known for making awesome products with high-end components, but the Scimitar aims more to offer quality for price.
This makes the Scimitar a great choice for anglers seeking a secondary rod or as a gift for beginning fishermen who don’t want to worry about making a large fishing gear investment for a hobby they’re not sure will last.