Shimano SLX DC Review

The Shimano SLX DC is the latest in the SLX series of baitcasting reels. What makes is special is the DC or Digital Control. The DC Shimano reels have a computer in them. This computer helps activate and deactivate the centrifugal brakes with optimal timing. 

If you’re thinking that this is another gadget to charge, then fear not. The whole thing is powered by the spinning spool. So, there are no batteries needed.

This is the second digitally controlled baitcaster that Shimano has released into the US market. The first, was the Curado DC.

The SLX DC uses the same i-DC4 digital braking system. It makes over 1000 corrections per second to help reduce the probability of backlash.

Brake Settings

The SLX DC has 4 settings. They are:

1. The lowest braking setting. This setting will provide the least amount of braking for maximum distance. Keep in mind that at this setting, you will most likely have to still use your thumb. Also, Fluorocarbon lines with light lures and windy days might not go well with this setting.

2. This setting is ideal for Mono or braided lines. This is the second level of braking and is one of the more common settings if you’re an experienced baitcaster.

3. Setting 3 is called the Fluorocarbon setting. This level has more braking and will work well if you’re using Fluoro line or are in need of extra assistance. For example, if you’re casting into the wind. 

4. Setting 4 is max breaking. This is also referred to as skipping mode. So, if you’re trying to skip a lure under docks this would be the setting to use.

On the Water

This baitcaster is unique in more ways than one. It also has the DC sound. 

It sounds like a high pitched whine that kinda sounds like a tiny jet engine. 

Another feature that many anglers love about the SLX line is it’s small size. The SLX DC is no different. While it is a bit larger than the standard SLX, it is still quite small. This makes it a very easy reel to palm.

The SLX DC’s performance is very similar to the Curado DC.  You get the same Digital backlash control in an all new chassis. The SLX is a bit lighter than the Curado. It comes in at 7.6 ounces as opposed to 7.8 and 7.9. They do have the same line capacities.(See Line Capacities Below) 

So, the extra weight is the Curado may be attributed to two extra ball bearings and materials.

Overall, the feel of the SLX is very nice. I have average sized hands and can tell you  that I really like the compact feel of the SLX. If you like palming your baitcasting reel, I think you’ll like the SLX.


The SLX DC is solidly constructed. It’s made out of aluminum using Shimano’s Hagane cold forging process. I haven’t felt any flex in this reel at all.

The side plates however, are some kind of plastic or graphite. This is fine as it really doesn’t take away from the solid feel of the reel.

The spool is made from aluminium and does not have any perforations. 

The look of the SLX line of reels is something that has gotten a bit of criticism. The blue letters on the side plate and the metallic blue accents might now be everyone’s cup of tea. I personally think they look fine. I like the black matte finish on the reel.

Best Rod For The SLX DC

Th SLX DC is a reel that I find to be very versatile in application. As a result, I think you can use it with many different rod types.

Whether you’re deep cranking with fluorocrabon line, or casting a swim jig with a raid to leader set up this reel will do the job.

I used this reel with the Dobyns Fury FR 705CB. This is a medium action rod that has a slower tip. I loaded it up with fluoro and tried some crankbaits. 

The casting was smooth and long. The retrieves felt very smooth. 

I’ve also tried it with a St. Croix Medium Heavy rod. I loaded it up with braid and a fluoro leader. This setup was fantastic for launching jigs long distance. 

About the only use I can think of that this reel would not be ideal for is flipping and pitching. If you don’t need to make long casts, then this reel might not be ideal.

Skipping is still in play, of course. Backlash control is a big deal when you’re trying to skip lures. Sot the DC braking system set to the 4th setting can really help your skipping casts.

Reel Specs

Shimano SLX DC Reel Specs

Mono/Fluoro Lbs. TestYards
Braid Lbs. TestYards
ModelGear RatioInches Per Crank

Note that the left handed models has a 151 instead of a 150 in the model number. This is conventional for Shimano Baitcasters. Also, the regular models with a 6.3:1 gear ratio are listed as having 12 lbs of drag. The others show 11 lbs of drag.

However, the difference in drag between these models shouldn’t really make a difference as you’ll never really use the max drag force on a baitcaster.


Overall, the SLX DC is a great addition to the Shimano lineup. I’d go as far as saying that it may take buyers away from the Curado DC. Given that the Curado is about 70 dollars more expensive, it really is a compelling case.

The SLX DC is really only missing one major feature by comparison. That is the micromodule gearing. Still, the SLX DC is an incredibly smooth reel.

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