Shimano Baitrunner DL Review

Last Updated on 24 June 2024 by James Bevan

Overall Rating

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Score derived from the average of these ratings:

Build Quality - 8.0

Cast & Retrieve - 8.0

Drag / Clutch - 8.5

Value For Money - 8.5

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The words Shimano and Baitrunners go together like two peas in a pod and are many anglers go to reel of choice. 

The DL series are extremely popular amongst carp and coarse anglers due to their reliability, versatility and good quality. Being well balanced, user friendly and with an affordable price-point, its easy to see why.

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Features & Specs List With An Explanation (Based on the 10000 RB Version)

Features and SpecsExplanation
Gear Ratio: 4.6:1The spool turns 4.6 times for every one turn of the handle. This ratio is average vs similar reels of this type.
Weight: 615gLightweight design, making it easy to handle. This is comparable to the average against the majority of other Baitrunners.
Line Capacity: 0.35mm/350mAmount of line the spool can hold, important for casting distance. This line capacity is slightly above average.
Retrieve Rate: 87cm per handle turnLength of line retrieved per handle turn. This retrieve rate is on the slow side.
Drag System: Rear DragProvides reliable and consistent drag performance.
Number of Ball Bearings: 3+1Three stainless steel ball bearings plus one roller bearing which affects the reels smoothness and durability. This amount is below average compared to its competition.
Construction Material: XT-7 body and rotorDurable material offering strength and resistance to corrosion.
Handle: Machined aluminium handleProvides a balanced and comfortable grip.
Anti-Reverse System: Super Stopper IIPrevents handle from moving backward, ensuring better hook sets and control.
Spool Type: Cold forged aluminium spool with spare XT-7 spoolEnhances casting performance by reducing friction and improving line flow.
Bail Arm: Power RollerReduces line twist and ensures smooth line lay on the spool.
Special Features: Varispeed, Floating Shaft II, DynaBalanceEnsures even line lay, reduces line wear, and improves overall casting performance.

The Different Variations Of The Shimano DL Baitrunner

Here’s are the specs for the different variations of the DL Baitrunner.

Model Line Capacity (lb/yds) Gear Ratio Bearings Handle Weight (g) Retrieve Rate (cm/turn)
2500 FB 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 4.8:1 3+1 Single 349 76
4000 FB 8/300, 10/250, 12/180 4.8:1 3+1 Single 380 76
6000 RB 12/265, 16/170, 20/120 4.6:1 3+1 Double 590 81
10000 RB 12/550, 16/320, 20/220 4.6:1 3+1 Double 615 81

How The Reel Compares To Its Competitors

Here’s how the Shimano DL Baitrunner reel compares to others I have reviewed:

NameOverall RatingPrice
Daiwa Infinity X BR8.8from £379.99
Fox EOS 100008.1from £62.99
Shimano Baitrunner ST 10000 RB7.9from £64.99
Daiwa Black Widow BR Reel8from £59.99
Daiwa Crosscast BR Reel7.9from £69.99
Daiwa Regal BR Reel7.9from £39.99
Shimano Baitrunner DL8.3from £69.99

Build Quality

Build Quality
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What Does This Mean?

When we assess the build quality of a fishing reel, we test and review the materials used in manufacturing the reel and how it all comes together in the finished product.

To start with, as with most of Shimano’s Baitrunners, the DL is a good-looking reel with subtle “carpy” cosmetics that give it a professional and attractive appearance.

Like most, its body and frame is made from graphite which makes it both durable yet lightweight at the same time. In fact, at 615g it is slightly lighter than other 10000 models. Obviously the smaller 6000, 4000, 2500 are comparably lighter.

The handle is made from cold-forged aluminium and all models feature a double handle which I like although there is also a single handle option.

The reel is also equipped with three stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing, which to be honest is fine and ensures a smooth operation, however if I were to be really picky, there are other models (albeit slightly more expensive) with 2+ more bearings.

All in all though at such at an affordable price point, the build quality is spot on, making the DL Baitrunner range another one of Shimano’s triumphs.

Shimano Baitrunner DL - In Use
The classic looking Shimano Baitrunner

Cast And Retrieve Performance

Casting & Retrieve
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What Does This Mean?

This part of the review is fairly self-explanatory and focuses on how well the reel casts and how smooth the retrieve is.

Distance isn’t a factor in this assessment whereas accuracy and efficiency is.

On top of the actual, physical performance of the reel we also look at the number and type of ball bearings, the spool, line lay and the gear ratio in comparison to its required use.

Again, similar to the reel’s build quality, casting performance is very good on the DL Baitrunner as is the smooth retrieve.

This is helped by the Varispeed oscillation system that basically ensures even line lay that, in turn, reduces tangles and improves casting performance as a result.

This is further helped by the AR-C line management system, the Dyna-Balance system, the super stopper II and power roller features. 

In Layman’s terms, this means that the line lay is optimised and line twist is minimised again contributing to efficient casting that can gain those precious extra few yards where needed.

Shimano Baitrunner DL - Decent Sized Spool For Good Casting
A decent sized spool to help casting performance

Drag / Clutch

Drag / clutch
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What Does This Mean?

When reviewing the drag system on a fishing reel we are testing how smooth the drag is and how convenient it is to use.

There is no bias as to whether a reel has a front or rear drag system, it is solely judged on how smooth it can take out line relative to the amount of pressure that it is being applied.

I’ve been using Shimano Baitrunners since day dot and I can honestly say I have never experienced any issue with the clutch or drag system on any of the models I have used.

The DL is no exception to this, with the Baitrunner function being user-friendly and super smooth, as well as the rear drag system.

This reliability works alongside the Super stopper and power roller features ensuring everything works like clockwork when called upon.

Shimano Baitrunner DL Rear Drag
The clutch and Baitunner function on the Shimano DL

Value For Money

Value For Money
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What Does This Mean?

Self-explanatory in terms of an assessment but yet an important part of the review process. This is because it creates more of a level playing field.

Of course, the more expensive a reel is the more quality components it will have and as such will generally score higher.

Having value for money as a criterion allows us to judge how well a reel performs vs its price point and in turn allows us to recognise good-performing reels at bargain prices.

Scoring a very credible 8.5 on the value-for-money category, The DL range of Baitrunners offer a high quality reel, packed full of features and at a price-point that pitches it at beginners as well as more experienced anglers.

With all of this in one package, its plain to see why this reel is one of the most popular Baitrunners on the market today.

The Pros & Cons Of The Shimano Baitrunner DL

Here is a list of pros and cons anglers have found with the DL Baitrunners:



If you would like to see more fishing tackle reviews as well as compare prices with various tackle shops then you can do so here.

Additional Experts & Resources Used In This Review

Here is a list of resources we have used as part of putting this review together:

Shimano’s Official Specs Page: –

About Me

About the founder

Hi, I’m James

And I have to make a confession: I am addicted to fishing and have been for over 30 years!

As part of my therapy, I’ve started to write about all things angling.

Learn more about me and my company on the about page.

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