I was very fortunate to get my hands on the new Shimano Ultegra CI 14000 XT-B reels. These big pits are considerably more expensive then the XTC and XTD models but are worth every cent once you have had the privilege of fishing with them. They are the truly in a league of their own.
I do not want to bore you with the technical specs that you can get that from the web and would like to simplify it so we can all relate to it.
Let us start by the weight of the reel which has been reduced by 100g. This has made the reel extremely well balanced and suitable for almost any make of rod on the carp market currently. They have by no means sacrificed any strength as the CI4+ is 2,5 times stiffer than the original CI4 material.
As I am not one for ratios but it is simple to relate to the line retrieved. For every complete turn of the handle the line retrieved is 103cm (1.03m). So it is very simple to work out how far every cast is when retrieving the rig to re-bait if you are clipping up or when you fill the spools with line. Talking about spooling the line, for all the tackle tarts out there they also come with 3 line reduces spools ( sizes 3500, 6000 and 10000). These reduces eliminates the use of backing line as a filler and seats perfectly around the spool without any slipping. So you have the option to only fish with +/- 200, 300, 400 or 550m (without reducer) of 0.35mm mono depending on the size of water and what range you fishing. I use the 0.30 14lb Double X Extreme abrasion and it fits 600m on comfortably without any spaces and has plenty of space left for a leader. These spaces are best suited to those using braid and do not like filling up the entire spool with braid when only 250-400m is more than sufficient.
These reels each have an impressive 2 Spare Cold forged Aluminium spools that are all identical and are designed with a patented angled lip which enables the line to leave the spool with a lot less friction that will increase the distance of the cast. The spools are also tapered to aid with the casting for increased distance and less drag.
When it comes to the line lay it has to be the best I have ever seen in any reel that I have ever used. Line lay is imperative when it comes to casting as a lot of energy is lost due to this during a cast. Shimano has achieved this by the super slow Oscillation of the spool compared to the speed that the handle turns per cycle. They achieved this with an Aero Wrap II worm gear which is considered to be one of the best line lay systems in the world.
One of the most impressive features of the reel is that the front drag that has a bait runner feature incorporated into it. It allows the drag setting to be switched from a pre-set free spool to a pre-set drag by a simple ¼ turn of the front drag. It is this function that convinced me to change as I have been fishing with a bait runner since day one and have always shied away from the Ultegra range due to the continuous cranking and loosening before and after every cast to get the tensions right.
Lastly, we have all opened a reel before to try service it and been surprised by the spare parts after ‘fixing it’ and it never being the same again or the complexity of the internal components. The XT-B has an easy maintenance port that enables direct lubrication to the inner workings of the reel that is really user friendly without any spares lying around.
Please go and have a look at the impressive list of features I have not mentioned in this article on the web as I tried to simplify the very basics for easy reading and have not mentioned MANY other important characteristics that sets this reel apart from the others.
Please note that the above mention views and opinions are based on my own personal experience of using the reels.
Good luck and tight lines to all fishing.
Remember to practice catch and a safe release.