Daniel Report: Calcutta DC vs Calcutta Non-DC (original).

Fishing in Malaysia with a lure caster reel is becoming popular. Many anglers pride themselves by saying: I am a Caster and I will always be a Caster here in Malaysia. This is of course similar to the bass fishing culture in America and Japan. Shimano is favoured brand by these casters of Malaysia. As long as they say: I am a Caster, Shimano will be here in Malaysia.

The Shimano Calcutta is one of the best reels in the market out there. There are some competitive brands that come close, but thats only what they do. Our Daniel investigates whats the difference between a Calcutta DC and a vintage original Calcutta (manual). 

by Daniel

DC or non-DC. I've had this questioned brought forward to me a couple of times so I'll share my thoughts here and even I myself refused to get one because I like the idea of having full control of the pool with my own DC system, my thumb.

For those unsure what DC is, it stands for Digital Control which is a technology Shimano developed to control the spools rotation to reduce backlash.


There are many versions of Shimano's DC. There's the original DC (4×8, 1×8), current DC+ (3×8), i-DC4 and i-DC+. It's very confusing but each are quite different. The i-DC4 can be found on smaller reels such as the Conquest 50DC and the simpler i-DC+ can be found on the Scorpion DC.

Both i-DCs have only external controls whereas the DC and DC+ have internal adjustments as well. The one I will be referring to here will be the current Conquest 100DC which has the DC+ system. The DC+ has 3 internal settings and 8 external ones, hence 3×8.

Pop open the sideplate and you will see N, SP, F each referring to the type of lines you intend to use with N = Nylon/mono, SP = braid and F = Fluorocarbon. I will go to settings later on.


For those who thinks that having a DC reel means having no backlash, sorry to disappoint you, backlash can still occur only the frequency is less since the system is very forgiving. So naturally when I first got my Conquest 100DC awhile back, I set the internal setting to SP since I was using braid and left my external control almost off.

Perhaps I was being over ambitious. My first cast I decided to perform a very strong/heavy cast to test out the system and then a loud *PIAK*, my line snapped and my lure went flying right into the middle of the pond. I looked at my spool and what greeted me was a birdnest of epic proportions. 

Meehun goreng special tambah sotong tambah ayam.

Now here's the sucky part. DC reels do not give you the option to remove the spool without a set of Alan Key. The DC system locks the spool in place. I sat on the floor grumbling while trying to undo the mess I created myself.

Once undone, I started to dial back up the external cast control to half way and it was much better but I was still faced with a dilemma, do I thumb my spool or should I let the DC do it's job? After casting for an hour and playing with different settings, I came to a conclusion.


The DC system actually can cater for both the educated and non educated thumb. With proper setting, you can actually cast without much worry. I could cast without thumbing it at all but of course stopping it right before my lure hits the water. Casting into the wind is also a breeze (pun intended).

With the external cast control almost off, an educated thumb will benefit from this the most. The distance covered is ridiculous but what is more ridiculous is the amount of effort it takes, more like the lack of it.

Personally for me I find on SP setting the DC+ system is very forgiving. I set mine to N and then lower the external cast control varying it based on wind conditions.

So bottom line which is better? DC or non-DC? It all boils down to personal preference. Just like an auto or manual car, they will both get you there but one is just easier.

Learning to use a DC reel is extremely easy but if one wishes to truly appreciate and learn how to use a baitcaster, I would say it's still best to start with any regular baitcaster. With regards to the latest Conquest DC, all I can say is this is the most refined reel I've used. A piece of art you can call it. The gearing, the retrieve, the finishing, the tolerance…..all top class befitting it's price!

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