Shimano Tallus Blue Water Review

These rods have a simple clear mission.  They have fast tips and light but sturdy barrels to let you know quickly what has hit your line while providing you with the rod strength to bring it in.  As the “Blue Water” label implies, these rods are made for salt water fishing, coming in both the spinning and conventional baitcasting varieties.   They are mid-range in price and get strong approval from anglers’ posted reviews.

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Below, I will tell you about some general characteristics of the line and then I will go through the different options and special features to help you make a choice that suits your needs.

General Characteristics of Blue Water Rods

TC 4 Blank Construction

The “blank” in construction language is the basic pole to which the guides, the reel seat and accessories are attached.  Designers are always going for strength in a light body.  Shimano has a successful patented technology for this known as “TC4 blank construction.”  It involves wrapping layers of what is known as T-glass (tough glass) with layers of graphite.   The bottom line is that this produces a small diameter lightweight rod that can hold its own with bulkier rivals in strength while surpassing them in ease of casting and handling.

Guides

These are the rings along the length of the rod that guide the line during cast and retrieval. Typically, for all rods, there is one guide for every foot of rod, but the more guides there are, the smoother the cast will be.  The Blue Water rods exceed the common norm.  There are nine guides plus the tip in all but the longest rod, where there are ten guides.  Because these are salt water rods that are designed to operate with braided line, they have to be built tough or they will get pulled off of the blank.   Shimano uses Fuji aluminum oxide, a light and tough metal strong enough to withstand the strain of braided line, but light enough to make a long day on the water more pleasant.

Reel seats

An occasional problem for fishermen is that there can be an incompatibility between your preferred reel and your new rod.  This can result in either not getting it on at all or having it pop off the rod with a fish on the line.   The reel seat is the part of the rod where you attach your reel and you want to make sure that it is not picky.    This is a problem that Shimano has paid attention to.  With its trademark attention to light toughness, the reel seats are hard plastic with chrome hoods.  Because the purpose of these rods is very focused on saltwater fishing within a certain range of braided line weight, they are constructed to accommodate the reels that are designed for this aim and there are few problems of incompatibility.

Grips on Handles

Shimano years ago experimented with EVA, a synthetic rubber that is used in high-end soccer cleats, as a grip for the handle of the rod.  It was a success as it was easier to grip in wet conditions than the traditional cork and has become a standard feature of the Blue Water rods.

Taper

The taper of a rod is where it flexes during the cast and on the retrieve.  A rod that flexes close to the tip is labeled extra fast as this gives you an immediate sense of a strike.  Whereas the Shimano rods will vary in taper to accommodate different personal styles and presentations, all the Blue Water Rods are labeled, “fast,” meaning the tips move quickly.

Another standard feature for all the Blue Water rods is that they are one piece, which is what you want for saltwater fishing.

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Options Within the Blue Water Line

Spinning Rods or Casting Rods

Your choice here depends of course on your preferred style of reel.  Because the reels are positioned differently on the rod, you need to make up your mind which type of reel you are going to use.  You could conceivably put a spinning reel on a casting rod, but you will have to fish upside down and backwards.   I actually saw someone doing that, but I do not think it was an intentional strategy.

A Word on the Labelling of the Line

There are currently 10 different spinning rods in the Blue Water line and there are 11 different casting  rods.  I will go through the different features that vary across the line, but first, this is how you read the labels.  Let’s take the least long and powerful rod of the spinning line, the TLS69MBBL.  Here is what the label means  “TLS” tells you spinning reel.  “69” tells you the length of the rod is 6 ft. 9 inches.  MB tells you it takes medium braid and has medium power.  “BL” refers to the color blue.  The only other option in color is brown.

Options Within the Blue Water Spinning Rods

With this word on labeling, hopefully you can see how the chart below summarizes your options with the spinning rods.   The top row, for example, are all the 6’9” reels.  Even within the same length, they vary according to the action of the rod and their recommended weight of braided line. Action is a measure of the strength or lifting power required to move a fish.  The internal composition of the rod and the reinforcement on the outer layer can be enhanced for greater action and this is a key variable in price and in selection of the right rod for your needs.

ModelBraided LineAction
TLS69HBBL50 to 100Heavy
TLS69MBBL20 to 50Medium
TLS69MHBBL40 to 80Medium Heavy
TLS69XHBBL65 to 200Extra Heavy
TLS72HBBL50 to 100 Heavy 
TLS72MBBL20 to 50Medium
TLS72MHBBL40 to 80Medium Heavy
TLS72XHBBL65 to 200Extra Heavy
TLS80HBBL40 to 80Heavy
TLS80MHBBL30  to 65Medium Heavy

Options Within the Blue Water Casting Rods

As you can see, the options are quite similar if your preference is for a casting rod.  You can go up to double extra heavy in action and the middle range differs slightly from the spinning reels, but other than that your options are similar.

ModelBraided LineAction
TLC66HBBL50 to 150Heavy
TLC66MHBBL50 to 100Medium Heavy
TLC66XHBBL65 to 200Extra Heavy
TLC66XXHBBL80 to 200Extra2 Heavy
TLS70HBBL50 to 100Heavy 
TLS72MBBL30 to 65Medium
TLS72MHBBL40 to 80Medium Heavy
TLS72XHBBL65 to 200Extra Heavy
TLS80HBBL50 to 1000Heavy 
TLS80MBBL30  to 65Medium
TLS80MHBBL40 to 80Medium Heavy

The Bottom Line

The construction of these rods is a proven success.  The refrain of “light, strong and capable of bringing in anything” runs through reviews of the product.  The price comes in lower than many popular saltwater rods and the reliability and performance is a guarantee.

There are a few small drawbacks.  You are locked into using braid and there are no options for the angler who wants a different taper, but if your needs fit what the line can offer, Blue Water is a good way to go.

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Categories Fishing