Shimano Speed Master 12II Review

Which would you choose for your 40lb Reel

  • Penn Fathom 30LD2

    Votes: 35 43.2%
  • Shimano Speedmaster 12II

    Votes: 46 56.8%

  • Total voters
    81

DANG Nguyen

Newbie
Aug 1, 2017
90
71
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Garden Grove
Name
DAN NGUYEN
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none
Hi BDer this is my 1st time to post in this forum but I want to share my though about the Speedmaster 12II. I decided to go to The Longfin to pick it up yesterday.
Here are some pictures of it compare to the Talica.
20190814_150826.jpg

The speed master almost the same size of the Talica however, the spool are deeper on the Talica hence it hold more line than the Speedmaster 12II but on the box it said the same 400yrds of 65lb Powerpro
According to the schematic, the SM12II have 4 S-ARB ball bearing 1 ball bearing under the gear and one from the handle knob less than the Talica . But who care about the handle knob ball bearing anyways. I plan to order the ball bearing of the Talica to change out the bushing in the SM12II later on.
The Schematic
20190815_210630.jpg
20190815_210658.jpg

The reel is very smooth in either in high or low gear. I spool it up with 350 yrds of 65lb Powerpro and took it to Mile Square park to test. Casting is very good, the spool float freely. I've try couple of different lure the 1st one is the Daiwa SP minnow Floating model weight about 1-1/9 oz to mimic a live sardine the reel cast it with ease. Then I've try the Tady 45 and Taddy C It cast very far but the spool spin too fast and I got couple of blowup . After a while I've firgure out how to cast I be able to cast the Tady 45 pretty far with it . The trick is use the drag lever as the spool tension to let the lure drop slowly then cast out. The Rapidfire drag cam on the SM12II be able for me to do this. I can't do it on my Penn Fathom 25NLD2 though.

The line pick up of this reel is incredible, 42 inches per turn compare to 38 inches of the Penn FTH25NLD2. Compare to the Penn FTH 25 NLD2 the Speed master 2 is heavier in weight and i think it is more comparabe to the 30LD2 than the 25NLD2.
Here are some pics of the 2
20190815_001959.jpg
20190815_002031.jpg

The side plate off the SM12II is slightly smaller, easier to palm.
20190814_233313.jpg

Here we go. The inside of the SM12II is almost identical with the Tac12II. We have 2 large HEG brass gear with 2 dog anti-reverse clutch.
20190814_233022.jpg
20190815_204038.jpg

Compare to the gear box of the Penn FTH25 NLD2. The diameter of the low speed gear of the 2 is comparable at 55 mm however, the high gear of the SM12II is only 45mm compare to 47mm of the Fathom. The gearing of the FTH is stronger with stainless steel gears ; However, the gear of the Shimano Speed Master 12II is very smooooth and silent. So far the Speed Master 12 is a cheaper Talica 12II missing 2 ball bearing and cast aluminium instead of cold forge machine alluminium but with the MSRP of $249. I think it will give Penn FTH LD2 a run for it money. Can't wait to put fish on it.
So what would you guys choose between the 2?
 

swami 805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 9, 2016
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Bill
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sunk it
Thanks for taking the time to post. Looks like a lot of good features for the money, good to see 2 dogs to back up the ARB.
 

DANG Nguyen

Newbie
Aug 1, 2017
90
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Garden Grove
Name
DAN NGUYEN
Boat
none
There is no Instant Anti Reverse Bearing in this reel or the Penn Fathom. The reason is you need a little play to change gear back and forth. Thats why the Talica Lever Drag 1 speed have the ARB but the 2 speed doesnt.
 

fishfish

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 21, 2006
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Sold and Gone!!!
Wow Dan....Great reel review/breakdown !!! Thanks.
 
Last edited:
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DANG Nguyen

Newbie
Aug 1, 2017
90
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Garden Grove
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DAN NGUYEN
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none
DRAG TEST:
Yesterday I have perform drag test on both the Shimano Speedmaster 12II and Penn Fathom 25 NLD2 by using hand scale. Both reel was fill up with 65lb Power Pro and 40lb mono top shot.

The Penn FTH 25NLD2 : Drag was set to 12lb at strike and the reel still completely free spool but losing it free spool at 18lb. When drag was set to 18lb at Strike it is hard to push the drag lever to Sunset . I can feel the resistant as I turn the handle despite the Penn have the thrust bearing to reduce side load. The most drag I can get out of the FTH 25NLD2 at Sunset with full spool is 22lb.

The Shimano Speed Master 12II
: When drag was set to 22lb at Strike the reel still maintain free spool. After turn to Full the drag jump up to 35lb right away (due to the Rapidfire drag cam). The SM12II losing free spool at 35lb drag but the drag is still smooth . The most drag I can get out of the SM12II at Full with full spool is 35lb.

To be conclude, I think the Speedmaster 12II drag is more capable of the Penn Fathom 25NLD2 not only on paper but also in real world test. I think I can use this reel as a 40lb - 50lb setup with no problem.
 
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jer dog

Fishing is life
Jun 22, 2006
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One that floats
Beware of Shimano`s reputation for not supporting their reels with parts after they discontinue a line.
That’s funny because they have never
had trouble Repairing any of reels because they did not have what they needed
Parts wise ,to service them.
 

gary760

Member
Apr 4, 2013
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GARY
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Beware of Shimano`s reputation for not supporting their reels with parts after they discontinue a line.
Not likely to be a problem with this reel Shimano conventional reels tend to stick arround in production a lot longer than other manufacturers, TLD ( way over 30 years) tiagra ( over 20 years ? ) in that time penn and okuma have had many reincarnations, improved ? Models many of them very good of course.
 
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anemic

circling the drain
Mar 6, 2004
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DANG thanks for the review – looking forward to hearing the results of your overnight trip.

When targeting BFT with a two speed that holds at least 300 yards of 40# braid, one might wonder if reels like the Avet JX (6:1 high / 3.8:1 low = 46” high / 22” low) have low enough gears to get line when the fight goes up and down. The Penn Fathom two speed FTH15LD2 (6.1:1 high / 2.8:1 low = 31” high / 14” low) appears to have the lowest gears out of the inexpensive two speeds. It will be interesting to hear how the SpeedMaster II (5.7:1 high / 3.1:1 low = 42” high / 23” low) performs when it’s time to really pull.
 
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steelfish

Baja Boy..
Oct 16, 2008
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dos por favor
To be conclude, I think the Speedmaster 12II drag is more capable of the Penn Fathom 25NLD2 not only on paper but also in real world test.
where the real world tests?
maybe you mean "lab tests"

I understand "real world test" as fish caught by those reels, Fathom have caught tons of good fish and the speedmaster is just too knew.

with that said, Im not big fan of the fathom, I sold mine to get me a Makaira 15 which is in a totally different category, but I avoided the Talica when I was shooting for a $500 bills reel.
 

DANG Nguyen

Newbie
Aug 1, 2017
90
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Garden Grove
Name
DAN NGUYEN
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none
where the real world tests?
maybe you mean "lab tests"

I understand "real world test" as fish caught by those reels, Fathom have caught tons of good fish and the speedmaster is just too knew.

with that said, Im not big fan of the fathom, I sold mine to get me a Makaira 15 which is in a totally different category, but I avoided the Talica when I was shooting for a $500 bills reel.
I took the Speed Master 12II on the overnight trip on last Wednesday, I hook up a 20 lb Tuna and feel like cheating using the Speedmaster II it's overkill to use this reel on the school size fish. I haven't got any bigger fish on it to test out the full capacity of the reel but will report back when I did.
About my test , it is not really the lab test either and I'm no reel expert . I use the mighty Fathom as a point of reference to compare with the new Speed Master II. I'm not saying the Speed Master II is a better reel. I'm saying the Speed Master II drag is more capable because I can get more drag out of it 35lb vs 22lb drag.
I know the Speedmaster II is too new and need a lot field test to proof it a good reel, but when im compare to the Talica it not much of a different. Yeah I have more plastic, lack couple of bearings but using the same gear material and mechanical with the Talica and almost got the same design. So if you have an arsenal reel setup with Talica you will want to buy this as a backup because you know what you will get out of it.
About the Makaira, I'm about to sell my Fathom to buy the Makaira 15T , but after buying the Speed Master I think I will not buy the 15T anymore because the 15 and 15T is not much bigger than the Speedmaster 16II ( the wider reel of the 12II). However, I will buy the Makaira Sea 16 instead for cow Tuna. That's my 2 cent.
 

DANG Nguyen

Newbie
Aug 1, 2017
90
71
18
Garden Grove
Name
DAN NGUYEN
Boat
none
DANG thanks for the review – looking forward to hearing the results of your overnight trip.

When targeting BFT with a two speed that holds at least 300 yards of 40# braid, one might wonder if reels like the Avet JX (6:1 high / 3.8:1 low = 46” high / 22” low) have low enough gears to get line when the fight goes up and down. The Penn Fathom two speed FTH15LD2 (6.1:1 high / 2.8:1 low = 31” high / 14” low) appears to have the lowest gears out of the inexpensive two speeds. It will be interesting to hear how the SpeedMaster II (5.7:1 high / 3.1:1 low = 42” high / 23” low) performs when it’s time to really pull.
The Fathom 15LD2 is a tiny reel. It is a small yet powerful reel but the line pickup for the low gear is ridiculous . I took it rock fishing and it take forever to pick up line using the low gear. Don't use it for bluefin unless you have your own boat.
The Speed Master line pick up is incredible in high gear and 23'' in low gear it is not too bad but it is powerful 20 lb tuna is not even fair on this reel I will report back if I have a chance on bigger fish. I never handle an Avet Jx so I can't say anything about it. Hope this help.
 
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hucklongfin

Deep release specialist
Jul 3, 2003
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MarkT
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The Mak 15t is taller/narrower than a Speedmaster/Talica 16. Much nicer form factor for me. But then I have the Mak 15t/16/20/50 SEa’s in silver. I’ve caught 30# BFT on a Fathom 12 w/20# with no problem so a 15ld2 would feel unfair.
 
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