Hands on With the new Shimano Curado

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama— Fishing Tackle Retailer got hands on with the new Shimano Curado today at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic Expo. Though we weren’t able to test the reel in action yet, we did get a thorough walk-through and some hands on experience.

What we discovered is a genuine effort from Shimano to address the issues which plagued the last Curado and led to a decrease in their sales in the sub-$200 baitcaster market. In short, the Curado’s quality does appear to be significantly improved.

The new Curado I series is available in five models – the Curado CU200PG, CU200, CU200HG, and left-hand retrieve CU201 and 201HG.

Shimano has staggered gear ratios throughout that line– the 200PG has a slower 5.5:1 gear ratio, the 200 and 201 have a 6.3:1 ratio, and the 200HG and 201HG have a fast 7.2:1 gear ratio, “anglers have the right reel for the baits they are using,” said Robby Gant with Shimano’s product development staff, “plus the benefits from our latest baitcasting reel technology including SVS Infinity Braking System, S3D Stabile Spool Design and X-Ship.”

Relying on ‘inner friction’ to provide consistent brake force, Shimano’s innovative SVS Infinity braking system provides easy-to-manage, consistent spool control and brake force on the new Curado I series baitcasting reels. With brake weights using ‘inner friction’ against the raceway during the cast, SVS Infinity controls spool speed especially when using lighter lures, plus the external adjustment knob provides for quick, precise adjustments for either the conditions or when you switch baits.

For “an incredibly smooth feel when casting and retrieving lures, anglers will notice how our Stabile Spool Design (S3D) has a tremendous effect reducing spool vibration,” Gant said. He explains that S3D technology enables Shimano to construct a thin wall aluminum spool to provide better balance.

X-Ship is all about gear durability, and how it enhances casting performance for longer casts and when using lighter lures. “With X-Ship, we support the pinion gear on both ends with bearings, keeping it in precise alignment with the drive gear even under heavy loads,” said Gant. “It’s proven technology from our Tranx and Calcutta D series – reels primarily used with big baits to target big fish. As anglers have always expected from our Curado reels, they are ready to handle every day, every weekend on the water use.”

If that sounds like a lot of technical jargon, it is. But what it boils down to is this: at least on the display models that FTR tested, there was a significant difference in feel and smoothness on reels that did and didn’t use X-Ship.

To cast lures like bigger crankbaits and spinnerbaits – and to work more water, the Curado 200PG retrieves 23-inches of line per crank. The CU200 and 201 can provide more versatile use – jigs, small crankbaits, lipless cranks, jerkbaits and swimbaits – while retrieving 26-inches of line per crank. Anglers can expect 30-inches of line retrieved per crank to come tight quick when fishing worms and jigs with CU200HG and 201HG. All five Curado I reels handles from 190 yards of 30-pound test to 80 yards of 65-pound PowerPro braid (or up to 110 yards of 14-pound mono).

With five S-ARB anti-rust ball bearings, and a one-way roller bearing for absolutely no handle backplay, the Curado I also include proven Shimano feature including Super Free and Super Stopper, a Cross Carbon Drag, and an Offset Handle Design.

“The Curado standard continues with these new reels,” Gant said. “We realize anglers have special expectations with our Curado reels, and we fulfill our ‘Get More’ goal with these new reels and the new Shimano technology now featured in them. From the first series going back to 1991, our goal is to always to exceed the expectations anglers have in us and their Curado reels.”

For an iconic brand shooting for a rebound, the new Curado is a nice start.

MSRP for the new Curado is $179.99.