In this Quantum Smoke S3 PT Baitcasting Review, we take a look at a compact baitcaster with longer casting capabilities due to the oversized spool and increased line capacity. The reel defies all odds by having increased performance while still being compact and downsized.
The incredible advances in this reel are what separate it from reels of similar size and price. Let’s take a look at what makes the Quantum Smoke S3 PT stand out among the competition.
Quantum has made a lot of improvements to the previous Quantum Smoke with their S3 series. There is a complete overhaul of the engineering on their spinning and casting reels. This lower profile baitcaster stands out but also falls short in a few places.
On the surface the new Quantum Smoke S3 reel doesn’t look that different from its predecessors. While we expect a visual change, we don’t really need it because the Quantum Smoke series of reels has encompased 16 new technologies under the hood.
On top of that they are already easy to fish and comfortable in your hands. The reel itself has a matt grey color and drag star with black handles and side plates. Overall, the appearance of the reel is great, and it’s comfortable to handle.
The Bottom Line
- An awesome low profile baitcaster for freshwater and inshore fishing
- Very smooth reel with 11 bearings and 25lbs of smooth drag
- Easy to adjust drag and braking system
- Very durable and lightweight aluminum
The Quantum Smoke S3 PT baitcaster is an excellent reel and is available HERE.
As for features, we’ll start with the frame and work our way around the reel. Quantum engineers their reels using computer-aided design. They have an aluminum X-frame which intends to create the perfect balance of strength and weight and we think thay have achieved this.
Their design maintains the internal gears and bearings in optimal alignment to maximize performance and eliminate friction from flexing. This factor helps increase the longevity of the reel and improve smoothness on your casts.
Another feature that stands out to me is their oversized spool design. Typically, the performance of the reel improves as you increase the diameter of the spool, and that is the reason why Quantum swears by an oversized spool.
The spool itself is 35.5 mm with a low profile 100 frame. The combination brings the highest possible retrieval speed and faster acceleration for effortless casting.
I also want to talk about their ACS braking system and how it impacts the reel. Quantum uses an externally adjustable centrifugal system that allows anglers to adjust the brake settings easily. This is a great improvement to the previous version, and you can now apply added braking force using an external dial.
They’ve also added more settings to the dial to allow you to fine-tune the amount of braking pressure you apply. Towards the end of the cast, the weights will disengage to provide you with a few extra feet of cast. I think the system functions great, it’s easy to use, and it’s beginner-friendly for someone looking to jump into baitcasters for the first time.
Aluminum X-Frame – Quantum uses high quality and lightweight aluminum to provide anglers with the lightest and most durable reel possible. Using computer-aided design, they can protect the most critical gears and keep everything in perfect alignment. The result is a reel that doesn’t get in the way of your cast but instead supports it and increases the life of the reel.
Continuous Anti-Reverse clutch – The anti-reverse is in place to prevent the spool from slipping on even the largest fish. Quantum uses a precision stainless steel bearing that is built to hold up no matter what’s at the end of your line.
10+1 PT Anti-Corrosion Bearings (2PTS, 3PTAC, 5BB, 1RB) – Testing is important to Quantum, and that is why they tested dozens of bearings before deciding on this precise combination which offers the highest level of protection in saltwater. They use a saltwater torture chamber to test their bearings and how excessive exposure to saltwater can impact the quality of the bearings. The result is anti-corrosion bearings that will run smoothly in the worst conditions.
Ceramic-Carbon Drag System – Quantum combines carbon and ceramic washers to provide anglers with the smoothest and most powerful multi drag disc system. This patented design offers durable braking without retaining heat because of the smooth ceramic washers.
It is quite amazing that a spool of this size and weight can have a drag system that is capable of 25 lbs. of drag.
Oversized Spool Technology – The larger the diameter of the spool, the overall better performance you get from your reel. For that reason, Quantum uses oversized spool technology on all their new reels. This one has a 35.5 mm spool with a 100 size frame. They use lightweight and durable aluminum, so you get the highest retrieval speed and easy casting.
Micro-Adjust ACS 4.0 – This is their adjustable centrifugal braking system. Quantum worked to improve their previous braking system to allow anglers more control over the line. The ACS 4.0 gives anglers the ability to adjust how much braking force they use externally.
The reel features an external dial with plenty of adjustment settings so you can get it perfect. At the end of the cast, the brake will disengage which helps you get a few extra feet out of each cast.
PT Gear Design – Using computer-aided design, Quantum manufacturers their gears for premium smoothness. Using durable, high-quality materials, the reel allows you to beat it up for years without having to worry about compromising its performance.
PT Low Profile Design – Now we’re getting into some of the features that truly separate the Quantum Smoke S3 PT from previous generations. This reel has a low profile, so it fits comfortably in your hand and allows you to rest your thumb.
This design will yield less fatigue with improved reel sensitivity when stacked up against any other reels on the market. They managed to fit an oversized spool into one of their lowest-profile reels ever.
PT Thumbar Design – Quantum believes that the thumbar is often the “Achilles heel” of most baitcasters. They’ve provided a solution to this problem by featuring a stainless steel kick lever that doesn’t wear out. It has an anti-corrosion plate between the frame and kick lever which eliminates sticking from saltwater corrosion.
They’ve also mounted the thumbar higher to improve the comfort while casting. We found it very easy and comfortable when testing.
PT Power Handle – For this reel, Quantum added 5mm in length for a total of 95mm on their power handle. The handle features oversized EVA knobs for comfort and power.
Zero Friction Design – Two ball bearings hold the pinion gear in place and eliminate all friction with the spool shaft. The result is maximized smoothness and freakishly long casting distances when you combine it with the ACS system. If you’re looking for a reel to help impress your friends, this might be the one.
Gull Wing Side Cover – Ease of use is front and center with the Quantum Smoke S3 PT Baitcaster as well. You can quickly pop open the side cover for access to the spool. It’s also attached to the frame so it won’t fly overboard.
Hot Sauce Lubrication – The PT reels boast a special hot sauce lubricant which is said to reduce friction and increase the life of the reel. Sounds good to me.
Saltguard Protection – Lastly, they wrap it all up and package it to you with a protective saltwater barrier. This protection contains multiple anodize, primer, and finishing coatings to allow you to enjoy the benefits of your reel for years to come.
We all know that even when we do our best to rinse our gear that sometimes it just does not get done. With Saltguard there is an added layer of protection that makes this reel very durable for the long run.
Features at a Glance
- Aluminum X-Frame
- Continuous Anti-Reverse clutch
- 10+1 PT Anti-Corrosion Bearings (2PTS, 3PTAC, 5BB, 1RB)
- Ceramic-Carbon Drag System
- Oversized Spool Technology
- Micro-Adjust ACS 4.0
- PT Gear Design
- PT Low Profile Design
- PT Thumbar Design
- PT Power Handle
- Zero Friction Design
- Gull Wing Side Cover
- Hot Sauce Lubrication
- Saltguard Protection
The Quantum Smoke S3 PT Baitcaster has seven different models to choose from. They have four right-handed and three left-handed models all which share a lightweight 6.9 0z weight and a hefty 25 lbs of drag.
The right handed retreive come in a very slow 5.1:1 gearing which is great for finessing those crank baits. There is a great all around 6.1:1 available in both right and left handed retreive that is one of the most popular as you can fish just about any style with it.
For those of you that like to rip your lures through the water there is a 7.3:1 and a 8.1:1 which quantum lovingly referres to as a Speed Freak.
For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.
|Mono Cap (lb/yds)
|Braid Cap (lb/yds)
|Max Drag (lbs)
|Line Retrieve (in)
For the field testing I paired a left-handed Quantum Smoke S3 in a 6.1:1 gear ratio with one of my 7.6″ St. Croix Mojo Yak casting rods. When combined this gave me a total weight of just over 13 oz which made me feel like I had a lightweight fly rod in my hands, but I knoew that I also had a lot to work with.
I loaded the spool with about 240 yards of 20 lb. Suffix 832 Advanced Superline braid. Quantum rates the reel to hold 170 yds of 12 lb mono or 210 yds of 30 lb braid. I felt the 20 lb would be sufficuent for even those hard charging spanish, snook and juvenile tarpon as well as bull reds that I was going to be targeting.
First I headed out on a weekend trip on the east coast of Florida to target the snook. I was able to get into some great fish in the early evening and managed to get a few back to the boat that were in the 29″-32″ range. I found that the drag was all I needed to turn those fish from their cover and keep them away from the docks that we were fishing.
The oversized spool loaded with the 20 braid was a good combination and allowed me to get considerable distance when casting up to the mangrove lines. I can honestly say that there was never a time when I felt like a 30″ snook was to much for this reel. It is amazing to be able to fish a compact reel that is so lightweight and that actually has 3 lbs more drag than my Daiwa Lexa 300.
Once I returned to my home stomping grounds of Navarre I headed out to the Destin pass to see what I could find to put this reel to the test. I switched over to some live bait and free lined a small pinfish that promptly got hammered by a 32″ Bull Red. Again the drag and the stuirdy feeling of this reel was excellent.
After a few more nice sized reds I decided to move down the pass a bit and see if I could find any trout as I wanted to trest out the finess side of this lightweight setup.
I used the easy to adjust braking system and dialed it in for a 4″ paddletail on a 3/8 oz jighead. The reel cast flawlessly even as the wind started to pickup. It took a little bit of playng with the settings but I was able to get it just right so that I could easily cast 40 yards or so with a light lure in the wind and I managed to not get any backlashes.
I did manage to get into a nice patch of trout in the 17″ – 19″ range which were alot of fun along with some similar sized ladyfish and a few nice spanish in the 22″ range. Overall I have to say that I very impressed with how this reel fishes both for smaller and larger fish.
Overall, the reel is packed with performance increasing features like the ACS, oversized spool, 10+1 bearings, and oversized handle. It’s a comfortable reel to fish with and one that performs as well or better than it’s competition.
- Lightweight and strong
- Adjustable Centrifugal braking system is easy to use
- Very smooth casting and drag
- Oerall just feels great in your hand
- Nothing so far
Let’s take a look at how some comparably priced baitcasters stack up to this reel. Comparing reels is a great way to see if the features are worth the price.
First, we have the Abu Garcia Revo STX. This reel has an X2-Craftic Aluminum Alloy Frame which is corrosion resistant and strong. This one also has a 90mm reel handle which is a little bit shorter than the Quantum Smoke S3 PT. The Abu Garcia features an infinitely variable centrifugal brake lock which is easy to adjust but you do have to flip open the gullwing side plate.
This reel also has a 24 lb drag wich is very similar but is not available in a super low gear ratio. For pricing, you’re looking to pay a little more for the Abu Garcia Revo STX. Read the full Abu Garcia Revo STX review HERE.
Next, let’s look at the 13 Fishing Concept A. This reel is the baby of the Concept C, but it’s also packed with features. The reel feels solid and smooth for a free-spinning reel. It’s made using high quality machined aluminum, and it features a “dead stop” anti-reverse bearing. The Concept A has a 6-way centrifugal braking system that allows you to adjust the pins under the beetle wing side plate.
The Concept A has 22 lbs of drag, weighs the same 6.8 oz as the Quantum and does offer a super slow 5.3:1 gear ratio along with a fast 8.1:1. Read the full 13 Fishing Concept A review HERE.
Lastly, we have the Daiwa Tatula CT Type-R from Daiwa. This one has a T-Wing System which reduces casting friction and uneven line intake during your retrieval. The T design is what allows the line to flow properly when casting. It reduced friction which often hurts your casting distance. The Daiwa Tatula CT Type-R uses a magnetic braking system called Magforce Z Cast Control.
The Daiwa Tatula CT Type-R has a fast 8.1:1 but not a slower gear ratio and lacks the super strong drag with only 13 lbs, but honestly that is sufficient for most situations and thre reel is super smooth. This reel is priced around the same as the Quantum Smoke S3 PT. For the complete Daiwa Tatula CT Type-R review click HERE.
Overall, I love this reel. I think for the price it packs a lot of features into a compact baitcaster. You get the oversized spool with the ACS which makes casting and line control a no-brainer. When you stack it up against some other reels within the same price range, you see plenty of comparable features though.
If I were to pick any reel to choose instead, I would go for the Abu Garcia Revo STX, but the Quantum Smoke S3 PT Baitcaster is a great choice for both the weekend warrior and veterans looking for an easy to use baitcasting reel.