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Shimano Curado I Review

The Shimano Curado I baitcasting reel was released in the second quarter of 2014 and is what I would describe as the value segment of baitcasting reels from Shimano with a street price in the $149 range.  The Shimano Curado I is the latest in a long history of Curado baitcasting reels that date all the way back to 1991 when they were first introduced.

Let’s dig into the review of the Shimano Curado I and see what it is that keeps this baitcasting reel in the mainstream of low-profile design baitcasting reels.  Like other Shimano reels, the Curado I is known for being an extremely smooth retrieving reel thanks to the X-Ship technology and Shimano’s Stable Spool Design (S3D).  Durable is a key to any reel and the AL aluminum frame and shielded A-RB stainless ball bearings are designed to give many years of performance.  This is a reel that has great castability and seems to just fit your hand perfectly, I think that Shimano has paid great attention to detail and has created a little powerhouse of a reel.

While most people would consider the Shimano Curado I to be a freshwater reel it is perfectly suited for inshore saltwater fishing as well, just remember that it is not a sealed design so you will want to take care to make sure that it is well rinsed and cleaned just like all your saltwater gear.

The Shimano Curado I delivers performance and reliability at an affordable price and is a baitcaster that will provide you with many years of smooth performance without breaking the bank.

 

 

Features

X-Ship for great gear durability – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to create much greater efficiency, it actually stands for Extra, Smooth & High Power. By positioning the pinion gear close to the center line of the large diameter drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle to the spool. The pinion gear is also supported by two shielded A-RB roller bearings. This increases the efficiency of the reel and adds to the durability over the lifetime of the reel.

SVS Infinity Brake System – Infinite adjustability for any type of casting application. Previous versions of SVS only provided 6 different brake settings. The new SVS Infinity provides 4-6 settings and an adjustable brake dial to provide a much wider and more precise range for maximum control and consistent brake performance in all conditions.

Shimano Stable Spool Design (S3D) – The S3D spool is focused on delivering a smoother casting experience by reducing the vibration that often accompanies bait casters.  The spool is a very balanced and more importantly uniform which leads to its stability.

5 shielded A-RB anti-rust stainless steel ball bearings – These bearings are the same as the standard A-RB bearings with the exception that they are shielded on both sides by a stainless steel shield for the ultimate in corrosion resistance and contaminant protection, to reduce the likelihood of any salt, dirt or water penetrating and affecting the bearings.

Escape Hatch for easy access to spool – The new escape hatch design allows you to gain easy access to the spool and braking mechanism with the simple flick of a switch on the bottom of the frame.

Power AL aluminum frame – Aluminum offers the ideal housing to protect the precision interior from a severe exterior environment. The result is an extremely rigid and tough body that supports the power required to fight monster fish.

Super Stopper Anti-Reverse – Shimano uses a one-way roller bearing that will allow you to instantly set the hook when you want without any back play in the reel.

Super Free Spool – The super free system is designed so that the pinion gear is suspended by a ball bearing and thus has less friction, it is Super Free and smooth allowing for you to make much longer casts.  Once the clutch bar is pressed down in a traditional baitcasting reel, the pinion gear is freed but it has a tendency to want to create friction on the spool shaft and this, in turn, is going to limit the distance of your cast.

Cross Carbon Drag –  The Cross Carbon drag system positions the carbon fiber washers on either side of the master gear for even pressure to both sides.  This provides you with a very smooth drag that does not get jumpy or sloppy under heavy loads and it can be finely adjusted using the oversized star drag that is constructed of solid aluminum.  This is the same system that has been in use in the Shimano Curado series of reels.

 Features at a Glance

  • X-Ship for great gear durability
  • SVS Infinity Brake System
  • Shimano Stable Spool Design
  • 5 shielded A-RB anti-rust stainless steel ball bearings
  • 1 Super Stopper Anti Reverse roller bearing
  • Escape Hatch for easy access to spool
  • Power AL aluminum frame
  • Super Stopper Anti Reverse
  • Super Free Spool
  • Cross Carbon Drag

The composite side plates while not as durable as solid aluminum are much lighter which helps in creating this very durable reel that weighs in at only 7.4 oz.

When you get ready to order you Shimano Curado I you need to pay attention to the model numbers below.  In the model number, the addition of a 1 indicates a left hand retrieve.   The letters HG at the end of the model number mean you will be getting a higher gear ratio of 7.2:1 vs the standard 6.3:1 for a faster retrieve rate.  The letters PG at the end fo the model number mean you will be getting a power gear ratio of 5.5:1 to handle the bigger lunkers.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelLine Retrieve (in)Mono Cap(lbs/yd)Braid Cap(lbs/yd)Max Drag (lb)S-ARB Ball BearingRoller BearingGear RatioWeight (oz)Retrieve
CU200I268/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
12516.3:17.4Right
CU201I268/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
12516.3:17.4Left
CU201IHG308/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
12517.2:17.4Left
CU200IHG308/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
12517.2:17.4Right
CU200IPG238/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
12515.5:17.4Right

On my field test, I paired a Shimano Curado I Model# CU201IHG with a Johnny Morris CarbonLite Micro Rod combo from Bass Pro Shops.  After I headed out to the pass to one of my favorite spots for reds, it was time to put the combo package to the test.  I started out with some DOA shrimp and after a few casts, I hooked into my first fish of the day.  The reel performed very well under a load of a 28″ red which I am guessing weighed between 8-9 lbs.  As I would expect from the Shimano brand, the drag was extremely smooth and the retrieve was very smooth.  The combination of the X-Ship, Shimano Stable Spoon Design (S3D) and the S-ARB bearings all contribute to the experience I get every time I use a Shimano reel.

Over the next few hours, I hooked and landed 2 more redfish between 8 and 14 lbs. While the larger of the redfish did seem to be at the outer limit of where I would want to stress the gear both the reel and the rod performed very well.

Another feature that I really like about the Curado I is the easy access to the spool. Shimano has placed a switch at the bottom of the frame that when activated allows you to easily swing the escape hatch away where you can then access the spool and the centrifugal brakes for maintenance.  Speaking of the centrifugal brakes, I was able to easily dial them in to match the weight of the different lures I was throwing.  While there are officially 6 settings on the knob you will find that it is actually infinitely adjustable.

Pros

  • Price
  • Smoothness
  • Balanced Spool
  • Shimano Quality

Cons

  • Minimal whine at end of cast.

Alternatives

Sticking with the Shimano brand you should take a look at the Shimano Curado 70.  While it is a few dollars more if you are targeting smaller species such as spotted sea trout the reel is a lighter weight and has a slightly greater retrieve rate.  Read the full Shimano Curado 70 review HERE.

The other reel that I would have you take a look at is the Daiwa Tatula that is going to come it at around the same price as the Curado I and is neck and neck when it comes to performance.  Read the full Daiwa Tatula review HERE.

In Conclusion

Overall this is an excellent reel for the money and I feel is an improvement over the last generation of Curado reels.  The Curado I fits like a glove in the palm of your hand and is comfortable to fish with all day without causing any fatigue.  Drag is excellent and both the cast and retrieve are smooth.  If you are looking for a solid baitcaster that won’t break the bank and will deliver years of quality time on the water then the Shimano Corado I is an excellent choice.

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