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Shimano Curado K Review

The Shimano baitcasting range of reels has been a staple of many anglers in both fresh and saltwater for many years. The Shimano Curado K continues this 25-year legacy and is basically the replacement for the Shimano Curado I.

In this Shimano Curado K review we will look at the new features such as the larger handle, smaller body, larger spool open, improved breaking, and micro module gearing that combine to offer a smooth experience through and through.

The Curado K comes in one size 200 but 3 gear ratios, a 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and high speed 8.5:1 with the option of either a right or left hand retrieve.  

The Curado K has fewer features than some of the other reels Shimano produces. Shimano did this with the plan of making a more mainstream model that could be used in many situations and would be affordable to a wider group of anglers. 

When replacing a model like the Curado I, they had to get it right, and they did.

The Bottom Line

  • A great quality versatile, low profile baitcaster under $180 for both fresh and saltwater fishing
  • Very smooth reel with a solid and smooth carbon drag
  • Casts great with everything from 10 lb mono to 65 lb braid
  • Very durable and rigid body and sideplate that is lightweight

The Shimano Curado K is an all-around winner and is available HERE.

With multiple gear ratios to choose from you have the freedom to explore different styles of fishing with this reel. The three gear ratios offered 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1 will cover almost every situation from flipping and pitching lightweight lures and jigs to getting that high speed retrieve with your favorite crankbaits.

The larger and stronger swept handle allows for more leverage when reeling in that big bass, drum or trout.  If you choose to go with the 8.5:1 XG model, you will get a true power handle for that fat Bass. 

Features

Compact, ergonomic body design – The compact design (10% smaller than earlier models) helps bring a lightweight reel with the strength to prevent flexing to life.

Despite the lightweight nature of the reel, the ergonomic design palms nicely and feels solid in the hand never letting you forget the reel is there.

Power AL aluminum frame – The Curado K has the body design of their other Hagane reels. This design helps cut flex during reeling as well as protecting the interior of the reel from unexpected impacts.

This frame is made from aluminum to offer both strength and a decrease in weight over other materials.

Light, rigid CI4 side plate – Enhancing the compact ergonomic design of the reel is the side plate made from Shimano CI4 material. Lightweight yet strong, this material offers both strength and rigidity. 

The side plate is attached via a pin and spring and it stays in place so you won’t drop it in the lake and ruin your day of fishing.

Super Free Spool – You don’t have to whip hard to get the greatest distance with this model. A good strong cast will be enough, the spool will be able to keep up with your heavy lures, and handle your light ones in the wind.

The Super Free Spool spins well and has a tremendous amount of adjustment available via the SVS braking system.

Shimano Stable Spool Design – The S3D Stable Spool system offers a very smooth feeling when casting or retrieving lures.

Shimano focused on a design that would cut vibration during the process of casting to make sure you have the smoothest experience when casting or retrieving. Making using the Curado K a desirable experience when casting.

Smooth, durable MicroModule gearing – The inclusion of the micromodule gearing has created the desired effect of making the reel smooth to use. The Curado K is smoother than earlier versions of the reel.

The gear itself is larger than earlier versions with a larger number of smaller teeth which provides the smooth power transitions.  Typically, you will only find this in more expensive reels.

X-Ship for enhanced gear durability – By providing a larger drive gear and improved bearing support on the pinion gear this reel comes into its own when the fish bring the fight.

The x-ship system maintains the main gear and the pinion alignment to cut friction, provide smoother operation, and improve durability.

6 shielded A-RB stainless steel ball bearings – The bearings are stainless steel and are specifically shielded to prevent corrosion from dirt and grime getting in along with saltwater which will extend the life of your reel.

1 Super Stopper Anti Reverse roller bearing – This amazing feature uses a one-way stainless steel bearing to end back-play.  When you want that instant hook setting power, you want the Super Stopper.

Enhanced, wide-ranging SVS Infinity Brake System – When you’re looking for braking control for either the conditions or when you switch bait you’re looking for the SVS Infinity Braking System.

The SVS Infinity System uses brake weights designed to use inner friction against the raceway during your cast. The System controls the spool speed for the precision you need when using lighter lures.

The System comes with an external adjustment knob for when you need to be quick and precise on the fly.

Cross Carbon Drag – While the drag on the Curado K doesn’t have as much power as the earlier Curado I, it matches the earlier model’s ability to offer smooth and consistent pressure in the field.

Where it shines over the previous generation though, is that the drag star is able to make finer changes when turned.

Longer, stronger handle design – The larger stronger handle allows for more leverage when reeling in the big boys and the XG comes with a true power handle.

Significantly higher gear ratios – With multiple gear ratios to choose from you have the ability to choose exactly the right gear ratio for your fishing style.  The three gear ratios offered 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1 offer 26″, 31″ and a whopping 36″ or retrieval per crank of the handle.

 Features at a Glance

  • Compact, ergonomic body design
  • Power AL aluminum frame
  • Light, rigid CI4 sideplate
  • Super Free Spool
  • Shimano Stable Spool Design
  • Smooth. Durable MicroModule gearing
  • X-Ship for enhanced gear durability
  • 6 shielded A-RB stainless steel ball bearings
  • 1 Super Stopper Anti Reverse roller bearing
  • Enhanced, wide-ranging SVS Infinity Brake System
  • Cross Carbon Drag
  • Longer, stronger handle design
  • Significantly higher gear ratios

If you’re already using one of the earlier Curado reels you won’t need convincing to seriously consider upgrading to the Curado K.

The new flagship reel in the Shimano low profile baitcasting family has proven that they know how to design a reel once again and they have packed it full of features many of which are found only on much more expensive models.

The new and improved technology in the Curado K makes it easy to use and smooth to operate. As with any new reel, it will take you a time or two to decide the exact adjustments you need for your light and medium lures when the wind kicks up but a few casts are all that it will take to get this baby dialed in.

With three options for gearing, left and right-handed actions, and the lightweight ergonomic design this really is the reel with options for everyone. The reel has a high build quality however, there were a few consumer reviews noting trouble with the side plate and thumb release sticking.

Shimano immediately addressed the issue and we have not heard of any further cases. With care and love, this can be a reel that lasts you for many years.

When you get ready to order your Shimano Curado K be sure to pay close attention to the model numbers on the chart below. This will make sure you get the proper configuration for your dominant hand as well as the gear ratio you want.

In the model number, the presence 1 at the end indicates left-handed configuration. The indicator HG tells us the gear ratio is 7.4:1 for a faster retrieve rate of 31″ per revolution. The XG is for the 8.5:1 ratio for the swiftest rate of retrieval at 36″ per revolution.

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)A-RB Ball BearingRoller BearingGear RatioWeight (oz)Retrieve
CU200K268/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
11616.2:17.6Right
CU200HGK318/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
11617.4:17.6Right
CU200XGK368/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
11618.5:17.8Right
CU201K268/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
11616.2:17.6Left
CU201HGK318/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
11617.4:17.6Left
CU201XGK368/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
11618.5:17.8Left

Pros

  • Quality parts and skillful construction make the K series durable
  • Consistent performance while casting that delivers across the spectrum
  • A smooth and powerful retrieve that is reminiscent of more expensive Shimano models
  • A refined design with durability that makes the reel something you look forward to using
  • Small, lightweight design makes it easy to fish all day long

 

Cons

  • While drag is more defined it can handle less weight than earlier models
  • The 5.5:1 power retrieve is not available in this model
  • The casting control is a bit tight.

Alternatives

From Daiwa, I would have you take a look at the Daiwa Tatula Type-R which is going to have the same price point, similar weight, and just a tad more drag.  Daiwa has its T-Wing level wind system that I really like and is a great option.  Read the full Daiwa Tatula Type-R Review HERE.

If you are looking for a bit more drag then I would have you take a look at two reels from 13 Fishing.  First would be the 13 Fishing Concept A which shaves almost an ounce off in weight and jumps the drag from 11 lbs up to 22 lbs.  Read the full 13 Fishing Concept A review HERE.

The other reel from 13 Fishing I think you should take a look at is the 13 Fishing Concept Z.  This is the reel that has Zero ball bearings, it is considerably lighter at 6.4 oz and has 22 lbs of drag. 

This reel is slightly more expensive but is a very interesting option in this price range.  Read the full 13 Fishing Concept Z review HERE.

In Conclusion

Overall I love this reel. The smooth cast and retrieve make it a joy to use when I’m out on the water. The precision and ease of the drag adjustments make changing between lures a snap.

With the sturdy Hagane design, and aluminum structure I know that with love and care this reel will be a part of the arsenal for years to come.

The price isn’t bad either. Sitting in the middle of pricing for Shimano’s models the Curado K isn’t out of reach.

If you are looking for a versatile reel that is sturdy, lightweight, and will deliver quality for years to come, the Shimano Curado K is an excellent choice.

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