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Reel Review


Quantum's Surprising New Smoke Series Three (S3)


Date: 11/19/17
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.00

Quantum has been making strides in recent years to up the level of refinement in their reels and this past year at ICAST, they revealed their latest results. Their "Series Three" (S3) reels represent a complete engineering overhaul in both spinning and casting reels. Today, we take a look at the first product from this product refresh, Quantum's S3 Smoke low profile baitcaster.


Quantum Smoke S3 Baitcasting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 14/150
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 17.3 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
5.1:1 (right hand only)
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
7 - 22
8 - 26.5
10 - 31.5

11 - 35

Weight 6.9 oz
Spool Weight 15 g
Handle Length 93 mm
Bearings 10+1
Origin Made in China
MSRP $169.99

Introducing Quantum's new, Smoke S3 casting reel.

Impressions: Lifting the reel out of its retail packaging, it's difficult to get a sense of Quantum's S3 engineering improvements. The Smoke S3 has a very familiar profile to the previous generation, but that's a good thing because Quantum's Smoke series have always been comfortable reels to fish. This third generation reel features a mix of a matte grey frame and dragstar combined with a glossy black handle and sideplates. Red accents at the line guide, spool, and spool tension knob are just enough to keep things interesting without being garish and in your face.


The Smoke S3 maintains that nice low profile.

Real World Tests: Anxious to put this new reel through the paces, I spooled it with some twelve pound Sunline Super Natural nylon monofilament and mounted it on a St. Croix BASSX BXC71MHF for our on the water trials.

A look at the reel's throwback dragstar and the new Line Memo around the handle nut helping you keep track of what line you have spooled on the reel.

Casting: Initial casting duties with this reel were actually pitching duties with the Missile Jigs's new Ike Flip Out Jig that we first saw at ICAST 2017. I wanted to see how this newly engineered reel felt with slower bait presentations, so I tied on a three eighths ounce version of the Flip Out Jig and made some pitches to targets like a dock piling and even a buoy out in the middle of the lake - just to see if I could hit the targets. Turns out I missed the majority of targets for which I aimed, but that was no fault of the reel's. Apparently, I was just way out of practice!

The new ACS 4.0 centrifugal brake system is adjustable.

Satisfied that the Smoke S3 Baitcaster actually performs quite well as a pitching reel, I switched things up and tied on a Megabass Vatalion - again just to see how well the reel performs under slightly more than normal casting duties (the Vatalion weighs right around one and three eighths ounces). Unsurprisingly, the Smoke S3 handled the Vatalion just fine allowing me to launch the bait good distances even with an underpowered fishing rod. The reel's externally adjustable, centrifugal braking system (ACS 4.0) works well in all casting and pitching situations.

Those who like to use heavier line will appreciate this sort of old-school deeper spool on the Smoke S3.

Retrieve: If you use right hand retrieve reels, you will really like the retrieve ratio options Quantum offers with the Smoke S3 - there are four! Left hand retrieve advocates lose out with the 5.1:1 option, but otherwise, the 6.1:1, 7.3:1, and 8.1:1, are offered in both left and right hand retrieve models. Actual smoothness of retrieve is very good (especially considering the reel has an aluminum main gear) with little to no play in the handle.

The dragstar and cast control knob both feature micro-click enabled adjustments.

Next Section: Smoke Power and Drag performance...









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