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Reel Review


Quantum's Surprising New Smoke Series Three (S3) (continued)

Power: Quantum supplies all these reels with 95 millimeter handles on spec, that we measured out at 93 millimeters from center of the knob to center of the knob. Either way, the handle gives you plenty of leverage. I fished the 7.3:1 model and had no issues cranking the Vatalion back to the boat although my attempts to test the Smoke S3 uninterrupted by fish actually ended on about the third cast with the Vatalion!


The Smoke S3's main gear is made from a hardened aluminum alloy
.

Drag: In the middle of my retrieve, after that third cast with the Vatalion, I received a massive and unexpected hit from a bass. Instinctively, I put pressure on the Smoke S3's spool with my thumb, swung to set the hook, and the battle was on. Evaluating the rod, reel, and bait all together, I just kind of laid off and let the rod and reel do most of the work. As the BXC71MHF flexed in response to the fish pulling, the Smoke S3's drag responded in kind either locking the fish up or letting the line peel out smoothly and consistently when the fish was being extra aggressive. This actually happened on a few occasions as the Vatalion turned out to be a hot bait on more than one trip this past summer. The Smoke S3 held up quite well in all categories.


The Smoke S3's drag stack features a typical mix of carbon matrix and metal keyed and non-keyed washers.

Design & Ergonomics: Any low profile casting reel in the six to seven ounce range is going to be a comfortable reel to fish. That proved true with the Smoke S3 as well. Weighing in at 6.9 ounces on our scale, there were times I barely noticed this reel in my hand. My favorite feature on this reel though is that extra-long, 93mm handle. It seems with each passing year, the handles on these reels grow longer and longer, and so far, I welcome the evolution.


The reel's non-handle sideplate is attached via a hinge on the front part of the reel.

A fun little feature you won't find on other manufacturer's reels is Quantum's memo knob located at the handle lock nut. Provided you remember to set the dial, it's intended to remind you of what pound test line you're using on the reel. Lastly, the reel's dragstar and spool tension knob both have micro-click enabled adjustments too.


The reel's knobs are made of EVA foam and carry the company's Performance Tuned (PT) logo.

Price & Applications: Quantum's Smoke S3 Casting reel is very competitively priced at $169.99 and thanks to the retrieve ratio options, the reel is suitable for a wide range of techniques although too bad the 5.1:1 model is only available in right hand retrieve.


Quantum's Smoke S3 casting reel is a solid little reel.

Ratings:

Quantum Smoke S3 Baitcasting Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A solid little reel 8.5
Performance I was left wanting for little more. This reel performs quite well and only lacks in high end refinement - not something I'd expect of a reel at this price point. 8
Price Very competitively priced 7.5
Features Centrifugal brakes, 11 bearings, oversized handle, and more 8
Design (Ergonomics) Super comfortable reel to fish with all day long 8
Application With up to four retrieve ratio options for righties and three for lefties, the Smoke S3 is available for a wide range of techniques 8

Total Score

8.00
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Light weight - No cranking ratio option in left hand retrieve
+ Long handle  
+ ACS 4.0 brakes perform well  
+ Non-traditional deep spool  


Quantum's Smoke S3 casting reel's performance is easy to appreciate.

Conclusion: Quantum has been making strides to solidify their reputation and quality control of their products and no where is this more evident than in the recent Series Three re-engineering of their freshwater fishing reel catalog. The Smoke S3 is our first official, detailed look at this effort and it's proven to be a very solid option in a very competitive segment of the market, the $150 - $190 price point. Traditionalists should like the deep spool feature of the Smoke S3 providing more capacity with higher pound test lines. While those who covet ergonomics will enjoy the small profile and relatively light weight of the Smoke S3. The reel's solid performance will be appreciated by all. Next up? Quantum's PT Tour S3!

Looking for a Quantum Smoke S3 Casting Reel?

Try TackleWarehouse


 

 

 

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