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Reel Review


Making a Case for the Rotation : Quantum's Smoke S3 Inshore Spinning Reel (continued)

As a kind of test, I tied on a Strike King 10XD deep diving crank bait and dragged it through the mud in about 10 feet of water. While the RCSS-71MH was buckled over and complaining about the inappropriate application, the Smoke S3 Inshore performed like a champ helping me dredge the bottom.

A look at the reel's robust drag stack.

Drag: The Smoke S3 Inshore spinning reel's drag stack, like the standard version of the reel, is reminiscent of a casting reel's drag complete with a keyed metal washer sandwiched between carbon, felt, and other metal washers. Out on the water, this stack performs with very smooth and consistent resistance.

My only wish is that Quantum put a little more thought into the design of the spool cap.

Design & Ergonomics: The Smoke S3 30 Inshore is a hair larger than most will want to procure for bass fishing purposes. The traditional size most turn to with Quantum for bass fishing is 25 or below. The Inshore is available in 25, 30, and 40 sizes. I've been trending towards reels in this 30 size for the larger diameter spool and easier line management/less memory when using fluorocarbon and nylon mono. Of course, with braid, it's a non issue.

The EVA knob is very comfortable to grasp.

Quantum does a good job with the distance of the Inshore from the stem to the spool making it an easy reach for your index finger if you're one to feather the spool during a cast with your index finger as opposed to your off hand.

Additionally, the handle is interchangeable between the left and right hand side of the reel as are 95% of the other spinning reels out there today and the reel's overall weight is about average for other brands and models of similar size. The reel's EVA knobs are well formed and comfortable to hold.

The spool is supported by two bearings on the drive shaft.

Price & Applications: All that careful design and re-engineering to deliver a super solid performing reel with appealing aesthetics will set you back all of ~$180. I find that to be an excellent value for a reel this solid, reliable, and versatile. Remember, this is an Inshore model, so it's designed to be fished in saltwater environments. So you can take it from the shore, pier, or boat in freshwater to the surf, dock, or boat in saltwater and not skip a beat.

You can take this reel from the shore, pier, or boat in freshwater to the surf, dock, or boat in saltwater and not skip a beat.


Quantum Smoke S3 30 Inshore Spinning Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A solid, clean build 9
Performance Overall excellent performance in casting and retrieve, a quality drag as well 9
Price at the upper end of the most hotly contested price point 7.5
Features Uni-body construction, minimalist rotor, multi-disc drag, corrosion resistance protection 8
Design (Ergonomics) Very comfortable reel to fish with electric blue accents 8
Application Fish it in fresh or salt, this reel wont' skip a beat 9

Total Score

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:


+ Available in 3 sizes - No shallow spool option
+ Unibody construction  
+ Titanium bail wire  
+ Bearing supported line roller  

Quantum has stepped things up with their entire S3 initiative and the Smoke S3 Inshore spinning reel is a prime example of their effort

Conclusion: Short on the heels of fishing and reviewing the standard Smoke S3 spinning reel, I was probably predisposed to liking my experience with the Smoke S3 Inshore, but sometimes, you just never know. As it turns out, I think I like this version a little more. The only real factor keeping it from being a standard in my rotation is that deep spool and the lack of a more refined cap at the top of the spool itself. Everything else about the reel I find appealing from the uni-body construction to the improved rotor design to the titanium bail wire to the robust drag stack and so on. Quantum has stepped things up with their entire S3 initiative and the Smoke S3 Inshore spinning reel is a prime example of their effort.

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