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Reel Review

Headed in the Right Direction, Quantum's PT Tour S3 Casting Reel (continued)


For me, with actual casting performance, it was more difficult to discern any differences because this is where the rod, line, and choice in baits really come into play. The PT Tour S3 uses the same, new ACS 4.0 centrifugal braking system with an externally adjustable dial. This dial offers an almost 360 degree adjustment range and has the nice micro-click adjustments to ensure your setting stays in place cast after cast.

The nice 93mm wide, swept, carbon handle, is capped with a line memo helping you keep track of what line is spooled on the reel.

Retrieve: The PT Tour S3's guts are more or less the same as the Smoke S3 as well, but somehow, in the Tour's package, the inner workings feel just a tad bit more smooth. Maybe my PT Tour S3 had more Quantum Hot Sauce on its gears than my Smoke S3! Turning the handle delivers a connected, but smooth, unencumbered feel.

The throwback dragstar and attractive, textured cast control knob both feature micro-click enabled adjustments.

Power: The PT Tour S3's inherent power has more to do with the leverage you gain from its 93mm handle than you do from the reel's gearing. The PT Tour S3's gears are average in size and the power I felt in the 7.3:1 retrieve ratio reel was sufficient but nothing extraordinary. This reel is certainly better equipped power-wise than the Tour KVD reel I fished over three years ago.

A look at the PT Tour S3's drag stack

Drag: Quantum outfits the PT Tour S3 with an intricate stack of metal and carbon fiber keyed and non-keyed washers to deliver what they specify as up to twenty five pounds (25lbs) of max drag pressure. Given I only had 10lb test line on this reel, I chose not to try and test the reel's max drag pressure limits but instead turned to my default test of evaluating how smooth and consistent (sweet) the reel's drag performed and thanks to a couple bass that chose to interrupt my pitching practice with that Missile Ike's Flip Out jig, I was able to discern reasonably smooth and consistent performance from the PT Tour S3's drag stack.

The reel's sideplate pops open for easy access to the spool.

Design & Ergonomics: Quantum's PT Tour S3 casting reel tipped our scales at a svelte 6.4 ounces and was definitely not a burden fishing over several trips during this Summer and into Fall. That long handle continues to be a favorite of mine and while I do like the convenience of the line memo on the handle's nut, I kind of forgot about it with this reel and forgot to set it. Fortunately, I remembered what line I was using anyway, but if I had more than one of these reels and spooled them differently, then the line memo would definitely come in handy!

Not quite as deep as an old-school spool, the PT Tour S3's spool does have more capacity than most of today's reels of similar size.

Price & Applications: Unlike the Smoke S3, Quantum's PT Tour S3 is only available in two retrieve ratios, but fortunately, both retrieve ratios (6.1:1 & 7.3:1) are available in left and right hand retrieve. The PT Tour S3 retails for $199.99. This is only $30 more than the Smoke S3 and right off the bat you get a carbon fiber handle instead of aluminum so any performance improvements beyond that are really just icing on the cake!


Quantum PT Tour S3 Casting Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly built 8.5
Performance Just a tad smoother in both casting and retrieve than the Smoke S3 8.5
Price Only $30 more than the Smoke S3 7.5
Features Sapphire spool tension knob washer, centrifugal brakes, 11 bearings, oversized handle, and more 8
Design (Ergonomics) Only 6.4 ounces 8
Application Saltwater safe 8

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:


+ A pitching machine - For some reason, the reel's finish makes it feel lower end than the Smoke S3
+ Nice, long handle  
+ A return to the now, non-traditional deep spool for those who want to use heavier line  


Conclusion: With names like Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle, Casey Ashley and more on their pro-staff, you would think Quantum would have a bigger following. Truth be told, the brand has had their struggles shaking a reputation of inferior product. I know because I was one of those detractors, and while there has been a reel here and there over the last several years that I still called into question performance wise, there have been many more that were pleasant surprises. The company continues to improve their offerings and the latest iterations are both reliable and fun to fish.


The PT Tour S3 low profile baitcaster is the second casting reel I've fished fresh out of the company's new Series Three re-engineering effort, and I have to say, I like the direction in which Quantum is headed.


The PT Tour S3 low profile baitcaster is the second casting reel I've fished fresh out of the company's new "Series Three" re-engineering effort, and I have to say, I like the direction in which Quantum is headed.


The PT Tour S3 is light, smooth, pitches very well, and comes with a reliable drag system. My only real criticism of the reel is its understated finish, but I'm sure there are those who would prefer it. I look forward to seeing what other products benefit from Quantum's new S3 edict.


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