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Reel Review

Judgment Day for the Lethal Calais 200ASV Baitcaster (continued)

Retrieving: When youíre fishing with a Calais reel it really does feel like you are wielding a weapon of bass destruction. The reel just feels deadly in the palm of your hand and even though larger than the 100 size the CL200ASC can easily be palmed and the sculpted angles feel good in hand when retrieving. Beauty is more than skin deep with this reel and it feels both fast and powerful while still exhibiting that slick retrieve you expect out of a Calais series reel.

The VBS system is easy to adjust and delivers consistent anti-backlash performance

I wish that I had brought this reel on our recent trip to the Amazon but the weight limitations forced me to leave the Calais behind. This reel certainly has the power and capacity to handle Peacocks and really makes short work of both largemouth bass and even large Stripers. The extra line capacity makes this a legitimate saltwater reel, especially when paired with braid. The majority of my testing was done on largemouth but the few rockfish I did catch with the Calais were simply no match. Even though the Calais has a relatively brisk 6.2:1 retrieve it feels powerful even when reeling up fish vertically from the depths.

The reel has a small rubber pad over the switch for better grip

Overall the Calais CL200ASV felt just like I expected it to, no surprises, just smooth and consistent. The handle exhibits almost no backplay whatsoever and the 200 size is a good reel for big baits in freshwater and as use as a crossover reel for bass fishermen that like to dabble in salt.

This reel casts the big stuff very well

Drag: Up to this point the Calais CL200ASV has delivered a deadly blow to the competition but is the reelís somewhat dated drag system an Achilles heel? The Calais CL200ASv makes use of the same Dartanium Drag system found on the other Calais series reels and while extremely smooth and consistent it just doesnít dole out very much stopping power when compared with competing reels. The Calaisís rated spec is only 10lbs. but in the lab under full lock we were able to get the drag up to 12.3lbs., which is good enough for largemouth and stripers but pales in comparison to what many of the competing reels are now delivering, especially when you look at the Abu Garcia Revo Series.

The Calais CL200ASV is sculpted and comfortable to palm

There is no argument that the Dartanium system is one of the most smooth and reliable but it would have been nice to see a slightly beefed up system in this model. That drag really could come in handy for some saltwater species as well as Peacock Bass. Good thing there are plenty of ways to upgrade the drag should you require more raw stopping power.

Paired with a Dobyns Mike Long Edition swimbait rod we head to clear lake to fish the Rago BV3D

Ergonomics: Ergonomically speaking the Calais CL200ASV delivers both good and bad. If youíre obsessed with fishing with the lightest rig possible then the Calais CL200ASV is simply not for you. This reel is as close as you can get to a low profile baitcaster cut straight out of a piece of solid metal. The level of refinement found on the Calais is second to none but the tradeoff is definitely the overall weight. The CL200ASV is the heaviest reel in the series weighing in at a whopping 9.3oz (only .2oz lighter than the Calais DC), and part of that weight increase comes from those massive power knobs but they are a welcome addition when fishing for larger fish with bigger baits.

Jerry Rago checks out the rig...

My only other gripe with the reelís ergonomics is the sideplate which requires anglers to rotate the key a few times to unscrew the sideplate, a quarter turn easy access key like that found on the smaller Calais CL100A would have been a welcome addition.

...and tries casting his popular bait

Next Section: Still a deadly fishing "weapon"









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