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Reel Review


Taking Round Baitcasters to the next level, the Shimano Calcutta TE 200GT
 

Date: 08/11/03
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 9.00

Introduction: Ten years ago Shimano revolutionized the quality and refinement of round baitcasters with the production of the original Calcutta CT-200. To celebrate a decade of success, Shimano delivers advanced design technology with the introduction of the Calcutta TE 200GT.
  

Shimano Calcutta TE 200GT Specifications

Weight 10.2oz.
Gear Ratio 5.0:1
Bearings 10 Ball Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
Line Capacity (lb-yds) 8-210 / 10-190 / 14-110
Additional Features Solid Aluminum frame and side plates, Machined aluminum wiffle spool, High Efficiency Gearing, Dartanium Drag, Super Free, Super Stopper
MSRP $329.99

  
Impressions: I've always been a fan of the original Calcutta, as the reels were among the most reliable in my arsenal. You could always count on the Calcutta to pull through even the harshest conditions, and still look and perform like new after a quick rinse. The original Cacluttas always amazed me with the smooth feel they were able to achieve with only 2BB and 1 RB. While easy to maintain and reliable the original Calcutta were not as good for lure fisherman because the reel lacked the casting speed, distance, and refinement that many of the other low profile baitcasters could deliver. The Calcutta TE 200GT is designed to change all that. With a formula to increase the performance and refinement of the original Calcutta, Shimano has built a reel that once again redefines what anglers should expect from a premium performing round baitcasting reel.

 

Introducing the Calcutta TE 200GT, notice the enlarged sideplate which houses the
enhanced gearbox

 

Materials: The 200GT features a one piece, cold forged aluminum frame and sideplate. The 200GT also features a aluminum wiffle spool, very similar to the one found on the Chronarch SF. Unlike the original Calcutta you are hard pressed to find any hint plastic on the 200GT, even the clutch button is constructed of aluminum.

 

Most welcoming to me was the vast improvement in ergonomics over the past model. While the new reel is slightly larger and heavier to accommodate the many new features, Shimano did an admirable job of packing all the improvements into the 200GT with only a weight increase of 1/2 an ounce. The 200GT shares the same "Power Grip" handle design as the Calais, which is extremely comfortable, and ergonomically shaped so you wont lose your grip, even if the reel is wet. The 200GT even goes one step further by putting a comfortable soft grip pad on the clutch bar.

 

No plastic here, even the 200GT's levelwind is completely metal

    

Design: The design of the Calcutta TE 200GT can be thought of more as a merging of best Shimano technology, rather than a built from the ground up design. Upon close inspection Shimano fans will recognize features and technology found on both popular baitcast and big game reels. For example the 200GT makes use of the Super Free design and ergonomic components of the Calais for it's refinement, but turns to the HEG (High Efficiency Gearing) design originally developed for the Trinidad saltwater reels for it's muscle. The result of this technology blend is a reel that bridges the gap between precision refinement and raw power.

 

The Field Test: To test the 200GT we fished in local Coyote Lake, a well known Trophy bass lake in Northern California. We fished the Calcutta 200GT with a variety of lures that included Spinners, Cranks, and Jigs.

 

Complete Testing Rig for Shimano Calcutta TE 200GT in Field Tests

Rod GLoomis MBR783C/6'6" IMX
Med-Heavy
Reel Shimano Calcutta TE 200GT
Line 12 lb. Trilene Big Game Supreme

 

With a recessed reel foot the Calcutta TE 200GT is comfortable to cast and retrieve


Casting:
In my opinion one of the biggest improvements that the 200GT brings to the table is the ability to cast quickly, smoothly, and with just as much distance as the low profile Calais. Blessed with the Super Free system the 200GT catapults lures with almost no effort. To increase cast speed the 200GT features a "fast-accelerating" aluminum wiffle spool, and the oversized cast control knob makes it easy to adjust the proper spool speed to match the lure you choose.

 

The oversized spool control makes it easy to quickly adjust to various lure weights

 

Backlashes are easily managed thanks to the proven VBS break weight system. One of the flaws of the original Calcutta was that you actually had to remove the handle sideplate from the main body to access the break weights and make quick adjustments. While the side of the 200GT looks like the original it actually is a functional swing open sideplate. This provides instant access to the variable brake system. The main difference between the 200GT and Shimano's low profile reels is that the bearing that holds the spool in place is not physically connected to the sideplate. There is a screw on brake case that holds the bearing firmly in place, and provides even tighter spool alignment. The cover is very well designed and has a small lip that locks in place with the main body, preventing contaminates from entering the chamber. 

 

Unlike the past generation Calcuttas the 200GT features a easy access sideplate

 

Retrieving: The original Calcuttas were smooth, but the 200GT brings new meaning to the term smooth and silent. The 200GT features a recessed reel foot which allows it to sit lower on the reel seat. Many competitor round reels sit high on the reel seat offsetting the balance of the rig, and making it difficult to palm the reel while retrieving. The low profile of the 200GT not only increases comfort but makes it more maneuverable with various casting styles allowing anglers to make underhand and roll casts with no difficulty.

 

During field testing the 200GT was so easy to retrieve with that I often forgot that it was fishing with a round reel. You will not have any problems finesse fishing with the 200GT, its just as accurate and refined as any low profile baitcaster I have fished...with the additional benefit of a better drag and power upgrade.

 

The spool is held firmly in place with a screw on break case

 

Power: Round reels typically will have more power than low profile baitcasters simply because they feature more robust gearing. The 200GT takes this concept to the next level by implementing Shimano's HEG system. The "High Efficiency Gearing" consists of not only larger gears, but a superior reinforced frame and setplate. This is why the side of the 200GT requires additional area to accommodate the enlarged gearbox. The HEG features bigger drive and pinion gears to produce increased leverage and power. The setplate holds the mechanism tightly together and eliminates all the flex in the reel and gearing, so that the gears will never bind under pressure. All this results in a major increase in the amount of torque generated, which equates to more fish fighting power. In our tests we were able to out tug a standard Calcutta every single time. While fishing I noticed that when hooking up fish over 4lbs I could really feel the difference. With the standard Calcutta you have to finesse the fish to turn it in the right direction, and there is always a little give and take. Not the case with the 200GT, with every revolution you have complete control over the fish, and if you clamp down and retrieve hard you will have absolutely no difficulty muscling fish.
 

Every component screams high quality craftsmanship, here the metal clutch is treated with a comfortable grip pad

  

Drag:  Dartanium drags were originally designed for saltwater reels where increased pressure demands were placed on tackle. Thus far Shimano has only implemented the Dartanium drags on premium reels in their lineup like the Trinidad and Calais. The 200GT uses this advanced system to produce the widest range of drag settings we have tested to date. The performance is extremely smooth, and we were impressed by the 12.5 lbs of drag pressure the 200GT generated in the test. You could easily use the larger sized Caclutta TE's for Salmon fishing. But our target during the field tests were largemouth bass, and even the substantial bass tired abruptly when trying in vain to overcome the 200GT's brawny drag.

 

The 200GT makes managing bass easy, and the HEG gearing brings new meaning to the term muscling fish

 

Durability: The Calcutta TE 200GT looks like a work of art, but make no mistake this is a reel that is built to last. While some anglers shy away from 300+ dollar reels this is one that is worth every dollar. The original Calcutta's were reels that fathers could pass on to their sons, and the 200GT is a reel that grandfathers can pass to their grandkids. This reel will easily survive a decade  of fishing abuse. As an added benefit every 200GT comes with Shimano "Platinum Service." This means that you not only receive coupons on cleanings and lubes, but you are guaranteed a 48 hour turn around time from Shimano and their Authorized Warranty centers.

  

Ratings:

Shimano Calcutta TE 200GT Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent design and construction bring the best Shimano technology into the construction of this reel 10
Performance The Calcutta TE 200GT slam dunked just about every single test that we threw at it. Whether you are tossing huge swimbaits or tiny cranks the 200GT can do it with finesse, and still generate the raw power when it comes time to turn a lunker 9
Price At a MSRP of 329.00 the 200GT is not a cheap reel, but not a bad deal when you consider how long this reel is going to last. Built with top notch construction and components the 200GT should easily provide years of trouble free fishing 8
Features The 200GT has the features to deliver a great fishing experience. Rather than release anything revolutionary the Calcutta TE uses proven existing technology...the upcoming DC model is a different story 9
Design (Ergonomics) A little heavier than it's predecessor but a world better when it comes to creature comforts like a soft grip clutch and power grip handles 9
Application A good reel to bridge the gap between low profile baitcasters and big game reels. This is a reel that can be fished for a wide variety of species...and can even pull salt duty with ease 9

Total Score

9.00

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent Construction L Cost may be high for some anglers
J Super Free = Great casts L Minor increase in weight over traditional Calcuttas
J HEG gearing = Great Torque  
J Smooth and Silent  
J Dartanium drag performance  
J Built to last a decade  

    
Conclusion:  If you are a Shimano fan then your prayers have been answered. The bar for round baitcasters has once again been raised. Finally anglers that enjoy fishing Calcuttas can do so with the refinement of low profile baitcasters, and sheer power of a true big game reel. Stripers, Bass, Walleye, and Pike all should fear the "Total Efficiency" that the new Calcutta TE reels offer. Anglers will find themselves amazed by the flexibility of techniques and applications that can now be fished with this round baitcaster, making it an excellent choice if you are looking for that one reel that can do it all. I think many anglers that have the opportunity to fish with the 200GT for just a day will be sold on the capabilities of this beautifully designed reel. While we simply can't wait to test the new Calcutta TE DC (Digital Control) reels due out in November, the 200GT deserves a well earned a spot in the tackle collection of many an angler, I know it has in mine.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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