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First Look Inside the New Shimano Curado K Series Baitcasters
 


 


Reel Review

 

Shimano’s Curado K Baitcaster : More than Black and White (continued)

Real World Tests: Over the last four months I have a spent a lot of time on the water with the Curado 200K, fishing for largemouth bass in Northern California lakes and the Delta, using a variety of different line types. During fall I was able to leverage the reel for a lot of faster reaction bait techniques, even topwater frog and popper action, but during the cooler winter months I had to slow things way down, employing the reel primarily for jig and plastics work. I did have the opportunity to fish the reel on a variety of different rods including Shimano’s new Curado rods and G.Loomis IMX-Pro rods using mono, fluorocarbon, and braided lines.


Underneath the swing down sideplate is the casting brake system which is externally adjustable

Casting: The Curado 200I was a very good caster and the 200K is slightly better. When it comes to casting the new reel offers pretty much the same max casting distance but seems to handle the light stuff and pinpoint short casts better. Spool startup is quick and effortless and the SVS braking system offers precise adjustment via the externally adjustable knob located on the lower corner of the non-handle sideplate, a holdover from the last generation.


The new reel doesn't cast much farther than the previous generation but it does handle lighter baits better

While it is great that the Curado 200K offers external cast control adjustment the tiny knob could be implemented better. I still prefer the larger and easier to adjust dial on the Curado 70 which is positioned near the top of the non-handle sideplate. This design makes it easier to make adjustments without having to angle or completely flip the reel over. The tiny knob on the 200K is also a bit hard to read, and on both of our test reels the knobs were also tighter than we would like, making on the fly adjustments a little more difficult. I’ve experienced similar even on high end reels like the Metanium, and luckily in both cases after extended use the knobs did loosen up a bit.


Paired with a Curado rod during testing the entire outfit is understated in design

Cast control knob gripes aside the system is still among the most predictable and consistent on the market. Changes in settings make immediate differences and for most anglers setting the cast control near the middle or lower half of the range will likely be the sweet spot. Once the SVS system is dialed in to your general casting preference little adjustment will ever be necessary unless you switch up use on opposite ends of the application spectrum, for example transitioning from primary use with plastics to launching big baits.


The handle is swept and paired with large and comfortable soft touch knobs

Retrieve: The area where Shimano made the single biggest improvement over the previous generation is in the retrieve. The new reel features not only more bearings but a refined gear design that meshes better and translates into both smoother performance and even more confident winding power.


The single biggest improvement of the Curado K? A vastly improved retrieve

The Curado K feels noticeably smoother than previous generation reels, especially during battles with bigger fish. It is easy to take for granted just how smooth the new reel is, and it wasn’t until revisiting the previous two generations did I realize just how much more refined the new K Series feels. The Curado K may not be as smooth as the more expensive Chronarch MGL but it does come surprisingly close.

During field tests on the Delta I got my lure hung up on underwater vegetation a few times and was pleased with much winching power I was able to apply on the line without having to crank down aggressively. The same effect is true when fighting fish over four pounds, and the well isolated micro module gearing and X-Ship pool together to provide heaps of power to put the hurt on fish, and I even found that the high speed gear ratio XGK version wasn’t lacking in the power department.


Featuring micro module gearing and X-Ship the new reel feels much smoother than the previous generation

The Curado K’s smooth and buttery retrieve has also held up months after initial use without any maintenance whatsoever. The only ding to the Curado K’s retrieve is that there is a trivial amount of backplay in the handle, but nothing significant enough to detract from the reel’s otherwise stellar cranking feel and performance.


Winding power is excellent, even with the high speed XGK (8.5:1) model

Drag: In the lab the Curado 200K delivered 12.1lbs. of drag pressure at maximum lockdown. The good news is this is over a pound more pressure then Shimano’s own max ratings, the bad news is that this is down from the 15.4lbs. of max drag pressure we were able to achieve on the Curado 200I in our previous tests, and is also down from Shimano’s own 200I rating was 14lbs. of maximum drag.


The new cross carbon drag is refined but has a reduced surface area which affects max drag pressure

When comparing the current and previous generation reel’s drags we found them to very similar when it came to delivering consistent and smooth pressure both in the lab and the field, but the new K reel offers more refined adjustment where turns of the drag star are able to make finer drag setting modifications.

Next Section: Built like a tank, handles like a sports car...

 

 

   

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