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Complete ICAST 2017 Coverage
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TackleTour Exclusive: On the Water with the New G.Loomis Conquest Rod Series

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First Look Inside the New Shimano Curado K Series Baitcasters
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Reel Review


Shimano’s Sleek Curado 70 Baitcaster - Smaller, Faster, and Better (continued)

Performance: So you want mainstream reel that can do it all? Sorry, but the Curado 70 is simply not that reel. Unlike the Curado 200I that is available in both slow to high speed gear ratio models the Curado 70 is only available in two flavors, really fast and really-really fast. More like a sports car than a sedan the Curado 70 comes in 7.2:1 and 8.2:1 retrieve ratios and are designed for applications that put a premium on speed, which includes power fishing with plastics and certain reaction baits like ripbaits. If you like to fish hard and fast then the Curado 70 will satisfy your need for speed.


Under the sideplate is the SVS casting system

Performance Ratings for Curado 70 Reel

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag
(1-5)
Power
(1-5)
Casting Range
(1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
4
3
5
5
21
25
8.8

Drag: Though small in size because the Curado 70 is designed for power fishing applications it needs to have a drag that can stand up to short yet powerful battles with fish, many of which probably strike not all that far away from your initial cast, so being able to put strong immediate pressure on fish is essential. Having enough surface area to deliver that requisite pressure can be a challenge in a reel this compact, and Shimano’s answer is to employ carbon washers on both sides of the main gear, essentially making the master gearing a key part of a sandwich drag system.


Shimano manages to squeeze a large gear into a tiny gearbox

Shimano rates the Curado 70 drag at a maximum of 10lbs. pressure and yet when we ran our “sweet drag” tests in the lab we found that the drag was capable of much more, topping out at 13lbs. of pressure under lockdown.

Sweet Drag Performance for Curado 70

 
Lock - 8
Lock - 6
Lock - 4
Lock - 2
Lockdown
Avg % Change
 
 
 
Start Up
3.6
3.6
5
9.2
13
Sustained
2.5
3.8
5.2
9.0
12
Lowest Value
1.8
3.2
4.3
7.5
10.4
Change in Startup vs Sustained
29.3%
5.1%
4%
1.9%
8.1%
9.7%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
29.7%
14.4%
16.7%
17.3%
13.5%
19.3%
Drag on this reel was tested with the dragstar fully tightened. Then with each successive test, the drag was backed off with two short pushes of the dragstar with our thumb.


Fig 1. The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our Shimano Curado 70.

Drag pressure in the lower range was very consistent, while at the upper range we did notice some peaks and valleys between adjustments, but nothing that resulted in drag shuddering or inconsistent performance in the field. The drag held up well in our tests, handling fish all the way up to six pounds with ease.


To maximize surface area the Curado 70 features drag washers sandwiching the main gear

Power: Weighing in at only 6.5oz. the Curado 70 balances out very well with lightweight rods, which only adds to the feeling of sensitivity of the rig due to the better overall balance. When it came to retrieves we found that the gearing did feel a little light under prolonged load. For example when fighting fish the reel felt powerful enough to turn fish when cranked hard in short bursts, but when fishing deep diving cranks for extended periods the reel definitely felt less powerful than the lower gear ratio Curado 200I versions.


Under load the gearing feels powerful when fighting fish but you feel the difference of the higher gear ratio when continuously cranking

Shimano’s X-Ship design has been hyped to the n’th degree and yet it is among the most easy to perceive features when comparing reels that come equipped with the feature, and those that are not, even within Shimano’s own lineup. By strategically placing bearing support on the pinion gear to reduce pressure and maintain alignment under load the X-Ship equipped Curado 70 feels smooth and transmits more cranking power, but not to the extent that it overcomes the sheer high speed gear ratios.


Knobs look familiar? They are the same ones found on the much more expensive Aldebaran 50

The Curado 70 is built to be a speed demon, and delivers more than enough cranking power when used as designed. That said, if you are looking for a mainstream reel primarily for cranking then a Curado 200 CU200IPG with a 5.5:1 gear ratio will definitely serve you better, and save you a few bucks to boot.


The external cast control is positioned on the front of the non handle sideplate

Casting Range/Brakes: When it comes to casting the Curado 70 is excellent, the SVS infinity Brake System continues to impress and the Curado’s spool starts up quickly and exhibits little to no vibration, allowing for consistent and long distance casts.


This position makes it easy to adjust the cast SVS cast control on the fly

While many anglers will no doubt use this reel as a power fishing reel to make casts into target zones and leverage those high speed retrieves to bring back lures quicker for that next cast, the Curado 70’s ability to cast ultra-light lures also makes this reel an interesting choice for finesse fishing as well.


The Curado 70 is an excellent caster and capable of long distance or short accurate casts

During our tests we spooled up with Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon all the way down to 6lb test and found the reel more than capable for casting finesse shakey heads and drop shot rigs. I quickly found myself torn with what I wanted to spool on the Curado 70 reels as they performed equally well rigged with braided line for power fishing banks, or casting light test fluorocarbon tying on tiny plastics for finesse work in clear water.


The S3D spool features very thin walls that are designed to minimize weight and vibration during casts

Next Section: Features in a small footprint

 

 

 

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