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ICAST 2017 Coverage


Quantum Bucks the Trend with their New, Series 3 Performance Tuned Reels


Date: 7/12/17
Location: Orlando, FL
Admission: Buyers & Press Only
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: Cal

Industry trends are a difficult path to resist - especially when talking about the most hotly contested segment in the bass fishing industry namely low profile casting reels. It seems each and every manufacturer is aiming for smaller, lighter, higher performing thanks in no small part, we're pretty sure, to our readership. Bucking that trend in a way this year is Quantum with a total, ground up redesign of their popular Smoke platform. We had the opportunity this year to talk to Michael Whitman, Senior Product Engineer at Quantum to walk us through the design considerations for the manufacturer's new Smoke, Series 3 casting reel.


Introducing the new Smoke S3 (Series 3) low profile baitcaster.


Quantum brings back their line weight memo feature on the left.


Smaller isn't necessarily better: In wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch, the number one consideration for Michael Whitman and his team in designing the new Smoke reels was spool size.


The industry trend has been for smaller spools as a method to assist in making the overall profile of a reel lower, and therefore more comfortable to fish all day long. The sacrifice one makes in going with a smaller spool, believe it or not is casting distance and line pick up.


When working with a smaller diameter spool, line comes off, and winds back onto the reel over a smaller overall diameter which can hinder performance.


The Smoke S3 has a LARGER diameter spool - not smaller

It also features a lighter, refined brake pad.


Mr Whitman and his team decided to buck that trend giving the Smoke Series 3 (S3) a larger than average spool at 33.5mm (industry trend is for 31-32mm overall diameter) while at the same time, somehow, lowering the overall height of the Smoke by 1mm.

On the inside of the spool tension knob is a washer made of sapphire for superior durability and frictionless performance.

The Series 3 Engineering extends to Tour S3 as well.

Refined Brakes : Next up was a new braking system for the Smoke S3 with a set of centrifugal brakes that are not fixed to the outer edge of the spool. Instead, the Smoke S3's brake pad has a millimeter of play that allows Quantum to implement a two tier braking system. One that responds to the normal braking profile of their older reels with assistance at the beginning of the cast, but also one that responds to the inner inertial of the spool and turns off right towards the end of your cast to extend the spool's spin just a bit longer so you can gain a few extra feet or yards right at the tail end of your cast instead of it coming to an abrupt end.

Also redesigned for this year is Smoke Inshore Spinning ...

... and standard Smoke Spinning.

Additional Tuning : Of course, extending a reel's casting performance goes beyond adjustments to just the brake pad and braking engineering but also involves reducing friction on the spool wherever possible. Quantum addresses this with a 3 bearing supported spool and a special washer beneath the spool tension knob made from precious stones for increased durability and less friction.

What's the big announcement here? How about a uni-body construction for spinning reels?

The Vapor spinning also benefits from this new frame design.

Smoke & Vapor Spinning: The Smoke and Vapor spinning reels have also undergone a bit of re-engineering most significant of which is the new, one piece frame (uni-body) housing the reels' gears. This new design eliminates alignment issues found in older designs and really helps extend the life of these reels. Together with a redesigned rotor and main gears, the Smoke, Smoke Inshore, and Vapor spinning reels are really packed with improvements.

Michael Whitman takes us through the new casting reel design.

Chris Littau is the spinning reel guru.

Conclusion: These are but among a few of the key attributes and design considerations that went into the re-engineering of Quantum's Smoke S3 reels but they are ideals that will continue to permeate through Quantum's entire reel line. Further, in case of the Smoke S3 low profile baitcasting reel, Quantum actually dropped the price of this reel by $10 to $169. That's a newly re-engineered for better overall performance reel for less than the previous generation. Quantum is making moves.









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