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Reel Review

Quantum unifies conventional and low profile reel design to create the Cabo PT Baitcast

Date: 4/11/04
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Quantum
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.83

Introduction: To complement their recently introduced saltwater light tackle PT rods, Quantum launches the new Cabo PT Baitcast reel. The Cabo PT is a hybrid between a round conventional reel and a low profile baitcaster, which equates to a smaller, lighter, reel that still holds the massive amount of line necessary to reach deep dwelling prey.

Quantum Cabo PT Baitcast (CBC30PTs) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 14/270, 20/200
Gear Ratio 5.7:1
Weight 10 oz
Bearings 6
Additional Features Solid one-piece aluminum frame, Magnum ceramic drag, Continuous Anti-Reverse, super-hard brass alloy machined gears, ceramic-coated levelwind gear with Zirconia pawl, Saltgard six-layer corrosion protection finish, high-capacity forged aluminum spool, lubrication port, adjustable centrifugal cast control, Neoprene bag, wrench+knot tool
Price $159.95

Impressions: When I heard that Quantum took two popular designs and blended them together to form something that's between a low profile and round conventional reel, I had no idea what this new-fangled reel would finally evolve into. When I first examined the new Cabo PT Baitcast I was surprised by how compact the reel looked. Unlike most saltwater reels which are hulking in appearance, the Quantum PT is streamlined in a teardrop profile. To protect your investment, Quantum provides a very nice Neoprene cover that prevents damage during storage and transport.


A small reel with a huge line capacity, the Cabo PT Baitcast reel is quite stirring


The Design: Despite its sleek design, the newly introduced saltwater baitcast reel boasts plenty of line capacity thanks to the wide spool design of the CBC30PTs. This smaller sized saltwater reel is lighter in weight and able to be palmed if desired; not the case with traditional round reels. Quantum wanted to design a reel that can be fished with the finesse of a freshwater baitcaster, but still has enough muscle to hold its own when it comes time to skirmish with ocean faring fish.


The low profile reel is protected with Quantum's Saltgard six-layer finish which safeguards it from harsh corrosive saltwater conditions. Quantum makes use of quality saltwater-grade components that ensure the reel will enjoy many seasons of duty. The Zirconia pawl offers chemical and corrosion resistance, and can withstand extreme temperature conditions. The part is extremely high strength, making it a perfect match to be used in the big ocean. Other portions that make the Cabo PT Baitcast a saltwater worthy reel include the aluminum, brass, and ceramic coated guts under the reel's polished swathe.


The wide spool allows you to have plenty of line when targeting larger saltwater species


The Cabo PT baitcast sports a number of features that are designed to allow anglers to fish the reel in a wide assortment of applications. The audible star drag clicks as you finely adjust the pressure of the drag system. While a accurate audible click may seem like a small element, it's enormously helpful especially when you need to make quick corrections to the amount of drag pressure needed when fighting the fish. The Cabo PT reel also comes with a line out alarm that screams as a big fish takes your line, and when not needed simply turn it off via a easy to access button.


The Cabo PT Baitcast reels also come with a maintenance port for a quick on-the-go lubrication. This does not replace a full maintenance where you open up the reel, clean each component, and then either grease or oil the parts, but it is a beneficial feature for anglers in need of a prompt lube.


Complete Rig for Cabo PT Baitcast Tests

Rods Quantum PT Inshore
Reel Quantum Cabo PT (CBC30PTs)
Line 20 lb. Sufix Tritanium Plus

Real World Tests:
Being on the West coast we have plenty of saltwater species that helped put the new Cabo PT through the paces. With the reel spooled with Sufix Tritanium 20 lb test line it was time to go fishing for an assortment of rockfish, stripers, and... migratory green sturgeon.


A saltwater worthy reel that performs well in casting and retrieving, and can also be used in freshwater fishing


Casting: Casting comes easy with this reel, but it does require two hands to make it happen. It is lower in profile than round conventional reels and the spool is wide enough to easily control the rotation with your thumb. The Cabo PT Baitcast saltwater reel employs an adjustable centrifugal cast control that does require you to remove the side cover to access. This could be considered a hassle to some anglers, but since this is a saltwater reel having less openings helps guard from harsh saltwater contaminants from coming in contact with the reel's key components.


The size of the Cabo PT Baitcast in the wide spool style casted fine as we tossed lures and baits with heavy sinkers at the end of the line.  When not casting, the reel is great for vertical fishing as we did with rockfish. When using heavier jigs or weights, the wide spool allows you to use both thumbs to prevent the line from getting out of control as it is released. Double thumbing will allow greater pressure and also minimizing the chances of burning your thumb.


The CBC30PTs sports corrosion resistant components while the frame is protected with Quantum's Saltgard six-layer finish


Retrieving: The retrieve feels confident and fluid with every turn of the handle. The CBC30PTs comes with 6 high quality PT bearings that are specially produced to withstand corrosion, minimize vibration, and to reduce noise. The bearings are stainless steel and housed in a polymer composite cage which has a very tight tolerance for greater performance.


One of the many things I find incredibly good about this reel is the Continuous Anti-reverse system, which showed absolutely no signs of backplay. The Cabo PT Baitcast reel is made with tight specifications and the design of the nut locking mechanism is superb, giving zero unwanted movement in the handle. This gives you a sure hookset and minimizes any sloppiness created by your total rig when fighting that big saltwater game fish.


While hauling rockcod and bigger lingcods up from 100' below the surface, the reel was powerful and showed no signs of torquing. Each turn of the handle translated perfectly through the tough brass gears that brought the fish to the surface and into the boat. The reel also proved it could win a tug of war with big fish when we targeted Sturgeon in the San Francisco Bay. With a large line capacity and confidence in the abilities of the reel, we were able to land a few of those ancient creatures.


A green sturgeon gives the Cabo PT reel a good tugging, but is still no match for a solid reel like this


The Drag: You might wonder why we took the CBC30PTs out sturgeon fishing when most people choose to use heavy tackle to haul in those monsters. The Cabo PT Baitcast reel has an aggressive drag system that uses Quantum's Magnum ceramic drag discs that puts plenty of pressure for many saltwater game fish. Prior to fishing, pre-adjust the drag according to the pound test line you're using with a scale. You want the line to spool off when the fish runs and with the Cabo PT reel, the startup was nice and smooth when we hooked up on stripers and sturgeon the fish did indeed take out line, but never felt unmanageable or too big for the Cabo to handle. If adjusting is required during the fight, the audible clicking star drag can be finely increased or decreased when necessary on the fly.


With a quality drag, the CBC30PTs has another feature that'll come in handy especially when you hook into an unexpectedly big fish. While you let the fish run and tire out under the sure of the Magnum ceramic drag, this hybrid small reel sports a wide spool design that holds a generous amount of line. We know that conventional round reels are known to hold a lot of line, and low profile ones not as much, but the Quantum Cabo PT Baitcast test unit holds more line than some conventional reels with a larger frame size!


The lubrication port provides a quick lube when just a few drops are needed to do the job


Durability: Saltwater reels demand a lot, and everything from the frame to the tiniest component must withstand hard tugging fish and the added trouble saltwater adds to the equation. After the field tests were completed, we opened up the reel and analyzed the inside. Since there are a few tight openings where saltwater has the possibility to get into the interior, we made sure to look at every component and see if we could detect any corrosion, especially in the bearings and main gearing.  After a thorough investigation, there was a tiny spot of saltwater residue near the lubrication port side but no signs of corrosion were noticed on any of the components. A good sign since the reel came in contact with saltwater in many different ways that could have punished a reel that was poorly designed, but this was simply not the case with the CBC30PTs.


Quantum's PT Saltwater reels come with an attractive and protective reel cover that can be used for storage and during transport


Maintenance: A reel's longevity and ability to retain its performance comes from proficient maintenance, and with saltwater gear it is important to maintain and service reels on a regular basis. Quantum's saltwater reels come with a handy tool for you to use to open up the reel. The combo tool consists of an Allen-wrench(hex wrench), wrench to remove the handle, and it also acts as a knot tool. While the reel does have a lubrication port, use it only when needed, and apply very modest amounts of oil to the main gear when doing so. Remember, lubricating through this port does not replace a full maintenance. When doing maintenance, I recommend opening the reel and clean each component and give it a superior treatment of oil or grease. 


Warranty: Quantum's Saltwater PT reels have an excellent warranty. These PT reels are warranted for one year from the date of purchase against any defects in workmanship or materials. But here's the exciting part that any saltwater guys will love. Quantum provides their users with a "24 Hour Warranty Service" because their objective is to keep everyone fishing, and they understand how important it is to have your gear ready, especially when the sea conditions are right and the migratory fish are biting. Two advantages to this service: 1) Quantum will either repair or replace your product in 24 hours and ship it back to you, 2) the warranty on the product being sent back to you will again have a 1 year warranty period from the date sent. This is a solid warranty, with the service to back it up!


When it comes to maintenance, Quantum gives you the tool for the job


Replacement Parts: Now finding parts for your Quantum reel is even easier than before. Quantum recently launched a website dedicated to ordering parts and accessories, where an interactive online schematic makes finding the parts quickly, easily, and accurately. Yet another nice added value Quantum provides to its ever growing group of Performance Tuned saltwater enthusiasts.


Quantum Cabo PT Baitcast Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Built to withstand harsh corrosive saltwater environments when fishing.  The frame and components are well protected and are solid, being able to take on a good beating.  The six layer finish protects the reel very well 9
Performance Performs great throughout each category with good casting, quality drag system, and a smooth retrieve with zero backplay 9
Price There aren't any real contenders for this reel, at least not yet.  But the CBC30PTs stands up there with the well known brands that are larger, less line capacity, and are higher in price.  This reel is competitive and affordable 8.5
Features A smaller sized reels packed with features you would normally see in other conventional saltwater reels such as a line out alarm, audible drag clicker, high performing Zirconia pawl, and a few others 8
Design (Ergonomics) A well designed low profile saltwater baitcast reel that is lighter in weight, ergonomic, and holds a huge amount of line for its size.  Great comfortable size for an all day fishing trip 9.5
Application This baitcast reel would work in any place you would normally use the smaller conventional types such as light tackle fishing for rockfish, casting plugs on the flats, and much more.  A well rounded light tackle reel with a good amount of line capacity to give you the upper hand in both salt and freshwater 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Lower profile design L Maintenance port only good for a quick lube, you should still do a full maintenance depending on how often the reel is used
J Generous line capacity  
J Zero backplay!!!  
J Great warranty service  
J Corrosion resistant components  

Conclusion: Conventional reels, move over! Quantum has just unleashed a light tackle low profile saltwater baitcast reel that can be finessed like a bass reel, and fished aggressively like a traditional rounder. After many hours of tests on different species of fish, this reel has proven itself to be truly saltwater worthy. The Cabo PT Baitcast reel is well protected with its Saltgard six-layer finish along with quality corrosion resistant components. Aside from its great looks, the CBC30PTs performed admirably in all our categories. With controlled casting abilities you can reach your target zone, and a smooth retrieve with a zero backplay helps you to set the hook quickly to successfully boat the fish. This Quantum saltwater reel is definitely a contender, and in a sea of sameness the Cabo Pt is breath of fresh air. The ability to have something smaller in your hands while still retaining a generous capacity of line on the spool is definitely a big plus for hardcore saltwater guys that demand the most from their saltwater tackle.









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