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Reel Review


Built for Finesse. Shimano's Curado MGL 70 K Baitcasters (continued)


Real World Tests: To test the Curado MGL70K I employed the reel for as many baitfinesse applications that I could squeeze into my late Summer and early Fall fishing. The new reel was a regular part of my rotation when fishing from both the bass boat and kayak and I paired it with a number of rods from the company's own G.Loomis lineup, as well as some Megabass Orochi XX rods. In an effort to see how the reel would stand up to stress I also utilized it for applications outside the reel's normal range, including fishing full sized glide baits.


The Curado MGL70K features externally adjustable SVS Infinity cast control for quick adjustments, a big plus when fishing lightweight rigs


I was also fortunate enough to receive the new SLX MGL 70 from Shimano at the same time as the Curado MGL70K, and was able to fish both reels side by side to compare the differences in feel and performance between the two compact reels.


As with other Shimano baitcasters equipped with both MGL and SVS Infinity the Curado MGL70K is a strong caster, and especially with the light stuff


Casting: Shimano's Magnumlite (MGL) spool is one of the best spool designs on the market today. By creating a spool with reduced mass and keeping it very balanced Shimano helps reduce the amount of inertia required on every cast. This, combined with the reliable SVS Infinity cast control, gives reels armed with these two systems a very light and effortless, yet always predictable, cast that helps improve both distance and accuracy.


The Curado MGL70K is very easy to cast and the inclusion of these systems benefits the reel's performance with lighter lures, and helps make this reel a great choice for baitfinesse applications.


A look inside the SVS Infinity cast system


It is hard to say whether or not the Curado MGL70K outcasts the standard K Series reel. Theoretically it should with the MGL spool but in our tests performance was very similar. The Curado MGL70K was the better caster when it comes to the lighter lures but overall max distance is nearly the same.


Interestingly when we compared the casting performance between the new Curado MGL70K and SLX MGL the overall performance across both short and accurate pitches and max casting distance was also nearly identical, and within the margin of error for varying wind conditions. Both of these reels are excellent casters.


The thin walled MGL spool is ported to reduce mass


Is the new SLX so good in terms of casting that it will actually eat into Curado sales? We asked Trey how Shimano viewed the two reels in this particular metric. He responded "While I havenít personally cast the reels side by side, I am willing to bet that their casting performance will be fairly similar for your average angler with normal baits. The Curado is just going to feel more refined and will perform better as baits get lighter due to the smaller spool diameter."


While the standard Curado 200K really shines with 15-20lb fluoro/mono, 40-65lb PowerPro and baits from Ĺ-1oz the ideal applications for the new smaller Curado 70 are when fishing 10-14lb fluoro/mono, 20-30lb PowerPro, and baits from 3/16-1/2oz. The reel is certainly capable for going wider, but this seems like the sweet spot for the new reel.


The Curado MGL70K spool weighs 12.7 grams


Retrieving: When fishing with the lighter lures the Curado MGL70K feels smooth when cranked, and very similar to the larger standard 200K models. It is in this area that I found the Curado MGL70K really separated itself from the SLX MGL, and under all retrieves the Curado simply feels smoother, and more refined. When I put larger swimbaits on both reels to test the gearing under load the Curado MGL70K also felt smoother, and more solid.


The Curado MGL70K retrieve is smooth, but doesn't feel as powerful as the larger 200K reels. A lot of this is due to the fact that the MGL70K is only available in higher speeds (7.4:1 and 8.1:1)


It was under these heavier loads that the Curado MGL70K does feel noticeably less smooth than the standard 200K reels however. The smaller frame is a smaller platform in which to isolate the gearing, and this slightly burdened feel is exacerbated by the fact that my test reel was the HGK model, which sports a brisk 8.1:1 gear ratio. If you are looking for a Curado reel to primarily fish crankbaits and swimbaits the 200K or 300K models will be better suited for these applications. 


Even though the Cross Carbon drag isn't as strong as the drag systems found on many competing reels it is both smooth and reliable


Drag: The Curado MGL70K is rated at 12lbs. of drag pressure and in our lab on the "Machine" reported a max rating of 12.18lbs. of pressure. Shimano typically under-rates their drags for a bit of headroom and this is the closest we have seen to date, and also required full drag star lockdown to achieve. The smaller gearing reduces the amount of surface area that the drag washers have in smaller reels, so this really is no surprise. For finesse applications, and bass fishing in general, this is plenty of pressure to help protect line and keep fish pinned during the battle.


As with other Shimano baitcasters what the Curado MGL70K lacks in maximum drag pressure it makes up with consistent performance. The cross carbon drag does an excellent job doling out smooth performance, and doesn't stutter, even the under load of bigger fish and prolonged runs.  

Next Section: The most application specific Curado...









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