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Reel Preview


 

3 Decades of Green - Shimano's 200 M Baitcaster

 

Date: 9/19/23
Tackle Type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander





 

 

 

Introduction: The refresh of the new Shimano Curado 200 M flew under the radar this ICAST as the new Stradic FK took center stage. The new Curado iterates on a proven formula, and while it does not stray too far from the previous version, it does offer a number some improvements in design and feature-set for mainstream anglers.

 


A closer look at the newest Curado, the 200 M

 

Still Green: The last version of the Curado, the 200K, was highly regarded as one of the best iterations with a return to what made the series so popular as a everyday workhorse reel, including smooth and powerful retrieve, comfortable ergonomics, and excellent reliability. We really liked the Curado 200 K Series and Awarded it our Editor's Choice Award five years ago.

 


The reel features a sleeker more angular and compact frame than the previous 200 K and JDM Scorpion DC reels

 

Since that time the K-Series has spawned a wide range of versions featuring different sizes and a focus on specific applications, but all with similar cosmetics feature a black frame and anodized green and gold components. These included the Curado 300 K for big baits, the 70 MGL K for lighter applications, and even the Curado BFS for baitfinesse. With the introduction of the smaller 150 MGL last season we saw an updated form factor, and a return to a more green finish on the main body of the reel, versus just the knobs and spool. The new 200 M follows the same overall design of a black frame and dark green sideplates, but instead of a matte black finish the frame is painted gloss black.

 


When indoors, or under low light the reel almost looks black in color

 

I'm not sure how I feel about the gloss black finish yet, and while it gives the reel a little more "pop" it feels slicker to the touch when palming the new reel. Like the 150 MGL the green finish on the sideplates is very dark and is a more olive shade of green than the 2007 E-Series, and is a bit reminiscent of the legendary 1994 Bantam Curado. 

 


Shimano has clearly tried to give the new Curado a more angular profile, and this is carried over into the aluminum handle design

 

In terms of form factor the new Curado 200 M has a sleeker more compact frame and front section than the K Series and the JDM 21 Scorpion 150 DC. The front of the reel is so squared off that it looks somewhat like a Bantam MGL A reel, but put the two reels side by side and you can see how much more compact the current Bantam is.

 


The front of the Curado is now a lot flatter and inline with the lower lip of the frame, giving it a more Bantam-like design, but it is significantly wider

 

Cosmetically the one obvious omission in the new reel versus the K-Series is the lack of any gold highlights, and I'm all for it. The new reel, while playing it safe in styling, also looks more tactical and matches up better with the vast majority of rods.

 

Shimano Curado 200M Series Baitcasting Reel Lineup Specifications

Model
Gear ratio
Mono Line Capacity
Ball Bearings
Weight (oz)
MSRP
CU200M 6.2:1 10/155, 14/110 6 S ARB + 1 RB 7.4 $199.99
CU200HGM 7.4:1 10/155, 14/110 6 S ARB + 1 RB 7.6 $199.99
CU200XGM 8.5:1 10/155, 14/110 6 S ARB + 1 RB 7.6 $199.99
CU201M 6.2:1 10/155, 14/110 6 S ARB + 1 RB 7.4 $199.99
CU201HGM 7.4:1 10/155, 14/110 6 S ARB + 1 RB 7.6 $199.99
CU201XGM 8.5:1 10/155, 14/110 6 S ARB + 1 RB 7.6 $199.99

There are a total of six Curado 200 M variations, with 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1 retrieve ratios, and in both right and left hand configurations. The smallest geared 200 M reel weighs in at 7.4 ounces, while all of the others weigh .2 ounces more. This is pretty much identical to the K-Series reels which all weigh 7.6 ounces. Pricing for the reels remains $199 dollars each, which is how much the current K retails for, and anglers may remember that it debuted at $179 five years ago.


The centrifugal SVS system is adjusted externally with a small dial under the non-handle sideplate

The Differences: Besides the updated form factor what are the primary differences between the K and M Series Curado 200 reels? The new reel features a more compact aluminum frame which houses the updated MagnumLite (MGL) Spool III which is designed to reduce start-up inertia for better casting distance and feel. Previous reels that have leveraged this spool design include the higher-end Metanium MGL and Bantam MGL A. It is important to note that the previously introduced Curado 150 features a MGL spool versus this MGL III spool.


A look under the sideplate and the brakes on the MGL III Spool

The Curado M 200 MGL III spool has a distinct narrow shape that is 19mm in width, versus 22mm on the original MGL spool. Though it is not aggressively ported it features a thin wall construction to reduce mass and improve inertia roughly 15% versus the standard MGL spool. With an outer diameter of 34mm the spool still maintains the same max line capacity.


The MGL III Spool features a smaller width and thin wall construction to reduce mass

The other major difference between the 200 K and 200 M reels is the addition of the SilentTune feature, which is Shimano's fancy way of holding the spool support bearings in place with a slight amount of pressure to reduce vibration of both the bearings and the spool shaft during the high speed rotation of each cast. Reducing vibration lowers the amount of energy lost which should improve casting feel and distance, while also helping make the reel quieter as casts are smoother.


Spooled up and ready for battle. In low light the reel looks a lot darker, and almost black, but in sunlight the green sideplates are lot more obvious, as is the gloss black frame

All of the other Shimano goodies like MicroModule Gearing, Cross Carbon Drag, and X-Ship all return to help round out the package. As a 200 sized reel this new Curado is designed to be the center of the arsenal, the workhorse for everything from power fishing plastics and jigs to working topwater frogs and even mid-sized swimbaits.

Both sideplates on the Curado 200M are made out of CI4+

 

A combination of power and reliability are what made the previous K reels so good, so it will be interesting to see if these new reels are able to add to that legacy. Use of MicroModule gearing and X-Ship supporting the pinion gear on both ends with bearings does help maintain alignment as well as reduced wear on the gearing over extended use.

 


A look at the non-handle sideplate. One of the complaints of Shimano's mainstream and value reels are the screw holes. The Curado K didn't have these on the outer plate and looks cleaner

 

Our Quick Take: Every time a new Curado is introduced it is billed as the best Curado yet. There have been missteps in the past, and there have also been some really excellent iterations. Today legacy Curado D and E reels are still sought after by anglers that love their tank-like construction and proven reliability. The last K-Series was one of the best generations, and brought the reel up to date with many of Shimano's more refined features, and was well on its way of earning cult status among Shimano fans. Winning over die-hard fans of the Curado K-Series is a challenge but there are indications that anglers are excited about the new M-Series reel as it recently won the Tackle Warehouse Viewers Choice Award as the "Best New Casting Reel" by a wide margin.

 


Paired with the Shimano Jackall Poison Ultima rods and getting a feel for the new reels at time of launch

 

I was able to fish the first Curado 200 M reels prior to release and have since purchased the 200HG reel in this preview from Tackle Warehouse, and will be using this reel for the complete review later this season. I personally like the new form factor and feel the compact angular shape looks more modern and aggressive, and feels very good palmed, but also feel it is less clean and elegant looking than the K Series. While I am getting used to the gloss black finish on the frame I do feel like the matte finish on the Curado 150 M provides a better grip, and I have a feeling it will also hold up better to boat rash over time, but will wait for the field tests to conclude to pass final judgment here. While the new reel looks very different I do like the return to a deeper green finish, and the omission of the gold highlights. I think overall Shimano was a little conservative on the styling changes on the new reel, but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing on the Curado as evolutionary changes probably will appeal more to the fans of the series.

 

While most of the features carry over from the previous K-Series reel the two primary upgrades of the MGL III spool and SilentTune, though seemingly subtle, have a significant impact on the reel's overall feel. I am still getting a feel for the max casting distance and handling of baits across the spectrum but there is no doubt that the new Curado M Series reel feels smoother when cast.

 

I'm looking forward to spending more time on the water with the Curado 200 M, and like all other anglers, seeing if this latest green reel will add to the Curado's 30 year plus legacy as the do-everything workhorse.

 

Looking for the Shimano Curado 200 M? Try Tackle Warehouse


 

   

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