just “Smoke” and Mirrors, possibly the best Quantum Baitcaster yet?
Smoke reels felt very smooth while both slow cranking and burning baits. The
company makes use of 8+1 bearings and unlike many other reel manufacturers they
don’t use off the shelf bearings, opting instead to spec out customized
stainless steel bearings. These bearings are also fitted with a polymer cages
for better durability versus the elements.
Not exactly the quality fish we
were looking for to test the reel's drag
When I opened
up the reel I found Quantum Hot Sauce lubrication on a number of key areas but
not the same profuse amounts I have seen used in previous reels. My previous
experience with Hot Sauce has been very positive and this synthetic lubricant is
designed to add to the overall performance and durability of the components that
come in contact with one another. In the Smoke reels the Hot Sauce definitely
has a positive effect as retrieve, even under pressure, felt fluid and friction
The Smoke reels feature a
multi-coated black finish which looks matte in appearance
The Smoke reels make use of a ceramic drag washer sandwiched within the main
gearing, because of the varying drive gear sizes on the different gear ratios
the drag washer diameters also vary slightly so that the higher the gear ratio
the lower the max drag pressure generated. In the lab we measured the drags and
found them to fall just shy of the manufacturer’s rated specifications. For
example the rating in the SL100HPT is 15lbs. and we were able to achieve
14.2lbs. maximum pressure. Under ideal conditions and maximum lockdown the
15lbs. is probably achievable but the 14.2lbs. we witnessed is already very
respectable and better than the majority of the competition.
The 150 reels feature a larger
system does not feature many washers and does not need to distribute head over a
lot of surfaces as the material does not build up as much performance robbing
heat to begin with. While I found the drag very strong I did not find that it
offered the minute level of settings as some competing multi-stack drag systems.
While adjustments were not as refined sheer stopping power was excellent and the
real test for this drag system came in the Amazon.
All Smoke reels make use of a
titanium coasted line guide which can handle superlines
Smoke’s drag system had already proved itself on largemouth bass on our
home waters the Peacock Bass in the Amazon posed a unique challenge. While the
150 boasted a higher capacity it was still smaller than the swimbait class and
traditional round reels that many anglers use for these monster Cichlids. We
needed to rely on the Smoke’s drag systems to tire out these hard runners before
they spooled us. We got that chance when a giant male Peacock crushed his
Woodchopper no more than 10 feet from the boat.
Spooled up and ready for the
This fresh fish
went on four extended runs taking copious amounts of line even when the drag was
set near full strike. Though the drag seemed to release a great deal of line it
wasn’t because of the drag wasn’t delivering plenty of counter pressure it was
because this fish was so physically powerful. After the third run we could tell
that the drag was holding up well and the sheer pressure of the system was
indeed tiring the fish out. In a few minutes JIP, though winded, held up the
17lb. fish up for a picture.
JIP lands a nice Peacock and the
Smoke's drag proves up to the challenge