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Reel Review

Not just “Smoke” and Mirrors, possibly the best Quantum Baitcaster yet? (continued)


One gripe with competing reels is that some manufacturers only invest in the tooling to make the right handed version of their reels. Right handed reels still make up the lion’s share of the market but there are many anglers that prefer left hand retrieve for certain applications. Quantum has released all but one (the 5.3:1 low speed) in both right and left handed retrieve models. While many manufacturers will only introduce left hand retrieve models only after a reel has a proven run rate Quantum covers all anglers right out of the gate.


There are only four settings on this system and "free" really means FREE


Price and Applications: The Smoke reels retail for $199.99 for the standard 100 class reels and 19 dollars more for the higher capacity 150 class reels. This positions the reels right above the Energy PT V1 reels which retail for $189 and below the Energy PT SS reels which retail for $229. It is somewhat an odd positioning for these reels in that I feel like in many ways the weight reduction should garner a higher price point versus in the product line (the higher cost Energy PT SS has the same basic profile yet weighs 8.5oz. for example). Because the Smoke reels are available in three retrieve ratios and two different line capacities they should satisfy the full range of bass applications and can even be used for larger species. The aluminum frame also makes this a better choice for saltwater environments like inshore fishing than other magnesium based ultralight reels.


We were impressed with the materials and quality of the implementation on the Smoke reels


The primary competition comes from the Shimano Curado 50 E which retails for the same price but weighs slightly more at 6.9oz., for those anglers that require more capacity the standard Curado 200 E reels are slightly more affordable at $179.99 but weigh in at 7.6oz. and make use of more composite aluminum material than the Smoke reels. The only other reels that can touch this weight class with an aluminum frame is the Revo Premier (6.7oz.) which is an excellent reel but retails for $279 dollars and the slightly more affordable Pflueger Patriarch XT which weighs in at 6.8oz. and is $249 dollars. Of all these reels the Quantum Smoke is the best overall value when you consider the materials used within the construction, feature-set and low price. 


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Quantum PT Smoke 100 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent use of aluminum construction throughout. No use of cheaper grade graphite materials, this reel looks and feels solid. Aggressive porting is as functional as it is stylish 9
Performance besides a little play in the handle this reel performs well in all categories. The reel exhibits a very smooth retrieve and the drag delivers 8.5
Price A very reasonable price that is better than the competition when it comes to ultra-lightweight aluminum reels 9
Features Plenty of features throughout including aggressive porting, custom bearings, ceramic components, ergonomic eva handle knobs, and let us not forget HOT SAUCE! 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Excellent ergonomics, the best ergonomics we have seen to date from Quantum 8.8
Application The 100 class is great for bass fishing but it is good to know that Quantum offers two other retrieve ratios and increased capacity models for larger species. These 150 class reels held up to Peacocks! these reels are also great in brackish and saltwater applications as they are more durable than magnesium based reels 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Excellent weight for a aluminum reel - Observed a little play in the handle
+ High quality materials and design feels solid and refined  
+ Strong drag courtesy of ceramic washer  
+ Clean styling throughout, this is the stealth fighter of the Quantum lineup and is a pleasure to fish with  
+ A very reasonable price that makes it a better value than the competition in many respects  


The Smoke reel is not the highest end reel in the Quantum lineup but it might just be the most well rounded


Conclusion: There are more expensive Quantum reels, and there are certainly more feature rich reels that have a lot more “bling” in the company’s lineup but when it comes to sheer form and functionality the Smoke reel may just be Quantum’s best baitcaster yet. When I say “best” I don’t necessarily mean the best performing, or highest end, what I do mean is the best overall reel all things considered, especially factoring in ergonomics and price. 


Even the bottom of the reel takes weight reduction into account


The Smoke Series of reels feature an efficient design and while understated in styling the reels are absolutely rich in features and refinement. These reels are a pleasure to fish with and look great paired with just about any rod. The fact that Quantum was able to design such a lightweight aluminum based reel is impressive in itself, but add in the fact the company didn’t sacrifice any one aspect of performance to get to that sub 7oz. weight and I was blown away. These reels have a smooth retrieve and a quality ceramic drag system that not only proved strong enough for largemouth but was even able to put the brakes on Amazon Peacock Bass!


The team at Quantum has done an excellent job making an attractive lightweight aluminum reel that delivers both quality features and plenty of refinement


The Smoke is the Quantum reel that I have been waiting for, one that not only was able to take on comparable reels from the competition, but in many ways surpasses the current offerings of other Tier 1 reel manufacturers. It has been eight years since Quantum has won an “Editor’s Choice” from us and the Smoke is the only reel to be given the coveted honor this year thus far. The Smoke is already a hit for Quantum and rumor is that it has been selling phenomenally well, and is probably the company’s current top selling baitcaster. If this is true it is certainly with good reason, as the Smoke reel series proved to be not just world class baitcasters but delivered in spades in just about every metric. These new reels are certainly more than just “Smoke” and mirrors, they are absolutely the real deal! If you are looking for an ultralight reel, and prefer not to deal with the durability issues of magnesium, then this is definitely one lightweight series of reels worth checking out. 


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