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Reel Review

Shimano's new Citica 200E - Completely Redefined (continued)

Ergonomics cont'd: While I have always liked the smaller grips for fishing plastics the larger grips are definitely more comfortable when fishing lures like deep diving crank baits. On the trip to Dream Lake while I was fishing my strengths, plastics and crank baits, Cal turned to his strength, swimbaits. While he wasn’t sure of the larger PV power grips at first by the end of the trip Cal was only fishing the Curado E, and remarked that when it came to fishing swimbaits he really liked the extra comfort provided by the larger more ergonomic paddles. At the end of the day it will come to personal preference, but if anglers want the larger grips they will have to opt for the higher end Curado E over the Citica E which will only come in one version. The good news is that that reel comes in both left and right hand retrieves, but to get that very useful slow cranking version anglers will also have to go Curado E.

The Citica's grips are rubber, for the enlarged Septon grips anglers will have to go for the Curado E

Durability: We have only been fishing the Citica E for a little over month so we cannot make any long term statements about durability but thus far the reel has not exhibited any problem areas. The Citica E certainly held up well during fishing and we examined a number of the reels that the dealers fished with over a seven day span on Dream Lake. Some of the reels were abused and had obviously been dropped on the deck, but none of them had any damage other than cosmetic scratches. We will continue to fish the Citica E and stay tuned for another update in an upcoming review of the Curado E.

Zander uses the Citica to fish finesse worms in underwater structure

Price & Applications: It is in the price category that the Citica E really shines. Not only did the company improve the reel significantly, they did so without increasing the price. At $119.00 the Citica E is an absolutely fantastic deal. So good that we think it is a better value than the Curado E. While it may not be as refined the reel offers performance that is far from no-frills when it comes to features, and comes in at a happy medium of performance versus price.

Another Alabama largemouth landed on the Citica E

Is the Citica E good enough to warrant some attention normally only reserved for the Curado E? Absolutely, but will it take sales away from the Curado E? Unlikely to any major extent, as we find most consumers at this price point are likely to pay the extra 60 dollars to get the added refinement and features as well as the Curado brand name. But will the Citica E take sales away from the competition at the 120 dollar price point and above? Without a doubt, as this reel offers a whole lot of performance at a price at or below that of the competition.

The Citica E is made in Japan alongside the Curado E

The Curado E and Citica E are more siblings than they are distinct series with this latest iteration. Whereas the previous version were more like a Porsche 911 versus the Cayman, the new reels are more like a Porsche 911S versus the standard 911. The Citica E has the same body just less features, and only comes in one slightly lower powered “engine.” If you want all the features and options than the Curado E will still be your best choice. Nonetheless we can’t deny the overall package that is now the Citica E. While I used to treat the Citica as a pure workhorse utilitarian reel the new Citica E is something I actually enjoy fishing with.

After being abused we inspected the following reels for damage, and the Citica's held up well. We will continue to fish the Citica E alongside our test Curado E reels for long term durability results

The Citica E can be used for the complete range of low profile baitcasting applications, and with a retrieve ratio of 6.3:1 it can be employed for bringing topwater lures quickly on plane or slow dragging plastic contact baits. The aluminum construction and respectable line capacity make this a good inshore reel for fishing lures, and thanks to the powerful HEG gearing the reel will not feel outmatched for hard hitting or deeper running species.

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):

Shimano Citica 200E Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good overall build quality, the construction is top notch but graphite sideplates are used on both sides of the aluminum frame. Surprisingly the graphite sideplates hold up nicely on the new smaller reel but some anglers will no doubt still desire aluminum 8
Performance Performance was surprisingly good. We expected a much bigger delta in performance between the Citica E and Curado E but the Citica E held its own nicely. The biggest difference is fluid feel during retrieve and casting weightless rigs 9
Price Shimano got this one spot on. It is hard to complain about a reel that performs this well and only costs 120 dollars 9.5
Features The Citica E has a lot of new features including the new lighter weight, more ergonomic profile, and improved construction. The Curado does better in this category, but overall the Citica has all the features necessary in a quality mainstream reel 8
Design (Ergonomics) The Citica scored great in this category thanks to the new smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to palm design. Ergonomically the Citica E is near identical to the Curado E 8
Application The Citica E may not be as refined as the Curado E but it is real close. This reel can be used for a wide range of species thanks to the respectable line capacity and the ability to handle saltwater for inshore applications 8

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

J Improved ergonomics and weight reduction L Graphite sideplates instead of aluminum
J Major improvement over previous generation reel L Only one gear ratio available, want a slow cranking version? Go Curado E
J Small but powerful thanks to HEG gearing  
J So good it comes close to the more expensive Curado in numerous performance areas  
J Exceptional price  

Conclusion: From the California Delta to Dream Lake Alabama the Citica delivered when it came to both performance and improved ergonomics. The Citica E leapfrogs the previous model in just about every category, and is so good that it will have anglers thinking twice about whether the Citica E is already enough reel for their application versus the Curado E. There is no doubt that the Curado E is the more refined reel but for only 119 dollars the Citica E is a downright great deal. The fact that Shimano was able to build a reel that was so much better than the previous version and still not raise the price a single penny to consumers is admirable. The lower profile of the new reel will likely find homes among anglers that were lured away by the smaller Abu Garcia Revo reels in the last few seasons.

The sun sets on Dream Lake Alabama but the Citica E continues to shine when it comes to surprisingly good performance and value

We had contemplated awarding the Citica E a “Best Value” award but the more we compared our ratings in each category the Citica E simply didn’t deserve it, it did however deserve something more, and is what a “Editors Choice” is all about. This award is often given to the highest performing product, which usually is priced in the premium category but the Citica E manages to buck that trend by delivering a product that surprised us in terms of performance regardless of price, and yet it is positioned squarely at the mainstream market. Shimano accomplishes what they sought out to do with the major redesign of the series, and if you are looking for a good all-round baitcaster near the 100 dollar price point the Citica E should definitely be on your short list.

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