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SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster


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Reel Review

The Lean Green Cranking Machine, meet Shimano’s Curado E5 (continued)

Casting cont'd: Lahontan cutthroat trout are the largest subspecies of Cutthroat trout and are native to Pyramid Lake and several other rivers in North America. The record size cutthroat of any subspecies was caught in Pyramid Lake and weighed a whopping 41 pounds. These days any Lahontan caught near the 10lb mark is considered a trophy fish. Since the water is not crystal clear like the water at Tahoe, I spooled the Curado E5 up with standard 12lb mono and prepared to toss both swimbaits and 1oz. spoons while wading in the main lake. I found that I could cast 1oz. spoons extremely far with all of the brake weights backed down, and was throwing the spoon so far away that I was able to nearly reach the end of the spool.

The reel is so small it gets lost in the palm of your hand

Retrieving: The Curado E5 has a 7 Bearings design (1 S A-RB BB, 5 Shielded Stainless Steel BB, 1 A-RB Roller Clutch Bearing) and feels smoother than both the previous generation D version and the Citica E when it comes to straight up cranking. We really noticed how powerful the Curado E5 is when fishing deep diving crankbaits like the Norman DD22. It is possible to crank aggressively for much longer periods without fatigue, and though small in form-factor the Curado E5 still finds room to accommodate the company’s robust HEG gearing.

We tested the more powerful E5 (5.0:1 gear ratio)

I fished for bass with the Curado E5 on the Delta first and landed a number of largemouth up to four pounds over the course of the first few months. It wasn’t until I head to Clear Lake when the Curado’s true winching power was tested on a 7 and a half pound largemouth. While fishing shallow cranks I was suddenly hit hard and during the retrieve I felt like the Curado was absolutely manhandling this fish. It wasn’t until the fish broke the surface, no more than 20 feet from the boat when I realized how big of a fish it was and started to play it a little more carefully. The Curado E5 is a brawny little reel and I would be comfortable fishing it while targeting large stripers with the drag loosened up a bit.

This little reel is a powerhouse with fish on the line

After finishing up our on the water bass tests we decided to squeeze in one more test, and we head to Pyramid Lake in Nevada to target Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. To target these fish I waded into the cold alkaline water and cast to the edge of the drop off. Fish seemed to come in flurries and when the fishing was hot I was getting hit on every tenth cast. Once I was hooked up these trout ran straight out towards the main lake and a “tug of war” ensued between the Curado and the fish. With the drag set loose enough to allow for extended runs the Curado E5, while not fast, was powerful enough to crank them in all the way to shore, and into my landing net. Fishing for big trout with a baitcaster like the Curado E5 was a lot of fun, and when it comes to sheer muscle the Curado E5 delivers in spades.

The lower gear ratio also makes this reel good for slow rolling spinnerbaits

Drag: The Curado E features a cold forged aluminum drag star with clicking adjustment and the more powerful E5 version has a 12lb drag while the E7 is rated at 11lbs. In our lab we were able to get the drag to 12.7lbs under maximum rotation. Compared to the previous D version this is near identical to the much larger 200 sized reels and two pounds more than the 100 size. Shimano knows not to mess with a good thing and continues to rely on their proven Dartanium drag.

Get over here!

While bass in our field tests pulled against the drag for short periods it was the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout that really put the Curado E5’s drag consistency to the test. With their extended runs and head shaking I never felt like the drag was going to gum up or give out, and after our trip an inspection of the drag surfaces displayed no issues whatsoever.

JIP lands a small bass with the spinnerbait

Next Section: Do the ergonomics pan out?










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