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Reel Review

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

Durability cont'd: Fishing Pyramid Lake was a good anti-corrosion test for the Curado E5 as Pyramid is classified as a salt lake with approximately 1/6th the salinity of seawater. While landing fish in the lake there were times when the Curado E5 was fully submerged within the water, and the only maintenance we did after the trip was a quick rinse under the tap on the external reel. One week later we inspected the reel and found some remnants of salt inside the reel as well as some rust spotting on the gearing. After a quick wipe these were gone and the reel continues to feel just as good as new when it comes to fluid retrieve.

We target Lahontan Cutthroat trout in our tests

Price & Applications: As the Curado E and Citica E series are so similar in design Shimano decided to further set the two reel series apart by making all the Citica E reels with the multipurpose gear ratio of 6.2:1, and the Curado in both the burner 7.0:1 and cranking 5.0:1 speeds. This essentially makes the Curado series more application specific than the Citica. The Citica is already such a stellar value that Shimano had to further differentiate the two reels or else suffer too much cannibalization within their own line. But the truth is that most anglers are willing to spend more money and buy the Curado. The combination of the gear ratios, added refinement, and popular “Curado” brand are enough to put the reel over the top when it comes to demand from anglers.

The Curado E5 features oversized PV power grips for more comfort and leverage

The Curado E5 is a good reel for deep cranking, slow rolling spinnerbaits, or tossing lightweight plastics. While most anglers will use the Curado E for bass fishing we also found it to be an excellent reel for targeting big trout as well. Personally I have become quite fond of the enlarged power paddles on the Curado E, and also use the reel foe fishing topwater frogs as well. The minute a fish explodes on the frog I know that I can crank down on the oversized knobs and get the leverage I need to dig fish out of the weeds.

The Curado E5 is made in Japan on the same line as the Citica E reels

From a performance standpoint is the Curado E worth the extra 60 dollars over the Citica E? If you are fishing big deep diving crankbaits like we were during our crankbait rod wars testing then the more powerful gear ratio makes a huge difference both when deep cranking and muscling up fish from deeper water. There is no doubt that the Curado does feel smoother and more refined than the Citica E, and one other area where the Curado wins hands down is the casting of lighter weightless rigged plastics. Another example of the refinement differences is we noticed more backplay in the Citica E, and the Curado E’s drilled handle shank is not only more durable but better resists torque. 

Finally a fish that tested the power and drag of the Curado E5

The other thing that the Curado E5 has going for it is the aggressive price versus the competition. It is hard to find a reel with this many features and this level of refinement for only $179.00. The bottom line, if you’re looking for something more specific to either of these applications the Curado E is absolutely worth the extra money, but if you are looking for a well rounded mainstream reel the Citica E still represents the better value.

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 Curado 200E5 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good overall build quality that is a notch better than the Citica E in terms of materials used. The reel still has graphite sideplates, and even though we were concerned about the graphite durability we found the plates held up over the long term very well 8.5
Performance Performance of this reel was exceptional. At first it feels near identical to the Citica E but after fishing for just a short while we noticed it felt smoother and was better able to cast weightless rigged plastics 9
Price While we ranked the Curado E lower than the Citica E in terms of price it is still an amazing value compared to other reels on the market. Kudos to Shimano for bringing out a better reel and keeping the price down 9
Features The Curado E is the better reel when it comes to features when compared to the Citica E. The higher bearing count, better grips, and more refined drag star all add up to a more refined reel 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) The Curado E5 is far better than the previous D version when it comes to ergonomics and is near identical to the Citica E in form factor but is slightly lighter 8
Application The Curado E is more refined than the Citica E and is more application specific with the low (or high speed) gearing depending if you opt for the E5 or E7. We used the Curado for both Bass and Trout and the reel performed beautifully 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  
J Small but powerful thanks to HEG gearing  
J More refined than the Citica E, better handles weightless rigs and crankbait fishing  
J Still and exceptional price  

Which will you choose? The Citica E is the better value but the Curado E5 is the more refined reel and better suited for power crankbait fishing

Conclusion: Shimano went to the drawing board and put an emphasis on improving ergonomics and weight reduction with the new Curado series, and not only do they manage to achieve their goals, but they do so without sacrificing power and drag performance. Our initial skepticism regarding use of graphite in the handle-side sideplate was alleviated after fishing with this reel over the entire season. The Curado E is so good that it will make anglers wonder if spending that extra money for the new Chronarch is even necessary. The E5 is a great crankbait reel and can also slow roll spinnerbaits and finesse fish plastics. If you are working jerkbaits or topwater lures that require speed to get on plane then the faster E7 model will be preferable. We previously awarded the Citica E our Editors Choice Award and it is hard not to do the same for the Curado E. While the Curado E costs more, when I ask myself which reel I like better overall I still find myself leaning towards the Curado, as the extra refinement, ability to better cast finesse baits, and power knobs are enough to justify the slight premium in price. Overall the reel still manages to come in at a very aggressive price point. The Curado D may have lost some ground to competing reels in the previous season this latest version is poised to retake that marketshare and then some, and when it comes to cranking reels at the 200 dollar price point this little mean green reel has just became the one to beat.

Looking for a Shimano Curado E5, check out Tackle Warehouse











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