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Reel Review

Living up to the legacy? Shimano’s Curado G (continued)

Price & Applications:  Shimano made a conscious effort to make the Curado G more of what it originally was, a workhorse reel at an aggressive price. Thus the new reel is priced at $159.99 which is $20.00 less than the Curado E which originally retailed for $199.99, then later was widely available for $179.99. While this is a reasonable price those anglers that are fond of the Curado E will now have to step up to the Chronarch E which is basically a Curado E from yesteryear, just with a new two-tone finish and a slightly modified drag for $199.99.

The Chronarch E is still made in Japan like the Curado E was while the Curado G is made in Malaysia

There is also the argument that the Curado G is not as good as the Curado E simply because it is no longer made in Japan. We have seen numerous reels and rods made by top tier Japanese brands in factories throughout the APAC region that have exhibited excellent build quality. That said I do not think the Curado G is as good of a reel as the previous Curado E version, not because it is made in Malaysia, but because I prefer the ergonomics and richer feature-set of the previous generation reel. There is a reason why the Curado E became the Chronarch E, and luckily for anglers that cherished the previous generation reel it still exists, just in a new finish and bearing a Chronarch badge. Unfortunately the elegant Chronarch 100D was a casualty through this series-shift and is now phased out, but anglers that are fond of that reel’s look and feel still have the Core Series to turn to, and Shimano has recently started shipping the new Core 100MG7.

The reel features a metal cast control knob

The Curado G is more affordable and this should appeal to price conscious anglers, and as a standalone offering is a perfectly respectable reel, certainly much better than the Caenan. The Curado Series has won many accolades from us in the past, both the Curado D and E Series took home Editors Choice Awards, the Curado E5 also ranked first in our low speed cranking shootout. The Curado D reels were rock solid performers, the Curado E reels were refined and ergonomic, and the Curado G reels, while good, seem to lack that defining characteristic that made the preceding reels standouts in their respective categories at the time.

The reel features a anodized handle that helps resist corrosion

The competition in this segment is more cutthroat than ever before, and we are seeing brands like Abu Garcia, Quantum and Okuma coming out with very aggressive offerings, and the rebirth of brands like Lew’s providing anglers with even more choices. Is the Curado G going to continue to be the monster reel that it was in the past? Only time will tell. Why do so many anglers have a problem with this reel? It is not because it is a bad performer but because the previous reels were such good performers that they set the bar so high.

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 200G5 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good build quality that is on par with the previous gen when it comes to the frame but some of the components have been downgraded including the drag star which is no longer made out of aluminum 7.5
Performance The Curado G performed well throughout tests and was significantly better than the Caenan which it now shares a form factor with. The Curado G casts well and has the company's proven Dartanium drag system but the titanium line guide is now gone. The previous generation reel has a higher bearing count but the Curado G was just about as smooth out of the box but didn't stay as smooth over the length of a season 8
Price So why does the Curado G have a 8.5 score here versus the Curado E which had a 9 even though the new reel is 20-40 dollars cheaper? Because most anglers  would willingly pay the extra 20 dollars for the previous reel, and now to get basically the same reel with a slightly modified drag they will need to ante up for the Chronarch E 8.5
Features The Curado G has a reduced bearing count and no titanium line guide but still manages to deliver plenty of what anglers like about Shimano baitcasters including HEG gearing, VBS cast control, Super Stopper, and the anodized spool and handle are a nice touch that gives the new reel some extra corrosion resistance and a more stealthy look. 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) The Curado G5 gets the same score as the previous model for ergonomics. I personally prefer the dimensions and shape of the previous version but the reduced weight on the new Curado G is welcome. The use of the extra large Septon PV power grips on all models is excellent 8
Application Like the previous version the Curado G is a good choice for a wide range of applications ranging from freshwater to inshore fishing. The new anodized surfaces and composite drag star reduce components that will corrode but are arguably less refined, a little give and take here but at the end of the day the Curado G continues to be a great choice for crossover anglers that enjoy fishing for everything from bass to redfish 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

+ It may share the shape of the Caenan but performs much better due to aluminum frame and HEG gearing - Not a step up from the previous generation version
+ Weight reduction (.2oz) from previous model - No titanium line guide
+ Lower price (- $20) from previous model - Drag star no longer aluminum (on the plus side it is lighter and will not corrode)
+ Smooth dartanium drag system delivers smooth and consistent drag pressure - If you liked the ergonomics/refinement of the previous version you will need to ante up for a Chronarch E
+ Very competitive with offerings from other brands at this price point  
+ Series is available in a wide range of retrieve ratios  

Conclusion: There are few baitcasters that are as instantly recognizable as a “green” Curado Series reel. The new Curado G may share the same footprint as the Caenan but  it looks smaller thanks to the dark green finish and performs much better with the more rigid aluminum frame and higher end components. It really isn’t a surprise that Shimano went this route with the economics factored in, and as a standalone reel the Curado G gets the job done at a reasonable price, but anglers that have fished the previous two generation of reels may still opt to pay a little more for the Chronarch E series when it comes time to refresh their low profile baitcasters.

The previous generation Curado D and E reels helped build a legacy, and while the Curado G may not be a step forward it does deliver a lot of what anglers look for in the series and still offers plenty of bang for the buck

The bottom line is by itself the Curado G is a perfectly good reel that can be fished in a wide range of applications from Bass to Redfish, and because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg it makes for a fine workhorse reel, but does it live up to the legacy? No. Does that mean it will not be successful? Again, no. The Curado G delivers plenty of “bang for the buck” for anglers seeking an aluminum framed low profile baitcaster, and while the debate is sure to carry on we hope that down the road Shimano does to the next Curado what they did with their Stradic FJ series where they managed to reinvent the reel with advanced new features and yet still managed to deliver on key elements like ergonomics, refinement and value, making this series relevant once again.

Looking for a Shimano Curado G, check out Tackle Warehouse










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