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Reel Review

The Baitcaster Shimano needed to get right, the Curado I Series


Date: 6/27/14
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.30 - EDITOR'S CHOICE!

Introduction: While most reel manufacturers have a flagship reel that is used to showcase the latest and greatest technology the majority of the sales volume comes from reels in the value and mainstream segment. This hotly contested portion of the market is arguably the most important to reel manufacturers and it is here where the Shimano Curado Series has dominated for so many years, building up a legacy of sorts among anglers seeking performance and reliability all at a reasonable price. The Curado I is Shimano’s latest entry into the mainstream foray and it is time to see just how well this reel will stack up to previous iterations as well as the plethora of competitors now fighting for marketshare.


Curado I Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 17 cubic centimeters
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
Weight 7.4 oz
Spool Weight 16 grams
Handle Length 84 mm
Bearings 5 S-ARB + 1 RB
Bearings per Knob 2 bushings
Tested Max Drag 15.4 lbs
Origin Made in Malaysia
MSRP $179.99

Where is the green? Meet the new Curado I

Impressions: The Shimano Curado Series has been favored by both weekend warriors and tournament anglers for years and more recent versions like the Curado D and E models both proved to be excellent workhorse reels that could do battle with fish day in and out 365 days a year. While these reels were not the smoothest or most refined they were consistently praised for their ergonomics and reliability, exactly what you want from an everyday workhorse baitcaster.

The Curado I features a much more aggressive profile and makes use of a brand new platform that was designed from the ground up

Then came the most recent version, the Curado G, a reel that left many anglers scratching their heads. Basically a hopped up Caenan the introduction of the Curado G was an effort to keep the reel series affordable as the price of raw materials continued to trend upwards. The problem was that many anglers simply expected more and in their minds this latest iteration just wasn’t up to “Curado” standards, in their minds it was simply a Caenan that was painted green.

The reel weighs in at 7.4oz., which is reasonable but certainly not the lightest in the class

To add salt to the fresh wound the Chronarch was also replaced, by the Curado E, only it was painted white and grey to differentiate the line. Confused yet? So were the vast majority of anglers and even die hard Shimano fans found it hard to justify the approach, which only spawned increased demand for previous generation Curado and Chronarch reels. At the same time this change effectively opened the door for the competition and anglers that once were loyal to the Curado Series for their everyday reels couldn’t help exploring what the other brands had to offer.

The components have clearly been upgraded. No more cheap plastic here

This provided opportunity for brands like Daiwa, Lew’s, Abu Garcia and Quantum to entice customers to try their mainstream offerings, many of which were being improved, not cost optimized. Shimano knew they had to get the next Curado right and they approached this refresh with a completely new bottom up philosophy, this was a reel that they simply had to get right.

A look inside reveals the "Cross Carbon Drag" washer

Earlier this January the Curado I was unveiled at the Big Rock Show in Las Vegas. It was here that I finally got my first look at the reel and bluntly put I was blown away. The new reel looks more like a Metanium than the Curado’s of old and the company quickly shed the soft and bulbous looking design of the Curado G for a much more angular and aggressive looking profile.

The gearing features small precisely cut teeth

Also gone was the green color, in place was a contrasting silver-grey design that looked a lot higher end. No more cheap plastic components on the new reel, and even the drag star and handle materials appeared top notch, but perhaps most exciting of all was the addition of an externally adjustable cast control system.

The Curado I is one of the simplest and easiest reels to take down

Now this was a “Curado” that finally had me once again motivated me to hit the water! I was eager to get the new reel back into the lab, and if I thought I could have sneaked the reel out of the booth without being tackled by Shimano representatives I seriously would have been tried. Instead I waited a month until we were able to purchase one reel from Tackle Warehouse and once Shimano was able to get some U.S. allocation they sent a second retrieve ratio for us to run additional tests on.  

Time to spool up and hit the water!

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