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Reel Review

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

Casting: It literally took just a handful of casts to determine that the Curado I was an improvement over the previous version when it came to casting control and sheer distance. The Curado I makes use of Shimano’s SVS Infinity Brake System, a fancy name for a centrifugal system that is designed to provide more consistent spool control by applying friction against a “raceway” located inside the sideplate during the cast. One of the most exciting aspects of this system is that the settings are externally adjustable via a rather stealthy dial located at the very lower front portion of the non-handle sideplate.

Almost hidden is the SVS cast control adjustment knob

Though it is labeled with 6 settings the knob is actually infinitely adjustable from one end of the spectrum to the other. In the field I found that the system provided the ability to make minute adjustments, but that the knob rotation was a bit tight, and a clicker would definitely add a nice audible feedback during adjustments without actually having to look down at the dial.

The Curado I is an excellent caster

While casts were exceptional I did notice that on our first test reel as the brakes slowed down, on the tail end of the cast, the system would make a noticeable whine as they came in contact with the raceway. I opened up the system and applied a bit of lubricant on the inside and the sound immediately went away and has not come back since. On our second test reel we never observed this sound at all but it is something that we are continuing to monitor. Nonetheless this audible anomaly never seemed to impact casting distance or control.

A look at the new SVS Infinity Brake System

While the new SVS system helps control the cast the Curado I also feels more smooth and consistent than recent Curados, which is also due to the implementation of a new spool. The S3D “Stable Spool Design” is not as aggressively ported as many modern day spools and instead focuses on improving the casting attributes by reducing performance robbing spool vibration. The new spool has a very balanced and uniform ultra-thin aluminum design that provides a more stable platform, resulting in a discernable smooth feeling cast whether the Curado I is cast aggressively or pitched with pinpoint accuracy.

The new reel features very clean lines

Retrieving: The Curado I delivers the level of smoothness that you might expect out of a sub 200 dollar reel, and while it may not be the smoothest baitcaster it is superbly consistent. Over the span of the last few months we have fished the Curado I reels aggressively and they are still as smooth as the day we took them out of the box. The tolerances on the new reel seem to have also improved and there is minimal backplay in the handle to gearing connection, and the swept handle not only looks more solid than previous generation reels but it feels that way as well when really mashing down on the reel when you feel like every bit of that energy is being successfully transferred into fish fighting power.

The clutch is ergonomically shaped

The reason the Curado I feels so powerful is not only the well-built gearing with smaller teeth but the inclusion of “X-Ship” a feature we first saw on the company’s high end spinning reels. By mounting a bearing on both ends of the pinion gear there is improved alignment with the drive gear so that even under pressure the gears will stay in the exact correct position. There is no performance reducing gear slop here and as an added benefit the friction between the spool shaft and gear is also reduced, which also is one of the reason the reel pitches so well with lighter lures.

Performance Ratings for Shimano Curado I Casting Reel

Retrieve (1-5)


Power (1-5)

Casting  Range (1-5)

Brakes (1-5)



Rating(= Tot/Pos* 10)









Because the SVS cast control knob is positioned in the very front of the non handle sideplate the side is smooth and more comfortable to palm

Next Section: Putting pressure on the Cross Carbon Drag









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