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Reel Review

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

What Shimano does have going for it is their brand, a long history with the Curado Series and a large fan base that comes along with that. While the competition is undeniably fierce the Curado I is a reel that is worth going back to Shimano for, and even provides a very compelling reason for anglers that have pined for some of the advanced features only found in Shimano’s much more expensive offerings to give the prominent series a try.

Features Ratings for Shimano Curado I Casting Reel

External Brake Adjust (1-2)


Knob Bearings(1-3)

Clicks (1-3)

Reel Cover (1-2)

Oil (1-2)





Rating (=Tot/Pos* 10)










The reel features massive Power Grips for more leverage

Since the Curado I launched it has been in high demand, with many of the e-tailers and retailers selling out of certain configurations. Available in three retrieve ratios the most powerful CU200IPG (5.5:1) is still only produced in a right hand retrieve version, the other two configurations (6.3:1 and 7.2:1) are available in both right and left hand retrieve. All of these reels are suitable for everything from freshwater to inshore applications and based on what we have seen in our tests this might just be the most hard-wearing Curado yet.

Application Ratings for Shimano Curado I Casting Reel

Horizontal (1-5)



Big Baits (1-5)

Topwater (1-5)



Rating (=Tot/Pos *10)









I think we have firmly established that the Curado I is a better reel than the Curado G, but what about compared to the Curado E? A reel that we really liked, even awarded an Editor’s Choice to. The Curado E is still a smoother reel when it comes to straight up retrieves but in just about every other category the Curado I is the more advanced and feature rich reel. Overall while we will always have a soft spot for the Curado E and D (which is still one of the most bulletproof reels out there) the Curado I successfully raises the bar.

The Curado I is suitable for both freshwater and inshore applications

One might argue that you can still get the "Curado E," albeit it is painted white and called the Chronarch E today, but the loss of a metal drag star on this model and the fact that this version replaced a much more refined Chronarch D makes this an odd reel to be positioned above the Curado I, and is really the next reel that needs to be updated. If you really want to step up from the Curado I then the reel to get in Shimano's baitcaster lineup is the excellent Chronarch 150 CI4+ which has all of these great new features like X-ship and SVS, smoother feel and all in a very durable and corrosion resistant frame.

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 I Casting Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Built like a tank the Curado I gets back to what the Curado series was known for. This reel is built out of quality components and makes use of more metals in the components versus the plastic parts on the last reel 8.5
Performance Not the smoothest reel but certainly among the most consistent. The casting performance on the Curado I is excellent and the externally adjustable SVS system is great for both long distance and precision casts. Drag performance on this reel also lives up to expectations 8.8
Price While more expensive than the last version the extra money is absolutely worth it! This is a reasonable price in the highly contested workhorse reel segment 7.5
Features Plenty of quality features including the SVS Infinity Braking System, the new S3D spool design, X-Ship and the enhanced carbon drag 7.8
Design (Ergonomics) This reel may not be the lightest but it isn't the heaviest either. Overall the reel palms very well and we like the oversized power grips and offset handle design. The externally adjustable cast control system is a very nice addition 7.6
Application Good for so many applications ranging from freshwater bassing to inshore work. We wish the power model was available in a left hand retrieve but overall there is a reel for just about everyone 9.6

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

+ Solid build and quality components - Not the lightest reel
+ Consistent performance - Higher price than some competitors in the category
+ Excellent casting across the range - 5.5:1 retrieve ratio not available in left hand model
+ Externally adjustable cast control (finally)  
+ Durable, which is exactly what you want in a "workhorse" reel  
 + A reel worthy of the Curado name  

Conclusion: The Shimano Curado Series has long been a key battleground reel for Shimano, and for many years it simply was the gold standard among all workhorse reels. The last version fell prey to reducing cost in the face of increasing raw material prices, and even die-hard Shimano fans found it hard to justify the stratagem. The Curado I was a reel that Shimano had to get right, and the team really did a bang up job getting it right. Going back to their roots the company created a new platform that was proprietary to the “Curado” Series yet manages to draw just the right amount of inspiration and implement advanced features from higher end baitcasters in the company’s arsenal. The result is a reel that not only looks the part, but performs beyond expectations in numerous categories.

Shimano gets the Curado I "right" and this reel lives up to the legacy of the series, delivering just about everything you want in a quality workhorse reel

The Curado I is an excellent workhorse reel that is once again worthy of the Curado legacy, it may not be green but Shimano gets it right in all the key performance areas including pricing it reasonably, all of which adds up to an Editor’s Choice. When it comes to retrieve feel and casting control the new Curado I is once again pushing the envelope, and even though it costs more than the previous version we think most anglers are willing to pay a little extra for a lot more performance and a far more attractive overall feature-set. More powerful and more robust than ever before, the new Shimano Curado I is the reel that anglers seeking a well-rounded everyday performer have been waiting for, proving that Shimano still has “it.” Not only did the company listen to their customers, but they were willing to make adjustments and investments to give them what they really wanted, and that is “right on.”

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