New 2017 Shimano Curado K from Live to Fish

It’s great when a fishing tackle manufacturer makes a product and completely gets it right. Unfortunately, a perfect relationship combining engineering, design, performance, and what emerges as the final product, doesn’t happen as often as consumers would like.  Fortunately, Shimano did, “get it right,” so to speak, with the Curado baitcasting reel.  The Curado has gained faithful fans and diehard enthusiasts. Given the legacy inherent within the Curado model line, there are fishermen who have literally been fishing with different versions of the Shimano Curado for decades.  Some brief history on the different versions of the Shimano Curado is noted below:

1992 Curado 100,200 (5:1) 2 bearings
1993 Curado 100A, 200A (6:1) 5 bearings
1994 Curado 200B (6.2:1) 5 bearings
1999 Curado 200B5 (5:1) 5 bearings
2001 Curado 200BSF (6.2:1), Curado 100B (6.2:1), Curado 200B38 (3.8:1) 5 bearings
2006 Curado 200DHSV (7:1), 200DPV (5:1) 6 bearings, 100D/DSV (6.2:1) 5 bearings
2007 Curado 300D (6.2:1) 6 bearings
2008 Curado 200E7 (7:1) 200E5 (5:1), 300E (6.2:1) 7 bearings

Before we get into the 2017 Curado K, some history concerning the Shimano company may be of interest.  If not, simply scroll down.

SHIMANO COMPANY HISTORY:

Most people are familiar with the Shimano name when it comes to fishing reels.  However, the company’s history may not be as well known.  In February 1921, Shozaburo Shimano opened Shimano Iron Works in Higashi Minato in Sakai City.  He was 26 at the time.  The location for his new company was a then demolished celluloid factory.  The monthly rent was 5 yen.  In 1921, that is the equivalent of $553.66.  The space measured no more than 430 square feet.  Shozaburo didn’t even own his own lathe.  Through a friendship with the owner of Sano Iron works, he borrowed the only lathe Shimano had at the time.  For the next 49 years, Shimano focused their manufacturing efforts on bicycle parts.  Shimano didn’t launch it’s Fishing Tackle Division until 1970.

Shozaburo Shimano:

Shozaburo Shimano 2

In 1978, the Bantam 100 and 100ex were the first reels produced under the Shimano name.  These reels were produced for the Lew Childre, Co.; more commonly known today as Lew’s. In 1989, the Childre family licensed the Lew’s brand to Browning.  Today, the Lew’s brand and its many well-known trademarks are under the ownership of Do Outdoors Inc., and longtime Childre family friend Lynn Reeves.  Here at Live to Fish, we proudly carry a number of Lew’s fishing reels, including the Lew’s TLCP1XH Team Lew’s Custom Pro.

In 1979, Shimano expanded their lineup with reels such as the 200, 300, 400, 500, and 10ex.  Most of these models continued until the early 1980’s.  Shimano needed a new price point in their lineup of reels, so they re-branded the old Curado into the Chronarch and cut the cost of the Curado.  The Shimano Curado became the middle man between the Chronarch and Citica.

THE NEW 2017 SHIMANO CURADO K

Curado K

The newest generation of Shimano’s Curado has a completely different shape from previous models.   I’ve personally owned and fished the previous Curado model in the way of a Shimano Curado 300E.  I bought the 300E after I’d purchased a Daiwa Lexa 300.  The Lexa 300 failed on me within the first month of ownership.  Daiwa appears to have fixed earlier problems with their Lexa line of baitcasters, but their first versions were not nearly as well made as the Curado 300 series.  In the race to create a large capacity, low profile, baitcasting reel, Shimano did a good job with the 300E.  What it lacked in drag power with 15 lbs of maximum drag, the 300 size Curado made up for it in nearly every other specification.  I used it for fishing in saltwater for Redfish, Snook, and Trout.  The Curado 300E was well suited to the saltwater environment.

Despite having a more compact size than the 300 series, the Curado K is no exception in terms of durability and reliability.  Shimano manufactured the new Curado K with both bass and inshore saltwater anglers in mind.  The reel features improved spool access and six shielded anti – rust ball bearings to help thwart corrosion.  The Curado series from Shimano has been one of the most popular reels for bass and inshore anglers looking for a reel they can depend on; day in and day out.  A reel that delivers on performance and features without breaking the bank.  The K series keeps that tradition alive, and goes with a much stealthier looking matte black finish than the previous green colored Curado.   In comparing the new Curado K to the most recent model, the new 2017 Curado K makes long casts are more effortless.  Short pinpoint casts seem more controlled with this new reel.  The new 2017 Shimano Curado K   is available for purchase through our website or by visiting our showroom located at: Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669 (844) 934-7446.

MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN THE NEW SHIMANO CURADO K

The Curado K series feature Shimano’s latest baitcast reel technological advancements. Such advancements include uniquely smooth, highly efficient, and decidedly durable MicroModule gearing.  A technology explained in further detail below.  The Curado K comes in gear rations up to 8.5:1.  There are a total of six new Curado 200K reels.  A 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1 gear retrieve ratios.  All models are available in both right and left hand retrieve. When compared with the previous generation, the Curado K styling is quite noticeably more compact. The first major upgrade over the previous  version is the smaller overall size.  Shimano managed to achieve manufacturing a more compact version without sacrificing any capacity. Manufacture of the Curado K starts with a solid aluminum frame to keep things pinned together; eliminating reel twist.  The handle side sideplate gets an upgraded Ci4 sideplate.  The Ci4 material is lighter, yet more rigid.  It’s a proprietary carbon composite material Shimano uses in a number of their reels. The non-handle sideplate is made from more traditional graphite material.  Under the non – handle sideplate, you’ll find access to Shimano’s new SVS Infinity centrifugal brake system.  This is the same system first introduced on the much more expensive Shimano Aldebaran reels.  The SVS Infinity centrifugal brake system offers both internally adjustable brakes, and a broader range of micro-adjustment capability with the external dial. The inclusion of this braking system on the new Curado K is one of the biggest upgrades over the previous model.   A wider range of adjustments allows anglers to more accurately dial in the amount of  cast control specific to the weight and type of lures being used.

The next major change and advantage found in the Curado K is it’s MicroModule gearing. MicroModule gearing is basically a system involving a larger main gear with a greater number of teeth, but that are each smaller in size than the teeth in the previous version.  The result is a system that feels smoother and provides greater efficiency in terms of transferring power to the retrieve.  By allowing more teeth to contact each other, the gear train becomes more efficient. Precise engagement between the teeth means a smoother power transmission without reducing the strength of the reel.  The engagement occurs between the drive and pinion gears; giving you a more connected feel. MicroModule gearing is one of Shimano’s newest gear technologies.

SVS Infinity is a centrifugal braking system, with brake weights that use inner friction against the raceway during the cast to control spool speed. Put simply, the SVS Infinity system provides easy-to-manage, consistent spool control and brake force. The latest generation of SVS Infinity allows for a wider adjustment with the brakes. The new design reduces vibration and maintenance. The result is a smoother and longer cast.

Shimano uses their simple yet effective drag system in the Curado K.  The drag system consists of Carbon Drag washers on both sides of the internal brass gearing.  Shimano rates the Curado K with 11 lbs of drag.  However, some users have conducted controlled drag tests wherein 12 lbs were achieved.

Reduced frame size to allow for a more comfortable feel in the hand. The 10% reduction in both length and width make the reel easier to palm and reduces fatigue.  Demand for lighter, smaller, yet more capable tackle would be the underlying impetus for Shimano’s decision to reduce the size of the Curado.  You’ll find that the the B side (palm side) plate is now attached to the reel.  No more swinging open like previous versions.  That is more of an advantage than some may realize.  I’ve personally accidentally opened the previous Curado model to watch my spool fall out and sink.  Fortunately, I was in no more than 4 feet of water at the time.

FINAL SPECIFICATIONS:

6.2:1/26 Inches Per Crank
7.4:1/ 30 Inches Per Crank
8.5:1/ 36 Inches Per Crank

11 pounds max drag

90mm Handle Length

6+1 bearings (4 S-ARB, 2 SUS and Roller bearing)

Aluminum frame, CI4+ A-side, Graphite B-side

7.6 ounces (standard and HG)
7.8 ounces (XG)

Visit us in person at our address above, or online at www.livetofish.com to order a new Curado K today.  We have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer on your fishing gear and technique related questions, regardless of whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater.

2017 Shimano Sustain FI – ICAST Best Saltwater Reel

ICAST stands for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades.  It is the world’s largest sportfishing trade show.  ICAST has the reputation as the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, boating accessories, and apparel. ICAST is the bedrock of the sportfishing industry.  A successful showing at ICAST is known to result in a successful sales for that manufacturer for the foreseeable future.  Achieving a successful showing at ICAST would certainly be met if your product won a “Best Of,” ICAST show category.  In the category of  “Best New Saltwater Reel” the Shimano Sustain FI.  The Sustain is not a new model from Shimano.  It’s been in production for quite some time.  It’s first major overhaul took place 7 years ago.  In terms of quality and performance, the Shimano Sustain finds itself above the Shimano Stradic but below Shimano’s Stella line.

sustain

The first detail to take notice of is the designation of FI with the 2017 Shimano Sustain.  It’s predecessor was given the FG designation.  The main differences between the new Sustain FI and the former Sustain FG, are the addition of Shimano’s Hagane gear technology.   In addition, the Sustain FI has the G-Free body, X-Protect, Cross Carbon Washers, and the MGL Rotor.

Hagane Body design – The Hagane® body on the Sustain FI results in a rigid reel body.  The more rigid the body of the spinning reel, the less flex that occurs.  Reduced flex in the reel’s body means improved performance overall and less wear on the gears from being driven off center.

 

G-Free Body – The center of the mass of the reel has been moved closer to the rod to improve the reel’s weight and balance.  When you look at the reel, this design change appears as a small hump, or rise in the shape of the body, just beneath the spool.   This design was first utilized in the more expensive Shimano Stella but has now found it’s way into the Shimano Stradic and the Stradic Ci4+.  In the photo below and to the left, you can see the sleight hump referred to above present in the Stradic Ci4+.  Another reel available for sale at Live to Fish.

Ultra-hard Hagane cold forged drive gear – The Hagane precision cold forged gears provide one of the smoothest retrieve experience you will ever have, especially under a load.  The cold forging process uses nearly 200 tons of pressure to instantly create a precision gear without the need to do any cutting.  The advantage of this is that there is less room for error in the manufacturing process.  This proprietary process creates a gear drive system that is both durable and smooth.

Hagane 2

Magnumlite Rotor – Magnumlite is a new material that is even lighter than Ci4 and Ci4+ by as much as 30%.  Shimano uses the Magnumlite material to manufacture the rotor reducing more weight in the overall reel while still providing strength where it is needed.

X-Ship pinion gear – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to enhance efficiency. By positioning the pinion gear closer to the centerline of the drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle directly to the rotor.  The increased power tranfer is beneficial when fighting fish and when working deep crank baits. The pinion gear is also supported by two Shimano SA-RB roller bearings. Support for the pinion gear in this manner provides more stability, reduces pinion gear twist, and rotor deflection; any or all of which can occur in extreme situations.  Engineering designed to eliminate such deficiencies provides a reel that will continue to feel smooth regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the pressure on the reel from a running fish.

X-Protect water resistance –  Common knowledge for those fishing in and around saltwater is the corrosive effect saltwater has on fishing gear.   X-Protect by Shimano uses a three lipped rubber seal that Shimano describes as a, “Labyrinth design.” Their intent is to make it nearly impossible for water to enter the rel through penetrating this seal.

Cross Carbon Drag system – The cross carbon drag system is fully and easily adjustable.  You have the option to dial in the exact amount of drag needed.  You can reduce the drag to near free spool, up to the reel’s maximum drag capacity.   The Sustain FI 2500/3000 have 20 lbs of drag and the Sustain 4000/5000 have 24 lbs of drag; decent numbers for an inshore reel.

8 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings –  The 8 ball bearings used on the Sustain are in the same family as the normal ARB bearings.  The exception is that with the additional shielding, the likelihood of any salt, dirt, or water, penetrating and affecting the bearings smoothness is greatly reduced.

Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing – Shimano uses a one-way roller bearing.  Shimano gave this one way roller bearing the term, “Super Stopper II.”  A reel with Super Stopper II allows you to stop reeling and instantly set the hook, with zero back play coming from the reel.

The Shimano Sustain FI is available in 4 sizes. Model 2500, a 3000 that has the same size body as the 2500 but has a deeper cut spool for more line capacity both with 20 lbs of drag capacity.  Then the models 4000 and a 5000 .  The 5000 with a deeper cut spool for additional line capacity; both with 24 lbs of drag capacity.

While the Sustain is a great all around reel that can be used for all of your freshwater fishing, it is especially good for your inshore saltwater fishing.  The Sustain FI is also at home tackling certain smaller offshore species such as dolphin, smaller tuna, bluefish, and stripers.  If you are looking to target larger species such as tarpon, cobia, and bigger billfish, I would recommend that you look at something like the Shimano Saragosa or the Penn Slammer III.

 

Both of these reels are available at Live to Fish, www.livetofish.com, 844-934-7446 or visiting our showroom; Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669.

The additional engineering focused on keeping saltwater out of the reel will benefit any angler.  Moreover, it lends itself to increased longevity with the reel.   All of the enhancements and improvements mean that you will have a reel capable of lasting longer and requiring less maintenance.  Regardless, rinsing your rod and reel with freshwater after every use should never be avoided.