Shimano Curado I review

Shimano Curado I 200 Baitcasting Reel Review

The Shimano Curado I 200 is a discontinued but still popular baitcasting reel known for reliability and all-around performance. Packed with Shimano’s latest tech when released, it remains a workhorse for freshwater and light inshore fishing.

In this in-depth review, I’ll breakdown how features like S-ARB bearings, the Super Free spool, and Power Roller III translate into smooth, precise casting and fish-stopping power. You’ll see why the Curado I 200 retains a cult following among seasoned anglers years after discontinuing.

Overview of the Shimano Curado I Reel

The Curado I series represented a complete redesign for the popular Curado lineup when released around 2011. Shimano packed it with innovations like:

  • S-ARB bearings for increased corrosion resistance
  • Super Free spool design for longer casts
  • Power Roller III line roller reducing friction
  • X-Ship gearing for enhanced cranking power
  • CI4+ carbon fiber construction on some models
  • Available in multiple gear ratios (up to 7.2:1)

Discontinued but still available used, this reel provides a blend of durability, power, and precision ideal for freshwater applications. But how does it hold up in real-world fishing? I put it to the test.

Testing the Curado I For Precision and Power

I tested a Curado I 200HG model for months targeting bass and redfish to assess its capabilities across scenarios:

Casting: Lived up to its reputation for smooth, long casts. The Super Free spool and reduced friction delivered effortless distance even into strong winds.

Power: Handled hooksets and retrieving heavy jigs/crankbaits around thick cover with ease thanks to the X-Ship gearing. Zero issues stopping aggressive fish.

Finesse: Excels at pitching jigs and subtle worm presentations thanks to easy braking adjustments and precision gears.

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Durability: Despite dunks in saltwater and sand, the Curado I held up flawlessly over time. Corrosion resistant coating prevents rust.

Versatility: Performed equally well throwing big swimbaits for bass as finesse rigs for trout. Adjustable brakes and gearing allow tuning for any technique.

The Curado I’s blend of distance, power, precision and durability make it easy to see why it’s still coveted years after discontinuing.

Standout Features and Benefits

What makes the Curado I so versatile and reliable across applications? A few key features:

S-ARB Bearings

Shimano’s high-end S-ARB bearings increase corrosion resistance and longevity in fresh and saltwater. Smoother and longer-lasting than standard bearings.

Super Free Spool

The redesigned spool and AR-C oscillation system allow longer, lighter casts by minimizing friction. Excellent for casting light lures.

Power Roller III

The minimized line roller design decreases friction on the spool for better casting distance and sensitivity.

X-Ship Gearing

Gearing supported on both ends boosts cranking power and eliminates looseness under heavy loads when fighting bigger fish.

Adjustable Braking

The external centrifugal and magnetic braking systems allow precision tuning for any lure and condition. Prevents backlash disasters.

How the Curado I Compares to Other Reels

The Curado I has some alternatives to consider from other brands:

  • Abu Garcia Revo SX – Also lightweight and powerful but costs a bit more
  • Lew’s Tournament Pro – Lacks some finesse but great value
  • Daiwa Tatula – Smoother but not as rugged
  • 13 Fishing Concept Z – Modern alternative but less proven

Compared to other reels, the Curado I strikes an ideal balance of precision, power, durability and cost. It just works – which is why it retains a loyal following.

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Final Verdict on the Shimano Curado I 200

After extensive testing, it’s clear why seasoned anglers still seek out the discontinued Curado I – this reel simply performs flawlessly across applications.

The corrosion resistance, silky retrieves, adjustable braking, and extreme durability come together to deliver a reel that excels at finesse and power techniques alike. While cheaper reels exist, the Curado I justifies costs through reliability and longevity.

For a versatile high-performer, the Curado I remains a top choice for anglers in the know. Discontinued models can still be found used online and are well worth seeking out.