Expert Review: Shimano Curado DC Casting Reel

This review is my honest opinion of the reel, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.

Jay Wallen with a giant bass caught on a Shimano Curado DC.

Jay Wallen with a giant bass caught on a Shimano Curado DC. All photos courtesy of Jay Wallen

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the reel, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.

My take

The Shimano Curado DC reels are excellent for fishing any kind of moving baits, such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, etc. It’s a perfect baitcaster for beginners learning how to cast, since the digital control technology keeps backlashes to a minimum. It’s easy to use and is super smooth and durable.

Jay Wallen using Shimano Curado DC.

About the reel

  • Model: Shimano Curado DC
  • Reel Size: CUDC150
  • Construction: Baitcaster with Digital Control
  • Drag System: Cross Carbon Drag
  • Drag Pressure: 11 lbs

About me

  • Preferred fishing style: I’m typically a power fisherman, and love throwing crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits.
  • Experience: 35 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: January 2021
  • Rod Paired with Reel: Shimano Expride 7’4” XH
  • Line Paired with Reel: PowerPro 65# braided line
  • Days tested: 150
  • Waters I’ve used it on: All freshwater, on lakes and rivers in the central US.
  • Species targeted with reel: Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.

How it performs

Durability
4/5
Performance
5/5
Quality
5/5
Versatility
4/5

What I was looking for

I was looking for a reel to use with my power fishing baits like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater, swimbaits, etc. I needed a reel that would make long casts, but also minimize the chance of backlashes.

Why I chose this gear

I’ve always been a big Shimano fan, so when I saw the DC reel come out, I knew it was the right reel for what I was looking for. The Hagane body ensured it was light, and the bearing system was smooth. Having the digital control helped ensure that even when casting into the wind, I wouldn’t have to worry about backlashes.

Reel side of Shimano Curado DC.

What I love about it

  • Performance: The reel is surprisingly lightweight and fits my hands perfectly. It’s well-balanced and casts a mile. Even on the lowest brake settings, it's very difficult to make the reel backlash. Even if it does backlash, it’s usually very minor and easy to work out. The digital control allows me to make long casts even into the wind, trouble-free.
  • Quality: I’ve been using several of these models for a couple of seasons now. They do need to be cleaned about once per season to keep them running smoothly. But, other than that yearly cleaning, these reels have stood up to abuse in tough conditions and thousands of casts. I’m very happy with the quality build of the reel and the components. The reels are very light, and the hagane body is very strong and durable.
  • Versatility: These reels are very versatile. I prefer them for moving baits and power fishing. However, they also excel at being very effective for jigs and soft plastics, baits that you would fish slower and on the bottom. If you need just one reel, this is the one to pull double-duty!
  • Durability (what is the durability of the reel? does it have a long product life, can it be easily repaired? How well does it hold up to saltwater, etc): So far I have used this reel for several years now, and subjected it to all sorts of different types of fishing. I do moderate cleaning and have never had a single repair needed. I will say the outer paint coat isn’t super durable and the writing on the reel doesn’t last long. But other than minor cosmetic issues the workings of the reel are fantastic.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Aesthetics: The finish has worn some, but that is mostly due to how I store them in my kayak. I wish there was a way to minimize scratches and the wearing-off of the finish.
  • Maintenance: These reels are susceptible to dirt and debris. I recommend a good cleaning at least once a year, but maybe even every six months, depending on how often you fish.
Opposite side of Curado DC.

Favorite moment with this gear

One of my favorite experiences with this reel happened on the Mississippi River on a hot frog bite! I was using the high-speed model, and it was amazing at how fast the reel could get the fish out of the lily pads and duckweed. I was able to make super long casts without worrying about backlashing, and the power to get the fish out with speed was super impressive!

Value for the money vs. other options

There really isn’t much to compare this reel to. The digital control braking is very unique to the Shimano reels. Daiwa has a system that is an air brake system but its not even close to the same thing. Shimano does have other reels in their lineup that have the digital control such as the DC Metanium priced at $499.99. The Curado DC at $259.99 I feel like is a much better value compared to the Metanium. The biggest difference between the Metanium and Curado is the weight of the reel. There is also a DC model of the Shimano SLX priced at $189.99. I do think the Curado is worth the extra $70 over the SLX because of the better components of the Curado like the gearing and bearings and it will likely be more durable in the long run.

Final verdict

For anglers who have trouble using a baitcaster, or want to learn how to use one, or just need a simple, easier-to-use reel, this is the one. It has all the perks of a higher-end reel but with the added benefit of digital control to minimize the backlash chances. It's durable, smooth, long casting, and has plenty of drag power! I own four of these reels in different gear ratios for various conditions, and I love them all!

Selling Shimano on Curated.com
Shimano Curado DC Casting Reel
$259.99
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Written By
I'm a professional kayak angler, I travel the country fishing for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. I have been fishing for over 35 years for various species all over the United States. I have even competed for team USA at the Hobie Fishing Worlds 7 in Amal, Sweden. I spend 140+ days a year o...

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