Expert Review: Shimano Curado DC

This review is my honest opinion of the conventional reel, which I bought with my own money in August 2019.

Zachary Symm with a Baffin Bay speckled trout

Photo by Zachary Symm

Published on

About this review This review is my honest opinion of the conventional reel, which I bought with my own money in August 2019.

My take

The Shimano Curado DC is one of the most versatile and durable baitcast reels on the market that I can take to the local lakes to fish for bass, but also head to the coast and chase redfish and trout. The DC motor makes this reel a breeze to cast without the worry of birds nest, while still providing great accuracy and smoothness.

Zachary Symm with fish he caught with the Shimano Curado DC

Photo courtesy of Zachary Symm

About the reel

  • Model: Shimano Curado DC
  • Reel Size: 150
  • Construction: Baitcaster
  • Drag System: Cross Carbon
  • Drag Pressure: 11 lbs

About me

  • Preferred fishing styles: Saltwater - jig head with soft plastic, corkys, and soft dine xl); Freshwater - jigging, crankbaits and top waters.
  • Experience: 18 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: August 2019
  • Rod Paired with Reel: Sarge Custom Rods “The Hassle” 6’9” medium-light power with fast to moderate fast action, Henri Rods Trout Special 6’9”, and Henri Rods Corky Special 6’9”
  • Line Paired with Reel: PowerPro Maxcuatro 40lb braid for saltwater, and PowerPro Maxcuatro 20lb braid for freshwater
  • Days tested: 150+
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Saltwater, and freshwater
  • Species targeted with reel: Redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and bass

How it performs


What I was looking for

When I was looking for a new bait cast reel, I was looking for one that came from a trusted brand and was equal parts durable and high performance using the latest technology. I needed to replace my older Shimano Curado baitcast and when I tested out the newest DC reel, it was hands down the best replacement for my needs.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Shimano Curado DC because it is built on the chassis of some of the best performing bait cast reels on the market, and it included the latest DC technology at a reasonable cost. This reel offers great versatility and performance but does not cost a fortune like prior DC reels. In addition, I trust the Shimano brand for its durability and warranty, as well as innovation. There is a reason that this reel won the Best in Show at iCast 2018.

The other reel that I strongly considered was the Lew’s Custom Speed Inshore as it performed extremely well in tests and seemed to handle the rigors of saltwater environments well. Essentially, I chose the Shimano Curado DC because of the technology of the DC reel and the trust I have in the Shimano brand.

A closeup of the Shimano Curado DC Handle

Photo by Zachary Symm

Shimano Curado DC Case

Photo by Zachary Symm

The Shimano Curado DC on the water

Photo by Zachary Symm

What I love about it

  • Performance: The reel performs exceptionally well and can make all of the casts required whether using a jig head, topwater or twitch bait. The casting is extremely smooth, as is the retrieve. The drag on the reel is cross carbon and has plenty of power to turn a fish's head. The handle and casing are both solid and durable as well.
  • Quality: The reel feels solid and durable without being too heavy. It has a very nice metallic sheen to it with a dark green metallic handle. The reel is made of quality materials and to date, I have not experienced any issues whatsoever.
  • Versatility: The Shimano Curado DC is extremely versatile and can be used in both freshwater and saltwater for a wide variety of casting techniques and styles to suit nearly everyone. The DC motor makes casting into the wind or skipping around docks easy and the reel has an extremely smooth retrieve.
  • Durability: I have tested this reel in both freshwater and harsh saltwater environments and even with simple washing afterward, I have experienced no failures or issues whatsoever.
  • Application: The Shimano Curado DC can make all types of casts and when it is very windy on the coast, the DC motor really shines as it helps prevent backlashes. I have not experienced any issues using it in a wider variety of casting styles and applications.
  • Size: The Shimano Curado DC comes in a 150 size reel. I have several of the reels, specifically, the Left Hand Retrieve with a gear ratio of 7.4:1, Left Hand Retrieve with a gear ratio of 6.2:1, and the Right Hand Retrieve with a gear ratio of 7.4:1. I chose these specific gear because they are the perfect speeds to enable slow and medium, to medium-fast retrieves depending on the type of artificial bait that I am using and also depending on the time of year which dictates a slower or faster retrieve.
  • Drag System: The drag system has never let me down and has always been quite adequate for my needs, whether I am reeling in a 9+ lb redfish or a 7+lb bass. The drag is very smooth and the drag knob on the handle is simple and straightforward for easy adjustments on the go. The drag system is made of durable parts and I have experienced no issues with corrosion at all, even with just light washes after use.
  • Feel: The Shimano Curado DC is slightly heavier than some of the other comparable options on the market, but not significantly so to cause concern or have issues casting all day. In fact, I have spent quite a few days on the water making casts from sun up to sun down without any fatigue or issues. The weight balances well, especially on a 6’9” rod and it is great casting. The overall shape and design of the reel is well thought out and there are no rub spots or uncomfortable areas when gripping it. It is not the smallest profile on the market, but it is still a low profile so I can wrap my hand around it and really work the action. This reel feels great in the hand and is a joy to cast.
  • Build: The build feels solid in my hands without being heavy. The casing is a low profile so it is not bulky and even in saltwater has held up very well.
  • Aesthetics: The finish is a smooth metallic gray/blue with a dark metallic green on the reel handle. After several years of use in saltwater, there have been zero issues with scratches, dents, chipping paint, or anything else.
  • Features: The main feature of the reel is the DC motor of course, but it is built on the long-standing, high-performing Curado chassis.
  • Maintenance: This reel is very low maintenance and I typically oil it once a year in addition to a light washing after every saltwater trip just to ensure salt does not sit on it and cause potential damage. I have been extremely pleased with the durability and performance it has exhibited even in saltwater.
  • Other: While prior DC models had issues with casting distance, weight and cost, this

Issues I’ve encountered:

  • Casting distance: The casting distance is not the longest on the market, but it still does a great job.
  • Weight: The Shimano Curado DC weighs in at 7.8oz, so if the absolute lightest baitcast reel is preferred, this reel may feel a little heavy.
Zachary Symm Marsh Fishing with the Shimano Curado DC reel.

Photo by Zachary Symm

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with the Shimano Curado DC was when I spent a week at a cabin on the water in Baffin Bay chasing trophy-speckled trout and redfish daily. This reel took an absolute beating in one of the saltiest environments possible and never once did I experience anything but great performance. The reel was able to outcast other reels being used and was so smooth and lightweight that it was not a chore to make hundreds of casts in a day.

Value for the money vs. other options

Compared to other reels in the same class, the Shimano Curado DC is a great value that will provide great performance and years of value. The technology alone is worth it, but Shimano also has a great warranty and offers a durable product. The closest reel I can compare it to is the Lews Custom Speed Inshore, but hands down, I think the Shimano Curado DC is the best overall option, even if slightly heavier and bulkier.

Some anglers will not want to spend $249 on a baitcast reel and that is understandable, but based on the features that this reel provides and the Curado heritage, it is well worth the investment.

Final verdict

Any angler who wants a quality bait cast reel that has the latest technology and great durability should consider the Shimano Curado DC. This reel can handle the harshest environments, is largely maintenance-free, and is a joy to cast, even for beginners. It is a top-notch quality reel that any angler will enjoy, from beginner to advanced.

Selling Shimano on
Shimano Curado DC
Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Zachary Symm
Zachary Symm
Fly Fishing Expert
I grew up fishing on freshwater lakes, but that soon changed when my family moved to live in the caribbean for several years. That is where I truly learned to fish and the love of being on the water. Going after bone fish in the flats of the Bahamas to trolling the deep water trough off Jamaica for...
View profile

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy