Expert Review: Shimano Curado K

This review is my honest opinion of the reel, which I bought with my own money in January 2020.

The Shimano Curado K 3.

JayWallen_ShimanocuradoK_personal_3

About this review This review is my honest opinion of the reel, which I bought with my own money in January 2020.

My take

The Shimano Curado K is my workhorse reel. It’s great for professionals as well as beginners. It’s an easy-to-use reel, with smooth bearings and gearing, and a good strong drag. I use this reel with everything from jigs and soft plastics, to chatterbaits and topwaters. With the wide range of sizes and gear ratios, there is a Curado K to suit just about any freshwater or saltwater fishing scenario.

A man holding a fish and the The Shimano Curado K 3.

About the reel

  • Model: Shimano Curado K
  • Reel Size: CU200 HGK
  • Construction: Hagane Body Baitcaster
  • Drag System: Cross Carbon Star Drag System
  • Drag Pressure: 11lbs

About me

  • Preferred fishing style: My preferred style of fishing is slow-working a jig or soft plastics. At times though, I will throw fast-moving baits like spinnerbaits and crankbaits. For jigs and soft plastics, I prefer the 200HGK in the 7.4:1 gear ratio, and for the moving baits I prefer the 200K 6.2:1 gear ratio model.
  • Experience: Over 30 years of conventional fishing experience.

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: January 2020
  • Rod Paired with Reel: I have several of these reels on different rods, but my favorite is the G.Loomis NRX+ 854C, 7’1” MH ex fast. This is a perfect setup for fishing jigs, worms, and other soft plastics.
  • Line Paired with Reel: I use 18lb-test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon line on this reel, but it handles anything from 10lb-25lb-test line with no trouble.
  • Days tested: Around 400 days
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Most of my fishing takes place on freshwater lakes, but I’ve used this reel on creeks, rivers, and other reservoirs. It is suited for saltwater use as well.
  • Species targeted with reel: Almost all of my target species with this reel have been bass.

How it performs

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

What I was looking for

When I was looking for a new do-it-all reel, I needed something that had multiple gear ratios, strong drag, and would last through several tough seasons of fishing. I tournament fish and use my reels more than the average guy. I’m on the water 150+ days a year, and I need a workhorse reel that could withstand the abuse and still perform at a high level.

Why I chose this gear

This reel has a history of being well made and long lasting. The new models of the Curado have exceeded my expectations. With multiple gear ratios to choose from, I knew the MicroModule gearing and X-ship technology would give me what I needed and that I would get long term use out of it.

Close up of the Shimano Curado K 3.

What I love about it

  • Performance: I’ve been using the Curado K line of reels for several seasons now and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more. They have performed so well for me, even with minimal cleaning. They remain smooth, casting long distances, and the drag is very strong and durable.
  • Versatility: These reels are incredibly versatile, as they come in multiple gear ratios and are saltwater capable. This makes it an ideal reel for jigs, soft plastics, and moving hard baits with treble hooks.
  • Drag System: The drag system on the Shimano Curado is a cross carbon drag system, easily adjusted with the star drag on the side of the handle. This drag is rated for 11lbs and when engaged releases line in a smooth way. It is also rated for saltwater, and will not corrode or otherwise be negatively affected by salt.
  • Feel: The reel is a perfect fit to the palm, it’s light and the thumb button is perfectly within reach. It's also very well-balanced on the rod, and has a solid feel to it.
  • Maintenance: This is one of the things I love most about this reel. While I do recommend cleaning and lubing this reel at least once per season, I can actually get away with going longer. The bearings are well sealed, and dirt and debris intrusion is almost nonexistent. I have several of these reels that are two seasons old, and I haven’t cleaned or lubed them yet, and they still feel the same as the day I bought them!

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Durability: One of the few issues I have encountered is that the outer casing isn’t super durable. They do receive quite a bit of boat rash, and the writing on the reels can easily be scratched off. This doesn’t affect the usability of the reel or the mechanics, just the aesthetics.
  • Aesthetics: I would personally like to see a more matte finish to the reels, and a coating or something to protect them from scratches a little bit more. I find that the reel scratches easily.
Man fishing off a boat.
Man holding a fish and a fishing rod.

Favorite moment with this gear

One of my favorite moments with this reel is when I was trying out a new large swimbait for bass in deep water. I was concerned with how the reel would handle such a large bait on heavier line. But I was super pleased when I spooled it up with 20lb Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon and it laid on the spool in a very clean and even layer. I made sure to tighten up the spool a bit and my first cast was so smooth and long I knew right away it was going to be perfect. The 6.4:1 ratio was slow enough to not over fish the bait, and when it got bit, the drag did its job and set the hook deep. It was a giant bass well over 5lbs, and I knew then that this was the reel I was looking for. Whether it was for small baits or big, bottom baits or moving baits, the Shimano Curado K could handle them all.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Shimano Curado K isn’t a cheap reel. But when compared with others with similar characteristics and technology, the price point is an absolute steal at under $200. A reel would have to offer quite a bit to make me purchase something else other than a Curado K. To me it’s the best reel on the market under $200.

Final verdict

For anglers who are looking for a great quality reel, that will last for years and won’t break the bank, I can’t recommend the Shimano Curado K enough. This has been and will be my workhorse reel for years to come. I’m confident that it will provide incredible castability and endurance in almost any situation.

Selling Shimano on Curated.com
Shimano Curado K
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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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