Shimano Curado 200 HGK Reel Review

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Line capacity: 30/190, 50/120, 65/80 (braid)
Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing
Gear ratio: 7.4:1
Weight: 7.6 oz.
Maximum drag: 11 lbs.

Shimano’s Curado series baitcasting reels are among the best options for serious anglers, and their legendary performance has been putting–and keeping!–smiles on faces for generations. But with new upgrades, the Curado line is even better than before, making it a serious competitor for the best of reels.

Available in both right- and left-hand versions, a range of gear-ratios are on offer to suit a variety of techniques.

Today, I’m reviewing the 200HGK, a right-handed reel with a 7.4:1 gear ratio.

Capacity

The Curado HGK holds quite a bit of line. Shimano advertises a capacity of 190, 120, and 80 yards with 30-, 50-, and 80-pound PowerPro braid. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and my experience with this reel confirms those numbers.

For my money, that’s great capacity, especially on a reel that’s this palmable and low-profile. And honestly, I can’t see needing more line than that for the tasks I’ll put this reel to.

Of course, if you run fluorocarbon or monofilament, expect those figures to drop quite a bit.

Drag

Drag quality and weights are one of the first things I consider in a reel, and as you’d expect, the Curado HGK delivers in spades.

The star-shaped drag knob is located on the right side, directly behind the crank. It’s easy to actuate with your fingers without pulling your hand off the knobs, allowing adjustments on the fly.

That’s something I’ve come to appreciate when I get a surprise on the end of my line!

Shimano advertises a maximum drag of 11 pounds, and stacked carbon fiber discs are at the heart of this excellent system.

I’ve tested this reel at a variety of measured weights using a fishing scale. From just over a pound to its maximum setting, the drag was smooth and steady with no sudden slippage whatsoever.

This is especially impressive performance at the low-end, where baitcasters often struggle to deliver smooth performance.

And at the high-end of that setting, you’re prepared for monstrous bass, walleye, and even pike.

Anti-reverse

The Curado HGK’s anti-reverse system is automatic and immediate. You simply can’t get this reel to turn backward at all, providing maximum hook-setting power.

Casting

Next to the drag, this is the thing I explore the most carefully when selecting a new reel.

The Curado series sports a very fine spool that runs on a single bearing. And whatever magic Shimano works during manufacturing is apparent here immediately!

Baitcasting reels rely on a free-spinning spool, and friction is the enemy of the long cast. You can count me as impressed by this reel–especially if you back off the brakes and spool tension. Indeed, experienced anglers will find this reel casts extremely well with a variety of lure weights.

That spool is machined from aluminum, and here, precision counts. The more even the machining, the less vibration when casting and retrieving. I was suitably impressed, and I’m pretty sure you will be, too.

To control backlashing, Shimano relies on a centrifugal braking system that’s paired with an adjustment knot located beneath the side plate. Each of those four brake tabs (pictured in the off position, e.g. the least braking) can be easily switched on or off in any order.

By turning each of the four brake pads on or off, and by loosening or tightening the adjustment knob, you gain incredible control over the applied braking force. Add to this the spool tensioning knob located adjacent to the crank, and you have a nearly infinite setting range to suit your skill and conditions.

Note: If the side plate won’t latch closed, loosen the spool tensioning knob!!!

Cranking/Retrieving

The Curado HGK sports a 7.4:1 gear ratio, meaning that for every turn of the crank, the spool will spin 7.4 times. That provides a retrieval rate of about 31 inches per turn, which is plenty to work worms, jerkbaits, topwater, and any other technique where slack line is something that you need to avoid like the plague.

Personally, I find it works well with all but the deepest diving crankbaits, too, but your mileage may vary.

This reel features soft-touch rubber knobs on the crank, as well as long arms to provide plenty of torque and power.

The Curado K now comes equipped with micro-module gearing–a feature previously available only on Shimano’s much pricier Chronarch. Essentially, this means that the solid brass gears are much smaller and closer together, providing impressive smoothness, better torque, and a very long service life.

Final Thoughts

Shimano’s Curado K series provides the performance experienced anglers will demand, as well as the ease of use newer fishermen will find helpful. Remarkably easy to set up, affordably priced for its quality, and offering time-tested design features, you won’t be disappointed by this reel.

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