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Product Review – Shimano Curado DC

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We’ve all had a bad experience (or several) with a baitcasting-style reel. Despite the benefits of more accurate casting and better fish-fighting capabilities, many anglers are still quite hesitant to use a baitcaster in most situations. Even the most avid angler faces times where light lures and headwinds make spinning gear a must.

However, Shimano has launched the Curado DC, a new baitcaster with a technology that eliminates overrun and prevents almost all backlashes from occurring.

While the DC technology is not completely new, it has previously only been available in very high-end models at prices of over $500. Now Shimano has introduced this same technology into their low-profile Curado series at a much more appealing price point.

The acronym “DC” stands for “digital control braking system,” which operates by utilizing a microcomputer chip that is located inside the spool. This computer monitors the spool’s speed 1,000 times per second, adjusting the amount of braking control applied to the spool via magnet.

There is no need for any batteries to power the chip, which is charged by the revolutions of the spool during casting.

Instead of relying on spool tension and thumb pressure, the computer applies pressure only when needed, increasing casting distance while eliminating backlashes.

A dial with four settings controls the levels at which the computer influences the spool: setting 1 with almost no braking; setting 2 with moderate control designed for light wind and/or braided line; setting 3 for fluorocarbon lines and/or lighter lures; and setting 4 for maximum braking in headwinds and/or very light lures.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

At ICAST this year, several demo models were available for testing. In the first test, we tossed a lure against the wall on setting 4, without applying any thumb pressure at all. Any standard baitcaster would have backlashed so bad the reel would be unusable without scissors and new line. However, the Curado DC slowed the spool enough that there were only a few loops of overrun.

The second test consisted of casting into a headwind outside without thumbing the spool. Not only were there no backlashes, but casting distances were 20-30’ better than with the standard Curado model. During the cast, the reel makes several different whirring noises as the computer adjusts the braking mechanism.

You can see it working; as the spool starts to fuzz up, it magically goes away as the computer adjusts!

After making numerous casts in overtly adverse baitcasting conditions, the Curado DC certainly lives up to the hype. The result is a baitcaster that is perfect for beginner anglers or those new to this style of reel, while providing features that appeal to any experienced angler (features that were not previously available).

Want to throw a lighter MirrOlure or soft plastic on baitcasting gear this trout season? No problem. How about a baitcaster you can confidently launch a topwater into a stiff headwind? Check.

The Curado DC is available in both left and right hand retrieves, with gear ratios from 6.2:1 to a smoking-fast 8.5:1.

Whether new to baitcasters, longing to use one in tough situations, or looking to impress your friends, the Curado DC is the perfect choice for both freshwater and saltwater. The Curado DCs are available now at your local tackle shops, with demo videos and specifications available at