Shimano Curado 200DPV Reel Review
Author: Rob Belloni
Retrieve ratio: 5.0:1 and 7.0:1
Number of ball bearings: 5
Number of roller bearings: 1
Left hand retrieve available? Yes
Line retrieve per handle turn: 21/30 inches
Line capacity: 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
Max Lbs of Drag: 16.0lbs
Drag Material: Dartanium
Frame Material: Machined Aluminum
Approx Retail: $199
Released in 2005, The Curado DPV, DSV and DHSV series reels are the replacement for the venerable and extraordinarily popular Shimano Curado. There are currently 8 models in the lineup with 100, 200, and 300 sizes and a variety of left hand/right hand options and retrieve ratios. DPV indicates a 5.0:1 retrieve ratio. DSV indicates a 6.2:1 retrieve ratio, and DHSV indicates 7.0:1 retrieve ratio. In this review we’ll talk only about the 200 size in the DPV and DHSV retrieve ratios.
The big headline with the DHSV series is the super fast 7.0:1 retrieve ratio. A single crank with the 200 DHSV will vacuum up 30” of line, and that’s really something when you want to move your bait or pick up slack in a jiffy. Shimano accomplishes this with an oversized gear and they make each turn of the handle effortless with their High Efficiency Gearing. If you’ve ever fished with a Calcutta TE or a Torium, you’ll quickly recognize the feeling you get when you crank the handle, it just feels wonderfully smooth.
In the past, the higher the retrieve ratio your reel had the more difficulty you’d have turning the handle. Not so with any of the new Curado series. With the HEG gears, you can grind a huge crankbait or a spinnerbait with a #7 blade no problem even on the 7.0:1. I’ve never been a fan of low profile reels for swimbaits in the past but with this reel, especially the 7.0:1 model, you can point your rod at a bait like the 12” MS Slammer and just start grinding. It’s quite wonderful really. If you’ve been looking for a low profile to handle big lures, this should be high on your list.
Now let’s move on to the additional specifications, and my word does this reel have a lot of lingo attached to it! The Product information page on shimano.com goes on and on about things like the magnumlite spool, variable brake system, super stopper, assist stopper, easy access sideplate, septon handle grips, reduced mass variable brake system hub, pv power paddles, dartanium drag, and drilled handle shanks. This is all well and good, but which of these are we actually interested in?
In addition to the high efficiency gearing I already talked about, the thing that interested me most was the assist stopper. With the old Curado, if you were going to wear something out in it, the one way roller bearing was likely to be the first to go. I know more than one guy who wore out his one way roller bearing on the old Curado jerking Pointer Minnows and wound up with reels whose handles would start spinning backwards at inopportune moments. The original Curado wasn’t too bad in this regard but it could happen to you if you beat on your gear. With the assist stopper on the new Curado, the likelihood that your one way roller bearing will fail is considerably diminished.
Another big improvement over the original Curado is the dartanium drag system. The old Curado’s used a single cloth washer which, if you stored it at a high drag setting for a year or two, would start to fray around the edges and lose its smoothness. The dartanium drags are a not going to wear down like this, and even more important – you can get a higher drag tension with the harder material and multiple washers the dartanium system offers. If you locked up the old curado to flip 25lb test it wasn’t going to play the line out very smoothly. With these bad boys, you can lock it up tight and still get consistent drag pressure with virtually no start up. In high drag scenarios like frog fishing, swimbait, or heavy flipping, the dartanium drag can a real asset.
The other aspects of the reel, to me, are mostly fluff and not tremendously different than the original curado. It is worth mentioning however that the overall tolerances and machining quality on these reels is excellent. Shimano manufactures their reels in several countries but the new Curados are manufactured in Japan which means that everything about the reel is crisp and tightly integrated. The old Curados might loosen up on you a little over time but these new models have the kind of feel that tells you they will function just as well today as they will 3 years from now.
Despite the laundry list of trick features, the wonderful gearing and drag, and the incredible manufacturing tolerances, there are a few things from a fishability standpoint that must be mentioned in regards to the new Curados.
The first and most obvious issue is the oversized side plate. The oversized side plate is there because the 7.0:1 retrieve necessitates a giant gear, but the oversized side plate also means that the reel hangs down past the reel seat and makes for a much larger surface to palm.
We all have our own fishing styles and I know that over the years I’ve seen people grip a baitcaster all sorts of different ways, but for me, I really like to palm the reel with my left hand and wrap my fingers up around the right side of the reel from underneath (I use right hand retrieve reels). When I’m fishing slowly I’ll even use my left hand to spin the reel handle by tapping the star drag from underneath the reel.
Not only is this left handed handle spinning move more difficult now with the new Curado, palming the reel to control your bait is nearly impossible if you don’t have hands like Shaq. When I tried fishing a jerkbait with it the new Curado I felt like I was trying to write left handed and became totally frustrated by my inability to work the bait like I normally do while gripping the entire reel from the bottom. After ten minutes of fighting it, my hand felt fatigued and I wound up changing reels. If you don’t palm your reel, this may not be an issue for you, but if you like ripping and you palm your reel like I do, you may find yourself disappointed with this reel.
The other thing to talk about is overall weight. At 9.8oz the new Curados are quite heavy and will change the balance of you combos. If you’ve gotten used to a lighter reel after years of fishing, the new Curado may feel rather awkward. I know I felt that way with my flipping sticks where the balance point of the rod was changed by the heavier reel.
The last thing I want to talk about is an issue that again, not everyone may notice, but that for me was a big dissatisfier. I’m talking about feel. Feel is a troublesome thing to express in words, so let me give an example… With the old Curado I could pitch out a jig and pump it along on a semi slack line. When I got a subtle bite, I would notice the bite through a combination of line watching, rod feel, and reel feel. If you don’t think you feel bites through your reel, get one of these new Curados and you will notice what I am saying. There is something about these reels that deadens the natural feel imparted through your reel. Whether it’s the weight of the reel, the complete lack of play in the anti-reverse, or something else that I’m not able to pinpoint I don’t know. But I definitely believe that I feel fewer bites with this reel than the old Curado.
Overall there are some compelling reasons to buy this reel and there are some specific applications where its features perform admirably such as heavy cranking, blading or swimbait fishing with large baits on lighter line. However there are also some issues that no amount of engineering perfection can make up for such as reel shape, weight, and feel. Consider carefully what you will use this reel for before you buy it and consider also what type of fisherman you are when it comes to palming the reel and feeling bites.