Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gear Talk: Shimano Citica 201E

I have been planning to write something about the tackles that I use but when I was about to, I somehow fail to do so for some unknown reason. I guess a lot of people might be interested in these stuff so I will give it a shot.

First up, which is my latest purchase, is a Shimano Citica 201E. It's a cheap incarnation of Shimano Curado 200 series. What's the difference between the Curado 201E other than the color? First, the gear ratio. Citica is 6.3:1 while Curado has 7:1 and a 5:1. Second, the spool on a Citica is relatively heavier than that of a Curado. This gives the Curado an edge over the Citica when it comes to casting distance and casting lighter lures. Well, out of the box that is. A little tweak on the Citica can even things up (I will discuss this in a bit). The other difference is the paddles (handles) the handle in Citica is shorter with smaller grips and the paddles do not have the 2 ball bearings (1 for each paddle) that the Curado have -- and these paddles can't be upgraded with some ball bearings. Sucks, doesn't it?

Another difference is the Star wheel. It's plastic in the Citica and Aluminum in the Curados. The other difference is under the the main shaft of the Citica. It's a plastic bushing while it's a Ball bearing in Curado. One other difference is that the Citica has this really cheap looking brake blocks mounted on squarish brake pins made of plastic. Curado has round stainless metal pins with clear plastic round blocks. To top everything off, Citica also has inferior bearings compared to Curado's (SS and ARB).

All of these differences is because Citica is cheaper than a Curado by around $60 to $80.

When I first tried the reel, the first thing I noticed is that it was not smooth. It doesn't feel good on my hands especially when I crank it. Maybe I am just used to an Abu Revo Inshore or SX. When I checked the schematics,  I noticed a plastic bushing under the shaft. I got myself a SARB ball bearing meant for a Shimano Scorpion XT from and replaced that bushing. That ball bearing bearing made a lot of difference in improving the smoothness of the reel. If you plan on getting a Citica, it's a must have for this reel. The size of the bearing is 5mm×9mm×3mm.

Photo courtesy of Bong. The blue plastic here is the bushing which can be replaced with a stainless steel ball bearing. In my case, I replaced it with a Shimano Scorpion XT 1501 ball bearing.

To compensate for the inferior Citica spool, I upgraded the spool bearings with ABEC 7 Ceramic bearings. Let me tell you, if you have the cash buy a pair of these. My bearings came from a friend in Canada. Those bearings really burn. The casting distance outmatched the Curado.

I field tested the reel when I went north for a whole week of kayak fishing in estuarine rivers. After around 7 nice-sized Mangrove Jacks (1.5kg to 3.5kg), the brake ring inside the side plate fell off. It's like a China made reel really. Aside from the components, Shimano may have scrimped on glue on this reel. It was disappointing. Anyway, after a few drops of Super glue, it was back as new. The drag, after just a week of use began to stick, I was really expecting it to be so. Maybe American anglers don't notice this in colder weather but after fishing under the tropical sun, the drag washer will soften and stick into the metal washers. Startup will be compromised which can snap lines when  big fish strikes. The remedy is to replace the drag washer with Carbontex from Smoothdrag.

My final say on the reel? It's cheap and relatively  upgradeable, which is a good thing. If you have the cash, go with the easier path and buy a Curado 200 E or 201E. If you love to tinker around and don't have dough to spare, go for Citica and keep upgrading it one part at a time with Scorpion XT parts. Note, Scorpion parts are cheaper than Curado parts for some unknown reason. By the time you are done, you will have an awesome fishing machine.

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