October 27, 2021
That was Alex Davis’ off-the-cuff reaction the first time he picked up the new Shimano Curado flipping rod. Consider for a moment that Davis has handled hundreds of rods designed for yanking bass out of heavy slop or slinging big glide baits over the years. However, his instant feedback on this particular Curado rod was meaningful because he knew right away—without even having to catch a fish with it—the engineers had built something special.
“I’m a real stickler on flipping sticks, especially when I’m fishing with braid,” said Davis, who hails from Alabama and has competed on Major League Fishing’s Pro Circuit (formerly the FLW Tour) since 2012. “A lot of times, flipping rods can be too stiff. That was the first Curado rod I picked up and I knew, based on the action, they had something there.
“I can deal with a heavier rod or something that’s not aesthetically pleasing, but this one had it all.”
Flipping and punching are just a couple of the many techniques Davis employs while chasing limits of bass around the country in Pro Circuit tournaments or while he’s guiding at Lake Guntersville. Having equipment he can trust—and has that feel—in all situations is just as important as making sure the drain plug is in his boat before each outing.
With the Shimano Curado baitcast reel celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and with numerous modern versions of the Curado already anchoring the company low-profile reel lineup, it only made sense to deploy a revamped set of Curado rods—16 casting and six spinning—allowing anglers to create a slew of no-nonsense, tournament-quality, fish-catching combos.
Power and versatility were at the core of the development of the Curado rods, which feature a sleek black and forest-green finish with high-density EVA handles and other top-shelf components and materials, such as CI4+ reel seats and Fuji tangle-free K guides with FazLite inserts.
The rods are built using Shimano’s Hi-Power X technology that utilizes diagonally wrapped carbon tape that forms visually striking “X” shapes on the rod blank’s outermost layer. The casting rods range in length from 6 feet, 10 inches to 7 feet, 8 inches, and come in medium to extra-heavy actions.
“The Curado system now has rods and reels under $200 that I would trust myself to fish in national tournaments with,” he added. “You have a rod-and-reel system that can carry you from the lake on weekends to regional tournaments all the way to lucrative national tournaments. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 years old or 65, there’s a setup you can use for anything anytime. There’s literally a rod for everything.”
With a seemingly endless array of combinations now available within the Curado System, we asked Davis to outline five of his go-to combos that he’ll be armed with when the 2022 tournament season get cranked up in January.
Scenario: Heavy vegetation, laydowns
Rod: Curado 7-foot, 8-inch extra-heavy
Reel: Curado MGL 70
Why Davis Digs It: “That’s the best punching rod for braid, and with the 70-size reel it has a big power handle on it, and it fits well in my hand. It’s a small reel and it’s light so you can flip and punch all day long. That combo gives you a big rod with a comfortable reel. The rod has a lot of backbone, but it’s still parabolic with a lot of tip that extends through the rod. That way you won’t rip holes in the fish’s mouth. You get a better hook-up ratio and landing percentage.”
Scenario: Suspended fish, cold water
Rod: Curado 6-foot, 10-inch medium-action
Reel: Curado MGL 150
Why Davis Digs It: “With the 6-foot, 10-inch rod , I don’t want it to be too long where the tip slaps the water while I working the bait. The medium action gives me just enough tip to whip the bait into the wind, but it’s stiff enough so when you’re working the bait you’re getting the maximum action out of it. The MGL 150 is very light and the spool spins faster, which allows me to cast farther. It has plenty of line capacity and the 150 size is small enough to make the combo feel really light.”
Scenario: Around docks and overhanging cover
Rod: Curado 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy
Reel: Curado MGL 70
Why Davis Digs It: “For skipping a jig, this is an ideal combo. The Curado MGL 70 has less line capacity so if I do backlash it can only get so bad because the spool is only so deep. I like the 7-foot, 2-inch rod because I’m a little taller and that just works for me. The 7-footer might work better for someone a couple inches shorter. The medium-heavy action has enough tip that it lets the rod load up with the jig so you’re able to skip it with that slingshot action. You can’t do that with a heavier rod.”
Scenario: Midwest finesse (Ned rigs), spybaits
Rod: Curado BFS 7-foot, 2-inch medium-light
Reel: Curado BFS
Why Davis Digs It: “There’s not a technique out there that you cannot do for smallmouth, spots and largemouth (with this combo). Even guys who want to throw a baitcaster instead of a spinning reel, now they can turn to the Curado BFS. It’s a smaller reel with a real shallow spool that doesn’t require a large amount of line. It’s perfect for throwing a 1/16-ounce Midwest finesse head or a small spybait.”
Scenario: Vertical presentation for smallmouth
Rod: Curado 7-foot medium-light and 7-foot medium spinning
Reel: Vanford 2500
Why Davis Digs It: “For spotted bass at a place like Smith Lake, where I’m using a 1/4-ounce weight, I’m going with the medium-light rod because I use about a 15-foot fluorocarbon leader tied to braid. The braid does the hook setting for you and that rod is not too stiff, so I don’t rip the fish’s mouth. A lot of people have lost fish because their rods are too stiff. That applies to everything, including flipping. With a big, vicious hookset with a stiff rod that hole in the fish’s lip is going to be big. When I’m fishing up north like on the St. Lawrence River or the Great Lakes, I’ll go with a medium-action rod because I’m typically using a heavier weight.”
The Shimano Curado rod lineup includes 16 casting and six spinning models with an MSRP of $159.99 to $189.99.