Welcome to the 13 Fishing Concept Z vs Shimano Curado K showdown.
There has been a lot of commotion ever since the release of two new reels at the 2017 ICAST event. It was during that event that 13 Fishing released the first of its kind the Concept Z a baitcaster with no ball bearings. On the same day Shimano released their Curado K series a step up from the very popular Shimano Curado I Series with a few new features.
Now the question is: Which one is better? In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the best features of each reel to see which one comes out on top.
13 Fishing Concept Z vs Shimano Curado K Showdown
To begin with, let’s take a look at the 13 Fishing Concept Z.
- Ball Bearings: Zero
- Line Capacity 12lb/135yards
- Gear Ratio: (pictured above) 8.1:1, also available 7.3:1 and 6.6:1
- Drag: 22lbs
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Ocean Armor 2 – Saltwater approved.
- Centrifugal Braking System
- Dead Stop Anti Reverse
One of things about the 13 Fishing Concept Z that has generated so much attention is the fact that it contains no ball bearings.This is a brand new concept to the fishing reel scene and no doubt will change baitcasters forever.
So, how does this work? It doesn’t contain ball bearings, but it does contain polymer-like bearings instead. It is because of this design that it is said to perform better than other reels on the market. It is supposed to cast further, be smoother and in general last longer.
Let’s take a look at a few of the other features.
One of the greatest things I like about the Concept Z is that it is so light. It only weighs 6.4 ounces, making it one of the lightest baitcasting reels out there. You may not think that is a big deal, but after a 100 casts or so you will how much better it can be to fish with a lighter reel.
Another great feature is that it is saltwater approved. Because the bearings are not ball bearings they don’t need to be shielded and won’t corrode. Combine that feature with the Ocean Armor and you have yourself the perfect baitcaster for the saltwater angler.
Lastly, let’s talk briefly about drag. For being relatively newer technology and the compact design this little reel can put a hurting on fish with its 22 pounds of drag.
That pretty much covers all freshwater fish and a number of different saltwater species as well.
Learn more about this option in the following video:
- Ball Bearings: 6+1 Shielded
- Line Capacity 8lb/180 yards, 10lb/155 yards, 14lb 110 yards
- Gear Ratio: (pictured above) 7.4:1, also available 6.2:1 and 8:5:1
- Drag: 11lbs
- Weight: 7.6 ounces
- CI4+ sideplates
- Micromodule Gear system
- SVS infinity braking system
In this corner of the ring we have our next contender the Shimano Curado 200 HG K.
Made with an all medal body and CI4+ sideplates this reel was definitely designed to last many years to come. For the many features that this device offers it is relatively compact for its design and weighs in at 7.6 ounces. Yes, it does weigh a little bit more than the Concept z, but when you compare it with other baitcasters in its class, it really isn’t that heavy.
It has 6 + 1 shielded ball bearings meaning that it too is saltwater approved. One thing that they did to the Curado K that I really like is the Micromodule Gear System. This means that the teeth on the gears are smaller making for a buttery smooth crank everytime.
I also like the range of gear ratios available. This model is the medium range the 7.4:1 gear ratio, but you can also find it in 6.2:1 for more torque and a super speedy 8.5:1 which is very different from Curado I series line up.
Lastly it is equipped with Shimano’s SVS infinity braking system which really allows you to fine tune the brakes to your liking. It helps to give you more control even allowing you to throw some of the lightest lures on your favorite baitcasting reel.
Learn more in the following video:
Which one is better?
If you are reading this post it isn’t because you aren’t familiar with these reels, but rather it is because you want to know which one will perform better and which one is better deal. For that reason, in this next section we are going to talk about 5 key differences that I think you should take into consideration before making your chose.
Casting. Both reels are said to be great at casting, so which one casts better? Keep in mind that it isn’t always about the distance. We also want a reel that will cast a good distance, but do so accurately too. With that being said, even though they both cast very well I have found the Concept Z to cast better. For me that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker as they both perform well in this field.
Weight. Just to refresh your memory the Concept Z weighs 6.4 ounces and the Curado K weighs 7.6 ounces which is a difference of a little over an ounce. This is another important aspect to consider because an ounce is a big difference. Another aspect closely related to the weight is the compact feel. I love the compact design of the Curado K. It is much smaller than the previous I series and fits very nicely in your hand. That is a win for 13 Fishing in the weight category and a win for Shimano in the compact design category.
Price. The Concept Z is new technology and for that reason it comes in at a higher price. On the other hand, the Curado K is competively priced for its market. Here is where you need to think about long term. For example, ask yourself: which one will last the longest? Which one is a better investment? Some people might be hesitate on the Z because it is a brand new idea/technology. Others like the brand Shimano and what it stands for in the fishing industry.
Saltwater approved/Maintenance. Basically in this field it comes down to two things, shielded ball bearings vs no ball bearings which one is going to hold up better in saltwater. There is no doubt about it saltwater can quickly ruin a good fishing reel. So, how well do you care for your reels? Do you take really good care of them? Do you rinse them off right away after fishing saltwater? If so, you will have no problems with Shimano as it is a beast when it comes to durability. However, because of the lack of ball bearings 13 Fishing would require much less maintenance.
Color. We have to compare this aspect as well because one is bright orange a very unique color for a fishing reel. Does the color bother you or do you like the Shimano’s slick design/color? Let’s just say that you will definitely get attention using the bright orange one.
For me personally, I think I would choose the 13 Fishing Concept Z. I love the fact that there are no ball bearings, the fact that it requires very low maintenance, the smooth feel, the lightness and I know it is not important, but I like the color as well.
Don’t get me wrong I love Shimano reels and the Shimano Curado K is certainly top-notch in its class, but I do like the idea of trying something new and different.
There you have it, my review of the Concept z vs Curado K. Which one would you choose? Please share you thoughts in the comments section below.