New Baitcasting Reel: Shimano Citica 200I

The Citica has long been the workhorse reel of the Shimano baitcasting lineup. This year it got an upgrade, and I was pumped to test the new design. I took the Citica, along with one of Shimano’s new Zodias rods, and headed to my fishing playground—a 40-acre, private lake in northern New Jersey that’s chock full of largemouth bass, slammer pickerel, and walleye. I have a friend who lets me to access the lake, and it’s where I go when I need to bend a rod. On the fourth cast, I caught a 5-1/2-pound largemouth—and got an instant demo of the buttery smooth drag on this reel. And there were plenty more fish to help test the Citica. I didn’t put the reel down all day, and it handled everything—spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, jigs, and soft-plastics—flawlessly.

Specs
Weight: 7.4 oz.
Gear Ratio: 6.3:1 (7.2:1 on the HG model)
Inches Per Crank: 26 (30 on the HG model)
Mono Line Capacity: 14/110
Braid Line Capacity: 65/80
Max Drag: 12 lb.
Ball Bearings: 5+1
$150; shimano.com

Hits
The Citica is extremely smooth and comfortable to fish with, and launches long-bomb casts with ease. It's all you need and more for freshwater and inshore saltwater species. The intelligently designed side-plate and dial is the fastest and easiest way to fine tune a centrifugal break that I have ever seen on a reel.

Misses
The only thing could possible be construed as a miss on the Citica is its size. If you're tossing large plugs for heftier saltwater fish, you may want a bigger reel. (Otherwise, it's fine.)

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a tournament-quality baitcaster that will last a lifetime with the proper care, this is it. This is a stunningly impressive reel, especially considering its reasonable price tag.