Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Shimano Caius HG150 baitcaster reel review. Now, as you are probably aware, fishing is one of those past times that holds two essential truths:
- There are a great number of variations of every piece of equipment, tackle and accessory that you could be looking for.
- Everybody has an opinion on which of these variations is best at any given time – which is generally due to the fact that that particular item has helped them catch fish.
So with that in mind, one thing I have tried to do on this site is review the products I use, as well as the ones that are popular at the moment to give you an idea of what may work for you as you head out to the water and chase the big ones.
Hence, for this review, I will run you through:
- What the product is
- What I bought if for
- Pros and Cons
- My recommendations
What is a baitcaster reel?
Baitcaster reels are the upside-down models where the reel sits on top of, rather than underneath, the rod. Functionality can vary from the simple beginner models where the cover or closed face keeps all of the essential parts of the reel protected to the more complicated ones where casting speed and brake settings etc. can be adjusted dependent upon the environment.
There are some definite advantages to them as well including:
- More accurate when casting.
- Longer casting capabilities.
- Can handle heavier line and lure/sinker weight.
- Can handle much bigger fish for their size than spinners.
The problem with them however is that they tend to take some getting used to in terms of brake setting etc. to enhance casting distance and reduce the risk of backlash.
As above, one of the main issues that many have with baitcaster reels is that they tangle much easier when the line is being cast. This is due to a phenomenon called ‘backlash’. Put simply, this is when the spool turns faster than the lure/sinker can pull the line out during casting causing the line to continue spooling when the weight hits the water and tangle – a.k.a birds nest.
There are a number of variations here including:
- Centrifugal Brakes: Centrifugal brakes use gravity to adjust the spool speed to ensure it spins at the same rate as the cast. In this case, the brakes extend from the center of the spool running along a shelf in the center of the reel to slow it down. These can be adjusted but in most reels, this is not a simple task.
- Magnetic Brakes: Magnetic brakes are another way of controlling spool speed with easier adjustment via a small dial on the side of the unit. As the dial is turned, magnets move closer or further away from the side of the spool – the closer they are, the more they can slow the spool. These work the same as the centrifugal brakes in that they are mainly designed to work during that first ‘whip’ of the cast and release once the spool slows over the casting duration.
- Spool Tension Adjustment: This is designed for use at the end of the cast when the lure or sinker hits the water (as opposed to centrifugal and magnetic brakes which operate in the first part of the cast). In simple terms, the tension adjustment stops the spool shaft at the same time that the tackle hits the water meaning an excess line is not released.
The Shimano Caius HG150 baitcaster reel works with centrifugal brakes that are adjusted by the removal of the side plate (see video above for example) and a side tension button to adjust spool speed.
What did I buy it for?
I purchased the Shimano Caius as part of a rod and reel combo to use on a kayak and small tinnie (12 ft aluminium boat) to fish for Mangrove Jack and Australian Bass. Both are hard hitting and like to hide underneath structures such as tree branches, rock ledges and the like. When they hit a bait or lure, they will then attempt to escape back under these which leads to snags and broken lines.
Baitcasters are good for this type of fishing as they can be accurately cast with a strong drag to ‘stop’ the fish immediately. I don’t really need to cast a long way with this one however it does need to be accurate.
What do you get?
- Product Name: Shimano Caius HG150 baitcaster reel
- Spool Size: Mono 12/110, Braid 20/150
- Bearings: 3+1
- Ratio: 7.2:1
- Composition: Aluminum
- Drag: 5kg/11lb
- Brakes: Centrifugal VBS Braking System
As above, I purchased this as part of a combo set with a 6′ carbon fibre casting rod.
- Super light weight
- Easy to manage and clean
- Super strong drag
- Smooth casting – although the heavier the lure/sinker the better
- Extremely sensitive tension settings
- Definitely takes some time to get used to – I experienced a lot of backlashes
- Winding is not as ‘smooth’ as others
How much is it?
I paid $125 for the rod and reel combo however have seen these priced at anywhere between $80 to $159.
Do I recommend it?
Now, I admit to not being an expert with baitcaster reels having predominately used spinner reels throughout my fishing life. I also have to admit then that this one that took me a lot longer to get used to than others I have used. The Shimano specifications page for the Caius highlights its Super Free Spool which whilst certainly makes it cast smoothly, also appears to lead to more backlash issues as well.
The internal braking system is easily adjustable and the tension spool is extremely sensitive so once I managed to get it all sorted, I found it to be responsive and effective for the shorter casting needs that I use it for. It does appear to cast better with heavier sinkers and lures however.
It doesn’t feel as ‘smooth’ when retrieving a catch as I would expect from a Shimano reel (it almost feels like a ‘grind’) however the quality of build is definitely there – especially in the drag and tension settings. I would avoid this one if you are an absolute newbie to baitcasters however for the more experienced fisher looking for a decent reel at a decent price then I think you could do worse that this one for sure.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Shimano Caius HG150 baitcaster reel. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.
Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
Until next time