Man Holding a Fish Caught in a Lake

Shimano Casitas Review: (Revised and Updated for 2020)

Shimano Casitas

The Casitas is designed for freshwater and saltwater fishing. You can hit the lake or river for bass, then skip down to the coast and snag snapper or speckled trout —without switching reels.

My cousin owns 9 fishing reels —and he sure loves to brag about them. The irony is that they screw up on him half the time, so he also curses their name!

He snarls and spits when one backlashes or makes him miss a bass. Seriously, it’s not a pretty scene. 

But from something ugly comes something beautiful. His antics inspired me to write an expert review for the Shimano Casitas.

It’s a well-built baitcaster for freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing that won’t make you go full “Tasmanian Devil”. I feel strongly that every angler needs to know about it. 

The Casitas is lightweight and low-profile, built for all-day fishing and smooth, accurate casting. It has a classic high-quality Shimano design that anglers respect. 

It’s not perfect, but it checks all the boxes and can handle a wide range of fish. Take a look at my full review for the Shimano Casitas and see what you think…

A Lightweight Reel That Stands Up to Monsters 

One nice thing about the Casitas is that it weighs just 6.8 ounces. In my opinion, its weight hits the sweet spot between solid and comfortable. 

It’s easy on the wrists and arms, which makes it good for all-day fishing. At the same time, it won’t buckle under pressure if you happen to hook a hog. 

For a smaller reel, it can hold its own. The Casitas’ build is solid, and its drag is smooth enough to tame big game fish. With cutting-edge Shimano technology, it won’t buckle to a lunker largemouth.

RECOMMENDATION

However, huge fish like trophy-size muskies and stripers are pushing this reel’s limits. If you’re going after fish that weigh 20 plus pounds, I suggest rolling with a heavier reel! 

Man Fishing at a Lake
Man Fishing at a Lake

A Baitcaster Built for Both Worlds 

The Casitas is designed for freshwater and saltwater fishing. You can hit the lake or river for bass, then skip down to the coast and snag snapper or speckled trout —without switching reels. 

Don’t let its max drag of just over 12 pounds scare you off. Anglers say it’s extremely strong and smooth for such a light reel, and it performs beyond its listed parameters. 

This is a hallmark of Shimano baitcasters…

This is a hallmark of Shimano baitcasters —everyone I’ve owned has had a smooth, killer drag. The Casitas is no different —it’s built to roll with big bass and inshore fish. 

Its graphite composite body protects gears and components from saltwater damage. The only pain is that you have to rinse the reel with regular water after saltwater use —otherwise you’ll get corrosion.

Some anglers aren’t excited about its graphite composite material and prefer aluminum or carbon. But keep in mind, its light composite frame keeps it under 7 ounces! 

NOTE

Still, there are some lightweight reels out there that feel a little more solid. This is likely because they’re using magnesium —but keep in mind that this metal can’t hold up to saltwater. Graphite —on the other hand— is resistant to saltwater corrosion. 

A Pedestrian Ball Bearing Count, and High Gear Ratio

The Casitas has 5 ball bearings —including 1 roller bearing. Most anglers like reels with a high bearing count, because they help it cast and reel smoothly. 

NOTE

If you’re looking for a baitcaster with 8 – 11 ball bearings, then you may want to explore different options. But keep in mind that many of those reels will be more expensive. 

To be fair, the material of the ball bearings is more important than the number of bearings. For example, ceramic bearings are not the highest quality —ideally, you want stainless steel bearings. 

Even though the Casitas’ bearing count is lack-luster, its materials and technology give it smooth performance. But as I said, if you like lots of bearings you should take a look at some other Shimano reels.

Designed for Easy Accuracy, But still has a Learning Curve

If you want to learn how to use a baitcaster, this is a good one to start with. The Casitas is a lightweight, low-profile baitcaster that’s easy to grip and operate. 

The spool is located a little lower and gives your thumb quick, simple access to the line. It’s also infused with SVS Infinity Technology that lets you cast with pinpoint accuracy.

All that sounds sweet, but keep in mind that it takes time to master -the learning curve is higher than a spinning reel. 

If you’re a novice fisherman and have never used a baitcaster, you’ll need patience…

Also, if you’re not familiar with Shimano’s spool and braking system, then be prepared to make a few crappy casts while feeling it out. 

If you have experience with baitcasters, then you might enjoy its accuracy right off the bat. It’s great for casting ultralight lures into nooks and overhangs for jigging once you tame it. 

Ready to Learn More?

Okay, now you know some of what the Shimano Casitas brings to the table. In just a second I’ll dive deeper into all its features and technology!

an affordable, compact baitcaster that can serve many roles… 

But first, it’s only fair to highlight how the Casitas fits into the Shimano reel family. It slides into the mix as an affordable, compact baitcaster that can serve many roles. 

As always, it represents Shimano’s ongoing quest to create better fishing reels — 

Fishing Bait on Water
Fishing Bait on Water

The Shimano Casitas —High-End Technology in a Low-Profile Reel 

This reel is a step up from its “low-profile” siblings —the Shimano Citica and Caenan. In my opinion, the Casitas’ design is sleeker and truly low profile. 

In performance, it’s similar to the Shimano Chronarch Ci4+ baitcaster. However, the Casitas has a slightly lower price tag —and a different body material. 

The Casitas’ body is crafted from X-T7 graphite, not carbon interfusion. (Ci4) Some anglers prefer the carbon fiber graphite body of the Chronarch, but if you’re on a budget the Casita’s composite build will serve you well.

NOTE

Although the body and frame are lacking in carbon, the Casitas still packs plenty of classic Shimano technology. It gives you S3D spool stabilization and SVS infinity brake control for ultra-smooth casting and pin-point accuracy. 

Designed Compact and Powerful 

The Casitas has a sleek, low profile body. That means you can palm it, and manipulate the spool with your thumb quite easily. These traits are crucial when you’re fishing all day and prone to hand cramps. 

Fun fact –rumor has it the Casitas’ design is based on an image of a coiled snake. I know —scary but kind of cool, right? 

I guess Shimano wanted to roll with a sleek and strong vibe —which makes perfect sense. Personally, I like its low-coiled aesthetics and think its performance backs up its attitude. 

NOTE

Remember, although the Casitas can handle big bass and shorefish —it’s not built for huge trophy fish. If you’re targeting 20+ pound lake catfish or hunting trophy-size drum fish, then you should up the weight of your reel. 

Okay, now that I’ve popped most of the basic question marks, it feels like the right time to list some pros and cons of the Shimano Casitas —

Pros 

  • Lightweight reel for all-day fishing (6.8 ounces) 
  • Infused with SVS Infinity Technology 
  • Small, easy-to-grip baitcaster reel
  • High gear ratios of 6.3:1 or 7.2:1
  • Built for freshwater and saltwater
  • “Lo Mass” spool technology for fluid casts and retrieves
  • Smooth cross-carbon drag built for bass and inshore fish
  • Centrifugal cast control for accuracy 

Cons 

  • Has some back-play in the handle 
  • Magnetic braking system can be hard to master 
  • Has graphite composite body that some anglers don’t like (Does not have Hagane body)
  • Max drag of 12 pounds —not built for enormous fish (20+ pounds)
  • Has 5 ball bearings, which is middle-of-the-road

Now that I’ve painted a broad stroke of this reel, it’s time to delve into what truly makes it tick. Stick around while I highlight the features of the Shimano Casitas —

Shimano SVS-Infinity Technology
Shimano SVS-Infinity Technology

SVS Infinity Technology —For Better Casts, Braking and Spool Control 

Pinpoint breaking adjustments can easily be made on the Casitas. This allows you to match the fishing conditions for optimal smoothness and accuracy. 

If you want to switch from an ultralight hula-popper to a deep-running spinner, you can give the brake a custom setting that works best for the lure. This also helps when you’re targeting different fish.

The SVS Infinity Technology allows your reel to perform no matter the lure, weather or type of fish…

The SVS Infinity Technology allows your reel to perform no matter the lure, weather or type of fish. It reduces friction and allows you to make adjustments on the fly to prevent backlash and missed catches. This gives you a sweet edge when there’s a big bass or snapper on the line. 

The only downside is that you have to oil the brake cone once in a while. If you don’t it will get noisy and underperform. This is considered very light maintenance, but if it sounds like a pain then you may want to consider a different reel. 

Stable Spool Technology (S3D) —Better Balance, Less Vibration

Shimano puts a lot of time and effort into being reel pioneers, that’s why I love their stuff. The Casitas comes packing sweet S3D technology that reduces vibration and gives you a smoother cast and retrieve. 

The Casitas comes packing sweet S3D technology that reduces vibration and gives you a smoother cast and retrieve…

Shimano uses a thin aluminum wall throughout the spool to evenly disperse vibration. It virtually eliminates any disturbance coming from the spool so you can be at one with the reel. 

There’s also a Level Wind System at play here. This feature promotes an even distribution of line across the spool and keeps everything humming nice and smooth.

This comes in handy when you’re making pinpoint casts into cover or cranking a spinning lure through current. It lets you feel out the perfect cast, and know when to set the hook or ease up.

Shimano Casitas
Shimano Casitas

Good Gear Ratios for a Lightweight Baitcaster 

There are 4 models for the Casitas —the 150, 151, 150HG and 151HG. With the regular models you get a gear ratio of 6.3:1. And with the HG (high-gear) models you get a gear ratio of 7.2:1 —which is nice when you’re going after snapper 60 feet deep.

So, what is the gear ratio? And why does it matter? Those are great questions. 

TIP

The gear ratio is the number of times your spool turns per rotation of the reel handle. So if the spool turns 6.3 times per 1 full crank of the handle, the gear ratio is 6.3:1. 

The higher the ratio, the faster the retrieve rate —which is important if you’re fishing deep lakes or inshore ocean fishing. Having a reel that cranks at a high rate saves you time and energy on the water.

In regards to the handle, the one on the Casitas is made of aluminum. In my experience, it can crank deep-running crank baits well. But some anglers say it has a bit of play in it that they don’t like. 

An Average Bearing Count, But a Smooth Operator 

The Casitas has 5 ball bearings —4 bearings plus 1 Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing. This mediocre bearing count may sound a bit concerning, but Shimano crafted the Casitas with the ability to make smooth casts and retrieves.

Its casting technology offsets the bearing count, so you’re not getting a reel that rides rough. Having a lower bearing count helps keep the price down, and in this case, doesn’t affect the performance a lot. 

But like I said —if your standards are set to somewhere between 8 to 12 bearings, there are plenty of other options out there. You can find reels with a higher bearing count close to the same price range, but I can’t vouch for their quality. 

Super Stopper II on Duty

When the reel is poised in anti-reverse mode, this feature prevents backward movement and play in the handle. Even with this measure taken, some anglers insist there is a smudge of play in the handle. 

Forged with Graphite Composite —No Awesome Hagane Body 

As mentioned, the Casitas is made of a graphite composite to keep it lightweight and saltwater resistant. That means the light metals used in Shimano’s Hagane technology are missing. 

you’re getting all the rest of Shimano’s technology in a compact reel…

The upside is that you’re getting all the rest of Shimano’s technology in a compact reel. But if you need a reel that features the hard Hagane body, then check out some of Shimano’s other baitcasters. 

Well, it looks like you got a heaping helping of information about the Casitas. It’s a pretty sweet compact reel—but it’s not the only one out there. 

I’m going to stray from the Casitas for a sec, and delve into some other reels that might pique your interest! Here we go —

Shimano Casita Alternatives

Piscifun Phantom Carbon Baitcasting Reel

Here’s a reel that’s a little lighter, and a little more affordable. It doesn’t boast the Shimano brand name, but it does bring some nice things to the table.

Piscifun Phantom Carbon Baitcasting Reel

Here’s a reel that’s a little lighter, and a little more affordable. It doesn’t boast the Shimano brand name, but it does bring some nice things to the table. 

For starters, it has a carbon fiber frame —not graphite —and it’s still very light. The Phantom weighs just 5.7 ounces, so it’s truly an ultralight reel. 

It has 7 ball bearings, and a 4-disc carbon fiber drag that packs a 17-pound max. While the Piscifun brand is not as revered as Shimano, it still stacks up in a couple of ways—

  • Is a slightly lighter reel at 5.7 ounces
  • Has 6 ball bearings, but lacks anti-reverse
  • Has a slower gear ratio —7.0:1
  • Slightly higher max drag at 17 pounds 
  • Some anglers complain that it’s noisy when reeling 
  • Can work for saltwater and freshwater 
  • Is a less expensive baitcaster

See exactly how it compares to the Casitas. 

Daiwai Tatula Baitcasting Reel

This reel is kind of like the rugged second cousin of the Casitas. It’s not really low profile, and weighs a bit more —but it has a few good things going on.

Daiwai Tatula Baitcasting Reel

This reel is kind of like the rugged second cousin of the Casitas. It’s not really low profile, and weighs a bit more —but it has a few good things going on. 

Its models span gear ratios from 5.4:1 – 8.1:1. The technology is different as well, boasting “T-Wing System” and Magforce-Z cast control. 

Overall, Daiwa is a trusted and innovative fishing brand, so I wouldn’t doubt there devotion to detail. This one has anti-reverse and boasts 8 ball bearings. 

Here’s how it looks next to the Casitas —

  • A more expensive baitcaster, so beware your budget
  • Has 2 more ball bearings than the Casitas
  • Sports hybrid T-Wing Technology
  • Has aluminum frame —not graphite 
  • Built-in anti-reverse feature 
  • Similar max drag of 13 pounds 

Go ahead, see more of what the Tatula is all about. 

Shimano Curado Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

Here’s a Shimano with Hagane technology —which means you won’t have to worry about “body flexing”. It’s more rigid than graphite and can still withstand saltwater corrosion.

Shimano Curado Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

Well, here’s a Shimano with Hagane technology —which means you won’t have to worry about “body flexing”. It’s more rigid than graphite and can still withstand saltwater corrosion.

It’s also got X-Ship technology, so it supports the pinion gear on both sides with bearings. This helps maintain proper alignment under heavy loads. 

It also has a micro-module system for a smooth retrieve. Basically, there are more contact points between the pinion gear and the drive gear!

It’s pretty much the way more expensive older brother to the Casitas —

  • Has a stronger more durable build 
  • Is a substantially more expensive Shimano Baitcaster —so not budget-friendly 
  • Same cross carbon drag, but weaker max drag of 11 pounds 
  • Packs 7 ball bearings 
  • Designed with control braking system comparable to the Casitas 

Give the bigger brother Curado a closer look.

Wrapping Up

Well, my fellow fishing enthusiasts, it’s that time of the journey when I dip off down a trail and let you decide what reel you want. I hope my tips for buying the best baitcaster help you avoid acquiring a crappy reel that will ruin your day on the water.

Remember, having some standards and criteria truly helps you avoid the ones that suck. And if you want one that won’t break your pocket or your heart try the Shimano Casitas. 

Until next time, enjoy your journey, and happy fishing! And as always —if you catch a fish on a reel we recommend then send us a pic! We’ll see if we can make you famous on our site.

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