Shimano Caius Baitcasting Combo Review

Baitstick Score

During more than a week of Baitstick testing, the Shimano Caius baitcasting combo proved to be a very solid, consistent, and easy to use baitcasting combo.  At an MSRP of $129.99, the Shimano Caius baitcasting combo is a good mix of product, performance, and price.  The rod and reel performs at a level often associated with more expensive setups.

Baitstick Pros:

Smooth casting, well balanced.

Good looking color and guide wraps.

Quality reel seat, functional, durable.

Well placed hook keeper.

Simple and effective - lets you concentrate on fishing and not on gear.

Baitstick Cons:

Few clear flaws from testing but durability to be followed by Baitstick in months ahead.


Overall, for the price there are few baitcasting combos that can come close to the value found in the Shimano Caius.  And the rod and reel enables anglers to concentrate on fish and not excessively on the tackle.

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Line Capacity (lbs/yds)10/120, 12/110, 14/90
Gear Ratio7.2:1
Number of Reel Bearings4
Rod PowerMedium Heavy
Rod Length6’10” - 7’
Additional FeaturesAluminum body frame
6 pin braking system
WarrantyLimited 1-year warranty


The Shimano Caius baitcasting combo tested by Baitstick was purchased online from a national retailer and arrived with a broken tip, resulting in an immediate return.  The tip could have been broken anywhere between the manufacturing factory to the customer delivery truck.  Still, the damage to the rod tip end of the shipping box made it likely that the tip broke somewhere during retail delivery. Another rod and reel combo was purchased from the same retailer and arrived with no issue in the packaging or delivery.

This experience brings up an important lesson if you haven’t learned it yet by buying tackle gear online . . . Ordering online can be great for finding competitive prices and for finding product availability and selection that some local retailers often can’t match.  However, shopping online comes with its own risks, especially when buying rods and combos.  Shipping packaging and handling in transit can often result in significant damage to new products, no matter the price or brand being purchased.  Some retailers know this and go the extra step to ensure that rods, in particular, are shipped in durable and sturdy mailing containers or tubes.  Some online retailers do not go to this level.  In general, the larger the retailer, typically, the better they will be at shipping gear around the country as they know what happens if they don’t take precautions and they’re typically set up to send large items more routinely.  

In addition, be sure to look at the return and exchange policies of different e-commerce sites before you buy to ensure that returns and exchanges do not come with the customer paying or being charged for shipping a return or exchange.  Or at the least, check to see whether returns can be made at a local store outlet if they have one in your area.  Don’t learn the hard way.  Depending on where a customer lives, shipping a 7’ fishing rod, for example, even part way across the country can cost a customer sometimes more than the cost of the rod itself if the customer is paying the cost of shipping.  

Once Baitstick received a replacement Shimano Caius baitcasting combo, the rod and reel were unpacked without issue.  Though there was relatively little to unpack since inside the mailing container, the combo came with some bubble wrap wrapped on the tip and butt section of the rod but with no product details or materials.  If you’re experienced with baitcasting gear then this new product experience is no big deal.  If you’re new to handling or working with baitcasting gear, it’s at this point that you may go online to find out what to do next or check out Baitstick’s baitcasting buying guide for a walk through of what is in your hands if you’re not familiar with the rod and reel setup. 

After putting the packaging and shipping material aside, the first impression of the combo was a very good one.  The only thing left to do was to add some monofilament line and adjust the drag.  We spooled the reel on the Shimano Caius baitcasting combo with 12lb test monofilament.

The Caius reel that comes with the combo is a standard looking low profile baitcasting reel that focuses on being simple and functional.  There are not a lot of bells and whistles to this reel and the solid looking construction helped get the evaluation of the new gear off to a good start.  

The Caius reel has a straight forward drag control look that is uncomplicated and easy to use. Easily accessible and placed in a standard position next to the handle the drag has an audible “clicking” sound when adjustments are made, enabling an angler to hear and feel the adjustments in drag settings.

Before line was added to the reel, the red aluminum spool was visible and matched the color scheme of the rest of the combo.  However, the color of the rod doesn’t lead to catching more fish and the spool color gets covered up when line is added.  Still, the red and black color scheme to the combo gives the whole combo a clean and traditional look.

The handle of the Caius has oversized and comfortable grips on the crank, making it one of the most comfortable reel handles we’ve tested.  The spool tensioner felt normal and actually worked well which is not the case with all baitcasting reels tested by Baitstick.

The rod that comes with the Shimano Caius baitcasting combo is a dark red polished glossy blank.  The finish appeared durable and seemed to stand up well to standard wear and tear that can lead to potential scratches.  The rod in its first round of field testing was used heavily for 7 days straight on the water, after which there were no noticeable scratches or other blemishes.

The rod has good quality black wraps that match the red blank.  It has a standard guide arrangement and alignment.   The Caius combo rod comes with a dark gray hard foam rod butt and handle, which are simple, straightforward, and effective.  The reel is attached to the rod using a quality downlocking reel seat that is very functional and easy to use.  The quality details continue with the hookkeeper, which is located in front of the grip and under rod blank.

Field Testing the Shimano Caius

During more than a week of initial field testing, the Shimano Caius baitcasting combo offered very smooth casting and overall strong performance for out of the box use of the rod and reel.  Though the reel offers little in the way of adjustment features it didn’t seem to need much customization when used out on the water.  The drag system was easy to adjust ad effective.

The rod and reel overall proved to be a lightweight, well balanced, and extremely smooth combo outfit one could comfortably use for a full day of fishing.  

After field testing, the reel construction and quality overall stood up well and showed to be a solid value for the money and for being a part of a pre-packaged baitcasting combo.  The reel seems like a piece of gear that if not used too frequently and kept clean would last for several seasons.  Baitstick will continue to evaluate the reel and overall combo to further evaluate the durability of the rod and reel.  But during initial testing the combo stood up to the days it was used heavily on the water.  As with any piece of gear, simple and routine cleaning will go a long way to making this rod and reel last longer.

The rod tested was a medium power stick and it matched up well with the manufacturer’s power rating, providing good feel and power for most standard mid weight techniques.  The rod overall is smooth from butt to tip, proving to be very fluid and comfortable to use.  

From the oversized reel crank to foam handle and smooth uniform rod action - this rod was exceptionally comfortable to fish all day.

The Takeaway

The Shimano Caius baitcasting combo proved in Baitstick testing to be a solid, consistent, and easy to use performer and baitcasting combo.  The rod and reel enables anglers to concentrate on fish and not excessively worry about the tackle.  At an MSRP of $129.99, the Shimano Caius baitcasting combo is a good mix of product, performance, and price.  And there are few baitcasting combos that can beat the value that anglers can find in the Shimano Caius.  The rod and reel performans at a level often associated with more expensive setups.

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