The Quantum Smoke SL 150SPT is a distinctive low-profile baitcasting reel with a stealthy, matt-black finish and a host of features that demand a closer look. The Smoke SL 150SPT boasts desirable qualities such as: an all-aluminium frame and side plates, a snappy 6.6:1 gear ratio, 8 customised ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing, a ceramic drag system and an externally-adjustable centrifugal brake cast control system. Weighing in at a mere 193g, the Quantum is an ideal match with modern lightweight graphite rods and falls comfortably to hand when casting and retrieving. It has a futuristic Darth Vader-ish appearance with a skeletonised aluminium handle and star drag wheel, the points of which have a rakish curved appearance giving the reel a distinctly-purpose-like, aggressive attitude. The ultra-light skeletal V spool can carry a healthy 135m of 30lb Rovex braid, putting it squarely in the ideal barra size baitcaster category. Access to remove the spool or to apply lubrication to the spool bearings is accomplished by sliding a small serrated button that is mounted on the underside of the level-wind housing, then rotating the palming side plate anticlockwise until the bayonet lugs disengage. Rotation of the side plate is quite firm and demonstrates the precision, high-quality tolerances applied in the manufacture of this reel. The Smoke benefits from Quantum’s Performance Tuning philosophy which means that a reel that wears the PT designation has undergone the most rigorous test conditions possible to ensure that they keep delivering reliable performance day in, day out. PT also means that it has exclusive features such as customised-polymer, stainless-steel, hybrid bearings, heat-dissipating ceramic, carbon-fibre and stainless-steel drag washers, rigid one-piece, machined alloy frames to hold all critical components in true alignment and the external ACS cast control system. I’ve used this reel quite a lot, catching numerous barra in salt and freshwater situations plus some big billabong saratoga. In all instances the reel performed very well. I thought the drag on this reel was excellent. Out of the box it provided firm drag settings with even, predictable pressures, yielding line smoothly when required to do so. Even after numerous outings, the drag remains perfect. With the drag cranked up, I managed to pull 5kg against a set of scales, and it exhibited the same smoothness as with milder settings. The ACS cast control was a cinch to set up and allowed me to cast a wide range of lures without any problems. As far as casting distance goes, it’s sure no slouch in that department. One big advantage with the Smoke is that the centrifugal cast control is externally adjustable via a small dial and fine tuning can be made on the fly without having to open the palming side-plate to access the cast control settings. During the test period, one of my fishing mates gave the Smoke a run and also offered a big thumbs-up for its smooth operation and easy casting characteristics. The drive train remained smooth throughout the test period and I would anticipate many more years of reliable service. The free-spool thumbar is comfortable to use and positive when engaging and disengaging the spool clutch.
The only niggle I had was that I thought the Eva knobs on the crank handle were a bit on the small side and a trifle spongy. This is a personal preference and others may like this feel.
Comments: All in all, the Quantum Smoke offers great value for anyone looking at a barra baitcaster. It has distinctive styling, a killer drag and on water performance to easily match other reels of a similar price range. Whilst the porting and skeletonised components give the Smoke an unusual appearance, they also contribute to its very light weight for a baitcaster which features a full aluminium frame and side-plates! My one niggle aside, there are a lot of good reasons to like the Quantum Smoke.