Shimano Cardiff A Series Casting Reels

$119.99 - $129.99
The Shimano Cardiff A Series casting reels have all the great features of a round reel without sacrificing the benefits of a low profile design. The recessed reel foot allows the reel to sit close to the rod, allowing you to palm like a low profile reel. The only difference is that the spool still has the high line capacity you would expect from a round reel. You get the best of both worlds. The Shimano Cardiff pairs perfectly with a big bait rod. You'll have enough capacity for lots of heavy line, the power to crank big swimbaits and fight big fish. Not to mention the larger spool diameter that is necessary for casting big baits a long way. The Super Stopper instant anti-reverse, the VBS anti-backlash system, the solid one-piece aluminum frame and deep anodized sideplates make the Shimano Cardiff reel a winner!

The Shimano Cardiff A Series casting reels have all the great features of a round reel without sacrificing the benefits of a low profile design. The Super Stopper instant anti-reverse, the VBS anti-backlash system, and deep anodized sideplates make the Shimano Cardiff reel a winner!

- A-RB (Anti-Rust Bearings)
- One-Piece Diecast Aluminum Frame
- Handle Side Variable Brake System (VBS)
- Super Stopper with Assist Stopper
- Non-Disengaging Levelwind System ( 400 & 401 only)
- Recessed Reel Foot (Except on Models 400A & 401A)
- Three Post Quick Take Down (except on 2-post models)
- Rubber Handle Grip
- Aluminum Sideplates and Spool
- Clicker (400A and 401A only)
- Metal Series
- Approved for use in Saltwater


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Model Retrieve Gear Ratio Weight Bearings Line Cap. (Test/Yd.) Stock Price Qty
CDF200A Right 5.8:1 8.6 4A-RB + 1A-RB 10/210, 14/120 In Stock: 3+ $119.99
CDF201A Left 5.8:1 8.6 4A-RB + 1A-RB 10/210, 14/120 In Stock: 3 $119.99
CDF300A Right 5.8:1 8.9 4A-RB + 1A-RB 14/180, 17/150 In Stock: 3+ $119.99
CDF301A Left 5.8:1 8.9 4A-RB + 1A-RB 14/180, 17/150 In Stock: 3+ $119.99
CDF400A Right 5.2:1 11.9 4A-RB + 1A-RB 17/220, 20/165 In Stock: 3+ $129.99
CDF401A Left 5.2:1 11.9 4A-RB + 1A-RB 17/220, 20/165 In Stock: 3+ $129.99

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Customer Reviews

Comments: After reading all the reviews I decided I'd give it a try. I was looking to get into swimbaits, and this reel was best in my price point. I've had it for about a year now and it is awesome! The 400 holds tons of 80lb braid, and has great drag. I use it to throw big, heavy baits. When I'm bass fishing I use it on a Diawa dhs extra extra heavy Swimbait rod. When I'm not, paired on a ugly stick tiger this reel works exceptionally well for sturgeon. The biggest I've put on it so far is a little under 6 ft. I'm sure it will handle bigger fish as well. The drag on it is plenty great for these fish. I have yet to take it in the salt but if I do, I'm sure it will perform well.

From: Jonah - OR 2/19/17

Comments: I Bought this reel 4 Days ago after seeing Excellent reviews on it. I opened it up to adjust the VBS braking system & First thing that happened was the Washer and Metal Clamp Came out & Sprung out into the Blue.This is the Only Complaint i have from this reel. Fishes 6-8 Inch Glides Exceptionally when it Works. I will be getting a Replacement to see if that will fix it.Tight Lines!

From: Cash: OK 3/14/16

Comments: This real is great for the price, have no issues, handles 20+lb salmon/musky/bass all day, great swimbait real cast with ease a mile, good drag, very pleased with this real for the price, adjusted it once & have never had to again, you get what you pay for with shimano, if you want the best pay for it , but if you go in between you get in between, worth every$ # Micah buy a zebco

From: Kohl: Spokane, WA 3/11/16

Comments: Got this reel to start throwing swimbaits with after reading great reviews & am extremely disappointed. When I tried to adjust the VBS I took the side plate off & two washers and a plastic piece just fell straight out. Already had issues with the thumb bar & this made it completely useless, terrible thumb bar design. When you have to access the VBS, good luck getting that thumb bar back into place. Anything that gives you this much trouble straight out of the box isn't worth fooling with. Was really excited about this reel and maybe I just got a lemon but I won't be giving Shimano another chance anytime soon.

From: Micah: MS 2/11/16

Comments: I bought one of these reels for musky fishing. Perfect for throwing large, heavy baits. The centrifugal braking pins are a little tricky to access, but still an excellent reel for the $$$.

From: John: Knoxville, TN 8/19/15

Comments: its good i like throwing swimbaits on it and its sweet have on a 7 foot 6 inch heavy rod

From: Herd: Austin, TX 8/17/15

Comments: Great reel. Can cast big baits with ease. This reel is the only one I trust to throw my giant baits. I have never had a backlash with this no exaggeration. If you love swimbaits, buy it. I honestly like this more than the Curado E 300.'

From: Charlie: Austin, TX 6/17/15

Comments: This is, overall, a wonderful reel & certainly well worth the money. Casts well, retrieves smoothly & yes, functions well as a swimbait reel. I've used it with Hudds, the BBZ-1 & Punkers and it's never let me down.
The drag is a little iffy though, and it certainly wasn't able to handle a ling cod even hammered all the way tight.

From: Nick: Bay Area, CA 6/11/15

Comments: I picked up the 401 version paired with a 7'9" H St. Croix rod spooled with 20# cxx, I must say this is a great swimbait reel. Dialed in correctly, I haven't birds nest one time. Having the clicker option is great for bait fishing. I will pick up another and highly recommend this reel.

From: Jeff: Stockton, CA 2/20/15

Comments: 300 gets the job done on my 1/2 - 3 oz. SB rod. Would like a non-disengaging level wind, (as per 400) it tends to bind a bit during cast. I want to install a Carbonex drag to get some lockdown. Satisfied for the $. Dick, try going down a brake, even to 1 or 0, then tighten up the cast control to compensate. Make sure nobody is on the other side of the lake before casting.

From: Outcast: San Jose, CA 5/12/14

Comments: Great reel, can handle just about anything. From 42 inch black drum to huge bass, this reel handles them with ease. I have the 200 size and it has a top notch drag system, very smooth. Don't waste your money on a Calcutta, these are just as good.

From: Quinn: Austin, TX 5/8/14

Comments: I bought this reel about a week ago and absolutely love it. its great for throwing swimbaits. I have the 200 paired with a daiwa dxs xh rod and i couldnt have asked for a better combo for on 190 bucks. got the flu so I havent fished with it but once but cant wait to get out there and throw it again

Comments: Have the 400 and love it for swimbaits. 10/10

From: fishermanx14

Comments: I catch Salmon on the beaches of Puget Sound  3-4 times a month and have landed all of them without a hitch. I've had Daiwa and shakespeare gear disintegrate in our punishing environment. I rinse all my gear and wash it down every trip as most experienced saltwater anglers will tell you. Btw guy with noise after one trip to salt, it's called sand. try canned air or soak it in the sink. Shame on you for such a silly review of the best reel I've ever used at 48 yrs young and I started fishin at 6.

From: Riff: Hansville Washington USA

Comments: I throw big baits so I keep the tension control fairly loose.Cast after cast throwing 5 oz+ baits the tension control tends to get loose to the point of falling off. Other than that its a decent reel for the money.

From: Dick: Colorado River Chain

Comments: first shimano reel very impresed with every thing but how the reel comes apart make sure you read the manual it is importaint to follow directions cast like a dream so smoth i have had no problems with the spool release honestly the best looking reel i have

From: Kee: Cary, IL

Comments: If your looking for the best big swimbait reel for the money... Look no further! I bought the 301A 6 weeks ago. I don't get to fish much but my last few trips have produced two 7 pounders and a 6 even. This reel is lighter than most of the ''Ideal'' reels by a few ounces (which I really like). It's quite smooth. I have no reason to believe I'm going to have any problem with the thumb bar. The casting distance is remarkable. Reeling in big fish is surprisingly easy with this reel esp. paired with a Dobyns 806 Mike Long sig series rod and P-Line!!!

From: Ryan: Seattle, WA

Comments: I have big hands, so I prefer round reels.  These are the best.  If you are deciding between the cardiff and calcutta, get the cardiff.  It's smoother than the calcutta and casts just as well.  I own several of both including the calcutta 200GTB.  I fish 300 days a year, not an exaggeration.  Even if it's only for 15 minutes on my way in to work.  Cardiff is a refined super-workhorse.  The thumbbar on the 100 has a plastic pin that engages it, as someone else mentioned.  I agree it seems like it will break, but I have made 10's of thousands of casts with it and it never has. If it ever does, the metal replacement is less than $5.  If it weren't for the fact that I already own them, and they're faster for certain applications (calcutta -27 ipt vs. cardiff- 24 ipt), I would only own cardiffs.  Crankbaits, Swimbaits, this is your reel.

From: Carphugger: Indianapolis, IN

Comments: i have 100A and 200A and this cardiff cast very smooth and it is powerful for handling big fish .. the best reel on its price .. its just that most shimano is not suitable for Giant Snake Head Hunting on Weedy Area .. high lb test  line + max drag will cause the spool shaft bend this happens to my Malaysia and JDM Cardiff .. but still i recommend to newbies to get this cheap and good reel.. u wont get a good reel other than cardiff at its price

From:  =D

Comments: I owned a Cardiff 400 taken it around the world has never failed me

From: Henry: San Carlos

Comments:  I ordered a 301 from here and have used it a full year. My only complaint is the thumbar design. A reel repair guy put a different washer on it (the one that holds the assembly together when the side cap is off) and I haven't had any problem since. I have used the reel more this year fishing big swimbaits than most reels would be used in a lifetime. Its a great reel for the price and I will own more in the future.

Comments: Not happy with this reel. Owned it for 1 season and the release is acting up like crazy.

From: Jared: Ontario

Comments: They are the best casting reels I own. I have two of the gold 100 series Cardiff's. I have heard that they have the same gears as the Calcutta from someone who works on reels in a well known bait shop. This may be a round reel, but it acts as if it has a low profile due to the recessed reel seat. They throw easier and farther than my Curado's, Revo SX, and Revo Winch. I really like mine for cranking. The size of the plug does not matter, it will pull anything from a 1.5 to a 3/4 Hotlips. Even though the gear ratio is a little high, the small diameter of the spool lets you pull the plug pretty easy. The only problem I have had is that the thumb bar is getting harder to mash on one of them. Overall, the Cardiff is the best money I have ever invested in a reel.

From: Trey: Rogersville, AL

Comments: Got the 400 size for hucking big swimmers. This reel lasted like 2 months, then something inside the gears broke. I have had this happen on a few different Shimano reels. Im gonna have them fix it, then sell it and never buy anythign that says SHIMANO on it again.

From: Meatwad: Hatin on shimano

Comments: I've had the 100 and 200 for 5 yrs now. I use in both saltwater and freshwater and it still works like a charm. Easy to take apart and clean and overall a great little reel.

From: Rik: San Diego

Comments: I've fished my original Cardiff 300 (gold colored) for 8 years.  I've fished the 400A as well for the past 4 years.  Both have been really easy to tear down, maintain, and put back together.  I love 'em.  Best 'bang for your buck' reel out on the market.

From: Richard: San Diego, CA

Comments: This is a great reel! Always my go to reel when all is in doubt and very easy to cast and always gives you great response. Definately worth the money.

From: Brady: Oregon

Comments: Excellent reel for those of you looking for your first baitcaster.  Very easy to cast and hard to birdsnest even for the beginer.

From: Nick: LOZ, MO

Comments: I have the older gold model. It is a 100 A. I like it better than my Curado E series but not the model before it. It performs and ranks right with my Revo Winch and SX on castability and smoothness. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It is the best real on the market for the money.

Comments: Excellent all rounder reel, had it for 7 months worth it weight in gold. Easy to use, excellent retrieval great performer against most fish species. Glad I got one.    

From: John: Auckland, New Zealand

Comments: Awesome reel for the price, I have one  and it's over 8 years old still use it for cranking slow swimming swim baits and spinners.

From: Max: Chicago, IL

Comments: I have no affiliation with any of these reel manufacturers.  Just an avid fisherman with expectations for his equipment to work properly.  I bought a 201A and the thumb bar for cast release is very poorly designed and flimsy.  It broke on me during my first time out with it and it would not re-engage.  I took it apart afterwards and was shocked that Shimano would mass produce a reel with this type of thumb bar design.  It won't last.  If you don't believe me, take one apart and judge for yourself.  Also, after using this reel one time in saltwater (without dunking the reel or even getting it wet), the gears developed a clicking noise every time I crank the handle.  Save your time and money and buy a different reel.  Shame on you, Shimano.  I know that this reel is not a Calcutta, but surely, you can do better for your customers than a $100+ disposable reel.

From: Henry: Houston, TX

Comments: Really excellent reel for casting, the best quality. I really love Shimano.

From: Erwan: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia 

Comments:A quality, well priced reel from Shimano. For freshwater swimbaiting, its one of the most economical reels you can buy. The 100 and 200 will cover most anything if you like to fish round reels. the 300 and 400 will fish both big baits and the salt species no problems. I use every size for inshore & offshore fishing. The only thing I would recommend is a drag upgrade if you have a need for smoother drags. With a Carbontex drag upgrade for about 10 bucks, this reel can do most things a Caluctta will do for much less.

From: Chris: So Cal, USA

Comments:Excellent Reel. I will only buy Shimano because of the quality. After about 8 months I needed to oil the reel but other than that it is a superb reel. Great quality and extremely durable. Shimano all the way, I wouldn't go with anything else... And I have tried.

From: Scott: Quincy, IL

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