Shimano CDF401A Cardiff A Baitcasting Reel
Built to last with a solid aluminum frame, A-RB bearings, Super Stopper and more, Cardiff reel is a solid performer.
- A-RB (Anti-Rust Bearings)
- Handle Side VBS
- Variable Brake System (VBS)
- Super Stopper
- Assist Stopper
- Non-Disengaging Levelwind System (400 and 401 only)
- Recessed Reel Foot (except on models 400 and 401)
- Three Post Quick Take Down (except on 2-post models, CDF100A)
- Rubber Handle Grip
- One Piece Diecast Aluminum Frame
- Aluminum Spool
- Aluminum Sideplates
- Clicker (400 and 401 only)
- Metal Series
Cardiff® A Feature Details
- A-RB® Bearings
Stainless steel ball bearings that have been through the A-RB treatment process which makes them at least 10 times more corrosion resistant than standard stainless steel ball bearings.
- Handle Side VBS®
Reels equipped with this feature allow the angler to remove the handle side sideplate and adjust the VBS weights without removing the spool from the reel. This allows the angler to easily adjust the amount of cast control while the line is threaded through the rod.
- Variable Brake System (VBS®)
VBS uses centrifugal force rather than magnets to aid in controlling the cast. The individual brake weights, when turned on, are forced outward at the beginning of the cast when backlashes most often occur, causing friction that reduces the speed of the spool. Once the spool speed begins to slow, the pressure lessens, allowing the spool to continue spinning. The result is a much more consistent spool speed that is easier to manage and takes advantage of the reel’s maximum casting distance. Settings range from zero weights turned on for true freespool and up to 6 weights turned on for extremely windy conditions and maximum cast control.
- Super Stopper®
Super Stopper uses a one-way, stainless steel roller bearing that eliminates backplay. This provides the angler with instant hooksetting power.
- Assist Stopper®
This is a back up system to the Super Stopper that consists of the traditional pawl and ratchet. Should the Super Stopper roller bearing slip due to cold weather or over-lubrication, the Assist Stopper kicks in to provide a solid hookset the instant the roller bearing begins to slip. Most of the time the angler will not even know when this feature engages, because by quickly stopping the backwards rotation of the roller bearing, the Assist Stopper greatly reduces the chance of permanent damage to the Super Stopper, allowing it to continue to function as designed.
- Non-Disengaging Levelwind System
On wide-spool reels with a non-disengaging levelwind system, the levelwind remains engaged during the cast allowing the levelwind to track back and forth with the line as it flows off of the spool. This eliminates the drastic line angles caused by a disengaging levelwind system that can cause extreme friction which can lead to short casts or frustrating backlashes. By doing this we have increased the efficiency of the cast, allowing for more distance less effort.
- Recessed Reel Foot
By recessing the reel foot further into the frame, the reel sits lower in the reel seat. This allows for a much more palmable feel when the reel is mounted on a rod than traditional frame designs. Not only does it increase the comfort level, but because of the lower profile in the reel seat, it makes the reel much more maneuverable with casting styles such as underhand and roll casts.
- Rubber Handle Grip
Comfortable and soft to the touch.
When engaged, the clicker increases the tension in freespool and activates a clicking alarm to alert you when a fish bites.
- Metal Series
The metal construction showcased in some of our finest reels now appears throughout our line of Metal Series products. Metal frames not only keep moving parts in precise alignment, they also feature the use of the latest anodizing, plating and painting techniques for beautiful and durable finishes.
4.5 Stars based on 11 reviews
July 13, 2017
Good but not great
I have found Shimano reels to be solid reels that are usually made with good parts based upon a well thought out design. I currently live in the Northeast, and this reel for the most part gets the job done. I have used it for fluke, black seabass, striped bass, and tautog. It has functioned well when fishing for most of these. I use it with 30 pound test braid, but I know I could easily go ten pounds in either direction. If that's all you needed, you can stop reading and go onto the next review now. However, there are some things that I have read on message boards that I didn't think would happen to me. When I first brought the reel home, it had a problem with the release button staying down. I sent it back to Shimano without having made a drop. Three weeks later, I got the reel back, and was able to use it on several trips when fishing out on Cape Cod. In the middle of one of my trips (bottom fishing), the button started to stick again. I also noticed that the screws that keep the side plate on had become loose. I tightened the screws. I used the reel by loosening and tightening the drag and having an educated thumb. As I continued to use the reel, the side plate screws became loose again. I stopped using it, and brought it home. I washed it, unscrewed the side plate, and then figured out that the screws needed to be tightened down quite a bit in order for them to stay. I also looked at the switch inside of the reel, and figured out how to fix my sticking button problem. Now the reel seems to be working very well.
ProsSolid construction and good parts. I love the fact that it comes in a left-hand retrieve as well as a right-hand retrieve.
ConsMake sure that your side plate is screwed on tightly. Mine was loose, and needed to be checked frequently during my trip.
June 13, 2016
Excellent for Inshore fishing
Shimano quality is superb. Small reel, ergonomic, but even strong as necessary. Hope it resist salt water as other Shimano reels I have.
April 18, 2016
I was looking for an entry level reel for muskie that wouldn't break the bank, but that would still hold up. I'm a Shimano guy myself, been using their reels since i started fishing 15 years old. This one did not disappoint. I also wanted something relatively lightweight, lighter than a saltwater reel. The construction is superb, the entire reel is super smooth, the bait clicker is great. All around an amazing reel. It almost looks tiny paired with my Shimano Sojourn 8' XH rod, but the combo is great so far
ProsBuilt Well strong looks good Shimano bait clicker easy to take apart good levelwind
Boynton Beach Florida
March 13, 2016
Great reel for the money
This reel is super smooth an is a great reel for snook and big bass baits. This is a great reel at a great price
lake worth, FL
May 7, 2015
This reel is great for spilleay snook escpecially throwing flairhawks and big swimbaits
Silver Spring, MD
January 29, 2015
Bought the 300A model for both inshore saltwater and freshwater fishing. As with all Shimano products, the Cardiff is well-built and very smooth in both casting and retrieving. The centrifugal brakes help control overruns, and it's 5.8:1 gear ratio provides fast, powerful retrieves. The all metal frame and side plates are light weight (8.9 oz.) and is small enough to grip in the palms. It doesn't have some of the high-end features of the Calcutta, but is a great alternative at less than half the cost!
Pros- light-weight, all metal body - smooth casting and retrieve - high line-capacity - Price
By Joe Cottingham
San Diego, CA
December 27, 2014
Lightweight, smooth operation
ProsExcellent casting distance and has clicker
By Joe Cottingham
San Diego, CA
December 27, 2014
Excellent casting distance, great for saltwater.
ProsSmooth action, light weight
ConsMust remove side plate to set magnetic break
Texas Gulf Coast
August 14, 2014
Great reel blows away my abu garcia reels, try this reel, you won't regret it.
June 15, 2014
Excellent Value for Money
Received the unit yesterday and immediately spooled it for a sea trip today. Been using DAM previously and this unit was a much welcomed changed. Retrieval was smooth and reel sits nicely balanced on my Abu Garcia Salty Stage PE4 rod. Spool was large enough to hold >300 yards of 50lb braid, adequate for my day fishing in the sea. Only regret was not putting on metered braid but this is on its way to be solved as I just ordered PowerPro Depth Hunter from TD last night. Spent half the day fishing with this great reel and changed it to a bigger set when night beckoned due to faster current and deeper water. For the price paid, this is really a value for money reel and TD was excellent as usual in fulfilling my order.
ProsSmooth retrieve. Nice elegant colour combo of gold and silver. Good workmanship and finish despite some reviewers lambasting the lack of quality finish due to its Made in Malaysia tag.
ConsLongish looking but fits nicely on my rod.
February 23, 2013
I got it for inshore and exceeded my expectations, very easy to use and clean, this little tank makes me cast like a pro!
ProsQuality, performance, design & price.
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