Best Baitcasters 2018: Quantum Smoke S3

best baitcasters 2018

As part of Game & Fish's series of reviews of the best baitcasters 2018, we look at Quantum's Smoke S3.

By Pete Robbins

The Smoke S3 is a lightweight package, weighing in at just 6.9 ounces. The ultra-low-profile reel fits snugly in the palm of your hand, yet carries an oversized spool for additional line capacity.

The Smoke is available in four gear ratios ranging from 5:1 (for torquey crankbait techniques) all the way up to 8:1 for burning whatever baits you decide require that kind of extra pace.

Attention to detail is seen in the line indicator on the hub of the oversized paddle knobs — one which means you won't forget what class of line you've spooled on your reel.

Best Baitcasters 2018 Series

New baitcasting reels reviewed by Game & Fish

What distinguishes it?

This reel has many advanced design characteristics, but it's the lightweight aluminum composition that allows for very little flex on the cast or the hookset, so all of your energy goes where it's intended. Combine that with an oversized spool and the reel's corresponding ACS 4.0 control system and advanced anglers can wield this little winch on everything from finesse baits up to oversized swimbaits with relatively minor attention to the casting controls.

High-end features previously found only in more expensive reels?

The S3 has 11 double-shielded stainless-steel bearings that are lubed with Quantum's proprietary Hot Sauce, ensuring smooth operation at any speed. The cast control system offers multiple means of adjusting control, thereby ensuring that you'll combine maximum distance with minimal problems, all for $169.


  • Gear Ratio 5.1:1, 6.1:1, 7.3:1, 8.1:1
  • Line Capacity  150 yds / 14 lbs
  • Weight   6.9 oz
  • Bearings 10+1
  • Retrieve R/L
  • Price   $169.99


  • Oversized spool for extra capacity
  • Aluminum frame
  • Line memo knob
  • Extra-low profile

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.