I wanted a reel that was smallish, light in weight, (graphite frame) had a shoulder on the spool for my thumb, at least 6:1 retrieve, casts well, all the modern gadgets like magnetic cast control, AR bearing oversize handle, and preferably not as expensive as the big brands. My research led me to this reel, I read good reports and it complied with my requirement. Unfortunately it was not available in S.A. at the time so I ordered it from the US and it duly arrived at my local post office two days ago. I bought it unseen and my first reaction was that it looked very nice, but the CR-453CS is much bigger then I had anticipated. It is roughly equal to a “50” reel though the spool is smaller, so I decided to rather see if I can get rid of it, however the temptation was just too much to spool it with some line and go make a few casts! I will “play” with the reel and write some comments and post pictures as I go along, this may be over a number of days as I try it and look inside. Yesterday I spooled it with 275mt Sufix braid of 0.36 mm backing and about 140mt 0.55mm Sufix XL strong mono. It was comfortably full and could probably take another 40mt mono. Then to the water where I made about 100 casts. I LIKED:- The cool appearance, strong looking and nice finish Easy cast and nice free spool Very smooth retrieve Very effective adjustable cast control Lightness for its size It weighs 670gr fully loaded with line, against my smaller Saltist 40H at 751gr. I DID NOT LIKE:- Large bulky appearance compared with my Diawa and Shimano 40’s Its as wide as a 50 size reel, but the frame diameter is 0.4mm greater then my other Diawa’s Noisy cast Insufficient drag for my liking Today I opened the left side plate to look at the inside and was impressed with the nice finish on the spool………the plastic bits look acceptable. The spool seems heavy when compared to other reels and the reason can clearly be seen in the diameter of the material and shaft. It all looks very robust. What is interesting to me is the way they have constructed the mag system, which also explains the reason for the large frame. Rather then adjust the magnets towards or away from the spool (horizontally), it move upwards (vertically) and completely away from the spool. The magnets are also encased in a plastic container, a nice touch! I LIKED:- The solid appearance of the spool and shaft Simple insides, easy dismantling I DID NOT LIKE:- The heavy spool and assembly. Screw holding bearing in place……is functional, but looks like an afterthought. 6mm diameter bolt/nut holding handle in place. (to be continued) (Continued a few days later) I’ve made a few more casts with it, and unfortunately not caught a fish yet. Today I opened it to see if I can find a reason for the noisy cast, and improve the drag a bit. The first thing I noticed is that it is a completely different animal then the reels I’m used to, the whole right hand side containing all the working parts, detaches from the frame, not sure if this has any benefit, and you need to “hou kop” because you end up looking & working from a different angle then unusual. Checked the bearing, all 100% and no obvious issues anywhere, with the exception of the clutch lever assembly that has too much play in it and will eventually cause a problem. (I have this feeling about all the current clutch assemblies on reels, but they eventually all seem to last) Then took the drag apart, looks like Carbontex washers (they call it something different). All looks fairly robust. I faced the metal plates which should improve drag a bit, a tiny lick of grease and re assembled. Thus far I have no serious reservations about anything, the drag I’ll get the way I want it, the noisy cast is possibly the result of a heavy spool that is slightly out of balance. I suppose I don’t like the unusual way of dismantling the reel, but perhaps it’s just a bit of resistance to change. Once used to it, it could perhaps be easier to work on. I am disappointed that it used different size bearings to what I have for my other reels. I will report further after I’ve used it for some time or come across any problems.