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Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Best Shimano Spinning Reels

When I decided to get serious about fishing I wanted to find the right equipment. I wanted a reel that would not fail me in a critical moment. After using Shimano reels for years, in this article I’m going to break down the best Shimano spinning reels.

With the Shimano, everything was more sensitive. I can feel the smoothness of the drag and the precision on the retrieve.

Why a Shimano?

The 100 year anniversary of the founding of Shimano is right around the corner. Since their inception, they have made precise mechanical parts. It was 1970 before they started manufacturing spinning reels and 1971 saw their first reel released.

They produced reels for the sole purpose of promoting healthy living by spending time outdoors. They had built their name on quality engineering but it is their mission that makes them most attractive. Shimano wants you to be outdoors and enjoying yourself, to do that you need quality gear.

Shimano produced some of the finest fishing gear in the world. A quick look at some of the highest rated reels reflects that.

Why a Spinning Reel?

Spinning reels offer a number of advantages for a fisherman. They are easier to use and require less maintenance. Their simplicity and versatility is very attractive, making them the most popular fishing reel type around.

If you want extra-long casts and are using heavier lures, use a bait caster. If you want to fish lighter lures and need to use lighter lines, fish a spinning reel. Even people who fish predominantly bait casters will have a spinning reel around for finesse fishing.

Spinning reels excel at small and medium lures. You get a lot more control and finesse to work your baits and lures. They are all around a solid reel for most fish.

Spinning reels are more forgiving and you have don’t have to worry about the backlashes that plague baitcasting reels. It takes much less time to become proficient and accurate with a spinning reel.

Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Starting with the Dux in 1971, Shimano has produced a number of reel models that have attempted to move the brand and tackle industry forward. They are innovators and engineers dedicated to making the best quality reels possible.

All of Shimano’s modern products use the absolute best materials and have a fit and finish like no other. Some of their models are direct replicas of their original reels but the ones we are going to look at today are the most modern and advanced. If you would like to see their full line, you can do that here.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+

Shimano Stradic Ci4+
Model PowerPro Line (#Test/yd) Mono Line (#Test/yd) Weight (oz) Inches Per Crank Gear Ratio Max Drag (lb)
1000HGFB 10/95, 15/85, 20/65 2/270, 4/140, 6/110 5.6 31 6.0:1 7 lbs.
2500HGFB 10/150, 15/145, 30/100 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 6.7 35 6.0:1 20 lbs.
C3000HGFB 10/200, 20/140, 40/105 6/230, 8/170, 10/140 6.7 35 6.0:1 20 lbs.
C4000HGFB 15/280, 30/170, 50/150 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 8.1 39 6.2:1 24 lbs.

When it comes to the best of the best reels, Shimano’s Stradic line tops the charts. With clean lines, low weight, and amazing durability there is little left wanting. Capitalizing on their years of innovation and experience, Shimano has created a masterpiece.

With models ranging from a mere 5.6ounces to just over 8 ounces, these are amazingly lightweight reels that won’t affect your rod balance. Despite their low weight, they still manage to be hard wearing and rugged

With 6 primary bearings and a single roller bearing made of cold-forged Hegane steel at the core of this reel, any accidental slipping is limited. The smallest reel maxes drag around 7 pounds but you can go up to 20 pounds with the largest reels.

Casting this reel is an exceptional experience with incredible distance that is both smooth and accurate. This is the perfect reel for small to medium sized rods and works fine from medium to extra fast actions. With care and maintenance it can serve as a good reel for freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing.

Check Out a Review Video Below:




Pros
  • The Magnumlite Rotor is 25% lighter, than the non magnumlite rotor. This leads to better balance and 22% less inertia. The lower inertia makes it easier to start and stop the retrieve.
  • The drive gear is a hagane part. This means that it is made by cold forging using detailed 3d design process.
  • X-ship technology means that the pinion gear is supported at both ends by a bearing. This results in a more durable reel.
  • Core Protect helps make the reel resistant to water intrusion without adding friction.
  • S A-Rb bearings have shielding that protects from salt or sand intrusion.
  • Aero Wrap 2 - This system layers line on the spool using a 2 speed crisscross pattern. This reduces line friction and gives you longer casts.
  • Power Roller Technology helps reduce line twist by using a grooved design on the line roller to help work the twists out of the line as it is reeled in.
  • Super Stopper 2 is shimano's instant anti reverse technology.

Cons
  • No anti reverse level. This means that the anti reverse is always on.



Shimano Sedona

Shimano Sedona FI

Model PowerPro Line (#Test/yd) Mono Line (#Test/yd) Weight (oz) Inches Per Crank Gear Ratio Max Drag (lb)
SE1000FI 15/85, 20/65 2/270, 4/140, 6/110 7.6 26 5.0:1 7 lbs.
SE2500HGFI 15/145, 30/100 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 8.6 36 6.2:1 9 lbs.
SE4000XGFI 30/170, 50/150 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 10.4 39 6.2:1 24 lbs.
SEC5000XGFI 30/200, 40/160 10/240, 12/195, 14/165 10.6 41 6.2:1 24 lbs.
SE8000FI 40/340, 50/265, 65/215 12/345, 16/250, 20/185 21.7 37 4.6:1 24 lbs.

A long time classic in Shimano’s lineup, the Sedona has a very elegant look. Don’t take this to mean that it’s obsolete. This new Sedona has been updated with all of the newest innovations Shimano offers packed into a reel that has been a long time favorite.

Like most Shimano reels, the Sedona uses the propulsion line system for effortless, long casts with no risk of backlash. Combine this with increased line capacity and even larger water can be fished with ease and accuracy. This is thanks to the low friction design and smooth anodized finish of the spool.

Retrieval is just as easy with a Varispeed gear system that prevents slack from forming in the line. This allows you to provide the best action possible out of all your favorite lures! Sedona reels all use a 4 bearing system at 5:1 or 6:1 ratio for smooth play in the line and quick take-up once you have your fish on the line.

With several different models with drag limits from 7 to 24 pounds, the Sedona can be matched to pretty much any rod. Use it on small water rods all the way up to surf casters for just about any species. Whether you fish inshore, off-shore, or just your local rivers, you are covered!

The smaller reels weigh in at 7 ounces but the larger get up to a pound and half. Pick the size that’s right for you but no matter which one gets, the balance is impeccable. Even a large reel will feel natural without dragging down your rod thanks to the care and craftsmanship in the Sedona.

Check Out a Review Video Below:




Pros
  • G - Free Body - This technology moves the weight closer to the rod. This results in a center of gravity closer to your hand. This helps reduce fatigue and makes casting easier.
  • The drive gear is a hagane part. This means that it is made by cold forging using detailed 3d design process.
  • Propulsion Line Management System.- A spool lip design that results in longer casts.
  • Varispeed Spool gearing results in an even laying of line on the spool.

Cons
  • No anti reverse level. This means that the anti reverse is always on.
  • Plastic Knob can be slippery



Shimano Nasci

Shimano Nasci

Model PowerPro Line (#Test/yd) Mono Line (#Test/yd) Weight (oz) Inches Per Crank Gear Ratio Max Drag (lb)
NAS1000FB 10/95, 15/85 20/65 2/270, 4/140, 6/110 7.6 26 5.0:1 7 lbs.
NAS2500FB 10/150, 15/145, 30/100 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 8.8 29 5.0:1 20 lbs.
NASC3000HGFB 10/200, 20/140, 40/105 6/230, 8/170, 10/140 8.8 36 6.2:1 20 lbs.
NAS4000XGFB 15/230, 20/205, 50/120 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 10.4 39 6.2:1 24 lbs.
NASC5000XGFB 20/220, 30/200, 40/160 10/240, 12/195, 14/165 10.6 41 6.2:1 24 lbs.

At one point the Nasci was considered a low-end starter reel but all that has changed with the new models. They have all the features of higher end reels but pack them into a more budget-friendly frame. This is not to say any part of this reel is inferior. Most fishermen would be more than satisfied with this reel.

With its shorter body and low weight, the Nasci is a near perfect finesse reel that casts smoothly and accurately. In short order, you should be able to present your lure just where you want it and play exactly how it should be played.

With either a 5:1 or 6:1 gear ratio depending on which model you choose, retrieval is smooth and consistent. Managing speed is a breeze thanks to the 5 shielded bearings. For the price, you aren’t likely to find a smoother all around reel.

Gear ratio will depend on the model you select and ranges from 4 to 6. The smallest reels are great for small water and finesse while the larger reels will do everything up to off-shore fishing. It may be a little small but it handles itself well.

My preference is for an extra fast action rod matched to a lightweight reel. This gives you a lot of control over the fish, and how you manage them. The drag system is quite nice if a little less powerful than some more modern models. Still between a 7 pound and a 20-pound max drag, this is a great reel that will still save you a few bucks.

Check Out a Review Video Below:




Pros
  • The drive gear is a hagane part. This means that it is made by cold forging using detailed 3d design process.
  • X-ship technology means that the pinion gear is supported at both ends by a bearing. This results in a more durable reel.
  • Core Protect helps make the reel resistant to water intrusion without adding friction.

Cons
  • No anti reverse level. This means that the anti reverse is always on.



Shimano Sienna

Shimano Sienna

Model PowerPro Line (#Test/yd) Mono Line (#Test/yd) Weight (oz) Inches Per Crank Gear Ratio Max Drag (lb)
SN1000FE 10/95, 15/85, 20/65 2/270, 4/140, 6/110 7.4 24 5.0:1 9 lbs.
SN2500FE 10/150, 15/145, 30/100 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 9.2 28 5.0:1 9 lbs.
SN4000FE 15/280, 30/170, 50/150 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 11.8 32 5.0:1 24 lbs.

At a glance, the Sienna reel looks like it has been compressed. It’s hard to imagine how you could get any force out of a reel this short. But that’s the secret, by moving the gears closer to the rod Shimano has increased the torque of the reel. This limits angler fatigue and provides exceptional balance.

Balance is the key word with this starter level reel. Everything has been done to eliminate vibration and play in the spool for the maximum level of control. Perfect for complex fishing techniques. Casting is a breeze with great distance thanks to the lighter weight aluminum and graphite housing.

Using oversized double bearings for smooth retrieves and a gear ratio of 5:2 this is a perfect reel for small to medium species. It works great in freshwater and inshore areas. It may be a little small for larger fish but this is a great reel mounted on a small, fast rod.

Much of the body is made from graphite that keeps weight at a remarkable 5 ounces while still providing good strength. It may not be as durable as an all metal reel but rust will not be an issue. The whole setup provides a great feeling of connection to your lure allowing you to feel the bite the moment it happens.

Casting this reel is as enjoyable as most any Shimano. With instant anti-reverse with no back play and a patented Propulsion casting system, tangles are non-existent.

Check Out a Review Video Below:




Pros
  • Dyna balance - computer balancing results in no wobble during line retrieval.

Cons
  • No anti reverse level. This means that the anti reverse is always on.
  • Some users report bail spring problems. These reports are very uncommon.



Shimano Saragosa

Shimano Saragosa

Model PowerPro Line (#Test/yd) Mono Line (#Test/yd) Weight (oz) Inches Per Crank Gear Ratio Max Drag (lb)
SRG5000SW 20/245, 30/225, 40/175 10/240,12/195, 14/165 16 38 5.7:1 22 lbs.
SRG6000SW 30/290, 50/195, 65/140 12/265, 16/170, 20/120 16.4 40 5.7:1 22 lbs.
SRG8000SW 40/340, 50/265, 65/215 14/345, 16/250, 20/185 24.3 42 5.6:1 27 lbs.
SRG10000SW 50/360, 65/260, 80/215 12/500, 16/320, 20/220 24.3 40 4.9:1 33 lbs.
SRG20000SW 65/490, 80/400, 100/340 20/460, 25/380, 30/320 33.3 41 4.4:1 44 lbs.
SRG25000SW 65/630, 80/520, 100/440 20/570, 25/490, 30/360 34.2 45 4.4:1 44 lbs.

I have stuck the Saragosa at the end, not because it’s an inferior reel but because it’s more dedicated to offshore fishing. This is actually one of the finest reels Shimano has ever made for saltwater use. Everything about this reel is purpose driven and perfected for big salt fishing.

The max drag on a Saragosa is 44 pounds which gives you some idea of what these reels are capable of handling. With 4 sealed and protected gears and a 6:1 gear ratio, you have all the assistance you need right there to wrestle in those offshore monsters. All you need is a rod that can keep up with this reel.

Just about every technology that Shimano is known for is packed into this reel. It has smooth casting potential, no chance of backlash, and zero play or slip. The Saragosa can handle medium rods well and even work some finesse fishing out of larger fast action rods.

While the overall fit and finish of the Saragosa may be the best in a spinning reel anywhere, the primary selling point is in its durability. Completely 100% sealed gears, bearings and internals prevent rust and corrosion for a long life. Made mostly from brass and hard anodized aluminum, saltwater has no place to bite keeping you reel working perfectly.

If you want a reel that can take the punishment and keep out debris, you need to invest. You should probably invest in a Saragosa.

Check Out a Review Video Below:




Pros
  • Aluminum Spool
  • The drive gear is a hagane part. This means that it is made by cold forging using detailed 3d design process.
  • X-ship technology means that the pinion gear is supported at both ends by a bearing. This results in a more durable reel.
  • Core Protect helps make the reel resistant to water intrusion without adding friction.
  • Hagane Body - a cold forged metal reel body that results in great rigidity.
  • Super Stopper 2 is shimano's instant anti reverse technology.

Cons
  • No anti reverse level. This means that the anti reverse is always on.
  • Expensive

A Buyers Guide for the Best Shimano Reels

While it is easy to say that one reel is better than another in general terms. It is something else to make a claim to what is better for a specific person. Where you fish, what you fish for, and what baits you use make a difference.

Many Shimano reels share the same elements of construction and are similar quality. But for small water bass fishing, you will want a different reel than someone fishing for large mahi. Here are some traits to consider about your new reel.

Weight & Size

There are several considerations that should be taken when looking at the size and overall weight of a reel. You need to know what species you plan to fish for first of all. Having a good idea what size, weight, and action of pole you will be mounting it on is also important.

You can get by with a smaller reel on a larger pole for larger species as long as the reel is large enough to hold the line size you use. It would be far better to use a slightly larger reel that provides more drag and can use appropriately sized line.

Using a larger reel on a smaller, fast action pole makes little sense. You will not need a larger reel for the species you go after with a smaller pole. It will also make your whole rig unbalanced and can have a negative effect on fishing techniques and retrieves.

Luckily Shimano offers a variety of reel sizes that should suit nearly every need. You can get a large size reel for offshore fishing or a small 1000 size reel for panfish and trout.

Gear Ratio

Most of Shimano’s reels are either 4:1 or 6:1 gear ratio, the retrieval speed between these two is quite significant. Neither is specifically better than the other in general terms. Some fishing benefits from a faster retrieve and some from a slower retrieve.

Faster retrieves are great in fast moving water where current puts constant pressure on your lures. Generally, you will also want a faster retrieve when fishing longer distances.

For smaller fish, especially those with a weak jaw like Crappie, a slower reel is often better. Slower reels can make retrieve fishing easier by giving you more control. They are also very good for small casts with small lures so you don’t outrun the fish.

Bearings

The number of bearing is often a selling point, especially on cheaper reels. Most high-end reels, including Shimano, have 4 bearings. This will usually be written as 3+1.

Sometimes you will see massive numbers of bearings on a reel, this does not make it better. Having multiple bearings is less important than the quality and placement of the bearings. Don’t fall victim to the hype. When a reel states an impossibly large number of bearings, it's usually counting all the small balls in the bearing race.

A more honest number will be the number of full bearings in the reel, not just the little balls.

Drag

Of all the reel stats, drag is easily one of the most important. The max drag will determine what type of fish the reel is designed for. You don’t want to go after monster reef fish with only a 7lb drag.

Most Shimano reels range between 7 and 24 pounds of max drag. On the lower end, you are looking at panfish, trout, bass and similarly sized fish. If the fish weighs more than 10 pounds or is known to be a hard fighter, you need to go up to a heavier drag.

Fish like pike, musky, large catfish, and some bass species can exert a lot of force and need more drag to properly play them. Carp are notorious for running away with light drag reels even if they aren’t known to be a hard fighter.

Fish like snapper, grouper, snook and tarpon can require large drag forces to keep them from breaking you off on structure.

Mahi, sailfish, and bone fish for example will test the smoothness of your drag by pulling off long runs.

So remember, it’s not just the amount of drag force, but the smoothness of the drag that can keep you from losing a trophy.

Line Weight and Capacity

The second trait you really need to consider is line size. Capacity is somewhat secondary but should be noted at least. Not all reels will handle all line diameters and can cause issues with capacity and tangling.

It's best to base your reel of species, to begin with. It solves a lot of the issues listed above. It will really make a difference when determining what line size you need.

There are often far more reels for larger line sizes than smaller. If you are dedicating a reel to less than 10-pound test you will need a smaller reel. Probably one of the smallest Shimano makes.

Larger reels are easier. You can get reels that go from 15 to 40-pound test that will cover most any species you are likely to fish. Well, outside of the smallest fish species.

Conclusion

Once you have made the move to a quality reel, going back to a cheap reel will feel torturous. Not only will the cheaper reel feel rough and clunky but it won’t cast the same. It is very easy to underestimate the difference a high-quality reel can make.

Consider getting a Shimano. They have proven quality from a company that has been producing reels for over almost 50 years. The craftsmanship and outstanding production value of each Shimano is truly outstanding.

Shimano are top rated fishing reels for a reason, it’s a purchase you aren’t likely to regret.

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