Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Shimano Stella SW spinning reel review. Now, as you are probably aware, fishing is one of those past times that holds two essential truths:
- There are a great number of variations of every piece of equipment, tackle and accessory that you could be looking for.
- Everybody has an opinion on which of these variations is best at any given time – which is generally due to the fact that that particular item has helped them catch fish.
So with that in mind, one thing I have tried to do on this site is review the products I use, as well as the ones that are popular at the moment to give you an idea of what may work for you as you head out to the water and chase the big ones.
Hence, for this review, I will run you through:
- What the product is
- How it works
- What I bought if for
- Pros and Cons
- My recommendations
What is a spinning reel?
Also known as ‘open face’ reels or ‘eggbeaters’, these reel types wind the line onto a front spool which is held on by a ‘bail’. Line is wound in via a handle on the side which is ratioed to bring the line in faster than the handle is turned. In general, spinning reels are made from a corrosion-resistant metal, carbon fiber and/or aluminum body with variations of the following:
- Bearings – As with a car wheel, the mechanisms inside a spinning fishing reel generally incorporate ball bearings for smoother operation. From my experience, most come with between 3 and if the specifications are listed as 10 + 1 for example, this means that there are 10 ball bearings in the main housing and also a roller bearing incorporated into the bail to make line retrieval easier.
- Ratio – One advantage of a spinning fishing reel is the winding ratio. This is usually set anywhere for 3:1 up to 6 or 7:1 (often listed as 6.0:1 etc.) This simply means that for every time the user turns the handle a full rotation, the spool holding the line has actually turned 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 times meaning less winding for faster line retrieval. Higher ratios are good for fast retrieval fishing such as with a lure or if there are a lot of snags etc. Lower rations assist with the big fish catches.
- Drag – The drag of a fishing reel is its ability to release a little bit of line when a fish strikes or is being pulled in. This is in place to reduce the chances of a bigger fish snapping the line as it fights. As with anything, the more you pay for a reel, the better the drag system should be with the more expensive models containing precision setting capabilities.
- Casing: This is the part of the reel that contains the springs, levers, gear cogs etc. that make much of the stuff above work. I’m my opinion, avoid any reel that doesn’t have this all housed in a sealed, waterproof casing. These are low maintenance and the components will not rust.
What is my experience with this reel?
Now, for those of you who are familiar with my posts – and more particularly reviews – will know that I am more of a spinning reel type of guy with a penchant for Penn reels for deep sea fishing. I do have a couple of Shimano reels however as well which I also really enjoy using – I mean my little Shimano Nasci is pone of my favourites for sure.
When it comes to the Stella however, my experience comes from a mate of a mate who came out on the boat with us recently. My friend had pre warned me about this guy – “nice dude but all the gear and no idea” – were his exact words. And he was not wrong – I could carry on about all his gear but for the purposes of this post we will leave it at the fact that he paid $1050 for his first ever fishing reel – an 8000 model for the boat.
Of course I was like a bull to a red rag to that and begged to give it a shot and I can say from the outset that when it comes to reels of this price, you definitely get what you pay for. I will elaborate on all of this later on but for now, lets check out the specs etc below…
What do you get?
- Product Name: Shimano Stella SW Spinning Reel
- Sizes: 4000 – 20000 (I used an 8000)
- Spool Size: PowerPro braid – 10/200 up to 100/570 (30000)
- Bearings:13 + 1 S-ARB stainless steel ball bearings
- Ratio: 4.4:1 up to 6.2:1 dependent upon version chose
- Composition: All-metal HAGANE Body
- Drag: Up to 55lb X-Tough Rigid Support Drag
- IPX8-rated waterproof body
- X-Rigid 1-Piece Bail
- Propulsion Line Management
- Cold-forged, super-strong HAGANE Gears
- Silent Drive internal meshing
- X-Ship bearing-enhanced gear support
- HeatSink Drag heat transfer system
- X-Rigid handle design
What does all this mean?
When it comes to spinning reels, if you are going to spend this kind of money, then there are definitely some things to look into that make a reel worth spending the extra $$ on. Let’s have a look at some these in the context of our Stella reel.
Internal component manufacture
As with anything, the higher the price of the product, the more care and expertise you should expect when it comes to the parts used in manufacture. This is no different when it comes to the components inside a fishing reel. Generally, high end fishing reels are machined (such as with CNC machinery for example) with a little more precision to ensure absolute smoothness and silence in operation.
In this case, Shimano have implemented cold forged Hagane gearing into their reels which accounts for the great smoothness and strength that I encountered as per below.
Most reels these days incorporate some sort of waterproofing in their component however when it comes to high end reels it is this area that is taken to the next level. Saltwater in particular can do significant damage to the internal workings of a reel hence anything that can be done to keep this out, will definitely increase its lifespan.
This reel incorporates X-Protect – which incorporates a triple lip structure into the roller clutch to not only repel water, but reduce friction as well. Additionally, the X-Shield provides for IPX8 rated waterproofing in all parts including the body, drag knob, spool and lid joint.
Drag is another area where the high end reels really come into their own. On a spinning reel, the drag works via a set of washers inside the reel that rotates backwards if the line is pulled hard enough (by a fish obviously) to stop the line from snapping.
The XTough drag on the Stella SW features a metal and carbon drag washer arrangement that provides for excellent heat resistance with load dispersement for a smooth and stable result.
Most manufacturers outline how ‘tough’ the casing of their reels are when they discuss their more expensive options. Many are made of metal or carbon and fully encased as well adding to greater component protection. Again, the famous Shimano Hagane casing is on display here.
- Easy to manage and clean
- Super strong drag
- Exquisitely smooth internal components
- Well balanced
- Great protection for use in salt water
- A little heavier than I thought it would be
How much is it?
Prices start at around $USD799 for 3000 model up to $1600 for 30000.
Do I recommend it?
As I mentioned above, this is definitely one reel where you can actually feel why it is so expensive and it was a pleasure to use. I used it for ‘bottom bashing’ on a reef in about 80 metres of water and you know what, everything just works. The retrieval is so smooth that it is like cutting through butter and I have to say, almost silent. I caught a nice Snapper on it and the drag is really responsive and the reel just didn’t strain at all.
I can only compare it to my Penn Spinfisher VI which is my go to on the boat and it breaks my heart to say that this one just feels smoother and stronger. Although I would question whether it is $800 worth of better to be honest. I have to admit also that the Stella is not as light weight as I would have expected for the price point as well.
All in all however, if you are looking for an absolute high end fishing reel for any type of fishing, then this one will not let you down and you could certainly do a lot worse for sure.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Shimano Stella SW spinning reel. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.
Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
Until next time