Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Shimano Stradic FL fishing 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.
- Rotation – One advantage of a spinning fishing reel is the winding rotation. 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 the Shimano Stradic FL?
The Shimano Stradic FL fishing reel is a top of the line spinning reel that has been designed for saltwater, freshwater and inshore fishing. In full disclosure, I do not actually own one of these however have used one a few times recently on some deep sea fishing adventures.
You see my Penn Reel got snagged and I lost all of my gear so I picked up another on the boat which was a Stradic FL 5000 model lined with 30lb braid. It is a little smaller than I would like to use in this environment however at the time, the fish were on and there was no time to waste.
In short, I loved it and will elaborate on this more below. However, for now lets look at the features of this reel which include:
- Long stroke spool – This means that the spool length is a little longer which gives improved casting performance and line flow.
- X-Protect saltwater resistance – Saltwater can be extremely hard on fishing reels. This reel combines an internal water repellent and barrier system that stops water from getting in as the spool is turned.
- Hagane body and gearing technology – Hagane is Shimano’s signature brand of “precision cold forging technology” components designed for ultimate smoothness. This technology also allows for the inclusion of ‘silent drive’ where during construction, the clearance gaps between each component are reduced to remove ‘wobbles’ within the reel.
- G Free Body – This is designed to move the reel’s centre of gravity closer to the rod in an effort to reduce fatigue and enhance casting distance.
- Carbon cross drag washers – We have discussed reel drag above and in this case, the Stradic incorporates up to 3 sets of carbon and felt drag washers for increased strength and wear resistance.
What do you get?
- Model: Shimano Stradic HL (models range from 1000 to 5000)
- Bearings: 6 + 1 Anti rust shielded stainless steel
- Ratio: 5.1:1 – 6.2:1
- Composition: Fully sealed aluminium body with precision machined Hagane Steel internal components and soft EVA handle designed to match the size of the reel.
- Drag: front of spool – Carbon washer drag up to 24lb/11kg
- Anti-reverse switch: No
- Weight: 6.5 – 10.4 oz (184g – 294g)
- Line specs: Varies on size but larger capacity than most others.
- Smooth and strong winding action
- Long and smooth casting
- Handles heavier catches without displaying any strain
- Well balanced and lightweight
- No reverse switch
- Spool is not braid ready (I.e. needs a mono backing)
How much is it?
I have seen these priced online at anywhere between $USD200 to $USD400 for the ‘FL’ models depending on size.
Do I recommend it?
As above, I used this reel in a deep sea situation where my own had lost its gear. We were chasing large species in 90m of water and to be honest, this rig was not of the size I would usually use here. However, once I dropped it down with the weight, it really came into its own. It was smooth and worked with a large catch with ease.
I had a play with a smaller hook and weight which meant I was not going to land the bigger targets here however I did get some smaller fish and loved everything about the reel.
It casts so easily, is extremely lightweight and to be honest, it is one of the few reels I have used that really puts the quality of its higher cost on display.
So, in case you were wondering, this one is a yes from me!
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Shimano Stradic FL 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