Best Shimano Spinning Reels

With so many spinning reels on the market, it can be hard to even know where to start shopping. Shimano offers a large range of functionality, specifications, and prices, so they should have a spinning reel that meets your needs. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best Shimano spinning reels for your next fishing trip.

Top 5 The Best Shimano Spinning Reel Reviews

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Best Choice
Shimano Stradic C14+ review
Shimano Stradic C14+
  • Best Shimano Saltwater Spinning Reel
  • Carbon body and cold-forged aluminum spool
  • Bearing Count: 6BB + 1RB
  • Gear Ratio: 6.0:1

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Also great
Shimano NASCI review
Shimano NASCI
  • Most Versatile Shimano Spinning Reel
  • XT-7
  • Bearing Count: 4BB + 1RB
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1

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Best Value
Shimano Sedona FI review
Shimano Sedona FI
  • Most Affordable Shimano Spinning Reel
  • XT-7
  • Bearing Count: 3BB + 1RB
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1

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Best Lightweight
Shimano Nexave review
Shimano Nexave
  • Best Shimano Ultralight Spinning Reel
  • XT-7
  • Bearing Count: 3BB + 1RB
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1

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Best Budget
Shimano IX review
Shimano IX
  • Best Rear Drag Shimano Spinning Reel
  • Aeroglass
  • Gear Ratio: 4.1:1

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1. Shimano Stradic C14+ — Best Shimano Saltwater Spinning Reel

This lightweight reel has a solid feel and incredibly good looks. With a super smooth reeling experience, the Shimano Stradic uses the latest technology from Shimano as well as uses tried and true ways that help to improve your fishing experience.

Including Core Protect, CI4+, G Free Body, and Hagane gear, the Shimano Stradic uses X-SHIP technology to give gears more durability while eliminating friction found between the gear and spool shaft. It also helps to enhance your casting performance and lets you make longer casts. And, by using the Hagane body and gearing, you get a more durable, strong, and long-lasting smoothness and performance that gives you the strength you need to fish offshore and onshore.

With the built-in fluidrive and dyna-balance rotor, Shimano accompanies both features with Shimano’s propulsion line management system that gives you great casting capabilities and incredible smoothness that helps to mitigate line management issues. Weighing only 6.7 ounces, the Stradic has a maximum drag of 20 pounds and a line retrieve of 35-inches.

Pros

  • This is a lightweight reel and is smooth as silk
  • It has an effortless retrieve and bail
  • This reel has great balance and is awesome to cast

Cons

  • There is no anti-reverse switch

2. Shimano NASCI — Most Versatile Shimano Spinning Reel

If you are looking for a reel that works in both freshwater and light saltwater, the Shimano NASCI comes with a 5-bearing drag system, plus it is available in a variety of sizes. Featuring a maximum drag between 7 and 24 pounds, the NASCI uses Hagane body and gear for better rigidity when you are up against aggressive fish.

The NASCI also uses X-Ship Technology providing better durability and performance. Core Protect Technology also gives you uncompromising water-resistance along with seamless gyration. This is an affordable reel, especially when you realize the unparalleled performance it provides, plus it is approved for use in saltwater and holds up really well when used for long periods of time.

Using four ball bearings, you get a smoother retrieve while the front drag provides more control. With this very strong drag, the NASCI allows you to pull in fish faster and release them quicker than well. You can also pick up the line faster than other reels this size, which is perfect for use with different hook setting situations.

Pros

  • You can use in saltwater and has a far cast
  • This reel is really smooth during retrieves
  • This is a great reel for the price that performs well

Cons

  • It doesn’t feel very lightweight or smooth like other reels do
  • The reel does not come with a reel-reverse switch

3. Shimano Sedona FI — Most Affordable Shimano Spinning Reel

On the other end of the Shimano price spectrum is the new Sedona FI. Including cold forged HAGANE Gears, this reel has upgraded and increased drag power that makes it perfect for light freshwater use and heavy offshore use. Plus, it is more lightweight providing reduced fatigue during a long day of jigging or casting.

With a durable and strong performance, the Shimano Sedon FI, comes with a double-anodized spool that is machine-cut and increases your line capacity while providing a compact body. It is also equipped with Propulsion Line Management System giving it a longer casting distance and stopping wind knots and backlashes from forming. This reel has a maximum drag of seven pounds and weighs 7.6 ounces.

Pros

  • The reel has very smooth operation and good drag power
  • This is a well-constructed wheel that has a great look
  • This reel is super strong and has awesome casting distance

Cons

  • It has no reverse-direction switch
  • There is a short distance between the reel seat and the first bend to where the reel seat meets the reel itself

4. Shimano Nexave — Best Shimano Ultralight Spinning Reel

Featuring a sleek body design as well as better cosmetics, the all-new Shimano Nexave also comes with reduced weight and higher max drag settings. With Propulsion Line Management, the Nexave will increase your casting distance and have less line lay issues, as long as you use the latest braided Spectra lines. This is a lightweight reel that only weighs 7.6 ounces.

The Nexave also gives you more versatility, so you can use it in freshwater or for lightweight inshore saltwater techniques. This is a very affordable reel that has a gear ratio of 5.0:1 with a maximum drag force of seven pounds.

Pros

  • This is a great value for the money
  • This is reel is perfect for every day, freshwater fishing for trout, bass, pike
  • It’s a great looking reel that won’t make your hand tired

Cons

  • The plastic handle feels cheap

5. Shimano IX — Best Rear Drag Shimano Spinning Reel

Perfect for freshwater fish that are less than three pounds, the Shimano IX is super light. With a resetting reel, the Shimano IX features a Quickfire trigger that is always ready to cast helping to make casting easy and precise. This is a rear drag spinning reel that is available in three different line capacities making it very versatile.

Featuring a graphite frame and side plates, the Shimano IX is durable and corrosion-resistant. It lets you easily make one-handed casts and can be used in any type of water. Not only is it affordable, but it is the ideal reel for any skill or age level.

This lightweight reel is more responsible in comparison to traditional glass reels. The Shimano IX is rated to be used with Fluorocarbon, PowerPro, and Mono lines it also comes with a graphite reel seat and EVA handle.

Pros

  • The quick trigger makes it easy for beginners to learn
  • You don’t have to worry about manually flipping the bail
  • It’s a good quality reel for an inexpensive price

Cons

  • The reel needs a faster retrieve and not designed for long casting
  • The trigger levels take a bit to get used to

Considerations When Choosing A Shimano Spinning Reel

Water Type

When choosing a spinning reel, your first consideration should be the type of fish you are catching and where you will fish. Consider if you will be fishing in saltwater or brackish water and if you need a reel that will work well in that type of condition. Look for a reel that uses ball bearings that are rust-resistant and other features that can stand up to long hours in saltwater.

Species Type

What type of fish you are planning to catch is also pretty important. You need to consider the size and amount of the line you need to use to land your fish. You will need a large line capacity if you go after aggressive fish, which allows you to have a long run and a drag system that is capable of handling the action.

Bearings

Remember that above all else you want a reel that is fun to use. If you have vibration and noise, not only is this annoying, but it is a sign that your reel is poor quality. You want a reel that will last a while and doesn’t feel like you are cranking a coffee grinder. Bearings play a big role in the performance of a spinning reel. With high-quality bearings, you will have smoother retrieves with less vibration and noise. Keep in mind that four good quality bearings will give you better performance than ten poor quality bearings.

When using your reel in saltwater, you definitely want top-quality ball bearing. While this type of reel may be more expensive, it is worth the money. Top-quality ball bearings are made of a smoother and harder alloy that is also rust-resistant. Most commonly, you will see Chromium added to stainless steel, which is known for its corrosion resistance features. This is a top-quality reel that also has a lubricant with a higher grade to make them smoother during the retrieve.

Construction

When considering the reel’s construction, you want to look for lightweight construction that is still able to take on the torque that is produced by a large fish. The most durable reels will use all-metal components and many high-end reels utilize sophisticated alloys providing strength to a lightweight metal. Airframe techniques are also used that machine or drill out a portion of the reel’s body to get rid of weight.

Some reels used for small fish come with graphite or plastic parts that will not hold up to the strain used for bringing in a large fish. If you plan to go after larger fish, you will want a reel with all-metal construction. Keep in mind that even if a poor-quality reel doesn’t fall apart when during an intense battle, it will have an effect on the bearings causing that to wear, misalign, and overheat.

Quality Machining

Machine work is another important factor when choosing a spinning reel since it tells you how well the bearing relates to surfaces. High-quality bearings have a tighter tolerance, smooth cranking, less wobble, and a longer lifespan. You can tell if it’s a finely machined reel if you pick it up and the handle or spool moves even the slightest bit when you apply pressure to the shaft. This is not as important to someone that goes out to fish occasionally, but it’s a pretty big deal for someone that is out on the water every week.

Bails

This is a simple mechanism that releases and then wraps the line around the spool of a spinning reel. When you consider the different types of line release, you have a manual system that requires you to grasp the line with your forefinger while opening the bail with your other hand. If there is a trigger released attached to the bail, it allows you to not touch the line, which is appealing to anyone that cannot cast using the traditional manner, plus the trigger will hold the line until it is released by you.

Line twist is a frustrating part of using a spinning reel, which happens in the bail as it wraps the line around a spool. Since it uses a little twist, this movement is magnified after casting repeatedly until the bail is opened and the line starts to come out and gets tangled mid cast.

Some reels have come up with a new way to reduce line twists like using a hard and slick material like Titanium. How effective these new methods are really depending on what weight and type of line are used. Keep in mind you can also add a small weight onto the line after taking off the lure and let it payout while you move slowly through the water. After you go a few yards, wind it up again and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Power vs. Speed

The reel’s gear ratio determines how quickly you can retrieve line as well as the amount of cranking power that you will have. When a gear ratio becomes an issue, it can either be the result of what type of fish you are after, but it can also be the style of fishing you are doing. If you have a reel with a gear ratio between 5.5:1 and 6.3:1, you will have a fast retrieve. For those that want more cranking power, look for a reel that has a lower ratio around 4.1:1.

The gear numbers are easy to understand with the first indicating the number of times the spool turn for each handle crank. If you have a spool that starts with a six, then it will turn six times for every crank of the reel’s handle. When you see a lower gear ratio like 4.1:1, this tells you that the main gear is smaller.

Drag

There are two major categories of drags when it comes to spinning reels, either rear or front adjustment. Most front drags are used effectively for really large fish. This type of drag can be even more effective depending on how it is tightened, but it really depends mostly on the size of the drag surface.

The rear drag is easier to tweak if you are in the middle of a fight with a large fish or when using a light line. Either drag adjusts smoothly and is tight enough that it will stay where it is adjusted. Also, make sure you check to see how easy the knob for adjustments is to grasp onto, which is particularly important if you fish in cold weather or use gloves.

Line Capacity

Capable of handling line weights as little as 2-pound test, a spinning reel is capable of casting very light lures, if it is matched with the proper rod. A larger model that is designed for saltwater species and bigger fresh are able to handle the heaviest line weights. Reel spools all come with a line capacity indication that tells you which reels to choose. Usually, you can find this information on the spool.

A reel capacity can tell you if the diameter of a spool is too small for a heavy line because of their stiffness and inherent diameter. Don’t go outside the recommended capacity and line size since it can lead to tangles in the reel if the diameter of the line is too small or reduced capacity with a line that is too heavy.

If you correctly match the line with the capabilities of your rod, you will have more success. Lines that are lightweight will provide better casting distance and lure performance but you will need a heavier line that is abrasive-resistant if you are fishing near rocks or heavy cover. When fishing in freshwater, you want a line with low pound test to match the small reel and light action rods. If you are saltwater fishing, look for lines testing less than 10 pounds to be considered ultra-lightweight. You get softer action to cushion and electric cord the line with rods in these weight classes and the matching reels will also be smaller to give you better balance with the weight and size of the rod.

Comfort

If you spend a lot of time cranking and holding onto your reel’s handle, you should consider the right- and left-handed issue. Most people don’t want to cast with one hand and then change it to their other hand to reel. Today, it’s pretty common and simple to change the reel from side to side, which may not seem that big a deal, but it can be annoying if you have to do it over and over again.

FAQ

Do Shimano reels have a lifetime warranty?

Yes, it covers Shimano rods and reels for two years. The company warrants that its rods and reels are free from defects in workmanship and materials as long as it was maintained under reasonable use and normal conditions. It does not cover damage that has resulted from improper use or neglect of servicing. Normal wear and tear does include sticky drag plates and worn or noisy gears or ball bearings.

What do the numbers mean on Shimano reels?

The numbers on the reel tell you what spool diameter you can use, either 4000, 3000, 2500, or 1000. Remember that the larger the diameter, the more line your spool can hold. A 2000 spool is capable of holding 150 meters of size 2 nylon line while a 1000 spool can hold 150 meters of size 1 nylon line.

Does Shimano repair reels?

Shimano does offer a reliable repair service for your reel, which will let you continue enjoying your fishing experience with Shimano. Having your reel serviced regularly also helps you to prevent avoidable repairs. But, if your reel is suddenly making a strange noise, the repair service can get your back on track.

Which Shimano stradic is best?

The Shimano Stradic HG is well-known for using the latest in technology. It comes with X-Ship technology that includes improved gear durability and reduces friction. It also comes with Fluidrive and a Dyna-Balance rotor, which are both built-in, lengthening the line’s life and allowing you to get more balanced casts.

What is Shimano CoreProtect?

It provides complete protection. CoreProtect provides water resistance but does not create a feeling of heavy rotation. The protection covers the line roller, the roller clutch, and the body.

What is a front drag spinning reel?

Responsible for applying pressure when you hook a fish, the drag lets line out during a fight. If you don’t have a smooth drag, the lines can break and you can lose the fish. Front drag refers to a system that includes several large drag washers providing increased performance and durability when you compare them to a rear drag model. It also helps you stand up better to a hard fighting or large fish.

Conclusion

Shimano offers a wide range of spinning reels allowing anyone to easily find the best spinning reel to match their fishing style. As you shop, make sure you consider the type of fish you plan to catch along with where you spend the most time fishing as you shop to make sure you find the best Shimano spinning reel for your next fishing trip.

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