Shimano Fishing Reels Review

Shimano Fishing Reels Review

Stradic Ci4+ Spinning Reel

I was fortunate enough to learn from the right group of guys when getting into bass fishing. My friends and coworkers over at Coyote Bait and Tackle instantly steered me onto using Shimano reels, which to this day I do not regret a single bit. It’s safe to say that I have fallen deeply in love with my Shimano reels, and year after year of putting an absolute beatdown on my Shimano gear they still function perfectly. The body construction and feel are unlike any other brand of reels, and trust me I’ve messed with almost every brand out there as a tackle shop employee.

There are many reasons why a Shimano reel is pure quality, and the secret is in the technology that Shimano has developed over the years. Built-in technology including X-Ship, Propulsion Line Management System, and the SVS Infinity Braking System (all of which I’ll explain in detail later) are just a few of the perks that Shimano boasts amongst the competition.

Below is a thorough review of the Shimano fishing reels that I personally use. Please understand that I am not sponsored by Shimano! I use these products because they have been put to the test and withstood punishment, and for that I am a loyal customer for life.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500FA

Stradic Ci4+ Spinning Reel

I was always holding off on purchasing this reel simply because of the price, but now that I own it I truly wish I bought it sooner. For a few years I was using my Shimano Sahara 2500FD which gave me no trouble, but buying the Stradic Ci4+ was always on the back of my mind. The Stradic Ci4+ is one of the lightest reels on the market, and all of the technology stuffed into this little package makes it worth every penny.

This reel is more than perfect for my drop shot, shakey head, or any other finesse worm presentations for bass. The extremely lightweight body also makes it perfect to use as a trout reel, and I have fished 2-4lb test effortlessly with the Stradic Ci4+.

Main Features

Shimano X-Ship Technology

  1. Ci4+ Body Construction – The ultimate selling point of this reel. The magnesium body blows the competition away in terms of overall body weight and balances perfectly with any spinning rod. The lighter your setup is, the more sensitivity you gain, and this reel definitely boosts your bite detection.
  2. X-Ship Technology – The supported pinion gear means a perfectly aligned drive gear, which results in ultimate smoothness along with quite a bit of extra cranking power to lean into the big ones.
  3. Propulsion Line Management System – This reel casts farther and more effortlessly than any other spinning reel I have owned, and that is the honest truth. I use 8lb Seaguar InvisX Fluorocarbon and it flies off of the spool so freely it blows my mind. The angle of the spool lip allows it to release line with minimal friction, and there is definitely a noticeable difference in casting distance.

Shimano Curado 201HG

Curado I Casting ReelThe Shimano Curado i gives a fresh look and feel to the popular Curado lineup. I have been meaning to buy this reel for the longest time (just like the Stradic Ci4+) but my main focus was to purchase as many Chronarch 201E7’s as I could since they discontinued them. Well, I finally got my hands on a few of these Curado I’s and I can safely say that they are hands down just as great as the Chronarch 201E7’s if not better. Everything from the way they feel to how they balance on my rods is pure quality.

The primary feature which sets this reel apart from others in its class is the X-Ship Technology, which I have already mentioned a million times across many articles. The reel has this amazing, smooth feel to it that you just have to experience in person, which makes it perfect for fishing any reaction baits. I use the Curado I for spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater, and many other fast-moving baits, and it picks up line quickly and effortlessly.

Main Features

Shimano SVS Infinity Braking System for Casting Reels

  1. SVS Infinity Braking System – The Curado I as well as other newer Shimano casting reels feature a brand new braking system, which consists of a main, switch-operated braking option as well as a fine-tuning dial that helps you further adjust the brakes without opening the side plate. This reel absolutely bombs my lures, and it still blows my mind just how far I can cast sometimes.
  2. X-Ship Technology – Once again, X-Ship Technology shines through. There is a noticeable different in the smoothness of reels with X-Ship compared to those that don’t, and the only explanation I can give through text is that you literally can’t feel any resistance in the gears as you are cranking. The supported pinion gear also means more cranking power, and I’ve been able to put some torque on big bass with less effort.
  3. Hagane Body – The new Hagane Technology features a metal body construction that is more rigid than its predecessors, resulting in less flex and adding cranking power on top of X-Ship. In simpler terms, the reel feels solid while being nice and lightweight.
  4. Ergonomic Feel – This isn’t listed as one of Shimano’s technologies, but I thought I’d add it. The Curado has a very ergonomic body shape, and it conforms perfectly to my hands. The tapered front portion of the reel allows me to wrap my index finger around comfortably, and the side plate rests against my palm nicely since there is no external braking system in the way. Overall a very fitting reel that allows me to gain a steady grip for cranking and hard hooksets.

Shimano Chronarch 201E7

Shimano Chronarch E Casting ReelSadly they have discontinued this reel, but I thought I’d do a review just because I love it so much. The Chronarch E is the closest match to the all-time favorite Curado 200E, which was an absolutely amazing reel that has also been discontinued.

There are no fancy new technologies on the Chronarch E, yet the quality and castability are still incredible. The tolerance of the parts (meaning gap between parts) on this reel are extremely tight, and the smoothness even with lack of X-Ship Technology astounds me. When I first picked up my friend’s Chronarch E, I made an instant decision to grab a few of my own.

Main Features

Shimano VBS Variable Braking System for Casting Reels

  1. HEG Gearing – Although the Chronarch E does not have X-Ship, it does feature HEG Gearing, which is simply a 20% increase in the size of the main gear. This works to provide more power and torque, helping you control bigger fish.
  2. Variable Braking System – The VBS is the pride and joy of Shimano technology. By simply switching the plastic knobs, or “brake weights” on and off, the casting distance is dramatically affected. This is better than the traditional magnetic braking system, because magnets help control the spool but also reduce casting distance. The VBS Braking System is able to apply friction to the spool without hindering distance.

Overall Review

I strongly believe that my Shimano products will never let me down, and every year they just keep coming out with new technology that enhances older versions. Simply put, Shimano is constantly improving what seems to be already perfected, and for that I will always support them. Shimano packs so much technology into each one of their products, but the true results are established when I put them to the test on my fishing trips. Once again these are my honest, unbiased opinions, and I hope that I have convinced you to at least give Shimano a shot. They won’t let you down!


  1. I love the Shimano Sustains, even more so than the stella. I think the sustain holds up better over time in comparison, especially for the money. The stradic’s are a good entry level higher end reel though. Good article!

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