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Shimano Stella Fishing Reel – 2018 Buyers Guide

The Shimano Stella is the flagship of Shimano’s wide range of spinning reels. It comes in two different versions, the Shimano Stella FI, which is a smaller reel for lighter fishing, and then the Stella SW, which is the bigger offshore version.

To help you get a better understanding of each, we have written a detailed review for both Shimano Stella versions, so you can get the full rundown on the Stella FI and the Stella SW to see if either of these versions fit your requirements.

Before we dive into each of these reels, it should be said that the Stella is at the very high-end range of Shimano’s spinning reels, so the price point for each version is pretty high.

If you are looking for a budget spinning reel, then the Stella is not for you. But if you are after a premium reel, with all the high-end features that Shimano provide, then the Stella could be the dream reel you have been looking for.



Shimano Stella FI

The Shimano Stella FI is the smaller of the two versions of the Stella reel. It is ideal for lighter freshwater, lake and estuary spinning, that requires more feel and finesse. It is packed full of Shimano’s latest high-end technology, and the result is a high performance reel that will give you that extra bit of quality you will want when you start to push your fishing capabilities.

shimano stella fi

Every element of the Stella FI reel has been optimized to its fullest to provide cohesion in all the working parts, and to ultimately provide the highest performance possible. When you use the FI reel, you quickly understand just how well made it is, and how efficient it makes light spinning fishing.





Technologies used in the Shimano Stella FI

Technology

Description

Hagane Gear

Shimano uses its cold-forged technology to create a precision 3D design, that provides the strength and durability, along with the incredible smooth operation of the reel

Hagane Body

Designed to reduce any flexing in the reel, even under extreme pressures. This ensures that all of the cranking power goes directly into the gear, thus providing a more powerful and efficient retrieve

X-Ship

X-Ship is designed to eliminate any rotor flex and twisting in the reel, and provides an incredibly smooth and powerful cranking action.

Micro Module Gear II

Shimano uses its exclusive manufactoring technology to design this state of the art gear tooth surface design

G Free Body

This technology shifts the center of gravity of the reel closer to the rod. This provides extra comfort when casting, and reduces fatigue when being used for longer sessions.

Coreprotect

Shimano has designed Coreprotect to provide water resistance to the reel's roller clutch, the line roller and the body. It does this without creating a heavier rotational feeling

AR-C Spool

Through intensive testing, Shimano has created the optimal spool lip design, that produces longer casting distances. It also prevents any backlash and knots from forming when casting in windy conditions

One Piece Bail

The one piece bail reduces line friction and allows the line to move efficiently and unimpeded to the line roller

S A-RB

The anti-rusting bearings used in this reel are now shielded to provide the ultimate protection for them

Rigid Support Drag

Designed to eliminater spool wobble, no matter what your drag setting is. Even at the lightest of drag settings, there is zero spool wobble. This ensures and incredibly smooth drag system is achieved

Aero Wrap 2

Designed to work with the AR-C lip design, the Aero Wrap 2 is a worm gear oscillation system that uses a specially designed pitch to create optimal oscillation speeds

Easy Maintenance

This allows you to directly lubricate the inner workings of the reel without having to take it apart. There is a small oil lubricated port that can be found on the reel, which when removed allows you to apply a lubricant inside the mechanism

E.I. Surface Treatment

Once the anodisation process is finished, a secondary layer of surface treatment is added. The treatment is forced into any of the minute surface impuraties left after the first treatment. This ensures a perfectly smooth surface, so salt has no place to hide. This treatment more than doubles the corrosion resistance of the reel when compared to a standard anodised reel



As you can see from the above list, the Stella FI is packed full of Shimano’s best technologies. But do all of these features actually do anything, or are they just fancy names used for marketing purposes?

If you look at the descriptions above for each technology used you will see each serves a practical purpose in the performance of the reel. Some technologies seem to do more than others, but they all work together to make the reel run as smoothly and efficiently as it does.



Size range of the Stella FI

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    STL 10​00 PGSFI
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    STLC 2000 SFI
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    STL 2500 FI
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    STL 3000 HGFI
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    STL 4000 XGFI


Line Capacity

Model

#Test/yd - Mono

#Test/yd - Braid

Kg / Meter Mono

Kg / Meter Braid

STL1000PGSFI

3/130

3/125

3/119

3/115

STLC2000SFI

3/136 , 4/109, 5/82

3/125 , 4/105, 5/90

4/100

3/125

STL2500FI

5/120, 6/104, 8/77

5/140, 8/120, 10/85

5/110

10/150

STL3000HGFI

8/197, 10/164, 12/109

10/200, 20/140, 40/105

3/140

10/200

STL4000XGFI

10/186, 12/164, 14/136

15/280, 30/170, 50/150

3/140

15/280



Other performance factors of the Shimano Stella FI

Model

Line Retrieve Per 1 Crank

Max Drag

Weight

Gear Ratio

STL1000PGSFI

25in / 64cm

6.6lb / 3kg

6.3oz / 180g

4.3:1

STLC2000SFI

27in / 68cm

6.6lb / 3kg

6.3oz / 180g

5.1:1

STL2500FI

34.6in / 88cm

8.8lb / 4kg

7.7oz / 225g

6.0:1

STL3000HGFI

36.6in / 93cm

19.8lb / 9kg

7.9oz / 265g

6.4:1

STL4000XGFI

37.4in / 95cm

24.2lb / 11kg

9.3oz / 265g

6.2:1

** All Stella FI reels run on 13+1 ball bearings **



Additional performance factors

When you are spinning on lighter gear, you want the reel to be ultra responsive so maximize your hook-up rate. This is what Shimano has done so well with the Stella FI. It is such a responsive reel, and when combined with technology like X-Ship, you have the perfect solution for feeling even the lightest bites and setting the hook as soon as the fish takes the lure.

While the Stella FI range is not the lightest of Shimano’s small spinning reel range (the Stradic Ci4+ is lighter), it is still a very light reel that will allow you to throw lures effortlessly for hours at a time. It is also incredibly smooth to use. Even when you hook into a big fish, the drag system and retrieval all feels perfectly in tune, and makes catching fish that much more fun.

The balance of the Stella FI is something that Shimano wanted to perfect. The combination of technologies they have built into the reel, all produce the ultimate feel and balance, from casting to retrieval.

The center of gravity of the reel has been moved closer to the rod, which allows for easier casting for longer periods of time, without having your arm become fatigued. Perfect for the competition anglers that need to get in as many casts as possible.

The front drag on the Stella FI is super responsive, and also very easy to adjust when required. The range of drag gives you plenty of ability to play your fish as much as you need, and the changes between drag pressure are very smooth.



Points to note

The Stella FI reel does not have a reverse lever, so you do not have the option of putting the spool into reverse. It does use an anti-reverse bearing, that ensures there is zero slack in the spool, so as soon as you strike into a bite, you can be assured that the fish will not be given even a millimeter of line unless delivered via the drag.



Is the Shimano Stella FI worth the money?

As I mentioned at the start of this article, the Shimano Stella reel (both versions) comes with a fairly hefty price tag attached to it. But what you are getting with the Stella FI is a reel packed with Shimano’s top technology. The target market for this reel is the serious angler that understands what all of these technologies do, and want to use them to their fullest to give them that additional edge.

When you use the Shimano Stella FI it is hard to find ay fault in it, and in fact you can see just how much it improves your fishing experience as soon as you start using it. If you are a serious angler, and want to upgrade from your existing reel, then the Stella FI will give you the best you can get in spinning reel technology and ability.

Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Totally!



Shimano Stella SW

Now we get to the 'big daddy' of the two versions of Stella reel, the Shimano Stella SW. Made for saltwater and offshore fishing, the Stella SW is a robust reel that provides the power you need to handle big fish and heavy gear, and the technology to make the process of catching the retrieving the big fish that much more efficient.

shimano stella sw

The Stella SW comes in a massive range of sizes to suit all saltwater requirements. I will provide a full rundown of the sizes, and the relevant information for each size in the table below so you can make a more informed decision of which reel is right for your needs.





Shimano Stella SW Technology

Here is a list of all the technologies used in the Stella SW reel. The latest SW version incorporates what Shimano calls the SW-X Concept, which is a combination of new features that provides improved performance. Shimano has always been innovative in their designs, and that is clearly evident on this flagship reel.

Technology

Description

Hagane Gear

Shimano uses its cold-forged technology to create a precision 3D design, that provides the strength and durability, along with the incredible smooth operation of the reel

Hagane Body

Designed to reduce any flexing in the reel, even under extreme pressures. This ensures that all of the cranking power goes directly into the gear, thus providing a more powerful and efficient retrieve

X-Ship

X-Ship is designed to eliminate any rotor flex and twisting in the reel, and provides an incredibly smooth and powerful cranking action

X-Shield

Along with X-Protect, the X-Shield system provides extreme water resistance in the harshest of weather and water conditions

X-Protect

This system repels water, and combined with the water channeling construction, it ensures the highest level of water resistance without sacrificing light gear and rotor rotation

X-Tough Drag

This system provides a dramatically enhanced smoothness, level of control and a toughness that anticipates and deals with the high speeds and power of fish like the blue-fin and giant tuna

CF Aluminum Cold Forge Spool

Designed to last, this spool design provides increased strength and durability when compared to die-cast aluminum or graphite spools

Platinum Premier Service Plan

After purchasing this reel and submitting your Warranty Registration card points, you will receive coupons for discounts on cleaning lubes. It also includes Priority Shipping Labels that guarantee a 48 hour turnaround time from Shimano, or participating Shimano authorized warranty centers

Super Stopper II

This anti-reverse system uses a one-way rollers bearing that completely eliminates and back play. This provides the angler with instant hook setting power

X-Rigid Bail

Combining with the other X-Rigid features on this reel, the X-Rigid bail helps to provide optimal rigidity and eliminate any reel flex, which causes a loss of power

X-Rigid Gear

The X-Rigid gear was introduced into the heart of the Stella SW's aluminum body, and it supports the incredible power and rigidity of the reel

X-Rigid Handle

Another element that combines with the other X-Rigid features to provide the ultimate rigidity and eliminate any loss of power caused by reel flex

X-Rigid Rotor

Another element that combines with the other X-Rigid features to provide the ultimate rigidity and eliminate any loss of power caused by reel flex



One of the most impressive things that Shimano has done with the Stella SW is they have made the reel even stronger than before, but also lighter. The materials used ensure that sturdiness and durability are both achieved.

Before I get into the different size and models of the Shimano Stella SW reels, I should clear up some potential confusion before I list the various versions available. You will see below that there are sometimes more than one version available in the same size, especially in the smaller models. The STL SWB PG, STL SWB HG and STL SWB XG models are available in some sizes, so here is a quick explanation of the differences between these:

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    PG = Power Gear (a lower gear ratio, which is better suited to jigging)
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    HG = High Gear (higher gear ratio, can be used for jigging or spinning and surface stickbaits and poppers)
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    XG = eXtra Gear (highest gear ratio, ideal for heavy spinning, surface stickbaits and poppers)

Now we have that cleared up, here is a list of the different sizes and models:

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    STL 4000 SWBXG
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    STL 5000 SWBHG
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    STL 5000 SWBXG
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    STL 5000 SWBPG
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    STL 6000 SWBHG
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    STL 6000 SWBPG
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    STL 8000 SWBHG
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    STL 8000 SWBPG
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    STL 10000 SWBPG
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    STL 14000 SWBXG
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    STL 18000 SWBHG
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    STL 20000 SWBPG
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    STL 30000 SWB

Line capacity for the range of Stella SW reels

Model

#Test/yd - Mono

#Test/yd - Braid

Kg / Meter Mono

Kg / Meter Braid

STL4000SWBXG

9/239

15/265

4/219

7/242

STL5000SWBHG

10/240, 12/195, 14/165

20/245, 30/225, 40/175

5/219

30/225

STL5000SWBXG

10/240, 12/195, 14/165

20/245, 30/225, 40/175

5/219

30/225

STL5000SWBPG

10/240, 12/195, 14/165

20/245, 30/225, 40/175

5/219

30/225

STL6000SWBHG

12/265, 16/170, 20/120

30/290, 50/195, 65/140

5/242

30/245

STL6000SWBPG

12/265, 16/170, 20/120

30/290, 50/195, 65/140

5/242

30/245

STL8000SWBHG

12/345, 16/250, 20/185

40/340, 50/265, 65/215

7/215

40/270

STL8000SWBPG

12/345, 16/250, 20/185

40/340, 50/265, 65/215

7/215

40/270

STL10000SWBPG

12/500, 16/320, 20/220

50/360, 65/290, 80/215

9/201

50/406

STL14000SWBXG

12/555, 16/360, 20/260

50/400, 65/315, 80/240

9/238

60/328

STL18000SWBHG

20/415, 25/340, 30/280

50/600, 65/440, 80/360

14/256

80/345

STL20000SWBPG

20/460, 25/380, 30/320

65/490, 80/400, 100/340

14/293

80/382

STL30000SWB

40/370, 50/300, 60/250

65/900, 80/700, 100/570

18/338

80/656

Another factor for the very smooth operation of the Shimano Stella SW is the fact it runs on 14+1 ball bearings



More performance elements of the Shimano Stella SW

Model

Line Retrieve Per 1 Crank

Max Drag

Weight

Gear Ratio

STL4000SWBXG

32in / 83cm

24lb / 11kg

13.4oz / 380g

6.2:1

STL5000SWBHG

38in / 97cm

29lb / 13kg

15.3oz / 435g

5.1:1

STL5000SWBXG

41in / 104cm

29lb / 13kg

15.3oz / 435g

6.2:1

STL5000SWBPG

31in / 79cm

29lb / 13kg

15.3oz / 435g

4.6:1

STL6000SWBHG

41in / 104cm

29lb / 13kg

15.5oz / 439g

5.7:1

STL6000SWBPG

33in / 84cm

29lb / 13kg

15.5oz / 439g

4.6:1

STL8000SWBHG

42in / 107cm

62lb / 28kg

23.8oz / 675g

5.6:1

STL8000SWBPG

37in / 94cm

62lb / 28kg

23.8oz / 675g

4.9:1

STL10000SWBPG

40in / 102cm

55lb / 25kg

24.2oz / 686g

4.9:1

STL14000SWBXG

53in / 135cm

55lb / 25kg

24.3oz / 689g

6.2:1

STL18000SWBHG

51in / 130cm

55lb / 25kg

30.9oz / 876g

5.7:1

STL20000SWBPG

41in / 104cm

55lb / 25kg

31.2oz / 885g

4.4:1

STL30000SWB

52in / 132cm

44lb / 20kg

34.9oz / 989g

4.4:1



Q & A’s

 Q. Can the handle be switched to suit left or right handers?
 A. Yes, you can easily switch the handle to either side of the reel to suit both left and right handed anglers

 Q. Why can’t I find the Stella 4000 SWB in America?
 A. Not sure why the Stella 4000 SWB is not currently available in America. But many American’s buy them from Australia, where they can be mailed to the USA

 Q. Does the reel have a manual or auto bail arm
 A. The Stella SW has a manual bail arm



Should you spend the money on the Shimano Stella SW?

Just the fact that you are on this page and have read so far down into this long review of the Stella reels, I am going to assume that you are an experienced angler, and you want the right reel to suit your needs.

I have already shown all of the top-end technologies the Stella SW reel uses earlier in this article, but does all of that make it worth the money? The bottom line is that when you hook into a big fish (think a large blue-fin tuna or a lively striped marlin), then you want a reel that gives you the ability to control the fish for what could potentially be a long fight. You also want a reel that can stand up to the pressures of regular fights with fish like these.

shimano stella swb

The bottom line that that reels that are not built to the exceptional quality of the Stella SW will be found out after just one or two runs from a big fish. The Stella has the design quality, and technical ability to handle big fish during the hardest battles, time after time. It is a reel that will quickly earn your complete trust once you have hooked into some decent specimens.

If you are serious about your fishing (and I will again assume you are), then you absolutely should have the reel that will meet your high standards, and this is exactly what the Stella will do. The reel is built to last, so you will be able to fully utilize the exceptional ability of the Stella SW time after time.

The Shimano Stella SW is an expensive reel. But you are getting the very best for your money. And you will soon understand that it is an investment well made once you start using it, and also years down the line when the reel is still going strong and serving you well.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Shimano Stella
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
Fishingmyway Admin
 

  • […] used for these big game fish, but you will also see the largest size spinning reels such as the Shimano Stella and Daiwa Saltiga being used for the big game fish […]

  • Jim Mascaro says:

    Looking for a little advice. I have a conventional reel for yellowtail covered – accurate 500 boss paired with a phenix black diamond rod. I am looking for a rod reel combo for casting lures, irons and for fly lining live bait. Ready to invest in a reel that I can use under a few different platforms. Im thinking xg and am unsure whether to go with 20000 or 25000. Tuna is an eventuality but Im still exploring the warmer water species. Here in NCal its ling cod salmon halibut and rock cod. Which reel do you recommend for getting into the yellowtail tuna dorado. Thank you

    • Fishingmyway Admin says:

      Hi Jim, personally i wouldn’t go bigger than the 20000 for the species you mentioned. the 20k will give you plenty of drag to work with, and will provide with a lot of fun when you hook into a decent ling cod, halibut etc. It will also give you the performance you need when you go after the warmer water species such as the yellowtail and Dorado. Sounds like you have some fun fishing planned! 🙂

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