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I have had my Shimano Stradic FL for quite a while now and have put it through its paces over this time, so now I’m going to give you the rundown of everything this reel has to offer.
Just for clarity, I own the 2500 model Stradic FL, and this review is based on my usage of this one size only.
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Who is the Shimano Stradic FL spinning reel aimed at?
The Stradic FL is a mid-priced reel that occupies a very busy space in the spinning reel market.
But even with so much competition, Shimano has been smart with the design of this reel and made it extremely versatile so that it has wide appeal.
The Stradic FL will attract anglers that are looking to buy some of Shimano’s premium reel technology in a more affordable reel.
The Shimano Stradic FL also has the versatility that will allow an angler to use it for a wide variety of fishing techniques, so that will appeal to many.
Also, the durability will ensure years of usage so the value for money is also a big consideration when buying this reel.
Although there is a lot of quality choice in this price range, in my opinion, it is in the top 3 spinning reels in the $200-$240 price range.
Shimano has incorporated some of the higher-end technologies used in their premium reels, such as the Shimano Stella SW, so it’s easy to see why it performs as well as it does.
What I love about the Shimano Stradic FL
Where to start, as there is quite a lot to like about this reel. Two words to summarize the main benefits of this reel to me are “workhorse” and “versatile“.
The Stradic FL is a real workhorse. Maybe not the best reel for ultra-finesse fishing (although there is a 1000 size available, and I have not tried that size), I prefer my 1000 size Shimano Vanford for the really light stuff.
But if you want a reel that you know is going to hold up to some hard battles and really come through for you when you need it, then I know that this Stradic FL reel delivers.
Just one example of this is when I hooked a ray that took off like a bullet as soon as it realized it was hooked. The drag screamed (sounded great), but I was able to gradually turn the table on it and finally landed it.
I was not so happy when I saw it was a ray, but I was happy with the way the reel dealt with the crazy runs the ray put it through.
I also love the fact that this reel can be used for so many different types of fishing.
I think Shimano purposely made it such a versatile reel, and I think that is the smart thing to do for a mid-range spinning reel; make it so the angler can use it for a variety of fishing situations.
Look and feel
Shimano has knocked it out of the park when it comes to both look and feel of the Stradic FL.
As soon as you take it out of the box, the striking Hagane body in sleek silver and the long spool with the stylish-looking slits really catches the eye, at least it did for me.
When you’re fishing in the sunshine, the sun flashes off it even when you’re watching your line on the water. Kind of reminding you that it’s still there and to give it another look!
I think Shimano has gotten so good over the last few years at making even their cheaper fishing reels run as smooth as butter.
So it was no surprise to me when the Stradic FL performed just the same. But this Stradic has something else about it; something that makes you feel it is ready for a day’s hard graft as soon as you put it to work.
It feels sturdy and robust, while at the same time it also has a sensitive and responsive side to it.
The subtle smoothness in which it operates will charm you, while the sheer grunt of it when needed will make you want to give it a high-five and cheers your can of Budweiser against it after the job of landing that solid fish is done. It’s like a good quarterback teammate that has worked hard for you on the football field.
Another trait of many of Shimano’s spinning reels, and one that is clearly apparent in the Stradic FL reel is the excellent balance it has.
The G Free body technology they use in this reel brings the center of gravity closer to the reel seat and into the angler’s hand, which ultimately makes the casting more comfortable and efficient and it reduces fatigue over a long day of fishing.
I do like the drag on most Shimano spinning reels, and the usual drag quality is very apparent in the Stradic FL.
I have the 2500, so I don’t have the cross carbon drag system on my reel as this is only available from the 3000 size and up, but I still love how effective and powerful the drag is.
I still have 20lbs of drag capacity on the 2500 FL, which is plenty for the fish I target with this reel.
What I don’t like about the Shimano Stradic FL
There is nothing that I really dislike about this reel, certainly no deal breakers for me.
I will mention that there is no reverse lever on the Stradic FL. This is not a negative for me personally, I don’t like them and would not buy a reel with one on anymore. But I know that many anglers still like to use them, so best to mention that here.
What technology is used in the Stradic FL
There is a lot of Shimano’s premium technology packed into this reel. Here is an overview of what it has:
Hagane Gear: Advanced technology is used to calculate in minute detail the design of the teeth of the drive gear. This is then formed using Shimano’s cold forged technology. The result of this is significant improvements in strength, power, and durability.
Hagane Body: This tough Hagane body design provides enhanced rigidity that eliminates body flexing and increases impact resistance. The result of this is the transformation of the angler’s actions directly into cranking power. It provides efficiency through strength.
X-Ship: The X-Ship technology supports the pinion gear on both ends with bearings, which helps to maintain precise alignment with the drive gear, even under heavy loads. The end result is improved gear durability, as well as improved casting performance.
MicroModule II Gear: Shimano’s exclusive manufacturing technology has produced improved surfaces of both the drive gear and pinion gear. The result is a smoother gear feeling and a reduction in reel noise.
Long Stroke Spool: The increased height of the spool means that the line will lay onto the spool without the rotor having to oscillate as frequently.
Shimano has also redesigned the lip of the spool to reduce drag from the line as it peels off the spool. The result of this is less turbulence from the line going through the guides for a smoother and longer cast.
SilentDrive: A design concept that covers many parts of the reel, from the main body through to the drive train, including the drive gear, wormshaft, wormshaft pin and wormshaft gear.
Every element has been carefully crafted and reviewed, and the smallest clearance gaps and wobbles have been eliminated to the highest tolerances.
X-Protect: Shimano’s water repellent coating combined with their intricately designed, water channeling labyrinth construction provides a high-level water resistance that does not sacrifice light gear and rotor rotation.
G-Free Body: The clever G-Free Body technology is designed to move the center of gravity of the reel closer to the rod. In moving the center of gravity closer to the angler’s hand position, the G Free Body helps to reduce fatigue and enhance casting comfort.
S A-RB Bearings: These bearings have been through the same process as Shimano’s A-RB bearings, but these feature shields on both sides of the bearings that reduce the possibility of salt or sand inhibiting the bearing’s rotation.
Cross Carbon Drag: This drag material provides a wider range of drag settings, along with the smoothest Shimano drag performance ever. (Cross Carbon Drag is only available in the Stradic FL C3000, 4000, and C5000 models)
The Stradic FL is available in sizes from 1000 up to 5000. This has you covered if you need a freshwater reel, an inshore reel, or a more dedicated saltwater spinning reel.
Here are the specifications for each size so you know what you are getting with each reel:
Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
Max Drag: 7lbs
Retrieve per crank: 30in.
Mono Line Capacity (#TEST/YD): 2/270, 4/160, 6/110
Braid Capacity (LB/YDS): 10/95, 15/75, 20/65
Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
Max Drag: 20lbs
Retrieve per crank: 35in.
Mono Line Capacity (#TEST/YD): 6/200, 8/140, 10/120
Braid Capacity (LB/YDS): 10/150, 15/145, 30/100
Gear Ratio: 6.4:1
Max Drag: 20lbs
Retrieve per crank: 37in.
Mono Line Capacity (#TEST/YD): 6/230, 8/170, 10/140
Braid Capacity (LB/YDS): 10/200, 20/140, 40/105
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Max Drag: 24lbs
Retrieve per crank: 40in.
Mono Line Capacity (#TEST/YD): 8/240, 10/200, 12/160
Braid Capacity (LB/YDS): 15/230, 30/180, 50/120
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Max Drag: 24lbs
Retrieve per crank: 40in.
Mono Line Capacity (#TEST/YD): 10/240, 12/195, 14/165
Braid Capacity (LB/YDS): 20/260, 30/235, 40/185
How does the Shimano FL compare to other similarly priced reels?
While the Stradic FL is no slouch when it comes to its casting capabilities, it doesn’t match up to my Shimano Vanford, which just seems to have superior casting distance.
But in saying that, the long stroke spool used on the Stradic FL does provide some extra distance, and when I compare it to my Shimano Nasci (which doesn’t have the long stroke spool), then the difference is quite obvious.
The strong drag on the FL is the same capacity as other Shimano spinning reels such as the Vanford, Ultegra FC and the Nasci across all sizes from the 1000 to 5000.
When you have 20lbs of drag power on a 2500-size reel, then you know you have plenty in the bank to deal with most target species for that size of reel. And the cross carbon drag washers in the 3000 to 5000 size reels will give you the power you need to really put the breaks on the larger fish when needed.
The weight of a spinning reel is important, as many will use it to throw lures around and if the reel is too heavy then it can quickly cause fatigue.
Here are some comparison weights for the Stradic FL against the Shimano Vanford, the Ultegra FC, and the Nasci:
|Size:||Stradic FL:||Vanford:||Ultegra FC:||Nasci:|
Q: Is the Stradic FL a saltwater reel?
A: With the size options you have in the Stradic FL range, you will be able to fish freshwater with the smaller sizes, through to saltwater fishing with the larger size reels in the range.
Q: Is the Stradic FL reel worth the money?
A: Personally I feel that the FL provides excellent value for money. This reel has never let me down and I have complete confidence in it when I hook into an aggressive fish. There is a lot of quality in the design of this reel, and the performance is consistently good.
Final thoughts on the Shimano Stradic FL
If you are looking to add a new spinning reel to your fishing gear soon, then the Stradic FL is certainly worth considering.
This reel performs well, it runs very smoothly and is super responsive. It also offers a lot of versatility, so if you want a reel in your collection that can be used for a number of different techniques, then the FL fits this bill.
It also looks great, so if you want something stylish attached to your rod, the shiny metal body of the Stradic FL will catch the eye and certainly looks the part.
I really like my Stradic FL, I think it is a quality product and worth the money I spent on it and I have no problem recommending this reel to anyone looking at buying a new spinning reel in this price range.