Product Review- Shimano Stradic FL
Shimano Stradic FL
For over a decade, the Shimano Stradic has been the benchmark as a higher end yet affordable spinning reel in both freshwater and saltwater markets. Taking a machined aluminum frame and rotor coupled with high quality bearings and gears, the Stradic has gained the reputation of the smoothest, lightest option without breaking the bank.
At this year’s ICAST show in Orlando, FL, Shimano launched a new and improved version of this flagship series—one that’s already grasping the attention of freshwater and saltwater anglers alike.
While the previous model of Stradic was certainly well received in the saltwater community, there were a few issues that would result from rigorous use in a saltwater environment.
Their roller bearings were notorious for becoming noisy and sticky, as the result of saltwater intrusion into the mechanism and bearing. Albeit simple to replace, a continuously compromised roller bearing was the main frustration of anglers who otherwise loved these reels.
Another common frustration from redfish anglers came from the felt drag washers, which after a few hard-pulling redfish bouts would shred and fail. Felt washers are used because of the amount of range they allow at lower drag settings, mainly for freshwater anglers targeting bass, walleye, and trout. Once these are replaced with aftermarket carbon fiber washers, the issue is resolved—however, replacing roller bearings and drag washers is not something anglers should have to do with a $200 reel.
With the new Stradic FL series, all of these issues have been addressed and then some.
A newer design on the roller bearing assembly restricts water intrusion into the mechanism, even from braided lines that are wet. The result is a smooth and reliable roller that will prove to be much more durable over time.
The larger three sizes of reels (3000 and up) come from the factory with cross-carbon fiber drag washers that are ready, willing, and able to handle the stress and strain from larger saltwater species, such as red drum, striper, and cobia.
In addition to addressing the few durability issues, Shimano has also added more features typically found in higher priced offerings, and they’ve done so without raising the retail price. New Stradic FLs feature the X-protect corrosion protection and Micro-module II gearing, previously only found in their Stella and Sustain models.
Coupling these features with an ultra-lightweight, one-piece handle, the new Stradic FL provides an unprecedented marriage of strength and durability in a super lightweight frame, and, most importantly, the Stradic FLs do so without increasing the retail price.
At around $200 retail, the Stradic FL is an improvement of a classic staple that is perfect for any angler, both fresh and salt. They are available now at local retailers, with more information also available at www.fish.shimano.com.