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ICAST 2019 Live Update Coverage

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Reel Review

Relevant once again, the new Shimano Stradic CI4 (continued)

Real World Test: To test the Shimano Stradic CI4 with we head to the California Delta and Clear Lake in pursuit of both Crappie and Largemouth Bass. We fished over a six month period with both 6 and 8 pound mono and fluorocarbon lines and paired the Stradic CI4 with a Shimano CUS-68M Cumara medium power/fast action spinning rod during the entire course of our field tests.

The Stradic features a thin asymmetrical frame to make room for the gearing

Casting: Before I started the casting tests I took a few moments to admire just how well the Stradic CI4 paired with the Cumara both in look and feel. The colors matched up perfectly and the balance of this outfit was outstanding. The Stradic CI4 is a respectable casting reel and while it does not have a titanium lipped spool it does make use of the companyís propulsion line management system which is designed to improve casting distances over standard spools while preventing backlashes and wind knots from forming.

The Stradic is a quality caster and line lay is very even

During tests even stiffer fluorocarbon lines flowed off of the spool in consistent loops which equated to reduced contact and friction on the stripper guide and overall improved line handling and distance. I found that casting accuracy and distance with the Stradic CI4 to be both quite good overall as the reel also exhibited superb line lay. The line lay was always uniform and when it came time to make casts the line flowed off the spool more easily. 

The reel features Shimano's Propulsion spool and a sculpted one piece bail wire

Retrieve: The Stradic CI4 feels fairly smooth and while not as smooth as the Sustain it sure comes close. The rotor weight on this reel is well distributed and we were not able to detect any vibration in the rotor mechanism during retrieves, even when we tied on reaction baits. Also improved on this reel is the stopper which eliminates backplay for quick hooksets.

A nice enthusiast element is the round EVA handle grip

Though the Stradic CI4 is smooth it isnít as silent as the more expensive Shimano spinning reels. With each turn of the handle you can hear the internal workings of the reel and while the reel is close to silent some audible whirring can be detected. During our tests at Clear Lake we got into a few schools of Crappie and were able to really test the reel with light 6lb line. The Stradic felt strong and confident on retrieves and the drag does a good job picking up right where the gearing stops to preserve the integrity of the lighter line under load.

The reel's red highlights give the Stradic a supertuned look

The Stradic CI4 is enjoyable to fish, it not only looks like an enthusiast reel with the contrasting dark frame and prominent red highlights but it performs like a reel that could easily cost 35-50% more. I was skeptical that the CI4 material would feel more like cheap graphite than aluminum alloy but after catching plenty of Crappie and Largemouth with this reel there was many times I felt like I was fishing a magnesium reel rather than a carbon fiber one. The material is rigid enough to keep the gearing within tolerance while reducing weight.

line flows easily off the spool thanks to the even line lay

Next Section: An excellent waterproof drag










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