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The Shimano Sedona 500 FA, an ultralight economical performer

 

Date: 4/14/03
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Nature Boy






Total Score: 7.33

Introduction: With the hundreds of models of fishing reels available for the avid trout fisherman, choosing one can be a daunting task. With most of us on a tight budget, we don't have the luxury of buying the most expensive reels on the market with all the bells and whistles. But at the same time, we aren't willing to compromise performance, and risk losing the fish of a lifetime due to a cheap drag system or malfunctioning reel.  Shimano reels have always been known for their quality, performance, and reliability, and the Sedona series offers all of those in an economical package that most of us can easily afford.    
  

Shimano Sedona 500 FA Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 2/190;4/100, 6/60
Gear Ratio 4.3:1
Weight 6.5 oz.
Bearings 3
Additional Features Aluminum Spool, DynaBalance, Super Stopper II, Power Roller
MSRP $46.99

  
Impressions: Shimano reels have always been known for their innovative and functional designs. The Sedona is no exception. The exterior shape of the reel is very fluid, and conveys a sense of smoothness which is evident once the handle is turned. The attractive silver exterior caught my eye, and all the components seemed very solid and sturdy. The machined aluminum spool appeared to be crafted with precision, assuring a smooth and consistent release of line from the reel. The only potential downside to this reel is that the reel body is largely made of plastic, despite its appearance. This does not significantly affect its functionality, but it can't take as much abuse as a reel made completely of metal.           

  

The Shimano Sedona 500 FA's silver exterior does make extensive use of plastic

  

As expected, the 3 ball bearings were more than sufficient to provide a silky smooth retrieve. In addition, the bail opens and closes securely, with no chance of the bail accidentally releasing. The drag adjusting knob also clicked securely, and turning the spool results in a subtle ringing sound characteristic of a smooth drag system. The anti-reverse system also worked flawlessly, with no noise and little or no play when attempting to retrieve backwards.         

    

Complete Rig for Sedona 500 FA Tests

Rod St. Croix Legend 7'
Reel Shimano Sedona 500 FA
Line 2 lb. Cortland Camoflage

  
Real World Tests:
The Shimano Sedona 500 FA has been my workhorse ultralight trout fishing reel for the past few years. It has been used for stream fishing, lake fishing, float tubing, and in the backcountry. Even after several years of hard use, it is still as smooth as the day I bought it.    

  

The setup for the test, paired the Sedona on a truly ultralight rig

 
The Bail:
As mentioned earlier, the Shimano Sedona 500 FA's bail opens and closes with a solid "snap", and does not release unintentionally. Other reels I have tested in the past have had problems with the bail getting stuck, not opening/closing completely, or not securely closing, so this was one feature I paid particularly close attention to when purchasing this reel. The bail is also ergonomically shaped to ensure that the line is properly seated on the Power Roller, which does an excellent job of guiding the sensitive line onto the spool via a special precision groove cut into the roller, eliminating unwanted line twist.          

  

The solid metal bail and the Power Roller do their job superbly

  

Casting: Casting with the Sedona 500 FA was as smooth and twist-free as expected. The aluminum spool did an excellent job of smoothly releasing line out, resulting in few birds nests, even when using super thin 2 lb. test line.  Although the spool is made of aluminum, it can still be nicked and scratched by rocks and other hard surfaces, which may result in reduced casting distances. In addition, the spool is a little smaller than those from most ultralight reels, which is good if you're using 2 lb. test line, but may be too little when using heavier lines with larger diameters.

  

A view of a partially disassembled Sedona 500 FA

  

Retrieving: The 3 ball bearings of the Sedona 500 FA do their job well, resulting in a quiet, velvety retrieve. This is greatly aided by the DynaBalance Rotor, which is counterbalanced to ensure smooth rotation and eliminate vibrations, in a process similar to car tire balancing. The Super Stopper II mechanism does an excellent job at preventing back-play, via a one-way roller bearing, which is quiet and efficient. This ensures instant hook setting power, and prevents unwanted tangles from excessive back-play in the reel.

  

A look at the interior of the aluminum spool

  

The Drag Mechanism:  One of the most important features to look for in any reel is a quality drag mechanism. The drag system can make the difference between landing the trophy of a lifetime, or ending up with a lost lure and broken line. Most cheaper reels have an inferior drag system, which can easily be identified by a crude sounding clicking noise when the spool is turned. On the other hand, quality drag systems result in a reel that "sings" when the drag is engaged, resulting in a smooth and subtle ringing noise as line is released from the spool.  The Sedona 500 FA was definitely in the latter category, and after numerous battles with trophy trout using 2 lb. test line, I can confidently say that the drag system is silky smooth. Another key thing I looked for when purchasing this reel was that the drag adjustment knob clicked into place, resulting in a positively locked drag setting. Some cheaper reels do not have this feature, resulting in a drag that may suddenly loosen, or worse yet, get stuck, as the drag is worked hard by fleeing fish.        

  

A close-up of the Sedona's exposed rotor

 

Warranty: Shimano's products are warranted for one year from the date of purchase against defects in workmanship or materials. But as with all of the Shimano equipment I've owned, I've never had to use it.    
  

Ratings:

Shimano Sedona 500 FA Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Attractive and well built reel, but with many plastic components 7.0
Performance Reliable and performs as expected, but somewhat lacking in refinement. 7.5
Price A good value for its performance, but a bit pricey compared to comparable reels.    6.5
Features Not too many novel features, just proven Shimano technology.   7.0
Design (Ergonomics) Lightweight, and everything is where it should be.   8.0
Application An excellent choice for any ultralight application.   8.0

Total Score

7.33

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Strong bail system  L Body is mostly made of plastic
J Attractive form L Reel capacity is a bit lacking
J Smooth drag with positively locking adjustment knob  
J Silky, smooth retrieve  
J Shimano reliability  

 

Conclusion:  With the endless choices of reels on the market, it often comes down to how much you are willing to spend to get the features you want. Shimano is known for its high performance, innovative reels, such as the new S-Concept reels recently reviewed by Zander, but also provide an economical, yet high-performance reel in the Sedona 500 FA. It doesn't come with all the bells and whistles and isn't made of the latest indestructible anti-gravity Space Shuttle materials. But if you're just looking for a reliable, quality reel from a trusted brand to catch fish with, you won't go wrong with the Sedona.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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