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Enthusiast Review

Shimano Stella!!!! ... Wait Again? WT-FE?


Date: 5/29/11
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano America Corp
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.58 - EDITOR'S CHOICE!

To say Team TackleTour was a little surprised to see a brand new Stella spinning reel from the folks at Shimano during ICAST 2010 would be a slight understatement. Afterall, we remember it like yesterday, when the acrobatic performers were twirling down the huge, SHIMANO sign at ICAST as a theatrical demonstration to the Paladin gearing system in the new Stella FD. That was actually 2007, only three short years ago, so it almost was like yesterday. What was so wrong in the Stella FD that needed refinement just a few brief years after its introduction? I guess we'll never know because none of us here at TackleTour ever got around to purchasing one. What we did manage to get, and of course, the subject of today's review is a brand spanking new Stella FE 3000.


TT Spokesmodel Stella Marie introduces her namesake, the Shimano Stella FE


Shimano Stella 3000 FE Specifications

Line Capacity 8/220 : 10/185 : 12/150 : 16/100
Gear Ratio 6.0:1 (rated at 35inches per turn)
Weight 8.6 ounces (as tested with line)
Bearings 14 + 1 (manufacturer spec, but we found 2 bearings under the roller)
Origin Japan
MSRP $729


Impressions: Shimano’s line of Stella spinning reels rarely ceases to impress. With its shiny, gunmetal blue finish and gold highlights, this reel just exudes “flagship” status. But, and there’s always a “but”, for some reason, the FE interpretation of this reel feels much more understated than the FD version. It’s all in the design of the spool. The FD, with it’s slanted, tear drop, ported reveals looked aggressive and on the move while the FD, with its more orderly drilled ports, is almost a throwback to the FA.


The Stella FE succeeds the FD after only 3 short years.


Off the display rack, the FE feels no different in hand than previous versions. While it’s no Daiwa Exist/Steez in weight, the Stella has always been weighted right. People like to complain about baitcasting reels in the eight ounce range, but spinning reels in the 2500 to 3000 size routinely weigh in close to ten ounces. When matched with a light to medium light spinning rod, that weight just deadens the feel of the rod. To compensate, anglers downsize their reels to something in the size range of the 750s to 1500s, but with those smaller reels you get smaller diameter spools and more line management issues. The Stella 3000 FE is rated at 8 ounces out of the box – just a half ounce more than the Chronarch D or Curado E. Actual weight for us when spooled with line was 8.6 ounces.

We procure a 3000 sized reel for easier line management, but the size difference between this model and the 2500 is actually very small.

Field Tests: I fished the new Stella 3000 FE on two different sticks. Initially I had this reel mounted on a Duckett Fishing 7’ medium powered spinning rod outfitted with micro guides, but the Stella eventually replaced the Megabass RC256 I had on my Megabass Racing Condition F2-610XSRC Full House. Naturally, it is much more at home on a rod that is its equal in price rather than one that is one fifth its MSRP of $749.

The Stella 3000 FE has seen duty on three separate rods during our WTF themed year.

The Stella 3000 FE has a deep spool and is probably intended to be fished with ten pound test or more. Seriously, it is rated as having the capacity to hold 230 yards of six pound test line. There are no premium lines available at six pound test or below in spools of over 100 meters (~125 yds). Naturally, if this sized line was the target, the sensible thing to do would have been to buy a smaller sized Stella, one with a spool sized appropriately for a reasonable amount of 6 pound test or less. But of course, as mentioned above, with those smaller reels come smaller diameter spools and more line management problems.

Shown here on a Megabass F2-610XSRC Full House.

The JDM division of both Daiwa and Shimano have this issue figured out, they offer spinning reels in reasonable sizes with shallow spools for use with lighter lines. For whatever reason, that strategy does not bode well in the states. My solution? I headed into Hi’s Tackle Box in South San Francisco and had them fill the spool with some monofilament before topping the reel off with the line I really wanted to use.

The downside of choosing the larger 3000 sized reel? It took roughly 157 yards of line to get to this point and that's with 75 yards of monofilament backfill - the spool is still not quite full.

The net of it all? I had them fill the Stella with 75 yards of eight pound Sunline Super Natural Monofilament and topped it off with a 75 meter spool of eight pound Sunline Shooter Metan Invisible. That’s roughly 157 yards of Sunline eight pound test and there was still room on the spool for more.

As expected, casting duties are performed flawlessly and the spool is within easy feathering distance from the rod.

Casting: Elitist tackle attitudes aside, the Stella 3000 FE feels right at home on the Duckett Fishing 7’ medium. The relative light weight of the rod together with the “right” weight of the Stella makes for a really nice combo. The 3000 sized Stella is positioned at a very comfortable distance from the rod to enable easy feathering of the spool during a cast and line flutters easily off the spool even when underfilled.

The Stella FE is all about power and while the internal improvements can't be seen, they can certainly be felt benefitting also from this solidly constructed machined aluminum handle.

Next Section: Smooth and Powerful?









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