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Reel Review

The Stradic FI spinning reel series for the complete range of applications


Date: 5/7/10
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.08 - GREAT

We complete our extended test of the Stradic FI 4000, pitting it against everything from striped bass to steelhead. The Stradic FI reels are designed to be the do-everything series with a complete range of size offerings capable of targeting everything from panfish to offshore big game. 


Shimano Stradic FI 4000 Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 8/240, 10/200, 12/160
Gear Ratio 5.8:1
Line retrieve per crank 36 inches
Weight 11.6 oz
Bearings 5BB, 1RB
Additional Features Aluminum frame + graphite sideplate and rotor, S-Concept, S A-RB bearings, Fluidrive II, Super Stopper II, Machined aluminum handle shank, AERO Wrap II, waterproof drag, Maintenance port, Repairable clicker
Origin Malaysia
MSRP $159.99


The Stradic FI makes use of many of Shimano's latest spinning reel innovations, unlike many of our other spinning reel tests this time we decided to fish a larger reel and targeted species other than largemouth bass


Impressions: The Shimano Stradic FI got off to a very good start when it was introduced at ICAST 2007 and won the new product showcase “Best Freshwater Reel” category. The FI seemed to deliver just what anglers were looking for in terms of improved refinement, reliability and better overall value over the previous generation. While I personally think the Stradic CI4 was bigger jump for the series it is hard to deny that the FI has become a popular reel for so many anglers across a wide range of applications. Part of what makes the Stradic FI so attractive as a series is that there are so many different sizes to select from and all of which are under 200 dollars.


The mouth of the Klamath river provides a very nice backdrop for our field tests


In terms of styling the Stradic FI is relatively conservative, some might even say bland. It may not be pearl white like its predecessor but it doesn’t stray much from the colors that one would expect to find from a Stradic or Sustain. What the reel does do is incorporate many of the latest Shimano spinning reel innovations including the “propulsion line management system” as well as the “Paladin durability enhancement.” Unlike the smaller Stradic FI reels which have a 6.0:1 retrieve the 4000 size ups the power with a 5.7:1 gear ratio. Like all of the Stradic FI reels it comes with a 5+1 bearing count which is surprisingly low for a reel that feels this smooth. Material wise the Stradic makes use of an aluminum frame and a graphite sideplate and rotor, which is one of the reasons why Shimano is able to make the reel so much cheaper than the Sustain FE.   


In the lab we inspect the Stradic FI


Real World Test: To test the Stradic FI 4000 I carried the reel on my bass boat and used it for tossing larger lures that I would normally only use a baitcaster for when targeting stripers. I also was lucky enough to make a few trips to Northern California rivers including the Smith and the Klamath to try and intercept both Salmon and Steelhead. I spooled the reel with a variety of mono and fluorocarbon lines from Berkley, Maxima and Toray.


The reel comes with two spools and we take a closer look at the waterproof drag system


Casting: I think I’ve come to better appreciate spinning reels the more that I fish with them. While I still feel most at home with a baitcaster in hand there are some applications where a spinning reel is preferable. One such application is side drifting roe out of a drift boat or boondogging in a jetboat. These ultralight presentations require a reel that is capable of casting a small slinky weight precisely and over long distances to prevent spooking fish and to properly match the drift, here spinning reels are ideal.


The drag system is held in place with a small spring


During the tests I mainly fished with 10 and 12lb. mono lines with Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders or straight Toray SuperHard Fluorocarbon. Fishing with mono main line was a little bit easier when it came to casting but the Stradic FI 4000 proved to be a very good caster overall. The propulsion spool lip design allowed line to come off the spool in tighter loops which flow better through the stripper guide, this is very noticeable with heavier lines.


Under the spring in the center of the spool is a drag sandwich with alternating steel and felt washers


The SR one piece bail wire does a good job managing the line (and just plain looks cool), while the oversized power roller helps reduce twist when laying line. I didn’t experience many backlashes but when it really started blowing at the mouth of the river I did get the occasional wind knot. No spinning reel is totally immune to line twists but the Stradic FI’s design helps to minimize them.


There are a total of six washers in the system and we measured 21.6lbs of drag which is slightly higher than the factory spec


Next Section: A smooth retrieve for big lures and fish









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