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Reel Review

Coming full Circle over a Decade, the Stradic is Back (continued)

Real World Tests: I planned a series of tests at Clear Lake for finesse fishing as well as the Delta for tossing a few reaction baits. We primarily used Toray Bawo Super Finesse 6lb line throughout the majority of finesse tests. This particular premium line has a small diameter of only .219mm and comes in 109yd. spools so spooling up with this line never even got close to the reel’s capacity.  For reaction baits I re-spooled the Stradic with Trilene XL Armor Coated 8lb. monofilament.

Inside we check out the cleanly cut master gearing

Casting: The Stradic FJ casts very similar to the Stradic CI4, and with good reason, both reels make use of Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management System. This system helps reduce line twist which not only is a pain to deal with but causes inconsistencies in line lay that ultimately reduces casting distance. Both the 6 and 8lb. lines that I spooled the Stradic FJ up with flowed beautifully off the reel on both short and long distance casts. The propulsion spool design just plain works, and helps reduce contact friction enabling line to flow quickly and evenly as it unravels off the spool during outcast.

The Stradic FJ casts very well

The SR one piece bail wire looks slick and does a good job bringing line under control quickly and directing it into the oversized line roller. I didn’t experience any wrapping around the S-Arm Cam and throughout casting our test reel only tangled up once when I didn’t notice the line wrapped up in the rod tip. What I found very impressive was how well the reel was able to cast while facing double digit headwinds.

The Propulsion Line Management System improves casting distance

Retrieve: The Stradic FJ is smooth when retrieved both fast or slowly and there is a complete absence of any detectable spool wobble, but what was most exciting was just how little effort it takes to wind this reel up. Even more impressive is just how powerful the Stradic FJ feels when there is a fish on the line, unlike other reels where the gears seem underpowered or even feel like they are binding when there is significant pressure on the line. This notable retrieve is the direct result of Shimano’s “X-Ship” design. This obscure feature is actually a double supported pinion gear in the heart of the reel, this locks the pinion in place with two S A-RB bearings and significantly reduces movement in the pinion gear and rotor flex, the result is that the Stradic FJ successfully exhibits a very smooth yet powerful retrieve.  

On the side of the new machined handle is a subtle "X-Ship" logo

Drag: In the lab under full lockdown we were able to achieve 16.7lbs. of drag pressure which is over the rated specification of 15lbs., mind you when we say full lockdown we mean total “lockdown.” The Stradic’s new drag system sandwiches felt and steel washers together and locks them together with a series of interlocking configurations. This keeps the washers in very tight tolerance and also helps apply pressure right on the center of the stack, maximizing contact and pressure throughout the entire array of surfaces.

The new Stradic is a very clean and compact looking reel

The result is not just a robust drag but one that is more resistant to contamination as steel protects the felt washers in between.  The entire system is further protected and made waterproof with a rubber gasket on the inside of the adjustment knob that helps seal out water and grit. With fish on the line the drag system delivered smooth and consistent pressure, never once shuddering under load.

Drop shotting with the Stradic FJ

Ergonomics: Cosmetically the new Stradic FJ reels look compact and feel very solid in hand. The 2500 size weighed in at a respectable 9.2oz. which is lighter than the original 2000 sized FG reel which had a lower line capacity. The 2500 size comes with a traditional paddle styled handle while the mid sized Stradic reels come with T-shaped handles, and the larger sizes come with “Power Egg” shaped handles for additional leverage. While certainly not an ultralight reel the 2500 size balanced out well with many of the rods we tested the reel with, especially split grip rods. While the rubber barrel grip gets the job done we would have loved to have seen an ergonomically sculpted wooden handle that was reminiscent of the wooden barrel knob on the original FI Series.

The smaller reels feature a barrel knob

Next Section: A decade has gone by and the Stradic is Back









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