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Reel Review

WTF?!? ... Shimano Sustain with an Edge (continued)

Field Tests: But are fancy drag knobs and an unusual, extra appendage enough to win over customers? Of course not. The reel must perform out on the water as well, but before that there's the matter of line selection for this reel. Normally, this would not warrant an entirely different discussion, but one frustration I've had with spinning reels made for the North American market is the lack of a shallow spool option. I prefer to use high end fluorocarbon on my spinning reels. Unfortunately, most high end fluorocarbons in finesse sized diameters are not available in spools with enough line to fill a standard sized spool on a spinning reel.

Testing out the drag on Clear Lake.

Line Selection: If you want to use, say Sunline Shooter Metan Invisible in five (5) pound test on a 2500 or 3000 sized spool, you'll either need to deal with an under filled spool (which will affect casting distance), or you can back fill your spool with mono (which will require a connection knot), or you can try crafting some type of arbor to create your own shallow spool.

Do we really need this much line capacity on a spinning reel?

Why are those two things issues? Well, an underfilled spool can, and will affect your casting distance because as your line is coming off the reel's spool, the more prominent the lip on the spinning reel's spool, the more your line will get choked off during your cast, the shorter your cast will be as a result.

Filled just to the inside taper of the spool, our Sustain 2500 FG held 100 yards of 8lb Seaguar Tatsu FC.

Connection knots on the other hand, can sometimes get a little sticky. The more line that comes off your spool during a cast, the closer you get to exposing that connection knot. As it is exposed, sometimes that connection knot will catch your line as it's coming off your spool affecting not only your distance, but because of the way it interferes with your cast by catching your line and stopping its flow off your spool for a fraction of a second, accuracy as well.

Rather than provide a one piece design...

You might argue, well, why not use a smaller reel to accommodate the smaller line diameters? This is a possible solution, true, but one of the ways to mitigate against line memory (especially with fluorocarbon) and twist is to use a spinning reel with a larger sized spool. I love the physical size of the 1000 and 500 size spinning reels, but the line management hassles are just not worth it.

... the Sustain FG's handle is made to fold over for storage and transport.

Part of my reason for bringing this up? They have this figured out in Japan. Their spinning reels and aftermarket spools are commonly offered in 2004, 2506, and 2508 sizes. The spools carrying these designations are designed to hold 100 meters of 4, 6, and 8 pound test line respectively. Spools of high end fluorocarbon are packaged with the intent of filling these reels right out of the packaging so there is no need to deal with underfilled spools, connection knots, and there's minimal wasted line.

"Aero Wrap II" is a term Shimano uses to refer to their engineering of the reel's oscillation and how the line is wrapped on the spool.

If you share my frustration, the other reason for my bringing this up is, we found a solution. Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon, one of our current favorite high-end fluorocarbon fishing lines, is available in 200 yard spools. That's generally enough line to fill just about any 2000 - 3000 sized spinning reel with anything from 6 pound test on up.

The Sustain 2500FG features a EVA knob. We're kind of neutral on this material but definitely prefer their Septon grips to this.

After all that discussion? Our Sustain 2500FG held 100 yards of  eight (8) pound Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon. From there, I fished it onboard both a Megabass F2-610XSRC Full House and a G.Loomis NRX 803S JWR spinning rod.

A look a the kick-stand in action.

Casting: Distance with a spinning reel is rarely, if ever an issue to us with today's reel designs. In most cases, the length of your rod and the diameter (or pound test) of your fishing line you're using will have a greater affect on actual distance. As such the Sustan 2500FG performed as expected. Feathering the reel's spool on each cast was not an issue with either rod and line came off the spool smooth and tangle free.

Another successful catch.

Retrieve: Borrowing again from it's big sister Stella, the Sustain FG features X-Ship - an engineering design where by adding additional bearings to support the drive shaft, Shimano is able to make the reel more efficient in the transfer of power from your hand into the main gear. End result? The force it takes to turn the handle of the reel is very small giving you more torque as you're fighting a fish or retrieving your lure in the water.

Time for an appointment in the lab.

Next Section: Line management and drag performance









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