Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Reel Review (Comparison)

Next Gen Spinning Shootout: Shimano Stradic Vs. Daiwa Capricorn

Date: 5/05/03
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano, Daiwa
Reviewer: Team TT

Introduction: Spinning reels have come a long way in the last 2 years, and it is now possible to take advantage of premium features on reels costing half as much as their past counterparts. The Shimano Stradic FH and Daiwa Capricorn represent the latest next generation reels that deliver an unprecedented level of performance and features for a price tag under 120 dollars. While both are fine reels, which one would better suit your personal fishing techniques?


Shimano Stradic (2500) Specifications

Line Capacity 6/200; 8/140;10/120
Gear Ratio 6.0:1
Weight 9.7 (oz)
Bearings 4BB, 1RB
Additional Features Shimano metal series, Super Stopper II, Fluidrive II, Power Roller, and dyna-balance, maintenance port for easy access to main gear,
MSRP $119.99


Daiwa Capricorn (2000) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 6/135, 8/110, 10/90
Gear Ratio 4.7:1
Weight 9.5 (oz)
Bearings 4 BB, 1 RB
Additional Features Air Bail™ tubular stainless bail for greater strength, BailSafe™ system, Infinite Anti-Reverse, Reverse-taper, aluminum ABS spool, Tangle Guard™, machined aluminum handle arm, Free spare aluminum spool
MSRP $114.95

Impressions: Sometimes as products strive to differentiate they somehow become more of the same, this is certainly the case with these two contenders. Characteristics that were once unique to each company are exhibited by both reels. Shimano chose to incorporate their Stradic with their new S-Concept design philosophy to make this reel the most affordable S-Concept reel in their lineup. Daiwa on the other hand chose to introduce the Capricorn, which is the current flagship of their new "Hardbodyz" lineup.


Both contenders strive to offer unprecedented features and performance found in a sub 120 dollar package

The Real World Test: For our tests we chose the workhorse sized reels that most anglers would utilize for the majority of freshwater fishing. The Stradic makes a jump from their 1000 size up to 2500 so we had to compare both of these to the Daiwa Capricorn 2000. The Stradic 1000 is impressively lightweight weighing in at only 7.9oz. The Capricorn (similar to the Stradic Mg) fabricated one body for both their 1500 and 2000 sized reels, the only difference is the size of the spool...and unfortunately this also means that the Capricorn bears the identical weight to the 2000 model at 9.5oz. For our tests the reels were placed on light and medium GLoomis GL3 SJR783 and SR842 travel rods for a series of bass and trout fishing.

The elegant Stradic FH definitely casts better then the previous model thanks to super slow oscillation which winds line neater on the spool


Materials: Both reels make good use of aluminum alloy, and sport very few plastic components. In stark comparison to the matte finished Capricorn, the Stradic is gloss coated on the main body and gold plates, giving it a shiny look and feel. The only component that is plastic on both reels is the bail arm. Both reels use clever porting on the rotor in an effort to reduce total weight. In this category it would have been a complete tie except for the fact that Shimano goes one step further by supplying anglers with an identical spare spool, while the Capricorn comes with an aluminum spool with a non-coated lip. (Category winner: Stradic)


Daiwa made sure to continue use of its popular ABS spool on all their new
Hardbodyz reels

Profile: Hardcore Daiwa fans had to adjust to the new Hardbodyz series of reels when first introduced. The whole philosophy behind the Daiwa "Hardbodyz" was to build a series of reels with a more compact design, offering anglers more precision. All of our past shootouts have marveled at the sleek profile of reels like the Shimano Sustain. The Capricorn is now near identical to the Sustain profile while the Stradic looks very much like the older Daiwas! With this role reversal the Stradic is now the shorter wider reel. A lot of this has to do with the new gearing incorporated into the S-Concept reels, and the inclusion of Shimano's maintenance port in the base of the reel. In terms of choosing a profile that you like it will ultimately come down to pure preference, as both designs feature a short reel stem putting the spool within easy reach of your fingers for great line control. Both reels also do a good job of minimizing the bail and rotor reach so you don't need to worry about bruising your knuckles. (Category winner: Tie)

Amazingly the Daiwa Capricorn (right) is much slimmer then the new Stradic FH

Casting: When you cast the new Stradic you will notice a significant gain in casting distance over the previous model. This is caused by what Shimano calls "super slow oscillation." The oscillation of the spool has been adjusted both through gearing and a wider spool to be less then the previous models. Line is then wound onto the spool slower and in a more even manner. This line management allows the line to flow from the spool in much nicer curls minimizing energy loss, and resulting in longer more accurate casts. While this technology definitely works, it is not much different then what Daiwa has been preaching for years with their ABS spool design. The Capricorn continued to beat the Stradic FH in almost every cast with test plugs and a variety of lures. The Capricorn casts easier and farther thanks to the extra wide ABS (Advanced Ballistic System) spool. The Capricorn's enlarged reverse taper spool allows line to flow out of the spool in larger coils, producing less line memory, and results in less casting friction for longer more effortless casts. (Category winner: Capricorn)


The Stradic's spool (left) is wider then before but still small in diameter when compared to the ABS spools, as a bonus Shimano does have very large drag washers

The Retrieve: Speed is the combined function of ratio and spool size. The Stradic is the faster of these reels and does an excellent job burning spinnerbaits or reeling fish in quickly with authority. With its enlarged spool the Capricorn is still quite fast, but still better suited for finesse applications rather then ultra fast retrieves. In terms of smoothness both reels are very smooth at the get go, and exhibited almost no oscillation in the spool. Both are well balanced and feel solid, never wobbling no matter how fast the retrieve.


When considering sheer smoothness we were surprised to find the Capricorn still smoother then the S-Concept based Stradic. While both started out almost identical in smoothness, by day three the Stradic just didn't feel as smooth as it did in the earlier tests. Suspecting that the factory lubrication had begun to wear thin we opened the maintenance port to add some gear oil. While the reel did become smoother it still did not demonstrate the friction feel retrieve illustrated by the Capricorn. Nonetheless the Stradic still has a respectable retrieve, and both reels do well with a total bearing count of 5 a-piece. In this category anglers will need to ask themselves whether they prefer the advantages of the Capricorn's enlarged ABS spool coupled with a slower gear ratio, or the Stradic's new super slow oscillation combined with a faster gear ratio. (Category winner: Capricorn)

Daiwa's tubular Air-Bail is the better implementation and offers problem free pickup of the thinnest or most abrasive super-lines

The Bail: This is the one category that there is a apparent winner. The Daiwa Capricorn far outshines the Stradic's conventional wire implementation. The Capricorn's tubular stainless air-bail is stronger, has a more positive line pickup and exhibits fewer line snags. Key to the smooth line pickup is the fact that at the air-bail connection to the teardrop shaped goes over the connection, so no mater how thin the line it slips neatly onto the roller. In stark comparison to the slick Air-Bail the Stradic uses a standard wire that connects into the teardrop, at the connection the teardrop has two very sharp points that can actually catch your line, backing it up, or in some cases actually cutting it. This was a known problem when the new Stradic was first introduced in Japan, and it is disappointing to see no improvement prior to US introduction. Anglers in Japan have found adding epoxy or glue to smooth out the connection eliminates this concern. (Category winner: Capricorn)

Shimano drag knobs (left) are very easy to adjust, while the Stradic's drag offers the same pressure, and even more adjustability, it is prone to more exposure to foreign materials since it is not sealed and can become grainy

The Drag: Shimano ups the ante with the introduction of the smoother more precise S-Concept drag which is a world better then their previous design. One of the main reasons Daiwa spinning reels are a favorite among anglers is due to their excellent drag performance. Well now Shimano S-Concept reels are boasting drags that truly rival Daiwa's latest offerings. Increased drag surface area and a new micro click function allow the Stradic to make drag adjustments in finer increments then the Capricorn! In terms of total drag pressure the new Stradic is also able to generate as much counter pressure as the Capricorn! Where the Stradic's drag falls short is in its open drag knob design which is much more prone to contaminates like grit and sand then the sealed system employed by the Capricorn. In order to step up to a completely sealed Shimano drag anglers will have to opt for the new Sustain or Stella. (Category winner: Capricorn)


Shimano's breakaway handle (left) folds away neatly and maintains rigidity when in use, while the Capricorn uses an attractive high quality machined handle


The Ergonomics: In a complete role reversal Shimano and Daiwa trade handle implementations on these reels. Daiwa in the past has always relied on its breakaway handle design, while the upscale Shimano reels came with machined aluminum handles. The machined aluminum handles are arguably more handsome in design, and are also designed to be more rigid so there is no play in the handle. The breakaway handles are built for functionality and can instantly fold over for more compact storage. In this category Shimano has done an excellent job in designing a breakaway handle that folds neatly away but still feels completely solid when being utilized. In addition the Stradic's handle implementation is more ergonomically friendly and comfortable then the hardened plastic Capricorn knob. Both reels have absolutely no back play thanks to well implemented anti-reverse roller bearings, so getting consistent hook sets is painless.


Daiwa reels which have always felt more brawny in design make a sharp turn in favor of refinement with the ultra smooth and slim Capricorn. Shimano reels which have always been known for elegant refinement modifies their design to be more muscular with a widened body and tougher drag and hardened pinion gears. The Stradic also sports new features like the well implemented maintenance port, which for the first time allows anglers easy access to the main gearing. (Category winner: Stradic)


Shimano Stradic Ratings:

Shimano Stradic FH Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Shimano Stradic FH uses new materials and design which make it a consistent performer in all tests. 9
Performance Good performance in cast tests thanks to the super slow oscillation, and the drag performance is way up over the previous Shimano models but we were amazed how quickly the reel seemed to lose its overall smoothness. 8
Price A great price for a reel with this many features, just a year ago you had to pay over 200 dollars for a Shimano reel with this many features. 9
Features The Shimano Stradic is feature packed, with their new breakaway handle, S-Concept features, and well designed maintenance port allows anglers unprecedented access to the inner workings of the reel's main gearing. 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) The 1000 series of the Stradic is very light, and the overall ergonomics of the Stradic are excellent. The soft knob provides good leverage and comfort for your fingers hours into fishing 8.7
Application The new Stradic is excellent for all freshwater applications and is a solid performer for bass and trout. Unfortunately the open drag system prohibits this reel from fishing gritty and sandy water conditions. If you want a sealed drag system from Shimano you will have to opt for the Sustain or Stella. 7.8

Total Score


Daiwa Capricorn Ratings:

Daiwa Capricorn 2000 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality With a new slim body the Capricorn delivers flex free performance, a lighter overall weight, and is more attractive then ever 9
Performance Great performance in both cast and drag tests. You will be surprised how silky smooth and compact this reel feels on every turn of the handle 9
Price A great price for a reel with features like the "Air Bail" which are normally found in reels of a much higher price point 9
Features Feature packed with many trademarked designs that really work, the Air bail is the preeminent feature of this reel 9
Design (Ergonomics) Not as light as some reels but still a step in the right direction. While we would have loved to see a true ultra light version the 2000 size is very competitive. The new aluminum handle has no flex and the drag controls are great. 8.5
Application The new Capricorn is great for bass and many other species. A lighter UL version would be great fro trout. 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

Reel Comparison Pluses and Minuses

Shimano Stradic FH

                 Plus                                    Minus

J S-Concept Features L Retrieve not as smooth after prolonged use
J Good Casting L Non-sealed drag
J Spare spool is identical L Flawed bail
J Precise drag settings  
J Very cool maintenance port  

Daiwa Capricorn

                 Plus                                    Minus

J ABS spool L 1500 reel uses same body and is same weight
J Excellent casting L Die hard Daiwa fans will miss the breakaway handle
J "Air Bail"  
J Sealed drag system delivers  
J Smooth consistent performance  

Conclusion: After our fierce shootout the Capricorn walked away claiming triumph in 4 out of 7 categories, and tying in one. The Shimano Stradic FH has come a long way with the implementation of the new S-Concept design philosophy but the bar has been raised, and reels like the Daiwa Capricorn exhibit a better overall balance of performance and refinement. Daiwa did a great job engineering a reel with new attributes while making sure to preserve their most popular features, which include the ABS spool and Air-Bail. Tournament and weekend warriors are not the only people taking a keen interest in the Capricorn, as manufacturers like Cabelas and St. Croix are now releasing OEM versions of the Capricorn. In fact the Cabela's Prodigy uses the same Hardbodyz frame but delivers even more silky smooth performance from a total of 8bb, and Daiwa worked hard with Cabelas to shave off additional weight from the reel! The Stradic FH is a fine reel, but the Capricorn is the clear winner of our shootout as it offers problem free performance across all categories, and begets a new level of refinement to the already high performance Daiwa lineup.


Want to put in your two cents? Post your own opinion on the
TackleTour Forum!










Copyright © 2000-2022 TackleTour LLC All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy information