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Reel Review


Relevant once again, the new Shimano Stradic CI4 (continued)

Durability: We didn’t experience any durability problems during our tests and we even submerged the entire reel in water during testing. The CI4 frame feels somewhat similar to traditional graphite in hand but is unquestionably more rigid, though definitely less stiff than aluminum. Aluminum is a popular choice for reels because it offers a good balance of light overall weight and the proper rigidity necessary to hold gearing in tolerance. While the Stradic’s CI4 frame is less rigid than aluminum we didn’t experience any sloppiness in the gearing after time, and the plus side of this material is that there is no metal on the frame to corrode.


The longer I fished the Stradic the more I liked the reel's unique fit and finish

While I was just singing the praises of the EVA barrel grip in terms of ergonomics this is one area where over the long term there are possibly more durability concerns than if the company had utilized their traditional septon material. EVA is great when it is new but can take damage from hooks or even direct pressure from heavy objects. As long as anglers are careful to protect the knob it should stay in good condition for the lifespan of the reel.


The 2500 size is great for Crappie and Largemouth while the 1000 size is good for panfish and trout

Price & Applications: The Stradic will be available in two sizes, a 1000 and 2500 size, and is designed to focus on lightweight finesse fishing applications including shakey head, drop shot, and light Texas rigs. Both sizes feature a 6.0:1 gear ratio and the smaller 1000 size weighs in at 6.2oz while the 2500 size is 7.0oz., both reels also retail for $199.99. The Stradic CI4 2500 size is great for larger Crappie, Smallies and Largemouth bass while the 1000 size is a great ultralight reel for panfish and trout. Unfortunately for now only two reel sizes are available, wouldn’t it make sense that this corrosion resistant material be used on larger sizes for saltwater anglers? Only time will tell if Shimano makes larger reels available, but for now Shimano has their even more affordable Stradic FI series for saltwater anyways.


The Stradic is made in Malaysia

If you employ PowerPro line tipped with Fluorocarbon the 2500 size will have more than enough capacity to drop shot even the deepest lakes as well as fish for some inshore species. The CI4 only comes with a single spool, an extra spool would make it easier to change from mono to braid on the fly. The ability to fish the Stradic CI4 in brackish and saltwater applications without fear of corrosion to the frame is a big plus and the interior of the reel benefits from the company’s Paladin cold forged aluminum drive gear and hardened brass pinion gear which not only improves durability but helps keep the Stradic feeling smooth long after it left the box.


Ms. Casey likes the lightweight Stradic and so do we...

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Shimano Stradic CI4 (2500F) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Stradic CI4 is built with carbon fiber versus graphite or aluminum and the construction works on this lightweight reel, it may not be as rigid as aluminum but it does a great job keeping the gearing in tight tolerance while staying light in overall weight 8.5
Performance The Stradic CI4 makes me remember why I liked the original Stradic series yet ups the ante with improved performance. This Stradic stands out in the lineup and delivers in casting, retrieve and drag performance 9
Price Stradics used to be just over a hundred dollars but those days are gone, this new reel may be more expensive but it offers so much more that the price is justified. At 199 dollars it is hard to justify the extra 50 dollars for the Sustain FE 8
Features A long list of features including Carbon frame, S-Concept, S A-RB bearings, Fluidrive II, Super Stopper II, Machined aluminum handle shank, EVA round grip, AERO Wrap II, waterproof drag, maintenance port, and a repairable clicker. The only thing that would push the features over the top would be a spare spool 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Overall exceptional ergonomics, this reel is light and balances out well with the Cumara rods. The only area of concern is the extremely small anti-reverse lever 9
Application Great for fresh and saltwater but because only two sizes are available making this reel best suited for light line finesse fishing 8

Total Score

8.50
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J The Carbon Fiber CI4 construction is stiff enough to maintain gear tolerances while reducing overall weight L Only two sizes are currently available
J Good caster and smooth retrieve L Frame still not as rigid as metal alloys
J Excellent waterproof drag is powerful and consistent  
J Excellent corrosion resistance  
J Reasonable price  

  

Conclusion: The Shimano Stradic CI4 was met with plenty of praise at ICAST when it debuted earlier this year and won best freshwater reel in the new product showcase. The combination of the new carbon fiber material and the striking new look of the reel has elevated the Stradic’s position on the Shimano lineup and for the first time since the pearl white classic reel was introduced. For the first time in a decade I feel like the Stradic once again has a distinct “personality” that sets it apart from the rest of the lineup. While not the aggressively priced reel that the Stradic once was the new CI4 reel is all about performance and cutting edge design for finesse fishing.

 


...this is the most memorable Stradic we have fished in years and is now a definite standout in Shimano's robust lineup

The clever use of carbon fiber gives the Stradic a low weight while still making it more durable and refined than standard XT-7 graphite used on mainstream spinning reel frames. The Stradic CI4 is so good that when you factor in price it becomes hard to justify paying 50 dollars more for a Sustain FE of the same size. The carbon fiber material worked out so well on this particular reel that I would speculate that the material will somehow make it into Shimano’s baitcasting line in the future. For now the Stradic is back, the reel is exciting on so many levels making the series relevant once again. The Stradic CI4 is an exceptional reel for finesse fishing and worth every penny of its 199 dollar price point. It is so good that it can readily challenge competing reels costing up to 50% more in many categories, making this lightweight performer the only spinning reel to win an Editors Choice Award this year!

Looking for the Shimano Stradic CI4?
Try Tackle Warehouse and Hi's Tackle Box


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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