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Reel Review

Shimano's flagship spinning reel, the Stella 3000FB offers immense performance, and has the price tag to match (continued)

Drag: This is usually where it all comes down for most anglers when thinking of stopping that redfish dead cold in the water or simply hoping that a large Jack wont burn the drag up. Again Shimano does not fail and instead pushes the envelope. By taking the reel apart one can appreciate the logic of the new support system. Flip the spool over and you see a support system that matches the bearing and bushing on the main shaft. This support system virtually eliminates any wobble or play of the spool on the shaft. The drag is made of wool and is reported to maintain a smooth even pressure at all settings and resist overheating.  During our trials I saw nothing in the performance of the reel to contradict this statement. 


Refined construction, a close up of the rigid support shaft


The drag was smooth, consistent and awe inspiring at 12 lb of pressure.  Even when using 20 lb braid this is more then sufficient to handle that line class. I went through all the drag ranges depending on the species.  For soft lipped trout I was able to lighten up yet maintain a slightly stronger pressure due to the efficient smoothness of the drag. For Sheephead and small mangrove snapper tightening down the drag and hauling the from structure was not an issue. Speedsters like Spanish mackerel could only get so far before the drag wore them down with little effort on my part.


S-Guards help protect the reel from impact damage


Durability: This is where things got interesting. Many tackle makers claim and tout their products but not all live up to it. The Shimano Stella FB is not one of those. At this price range my first concern was my reel was going to get boat rash. Painfully I forced myself to not pay attention at times as my rod and reel lay on the boat while I fished with other sets and my friend ran around the boat chasing a fish or casting.  After the trial was over I amazingly and gladly found not a single scratch on the reel. I attest this to the Guard fins that Shimano placed on the reel around the rotor and the back. These areas got minor scratches but the finish on the reel is as the first day. The A-RB in typical Shimano fashion showed not signs of corrosion and the reel is as smooth as the first day. This all done with little maintenance other then washing down the reel with a moist cloth after fishing. The drag remained clean with no sediment thanks to the water proof gasket, and the lubrication port allowed for easy maintenance without have to take the reel apart for simple application. With all these safe guards placed on the reel, I found myself after a while not even thinking that the reel was made of light weight magnesium.


The Stella 3000FB may cost a lot but it does deliver exceptional saltwater performance for those that are looking for an ultimate spinning outfit


Price: All good things must come to an end. This my friends is where it ends. At $509.00 the Stella FB is not a “I think I will get two today for back up” reel. It is truly an expensive reel. In today’s market many tackle manufacturers now have very good drag systems, or durable finishes, or simply go for smoothness. But not many can combine all those aspects into one product and walk away with a stylish, sleek, strong and dependable reel. If you are looking for a bang for the buck reel this is not it. If you are looking for a beauty of a reel that will indeed have the ability to last a lifetime, and maybe even something to put on your will, then this is the reel for you.



Shimano Stella 3000FB Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Stella FB is well made.  A lightweight reel with well thought out protective measures to keep the beauty of the reel lasting.  The gear system, A-RB and lubrication port only add to the quality and long term endurance of the reel 9.5
Performance With a one piece bail wire, 12 BB and a machined handle the Stella extremely well. The only area Shimano could improve on is the distance of a cast is by increasing the arbor of the spool 9
Price Ouch...With a $500.00 + price range the Stella is not for everyone.  The target audience is limited, but Shimano has listened to what that audience wants and crammed into a small package 5
Features Typical of Shimano, the Stella being the flagship is crammed full of features that improve the endurance, performance and beauty of the reel.  One can only hope that things such as 3-D gears or rigid support drag will find their way down to other reels. 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) The Stella FB is a beauty and designed to last that way. The magnesium body helps with the weight, but Daiwa has reportedly aluminum bodied reels such as the Certate that rival that weight or are even less. 8.5

With the new gearing system and excellent drag the Stella can perform for many species.  The 3000 is more then able to handle most inshore saltwater fish short of 30+ lb tarpon


Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Lightweight reel for line class L Premium Price
J Excellent smooth drag L There are other reels in this weight class that are not magnesium
J Excellent drag support system L No spare spool
J Finish on reel is top quality  
J The S-Guards form a well placed barrier against damage  

 The new Stella FB is truly a work of art. While it is not for every angler, those that chose to buy it will not regret it. For once a tackle maker has made an expensive reel that has the potential to really last and give the angler the ability to enjoy it for a very lengthy time. It is a solid performer with the diversity to catch a multitude of inshore or freshwater fish without having to switch gear. The upgrades are truly a work of art and the new retrieve system is great. The Stella retains its classic smoothness yet now also gives the angler a feeling a connection with the guts of the reel, thereby only increasing the faith in the product being used. Paired with your favorite light graphite rod this set can be used all day with out tiring. Perfect for those who like to throw plastic, or even wade fish without concern for the durability of the reel in the salt. Maintenance issues remain minimal and with the port system Shimano tries to keep it as simple as possible. For the inshore aficionado that is willing to pay for superior quality and performance this is the reel of choice.












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