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Reel Review

It’s all about the Journey – The Shimano Stella FI Spinning Reel (continued)


Price & Applications: At this point we have established that the Shimano Stella FI is a pretty spectacular performing reel but is it really that much better than other reel’s both in Shimano’s own lineup and that of their competitors that cost so much less? Does the “FI” really stand for “Fiscally Implausible?”


Even the spool is beautifully machined and anodized

The reel that the Stella best matches up with is the Daiwa Steez EX which retails for $749 dollars, and even there the two reels are so very different when it comes to design philosophies and features. While the Stella FI goes for sleek form factor and smooth and solid yet balanced feel the Steez uses their Zaion composite material and MagSeal bearings to pursue the ultimate in lightweight and precise feel with even better corrosion resistance. The two reels are both certainly premium priced but are so different in design and feel that it is unlikely that one or the other will be able to sway die hard Shimano or Daiwa fans to switch camps. (Though quite different both of these reels bring unique features and capabilities to the table, and we think that it would be interesting to do a head to head shootout between the two, stay tuned.)


Everything on the Stella looks and feels high end

When you compare the Stella FI to other reels like the Stradic FK which retails for $199-$299 and the Stradic CI4+ that retails for $229-$239, or even the Sustain FG which tops out at $349.99 the Stella seems massively overpriced. Reels like the Stradic and Sustain get you to around 75%, maybe even 80%, of the performance and yet they retail for less than less than half as much as the Stella.


The Stella FI is an absolute blast to finesse fish with, though small it delivers plenty of power and is extremely smooth at the same time

I compare this to cars for example. The compact car is going to get you from point A to B just fine but you certainly won’t think twice about how fun the drive was, but even your everyday commute is going to be a more memorable experience behind the wheel of an exotic sports car. The Stella FI reels were not designed to be those everyday “drivers,” they can be fished everyday but these reels were created for enthusiasts, those that want to fish a halo product, one that pushes the envelope in all areas… including the price of admission.


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 Stella FI 2000 Spinning Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent construction throughout the Stella FI is just about as good as it gets. Shimano seems to have put as much work into the quality inside and outside this particular reel, as the tolerances match up to the materials 9
Performance Casting was decent but the retrieve on this reel is excellent both from a smooth and powerful perspective. Though the Stella FI 2000 is a small reel it still boasts some serious torque and a consistent drag 9.5
Price A serious investment even for enthusiasts, this little reel is designed for enthusiasts and with a price point near 800 dollars just as exclusive as it is beautiful. Other reels from Shimano's own lineup offer much of what the Stella FI does at a much lower price but the refinement that the Stella FI offers is definitely a notch above, the question is if that "notch" is worth all that extra cash to you? 4
Features Plenty of features including the design of the reel itself which gives the reel better balance. Other proven Shimano features include X-Ship, SR-Concept, Hagane metal body, micro-module gearing, and a aluminum cold forge spool 9
Design (Ergonomics) The Stella FI 2000 boasts excellent ergonomics and balances out well with light weight spinning rods 9
Application The Stella FI 2000 is a good reel for trout, panfish, and finesse fishing for largemouth bass. If you are looking for a more multi-purpose reel it is good to know that Shimano offers a wide range of Stella FI sizes. If your looking for the ultimate finesse spinning reel this might be it 8

Total Score

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

+ Excellent materials and tolerances, this is one very refined reel - A big investment, even for enthusiasts
+ Powerful gearing and plenty of torque to bring in big fish - Drag is consistent but not very powerful
+ Extremely smooth  
+ Very balanced  
+ Stunning good looks  

Conclusion: The Stella is uncompromising, it makes no excuses, it screams exclusive, and why not? While all those other spinning reels, even those from Shimano’s own more affordably priced lineup, will certainly catch you just as many fish, the Stella Series has always been about more than getting from cast to catch, it is all about the journey. This is the best spinning reel in Shimano’s lineup, and hands down the best Stella to date. Packed with the latest features the Stella is more than just an amalgamation of new design philosophies and features, this latest iteration is nothing short of a fishable work of art. Just like exotic sports cars look fast just sitting in the showroom the Stella channels performance just sitting on the shelf.


Simply put, the Stella FI is the best Stella to date.

I know that there are some anglers out there that will buy the Stella just to park it on the shelf and are content to admire the reel’s beauty, but that really would be a waste. The Stella FI needs to be fished, and only then will you appreciate just how smooth, powerful, and refined this little reel is. If you are lucky enough to own this reel I implore you to fish it, fish it hard, and every chance you get to cast an ultralight line!


The Stella FI is made for enthusiasts and for so much more than just cast to catch, it is for savoring the entire journey

The premium Stella FI will totally satisfy enthusiast anglers, as well as be the proper showcase for the latest technologies that the company has to offer. Over time these features and designs will undoubtedly trickle down through the rest of Shimano’s spinning reel lineup and the company will have to find a way to up the ante once again, something that is hard to imagine considering just how good the Stella FI already is. While not for everyone the Stella FI checks off all the boxes when it comes to performance, features, styling, and exclusivity for the enthusiast looking to savor every finesse fishing moment on the water.


Enthusiasts can find the Shimano Stella FI at Tackle Warehouse










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