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Reel Review

Coming full Circle over a Decade, the Stradic is Back


Date: 10/18/11
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.41 - EDITOR'S CHOICE!

Exactly ten years ago, to the day, we took a look at the Shimano Stradic FG series of reels which featured striking white paint, and though I was not initially sold on the finish the reel’s performance won me over and it became the first a spinning reel to ever take home a TT Editor’s Choice Award. Subsequent Stradic reels upped the level of performance by integrating features that trickled down from the Stella and Sustain reels but the Stradic series seemed to get lost in the lineup over time, eventually losing both the white finish and the very identity and positioning of the product.


New for the 2012 season is the return of a white finished Stradic


That was until the CI4 made the overall series relevant once again. Many anglers guessed, and hoped, that it was just a matter of time until Shimano introduced an updated aluminum based Stradic, one that continued to up the ante but also remained true to everything that the “Stradic” once embodied, and that included the once polarizing but now nostalgic white finish.


Time to take a look at the reel in the lab


Shimano Stradic FJ (ST2500FJ) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 6/200, 8/140, 10/120
Gear Ratio 6.0:1
Line retrieve per crank 34 inches
Weight 9.2 oz
Bearings 5BB, 1RB
Additional Features Aluminum frame, graphite sideplate, graphite rotor, S-Concept, S A-RB bearings, Fluidrive II, Super Stopper II, Machined aluminum handle shank, AERO Wrap II Oscillation, waterproof drag, Maintenance port, Repairable clicker, X-Ship design
Origin Malaysia
MSRP $179.99


Simple lubes can be done through the provided "Maintenance Port"

Impressions: This past ICAST Shimano unveiled a number of exciting spinning reel updates including a radically redesigned new Sustain which took many cues from the JDM market as well as the introduction of the new Stradic FJ series. The first thing that all the buyers and press noticed was the return to the white finish. Like previous generation Stradic reels the new series was designed to be a workhorse reel, one with plenty of refinement but with the ability to be used on a day in and day out basis by tournament anglers and weekend warriors alike. It was announced that these new reels would also be made available in a complete range of sizes ranging from the 1000 models designed for ultralight applications up to the massive 8000 series for serious saltwater fishing with PowerPro.

The reel features a 6 disc drag system which delivers smooth and consistent stopping power

Compared to the previous generation Stradic FI 2500 the new reel is instantly more recognizable as a “Stradic” and weighs in .3oz. less overall. But it isn’t just cosmetics that make a reel a “Stradic.” Would this new reel really embody what made the series so popular to begin with? This includes a rugged design, high reliability in a wide range of applications, a wide range of sizes to address a spectrum of applications, and perhaps most importantly, deliver all of these features at a reasonable price.

A look at the bail trip mechanism

We purchased our Stradic 2500 FJ test reel from Tackle Warehouse and before I headed into the field the reel was examined in the lab both inside and out. The materials used throughout the reel’s construction looked very high quality and use of plastic was pared down to a minimum. The frame is aluminum and the sideplate is constructed out of graphite but the gearing meshes well with very tight tolerance thanks to strategically placed bearing support.

With the armor removed we get into the "guts"

Also notable is a new bail trip mechanism which flips back with very little resistance. The clicker mechanism features a repairable design and the entire bail system flips back down when it comes in contact with a molded rubber ring positioned at the base of the rotor. This ring allows the mechanism to reset 360 degrees and gives the entire mechanism a smooth and consistent rebound.

A look at the balanced rotor

The Stradic FJ is loaded with all the Shimano goodies including S A-RB ball bearings and SR Concept design which improves gearing, the handle, and incorporates a one-piece bail wire. The reel felt very smooth in the lab and it was finally time to see just how the new design translates into real world applications like casting and winding power.

The main reel is very compact

Next Section: The Stradic FJ hits the water









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