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Reel Review

 

Shimano Stradic FK – A Solid Design (continued)

Features: The biggest feature of the Stradic FK is simply the Hagane concept design elements. The reel features a very nice aluminum cold forged spool and comes with either a small barrel knob on the smaller 2500 and below models and a larger paddle knob for greater surface area and leverage on the bigger models.


In comparison to the rotor and the spool the reel's frame is actually very compact

On top of the highly marketed Hagane design features anglers will find many of the familiar Shimano design elements including the Dyna-Balance rotor and the Fluidrive II system for added smoothness, and the company’s Propulsion Line Management System which helps provide well rounded casting capabilities while helping mitigate line management issues. One thing that is missing from the Stradic FK is a reverse switch. While this reduces the complexity of the reel design, as well as eliminates an extra point of failure, or an area for more contaminates to enter the reel, it may be something that mainstream anglers may miss. Higher end angler really won’t care, and probably rarely employ this feature on their spinning reels during everyday use.

Features Ratings for Shimano Stradic FK

Spool Bearing (1–2)

Line Roller Bearing (1–2)

Knob Bearings (1–3)

Water Resistant Drag
(1–2)

Spare Spool
(1–2)

Reel Cover
(1–2)

Total

Possible

Rating (= Tot/Pos *10)

2

2

3

2

1

1

11

13

8.46

Design and Ergonomics: The Stradic FK is a slick looking reel, arguably beautiful from certain angles, and angles is what this reel is all about. When you look at the reel head on the rotor makes it look deceivingly larger than it actually is with the pointed edges, and yet when you look at the body what you find is an overall quite compact and well balanced frame.


Not a big bass but a good initial test of the Stradic FK's ability to effectively fish finesse applications

Part Hagane concept, part just rousing artistic design, the lines on the Stradic FK are many yet flow together harmoniously, somewhat like a Lamborghini for example. But unlike a Lamborghini the Stradic FK is still designed to be moderately affordable. The Stradic Series has matured, it is no longer the mainstream reel of the past, no this new iteration is much higher end and in many ways is even more refined than the much more expensive Sustain FG spinning reels.


The reel weighed in at 8.3oz. (8.4oz. when spooled with PowerPro)

While the Shimano Stradic FK may look sleek and compact all the use of metal versus composites makes the reel feel solid, but not necessarily lightweight. The 2500 and 3000 sizes look almost identical and both weigh in at 8.3oz. with the main difference being line capacity and a retrieve ratio of 6.0:1 for the 2500 model versus 6.2:1 for the 3000 model. At 8.3oz. the Stradic FK is certainly not a heavyweight, but it does feel substantial, and you will want to test it out on various rods to determine whether or not it balances out your rig the way you like.


One of my favorite angles on the new reel is the very thin frame from the back

There are many anglers out there today that are obsessed with light weight rigs, and I can certainly understand why as the lighter overall setups tend to feel more responsive and are easier to fish with for extended periods. When even an ounce makes a difference to you, or you are planning to use your spinning for primarily finesse applications the composite based Stradic CI4+ is more likely going to match your preferences. For example the Stradic CI4+ 2500 model weighs in at only 6.8oz., which really does make a huge difference in overall rig weight and handling over the course of a day on the water.

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Shimano Stradic FK

Handle Length (1–5)

Knobs
(1–5)

 

Feathering(1–5)

Overall Weight (1–5)

Ease of Breakdown(1–5)

Total

Possible

Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

4

4

5

3

3

19

25

7.6

Application: The Shimano Stradic FK 2500 and 3000 sized reels are ideal for most bass fishing applications while the 1000 size will make an excellent trout or panfish reel. Both of these reels retail for the reasonable price of $199.99 each. If you’re targeting bigger freshwater fish or even saltwater species Shimano offers the Stradic FK in larger sizes and yet manages to keep the prices sensible, with a price premium of only 20 to 30 dollars depending on size.


The angled spool lip makes casting long distance or simply lobbing lightweight baits precisely very easy

It makes sense that the Stradic FK be offered in so many sizes, and the same Hagane concept features that make this reel so robust and reliable for bass also make it a real player in the salt as well. Just think cheaper TwinPower. Though it can be argued that the Hagane body in the reel is not 100% metal, the reel was designed by Shimano to work as a complete unit with the aluminum and composite both being used to create a reel with overall very good rigidity. Even the new shape of the composite rotor, which may look quite radical in design, was also designed to improve rigidity while reducing weight. Though it does exhibit a lot of new angles when I first looked at the Stradic FK I thought it looked more like a workhorse reel, and yet the more I used it the more I felt that it was absolutely refined enough to perform well across a wide range of finesse applications. The reel feels solid and yet never unwieldy when tossing drop shot rigs or the occasional shakey head, and when a fish is hooked every crank of the handle inspires confidence that you’re going to successfully land that fish. With both finesse and power this new Series might be the most well rounded Stradic yet.


The new Stradic FK is exceptionally well rounded

Over the entire season of use we really beat on our Stradic FK test reels and they still feel just about as smooth and powerful as the day we received them. The use of high quality metal components in this reel not only provides a high level of initial FOB (fresh out of box) performance, but will also help the reel maintain a smooth fluid retrieve a few seasons down

Application Ratings for Shimano Stradic FK

Horizontal (1–5)

Vertical
(1–5)

Finesse
(1–5)

Big Bait(1–5)

Topwater
(1–5)

Total

 Possible

Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

5

5

5

1

3

19

25

7.6

 

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 FK Spinning Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Hagane design with use of high quality metals in the frame and gearing. Overall nicely implemented throughout 9.0
Performance While the reel is tough enough to be used for power applications it still fits the bill of a finesse spinning reel and performed well across the spectrum, even when handling and protecting ultralight fluorocarbon or PowerPro braided lines 8.8
Price Right on the border of "good" and "great" when it comes to price. Though the Stradic FK now competes at the higher end segment it does provide much higher quality and performance than previous generation Stradic reels which helps justify the 200 dollar price point 8.0
Features All the usual Shimano fixings plus Hagane 8.46
Design (Ergonomics) Good overall. Not an ultralight but still balances well with most rigs. Anglers looking for the lightest rig possible can consider the similarly priced Stradic CI4+ Series as an alternative 7.6
Application Good for a wide spectrum of applications the Stradic FK is both refined and durable 7.6

Total Score

8.24
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

+ Great build quality overall - Metal versus composite use adds up in the form of weight (note the non stem side is composite)
+ Hagane elements deliver - Conventional color doesn't necessarily match the aggressive design
+ Aggressive angles and compact form factor give the reel a modern look and feel  
+ Casts and handles a wide range of lines well  
+ Smooth and powerful  

 

Conclusion: While the new Stradic FK may look very different than previous generations there is no doubt that the newest iteration has greatly matured. Over a season of use even the color of the reel, which I first found somewhat bland in comparison to the aggressive angler design, has really grown on me. I now like the way the reel looks, feels, and performs across many more applications than I thought it would. This reel is a solid performer, and when I say “solid” I mean both in terms of feel and actual performance. The Hagane design unites a number of concepts into a reel that feels very compact and powerful, and the Stradic FK proved that it could hold up very well when fished hard. While I first thought the new reel would be best suited for heavier applications it proved to have a level of refinement that made it feel right at home managing ultralight lines all the way down to 4lbs. for finesse fishing.

 


The Stradic FK ushers in the Hagane revolution for Shimano's freshwater spinning reels and we hope to see this translate through more even more affordable reels in the company's future lineup

 
The Stradic ST-2000 was the very first spinning reel to ever be awardedan Editor’s Choice from us all the way back in 2001, and Shimano proves that they are still on top of their spinning game with this latest iteration. The Stradic FK doesn’t build on traditional design elements or cosmetics specifically tying it to the past, instead the FK is a revolution in the series versus just another evolution, and anglers looking for a high performance spinning reel at and around the 200 dollar price point should definitely consider it.
 

Looking for the Shimano Stradic FK? Try Tackle Warehouse


 

 

 

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