Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Last Updated: March 9th, 2020

Every fisherman in the world will most probably know Shimano. They are one of the top manufacturers of rods and reels that by nature put a lot of thought into each product specifically in terms of specialist technologies that a vast majority of us have come to rely on. Shimano has a spinning reel for every situation and here I’ve put together a review of some of the best.


At A Glance: Top 3 Shimano Spinning Reels


We’ll covering everything from freshwater and saltwater to big offshore reels. I hope you find this helpful in picking the best Shimano spinning reel for you and the way you fish

OUR TOP PICKS

Shimano Saragosa SW Spinning Reel, Colour 5.6:1, Size 20000
Best Overall
Shimano Saragosa 20000F Saltwater Offshore Spinning Reel
  • Durable
  • Corrosion-resistant
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Nexave 4000 HG FE, Spinning Fishing Reel, NEX4000HGFE
Shimano Nexave 4000 HG FE Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Quick, smooth retrieve
  • Great price
VIEW ON AMAZON →
SHIMANO Sedona 1000FI, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel
Best Allrounder
Shimano Sedona F1
  • Good retrieve
  • Solid drag
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Ultegra 2500FB XG; Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel
SHIMANO ULTEGRA Spinning Reel
  • Light
  • Good drag
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With Front Drag, STCI42500FB
Best For Light Fishing
Shimano Stradic Ci4+
  • Light
  • Awesome to cast
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Nasci 4000 FB spinning fishing reel with front drag, NAS4000FB
Shimano Nasci 4000 FB
  • Lovely to cast
  • Great drag
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Stradic GTM 4000 SRC Spinning Fishing Reel With Fighting Drag, STR4000SGTMRC
SHIMANO Stradic GTM RC Spinning Reel
  • Good caster
  • Smooth retrieve
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Socorro 5000F SW Offshore Spinning Fishing Reel
SHIMANO Socorro SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable
  • Corrosion-resistant
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano Baitrunner 6000D, Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel
Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Solid drag
VIEW ON AMAZON →

Best Shimano Spinning Reels


Shimano Saragosa 20000F Saltwater Offshore Spinning Reel

Shimano Saragosa SW Spinning Reel, Colour 5.6:1, Size 20000

The Saragosa spinning reel is made for offshore fishing and targeting some of the biggest fish out there. It’s a serious piece of kit and can handle everything the ocean might throw at it.

The drag is fully sealed and made from a multi-disc carbon fiber disc system. It’s smooth and hugely powerful with a max of 44lbs. The sealed drag ensures the reel will last a long time and stand up well to corrosion but you will still need to maintain it. The bearings do go after a few years due to the size of fish you’re catching but they are easily replaced.

The reel comes with a braid-ready spool and has a big line capacity to match the size of fish that it’s capable of handling. The frame is aluminium and the rotor is made from graphite, this makes the reel very strong and durable.

The retrieve is quick and smooth thanks to the excellent gears, gear ratio and a good number of ball bearings. It also includes X-ship technology that will keep every wind efficient under pressure. It is quite a heavy reel but it needs to be to handle those big fish and it’s a tad expensive but it’ll last a lifetime with proper care.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Sealed
  • Great drag
  • Solid line capacity
  • Quick, smooth retrieve
  • Good for casting

Cons

  • Expensive
SEE ON AMAZON

Shimano Nexave 4000 HG FE Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano Nexave 4000 HG FE, Spinning Fishing Reel, NEX4000HGFE

This Shimano spinning reel was designed for freshwater and light inshore saltwater fishing, it hasn’t quite got the guts to go offshore though. The reel is made from graphite with an aluminium braid-ready spool, very handy when you go to fill your reel for the first time and the graphite will stand up well against corrosion.

The drag is smooth and strong, exactly what you need when the time comes to put pressure on a fish during a fight and you can be confident the reel isn’t going to fail when you hook that fish of a lifetime.

Overall the reel is light and includes Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management System that helps you cast further. If you fish hard and cast all day, you’ll feel the benefits of this quite quickly.

The combination of the high gear ratio and bearings gives a smooth retrieve even under pressure. It’s perfect for getting lures or buzz baits in quickly and for getting the most efficiency out of every wind while you’re fighting a fish.

The spinning reel is priced very well but it does feel a little delicate when you get your hands on it. Price and quality go hand in hand in fishing but if you treat the reel right it should still last a long time. The reel isn’t sealed so when saltwater fishing be sure to clean it properly and give it some extra maintenance.

Pros

  • Quick, smooth retrieve
  • Great price
  • Smooth, strong Drag
  • For use in both fresh and saltwater
  • Perfect for long days of casting

Cons

  • A little delicate
  • Not sealed
SEE ON AMAZON

Shimano Sedona F1

SHIMANO Sedona 1000FI, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

The Shimano Sedona F1 spinning reel is a well known reel and comes in numerous models that fit light freshwater fishing through to heavy offshore. The body is made from aluminium which is very durable and corrosion resistant. The gears feature Shimano’s HAGANE system which are some of the most durable and reliable gears out there. Your retrieve will not fail.

The drag is made from a multi-disc carbon system and will handle any fish out there when using the right model. It’s smooth, strong and reliable. The spool comes braid-ready and the line capacity is big enough to target giants, again with the correct model. The reel also includes the Propulsion Line Management System to help you cast further and reduce those annoying backlashes or wind knots.

Unfortunately, the reel isn’t sealed and will need consistent maintenance. It can get a bit stiff when submerged and not maintained properly so beware of this. Overall, it’s great value but it doesn’t come with anti-reverse.

Pros

  • Good retrieve
  • Solid drag
  • Good caster
  • Great price
  • Correct line capacity
  • Range of models for most situations

Cons

  • It’s not sealed
  • Can stiffen up
  • No anti-reverse
SEE ON AMAZON

SHIMANO ULTEGRA Spinning Reel

Shimano Ultegra 2500FB XG; Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

The Ultegra Shimano spinning reel also comes in various models to suit saltwater and freshwater fishing, it’s not quite big enough to use offshore but will be fine for surf fishing. This reel also has the HAGANE gear system and also includes X-Ship technology which makes each wind or spool turn count a little more when under pressure, perfect for lifting stubborn fish from the depths or to reduce friction for longer casts.

The drag is excellent and made from a carbon multi-disc system. The max drag is high enough for most fish and you have a great line capacity to back you. The reel is sealed with core protect to stop water or dirt getting inside and affecting the inner workings. This will reduce the amount of maintenance it needs but its not fully sealed so you’ll still need to check up on it.

The retrieve is quick but it’s not that smooth due to the reel body having a bit of give in it. This is not the end of the world but could become a little frustrating.

Pros

  • Light
  • Good drag
  • Great line capacity
  • Water intrusion protection system
  • Smooth caster

Cons

  • Retrieve isn’t so smooth
  • Play in the body
  • Not fully sealed
SEE ON AMAZON

Shimano Stradic Ci4+

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With Front Drag, STCI42500FB

This is one of Shimano’s top spinning reels and if you’re a serious fisherman with a big budget it’s worth looking at. The body is made from carbon fibre which makes the reel durable and super light for easy all-day casting. The drag is also made from carbon fiber to give a smooth and powerful system that’ll last a long time against corrosion.

The Stradic Ci4+ comes with all the tech Shimano makes including X-ship, HAGANE gears and core protect. It’s sealed, will help with your casting and each wind of the reel will be as efficient as it can be.

The retrieve is super smooth and quick but the bail arm needs to be flipped manually and can’t be done on the wind. Some fishermen find this annoying but if you just adjust your style a bit you’ll get used to it. The reel doesn’t have anti-reverse which is a shame plus the line roller bearing can fail but Shimano will send you a new one free of charge.

The reel comes in a range of models suitable for salt and freshwater fishing, the biggest of which is not that big and won’t manage big sharks of offshore species.

Pros

  • Light
  • Awesome to cast
  • Solid drag
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Sealed
  • Smooth, quick retrieve
  • Durable

Cons

  • Bail arm is stiff
  • Line roller bearing can fail
  • No anti-reverse
  • Expensive
SEE ON AMAZON

Shimano Nasci 4000 FB

Shimano Nasci 4000 FB spinning fishing reel with front drag, NAS4000FB

This is one of the Shimano spinning reels that looks the best in my opinion and is made purely for freshwater fishing. It’s great value for money but still has some of Shimano’s best tech inside such as Core-Protect, X-ship and the HAGANE gear system. The reel is made from aluminum and comes with a braid-ready spool, perfect for all your braid enthusiasts out there. It’s well made and will stand up well to bumps, scrapes and corrosion.

The retrieve is super smooth as is the drag and it casts beautifully. It comes in quite a few different sizes and even though it’s labelled as a freshwater reel I think it could handle some saltwater action with the proper care. The larger models would handle some solid inshore fish but you might be at a disadvantage with a small capacity. The reel isn’t sealed so if you do go into saltwater make sure you clean and service it after.

Pros

  • Lovely to cast
  • Great drag
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Good retrieve
  • Water intrusion system
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not sealed
  • Freshwater only
SEE ON AMAZON

SHIMANO Stradic GTM RC Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic GTM 4000 SRC Spinning Fishing Reel With Fighting Drag, STR4000SGTMRC

The reel is made for competition fishing, specifically light line and has had a lot of thought out into it. If you are a pro light line angler then this is a reel for you.

To start off with the reel is extraordinarily light for quick and easy all-day casting. It’s full of match features and the Super Stopper II tech ensure there’s no play in the anti-reverse so you can tiny increments for bite indicators which should take your hook up rate through the roof. The drag is a multi-disc carbon system for smooth reliability. It comes with both a rear and front drag for easy access and instant drag sets.

The reel comes with a power roller to ensure a good line lay which is key when lightline fishing. It reduces twists on the retrieve and the Aero Wrap II system ensures the line goes on to the reel correctly so when you hook a fish it won’t break off due to line management.

It’s an awesome reel to cast and there’s a lot more that makes it perfect for light line but that is all its good for. It can’t do anything else.

Pros

  • Good caster
  • Smooth retrieve
  • Dual, good drag
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Sealed
  • Comes with a spare spool

Cons

  • Only for freshwater and lightline
SEE ON AMAZON

SHIMANO Socorro SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano Socorro 5000F SW Offshore Spinning Fishing Reel

The Socorro is a step down from the Saragosa in terms of what it can handle but it’s still a good saltwater reel and it’s a little less expensive. This is a great reel for surf fishing, it’s made to be durable, corrosion-resistant and can handle anything the surf throws at it.

The drag is smooth, durable and is made from a multi-disc carbon fiber system. The body is made from aluminium, perfect for saltwater. The reel includes Shimano’s cold forged HAGANE gear system and X-ship technology giving you a efficient, quick and smooth retrieve.

It comes with a braid-ready aluminium spool and high line capacity, again perfect for surf fishing, you can hook a big shark and relax knowing your reel can handle it. It is a little expensive but it’s worth it.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Strong, smooth drag
  • Great line capacity
  • Quick, smooth retrieve
  • Good for casting

Cons

  • Expensive but not too bad
SEE ON AMAZON

Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel

Shimano Baitrunner 6000D, Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel

This is a great reel to use offshore that is specifically made for live baiting and free spooling. It comes with anti-reverse and bait running mode to help you hook up easily when you need to free spool to a fish. This is a very useful feature that most offshore reels don’t have.

It’s made for great materials that ensure the reel can handle a life at sea and comes with a high enough drag and line capacity to handle big offshore species. The drag is made from a carbon fiber multi-disc system, it’s powerful and smooth but is not sealed so it’ll need regular maintenance.

The reel comes with Shimano’s line propulsion management to enhance your casting and reduce backlashes or wind knots to keep you fishing instead of untangling.

The gears and bearing give it a smooth reliable retrieve but the gear ratio is a little low. You’ll have to wind pretty fats to get your bait in quickly. The spool is braid-ready, made from aluminium and is easy to fill. The reel is a tad heavy for casting overall and expensive but it is worth it for the quality.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Solid drag
  • Good line capacit
  • Smooth retrieve
  • Casts well

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Slowish retrieve
  • Not sealed
SEE ON AMAZON

What to Look for

This is what you need to think about when buying a spinning reel.

What are you fishing for?

Your reel needs to be able to land the fish you’re looking to catch. Some anglers are dedicated to a single species. If you love shark fishing, you’re going to need a serious reel but if you like to target stripers in the summer, you’re not going to need something that hardcore. Think about the purpose of your reel before you buy it.

Line Capacity

When you fish, you find your spot and usually stick to it. If you hook a monster, you can’t chase it down if you’re not in a boat and you’ll depend on your line capacity to handle the runs of the fish. Make sure the reel you choose holds enough line so you can be confident you’ll land a giant if it decides to eat.

Using Braid

Most anglers use braid and for good reason. It lasts longer, increases your line capacity and helps you cast further. You’ll probably be spooling your reel with it, so make sure your reel is made for it. Most reels come braid-ready these days but just check first.

How Heavy Is The Reel

The weight of your reel is directly related to how easy it’ll be to cast with and often how strong it is. Most fishing involves a lot of casting and a heavy reel is going to get tiring. That being said, you may want the heaviness so you can land a big fish. Try a find a balance between the two, personally, I’d rather get tired casting and land a huge fish than the other way around.

Corrosion & Durability

The ocean can be a mean place for reels. They’re constantly being attacked by the elements and it can cause them to fail very quickly. You’ll want a reel that’s made from high-quality corrosion-resistant materials and is sealed or has some kind of water protection system to keep the salt or dirt out. This’ll give the reel the best chance of surviving in the harsh conditions.

Drag, Strong and Smooth

You always have a chance of hooking a fish of a lifetime while you’re out fishing. The last thing you want is for your drag to fail. The reel needs to have a strong, smooth and reliable drag that can handle a serious fish. It should be sealed and made from corrosion-resistant materials.

Gear Ratio

Your retrieve rate is dictated by your gear ratio. The higher the ratio the faster your retrieve will be. If the reel states a ratio of 7.0:1, the reel will spin 7 times per full turn of the handle. If you want a fast retrieve, think about and check the ratio of the reel you’re looking at.

The Favorites

These are the favorites from the review, each one chosen for a different purpose.

The all-rounder is the Shimano Sedona F1. It’s perfect to use in every environment, well priced and durable. There are a lot of sizes to choose from so make sure to pick the one for you fishing style.

SHIMANO Sedona 1000FI, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel
  • With its updated design and cold forged HAGANE gears, the Shimano Sedona spinning reel offers a number of significant performance upgrades at an affordable value
  • Incorporates Shimano’s flagship HAGANE gearing that provides long-lasting, strong, and durable performance and smoothness giving anglers the strength for both inshore and offshore action

The best reel in the line up is the Saragosa. It’s made to last a life time in the toughest environment and can catch pretty much anything out there. This is exactly what’s needed when you’re offshore fishing. Yes, it is expensive but it’s worth it.

Shimano Saragosa SW Spinning Reel, Colour 5.6:1, Size 20000
  • Tackle the toughest species and conditions with elegance and power using the saragosa saltwater spinning reel
  • Equipped with a propulsion line management system that provides longer casting distances while preventing backlashes and wind knots from forming

If you’re into light line fishing then the Stradic GTM RC is for you. It’s made for light line and feeling every bite that might come along. They have out a lot of thought into this reel and if you’re a completive fisherman then you’ll love it.

Shimano Stradic GTM 4000 SRC Spinning Fishing Reel With Fighting Drag, STR4000SGTMRC
  • Gear Ratio: 5.8:1, Equipped with double handle, colour: white
  • Line Capacity lb/yds: 6/180, 8/120, 10/100