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Shimano Stradic FL Review: The Best Spinning Reel Ever?

The Shimano Stradic FL spinning reel proves itself as a versatile reel for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. This Shimano Stradic FL review details why it lives up to the hype.

After testing this reel myself and hearing feedback from fellow anglers, I confidently say the Shimano Stradic FL fishing reel is one of the best, if not the best spinning reel for the money.

Keep reading to learn why experienced and novice anglers alike are raving about the Stradic FL’s performance, durability, and overall value. 

Overview of the Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel

The Shimano Stradic FL spinning reel first caught my eye for winning the ICAST 2019 Best Saltwater Reel award. After getting my hands on this reel and spending a season fishing with it, it’s easy to see why it earned this recognition.

Some key things that stand out about the Stradic FL:

  • Lightweight yet durable construction
  • Available in 1000 to 5000 sizes 
  • Gear ratio around 6.0:1 depending on model
  • Maximum drag 7-24 lbs
  • Redesigned spool for longer casting
  • Upgraded cross carbon drag system
  • X-Protect technology for water resistance
  • Silent drive train

I tested the Stradic FL 2500 and 3000 models, but Shimano offers this reel in a range of sizes suitable for everything from ultra-light freshwater fishing to battling big game saltwater species.

Field Testing the Stradic FL Performance

Over the past year, I’ve fished the Stradic FL inshore for snook, redfish, and trout as well as freshwater for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and more. 

The reel has tackled light finesse presentations along with throwing larger plugs and jigs for hours without issue.

Here are some of my experiences fishing with this reel:

  • Casting Distance: The Stradic FL’s redesigned spool really does allow for longer casts than most other spinning reels I’ve used. This helps you cover more water and reach fish.
  • Smooth Retrieve: The micro-module gearing and reinforced gears make for an incredibly smooth and quiet retrieve. No sticking or grinding ever.
  • Drag System: Hooking into fast saltwater fish proved the upgraded cross carbon drag can stop them in their tracks. No issues winding down big fish.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Fishing saltwater often, I was impressed by how well the X-Protect coating resisted corrosion even after many dunks.
  • Comfort: The reel balances perfectly on rods and the grip is very comfortable even when fighting fish for long periods. Less hand and arm fatigue.
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Across the board, the Stradic FL delivers exceptional performance and reliability. I can’t recall a single issue or complaint after using it extensively.

Shimano Stradic FL Reel Tech and Features

Digging into the technical details and features of this reel explains why it outshines other fishing reels:

  • Hagane Body: The Hagane cold-forged aluminum used for the reel body makes it light yet extremely strong and rigid. It holds up to heavy use for years.
  • G Free Body: By shifting the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod, it helps reduce fatigue and enhance casting distance. Anglers notice a big difference.
  • MicroModule Gear: The gears are precisely engineered for smoothness and long-lasting performance under heavy loads.
  • X-Ship: The upgraded X-Ship bearing and pinion gear alignment allows for incredible cranking power and eliminates play or looseness.
  • X-Protect: This advanced water repellent coating provides remarkable corrosion resistance in saltwater conditions.
  • Cross Carbon Drag: The upgraded cross carbon drag material provides a wider range of precise drag settings for fighting any size fish.
  • Propulsion Line Management: This upgraded spool lip helps prevent backlashes and tangled line.

These are just a few of the many standout features that enable the exceptional fishing experience provided by the Stradic FL. Shimano clearly pulled out all the stops with the technology used in this reel.

Sizes for Any Angler and Species

One of the things I like most about the Stradic FL is how many size options there are. Models range from the ultralight 1000 size up to the 5000 size for offshore fishing.

Some popular models include:

  • 1000 – Ultra-light freshwater finesse fishing
  • 2500 – All-around freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing
  • 3000 – Larger freshwater fish and mid-sized saltwater species 
  • 4000 & 5000 – Offshore trolling and bottom fishing big game fish
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With 6.0:1 gear ratio across all models, you get a great blend of speed, power, and balance regardless of size.

I’ve found the 2500 size to be the ideal “do it all” option for where I fish for bass, walleye, trout, snook, redfish, and more. But anglers targeting larger species should consider the 4000 or 5000 sizes.

Stradic FL: Proven Winner for All Anglers

In summary, the Shimano Stradic FL spinning reel is absolutely a winner in my book. The reasonable price point, thoughtful design, rugged construction, and unmatched performance make this an easy reel to recommend.

If you’re looking for the best fishing reel available today, this versatile Stradic FL model should be at the top of your list to consider. Both amateur and experienced anglers will appreciate what it brings to the water.

It’s not often you find a reel that excels for all fishing applications from freshwater to saltwater, yet the Stradic FL manages to do just that. I can’t remember another reel providing this complete package – it’s that good!

So if you want to gain an edge and step up your fishing, get your hands on a Shimano Stradic FL. This reel will undoubtedly help any angler catch more fish. I’m confident that you’ll agree it’s the best reel you’ve ever owned.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of drag system does the Stradic FL use?

The Stradic FL features an upgraded cross carbon drag washer system. The carbon fiber drag washers provide strong, smooth drag pressure across a wide range of settings. This allows you to better control hard fighting fish.

How does the spool design improve casting distance and line lay?

The Stradic FL has Shimano’s Long Stroke Spool design that extends the length of the spool shaft. This helps reduce friction and provides longer, more consistent casting distances without backlashing.

How does the Stradic FL compare to the Stradic FK?

The Stradic FL replaces the previous generation Stradic FK. It has upgrades like the G-Free body, Cross Carbon drag, and longer stroke spool. Performance is noticeably improved over the Stradic FK.

What fishing scenarios is the Stradic FL best suited for?

This reel shines for light tackle inshore fishing, bass fishing, trout fishing, and other finesse techniques. The 2500 and 3000 sizes work great for general fresh and saltwater fishing.

Should I choose the Stradic FL 2500 or 5000 model?

The 2500 size is ideal for medium freshwater species and light inshore saltwater fishing. The larger 5000 size is best for chasing big game saltwater species offshore.

What rods pair well with the Stradic FL?

Medium power fast action rods around 7ft are a good match. This provides sensitivity but enough backbone for saltwater fishing. Shimano makes great Stradic FL rod pairings.

How does the Stradic FL’s felt drag compare to other reels?

Anglers report the Stradic FL has the smoothest, most consistent Shimano drag performance yet. Precise adjustment and no chatter or stickiness.

What key technologies has Shimano incorporated?

Some standouts are the Hagane gearing, G-Free body, MicroModule gear, and X-Ship for an incredibly smooth and efficient drive system.

Is the Stradic FL worth the higher price?

For many anglers, the added performance and reliability is worth the premium price. The Stradic FL is built to last and provides a great overall fishing experience.

Is the Stradic FL a good entry level reel option?

While a bit expensive for complete beginners, the Stradic FL’s easy use and reliability make it a reel that will last through years of fishing, making it a worthwhile investment.