Expert Review: Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel

This review is my honest opinion of the reel which I purchased with my own money in January of 2020.

Close up of the Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel.

All photos courtesy of Jay WallenShimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the reel which I purchased with my own money in January of 2020.

My take

The Shimano Stradic FL is my one-and-only, do-it-all spinning reel. It’s an easy-to-use spinning reel, with smooth bearings and gearing, and a very smooth, strong drag. I use this reel for many of my finesse techniques with lures like Shaky Heads, Dropshots, Senkos, and tubes. With the wide range of sizes, there is a Stradic FL to suit just about any freshwater or saltwater fishing scenario. It’s great for professionals as well as beginners.

A man using the Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel for fishing while on a kayak in a river.

About the reel

  • Model: Shimano Stradic FL
  • Reel Size: 3000
  • Construction: Hagane Body
  • Drag System: Cross Carbon front Drag System
  • Drag Pressure: 20lbs

About me

  • Preferred fishing styles: My preferred style of fishing is slowly working a jig or soft plastics. At times, I will throw moving baits like spinnerbaits and crankbaits. For finesse jigs, soft plastics, and drop shots, I prefer the STC3000XGFL model. For those who are using ultra-light tackle, then the ST2500HGFL might be a more balanced reel.
  • Experience: I have over 30 years of conventional fishing experience.

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: January 2020
  • Rod Paired with Reel: I have several of these reels on different rods, but my favorite is the G.Loomis NRX+ 852S. This is a perfect setup for fishing Shaky Heads, light jigs, and other finesse soft plastics.
  • Line Paired with Reel: 12lb test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon leader line on this reel tied to a 20lb braided main line.
  • Days tested: 400
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Most of my fishing takes place on freshwater lakes, but I’ve used this reel on creeks, rivers, and other reservoirs. It is well suited for saltwater use as well.
  • Species targeted with reel: Almost all of my target species with this reel have been bass.

How it performs

Durability
5/5
Performance
5/5
Quality
5/5
Versatility
5/5

What I was looking for

I was looking for a new do-it-all spinning reel; something that was light yet strong, with a high-pound test drag. I also needed something that would last several tough seasons of fishing. I tournament fish and use my reels more than the average angler. I’m on the water 150+ days a year, and I need a workhorse reel that can withstand the abuse and still perform at a high level. I own six of the Shimano Stradics in various sizes, mounted on various rods. I’ve yet to find a more balanced, and durable, reel for the price than the Stradic.

A man in a kayak on a river using the Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel.

Why I chose this gear

This reel has a history of being well-made and long-lasting. The new models of the Stradic have exceeded my expectations. With multiple sizes to choose from, I knew I would get long-term use out of it.

A man fishing from a kayak using the Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel.

What I love about it

  • Performance: I’ve been using the Stradic FL line of reels for several seasons now and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more. They have performed so well for me, even with minimal cleaning. They remain smooth, casting long distances, and the drag is very strong and durable.
  • Versatility: The Stradic reels are incredibly versatile, they come in multiple sizes, and are saltwater capable. This makes it an ideal reel for jigs, soft plastics, and finesse presentations. The larger sizes can even handle big saltwater sport fish.
  • Drag System: The drag system on the Shimano Stradic FL is a cross-carbon drag system, easily adjusted with the dial on the front of the reel. This drag is rated for 20lbs, and when engaged, releases the line in a smooth way without popping; it’s a smooth slip all the way. It is also rated for saltwater and will not corrode or otherwise be negatively affected by salt.
  • Feel: The reel is a perfect fit to my hand; it’s light and very balanced on the rod, and has a solid feel to it.
  • Maintenance: This is one of the things I love most about this reel. While I do recommend cleaning and lubing this reel at least once per season, you can actually get away with going longer. The bearings are well-sealed, and dirt and debris intrusion are almost nonexistent. I have several of these reels that are more than two seasons old, and I have yet to clean or lube them. And they still feel the same as the day I bought them!

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Aesthetics: I would personally like to see a different finish to the reel. I miss the old white reels that the Stradic used to be known for.
Close up of the Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel.
A man fishing off a kayak in a river.

Favorite moment with this gear

One of my favorite moments with this reel was a 6lb smallmouth I caught on Dale Hollow Lake. I fought that fish for several minutes, and the drag performed flawlessly. That really made me fall in love with the reel.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Shimano Stradic FL isn’t expensive when compared with others. I could easily spend more money and get a lesser reel. If I ever need another spinning reel, the Shimano Stradic is where I’m going to look first.

Final verdict

For those who are looking for a great quality reel, one that will last for years and won’t break the bank, I can’t recommend the Shimano Stradic FL enough. This has been and will be my one-and-only spinning reel for years to come. It will provide incredible castability and endurance in almost any situation.

Selling Shimano on Curated.com
Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel
From $199.99
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Written By
I'm a professional kayak angler, I travel the country fishing for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. I have been fishing for over 35 years for various species all over the United States. I have even competed for team USA at the Hobie Fishing Worlds 7 in Amal, Sweden. I spend 140+ days a year o...

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