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Shimano Sedona FJ

Words & Images: Dean Norbiato

I have been a fan of the Shimano Sedona nameplate for close to two decades. I first encountered them, while in high school in Griffith NSW, during a weekend trip up the highway to Rod’s Custom Rods in Wagga Wagga. 

What initially caught my eye was its shiny gold finish and bottom, baitrunner-like drag and fighting drag system. Also, as I was delivering pizzas at the time to earn a crust, my budget was sub-$100. 

The following weekend we headed for the mountains and put the Sedona to the test. After our very first fish the singing Sedona legend was born, with the entire population of Adaminaby woken at once, courtesy of the reel’s deafening drag, as an aerobatic rainbow danced across a glassed-out Eucumbene Dam. 

So, with palpable excitement I jumped at the opportunity to sign a non-disclosure agreement and be one of the first in the country to test out the latest iteration of a nameplate that has not missed an annual alpine trout trolling trip in 20 years. 

Cracking the reel out of the box, the first thing I noticed was that two of the main features that initially drew me to this entry-level specialist are not part of its modern-day make-up. The team at Shimano can’t be nostalgic, as the shiny gold aesthetic and the bottom drag system are both gone. 

Fortunately, they have been replaced by a more modern smoked chrome finish and a clickable top drag, present on almost every spin reel on the market. 

For the trip we tested both a 2500 and deep-spooled 3000 version. It must be noted the 3000 size, as expected, held considerably more line than its smaller spooled brother. As we were trolling with 6lb braid it meant we needed close to 50m of 8lb mono backing to ensure our 150yd spool of braid went right to the edge. 

Both reels appeared to be the same size but the considerable extra spool depth on the 3000 would make it my recommendation of the two, if you were predominantly trolling for trout. 

As we let our baits out the back of the boat, we looked at our spread that included two modern and two retro Sedonas. It was like a pair of proud parents taking their new kids out for a fish. Very fitting, considering I was sharing the boat with my dad, Denis, and brother-in-law, Jethro. 

It took less time than a kettle takes to boil before the new Sedona sang its first tune. Far from Pavarotti in pitch, its decibel reading fell well short of its founding father’s tune. With a forlorn look, Jethro hauled aboard a sizeable buck-nosed brown before voicing his displeasure at the relatively quiet drag. 

Compared with the original Sedona, the new model makes half the noise, but I’m guessing for most anglers this is a good thing as too much drag noise can be annoying for almost every other fishing scenario. 

While it wasn’t as noisy it was considerably smoother, with the performance closer aligned to a more expensive 2500 Shimano Stradic spin reel. A smooth, stutter-free drag (as on the new Sedona) is extremely helpful when you are using fine-gauge hooks and targeting fish with soft mouths, such as trout. 

Over the course of the first session alone we all got to test its temperament several times over, as the trout took a particular liking to a brown trout-patterned Oar-Gee Lil Ripper that was tied onto its 6lb FC leader. 

The clicking drag at the top of the new Sedona was also very sensitive and moved in micro margins, which allowed us to set it just right for trout trolling with only very minimal pressure. This is imperative in any good trout trolling reel, in my opinion, as too heavy a drag can equate to pulled hooks on the hit and angry anglers. 

Pulling up for lunch, good mate Aaron Hill took the reels for a cast along a muddy bank. Punching long casts into the wind, it wasn’t long before he was singing a similar tune to Jethro with glowing feedback on its smooth drag and casting distance. This was especially true for a reel that retails for $149.

For most of his eggbeater casting Hilly oscillates between a mid-tier Daiwa Sol and Shimano Rarenium Ci4, and he felt the Sedona wouldn’t be out of its depth mixing it in this company. 

Granted, it’s not as polished as those two reels but at less than half the price tag it does a more than admirable job. It also saves more money to spend on baits, and we all know you can never have enough shiny metal, wood or plastic trout toys. 

He also commented that the Sedona had a balanced retrieve feel courtesy of its wide, rubber handle grip. I also noticed that balanced feel and echo Hilly’s sentiment as it made fighting those spirited ’bows an absolute breeze. 

Sing Along 

Summing up, the new Sedona spin reels, which go from 1000 to 5000 in size, will carry an entry-level price tag but punch well above their weight. They will be more than capable pitted against freshwater foes such as trout, redfin and yellowbelly, while also being suitable for flathead and bream anglers in the salt.

And if their forefather’s long and unblemished career is any testament to their future durability, then Shimano is onto another winner with its latest Sedona release.

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