The Shimano Saragosa has always been a solid reputable reel for offshore anglers and the latest model has again hit the mark. The Saragosa delivers everything needed to stand up to big fish in the harshest offshore conditions in the mid-range reel price point.
After using an older model Saragosa for a number of years and being happy with the reel’s performance, I bought the new Saragosa SWA and put it to the test. The new model has much the same silver and blue look as the older model, except for some more modern finishes on the spool. Shimano says the newly designed range incorporates top-tier Shimano technologies such as X-Protect, X-Ship, Hagane body and Hagane gearing. It has also reduced the size and the weight of the reel body – by far the most noticeable feature of the newer model. When you pick up this new 2020 model you instantly notice the reel body is slightly smaller and the reel itself is lighter. This is a great improvement on a reel that is mostly used for sportfishing. This is by far my favourite improvement of the newer model.
The new range features eight models and I purchased one of the new models – the 1800HG. I chose this as it’s the perfect fit for heavy tackle popping and stick baiting. I spooled the reel with 100lb braid and matched it with a PE 10 popping rod – the perfect GT fishing set-up. Straight away the new reel performed flawlessly, casting big lures and dishing out heavy drag with ease.
The new technology and light feel were noticeable while the reel displayed the same solid performance the Saragosa is famous for. The reel has now had a solid few months of use and after plenty of fish it is still displaying the same solid performance. The drag has remained strong and smooth while the gearing and smoothness of the reel is still as solid as new. Line-lay on the spool did get a little top-heavy so I needed to add some shims from the box under the spool, to even the line back-up on the spool. These shims come in the box with the reel and this is common practice when running heavy drags.
So all in all the new model reel updates and refreshes the Saragosa while keeping the reel’s name solid. One downside of the newer model is that the price has risen over the magic $500 mark, with the 1800HG model costing $529 RRP. This seems fitting due to inflation and new updates, but it may be hard to justify this reel as a mid-range option once it’s over this mark. The older models were a bit easier on the wallet and that made them a massively popular option for all anglers, but this newer model delivers it all plus a little more. If you’re looking for a reel to last you a decade of sportfishing and you don’t have the money to spend on a Stella or Saltiga, the Saragosa SWA is great option.
Words & Images: Colby Lesko
Distributed by: Shimano Australia