Words & Images: Kosta Linardos
Shimano keeps its inshore spin reel line-up simple these days; the range is still vast with 17 different models, but you can roughly split those 17 into three categories – beginner models, mid-range models and premium models. As the price ascends, so do the features and quality.
The Nasci FC is the start of the mid-range category of Shimano’s reels with a RRP of $169 for the 1000, $179 for the 2500 and C3000, and $189 for the 4000 and C5000. We tested the C3000, 4000 and C5000 over three months for this review and my goal was to see if a reel has come to a point where I would be happy using a sub-$200 reel after the review process was over. I fish for a living, they’re my tools, they need to always work, so I predominantly use high-end gear – I’m pretty sure there aren’t many reels in my fleet that are sub-$300.
I’m going to kick off this review by boldly and confidently claiming that this is the best sub-$200 reel on the market, ever. There is nothing at this price point that can compare with it in aesthetics, features or performance.
It looks great, and go and try to find me a better-looking reel for $170. While colours, design and aesthetics are subjective, it’s the finish on the Nasci, the materials used and the construction that stands out at this price point.
All five sizes feature six bearings (five with one in the line roller). The 1000 size has a gear ratio of 5.0:1 and the rest all feature 6.2:1 gear ratios. There are very few reels that will offer fast gear ratios at this price and none that have a 10-year warranty. The Nasci features Shimano’s cold-forged Hagane gear and its new Micro Module II gear design, which has smaller teeth for a smoother feel. It’s a very tough system that we’ve tested across many reels without ever having an issue.
The C3000 we had in first, which was spooled with 10lb Shimano Kairiki braid and used to target bream casting light plastics. With this kind of fishing, you want a reel that is light with great line management and smooth operation, and it offers all this to a more than satisfactory level and performance that is well beyond its price range. I then used it targeting squid, where the high gear ratio is a huge bonus for line retrieval, and for both bream and squid the drag was smooth without any stutter.
I then spent snapper season with the 4000 and Compact 5000 catching multiple fish to over 5kg. The C5000 is the more suitable size for this fishing and the addition of the EVA power knob is a great feature; however, both reels performed without fault. There is zero handle flex thanks to Shimano’s new screw-in handle system, and while I’m never a fan of screw-in handles, Shimano has got it very right with the Nasci. There is no movement, even under heavier drag pressures, there is zero body flex, and the drag performance was outstanding.
You can jump on our YouTube channel (Hooked Up TV) or our Facebook page (Hooked Up Magazine) to see a video of the Nasci in action catching snapper where you’ll see the 4000 handle a 5.5kg snapper with ease.
I gave these reels quite a bit of grief and any faults in them would have become apparent over the three-month period. As I said at the start, these are game changers and are the best reels on the market at this price. They may not be as refined as a Stradic or light and super-smooth like a Vanford but they are smooth, durable, offer excellent drag and won’t let you down. They are the perfect reel for anglers on a budget wanting to target any species with bait or lure and perfect for experienced anglers wanting to buy multiples for a fleet of snapper or whiting outfits.