Close this search box.

Shimano Stradic FM

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to reels from Shimano, whose range of reels is better than ever – and every three to four years as we get a model update that makes the reels significantly better. I know many accomplished anglers happily using the Nasci and Saragosa models, which sit at the lower end of Shimano’s mid-range reels. Therefore, the focus of reviews is now less about testing them for faults and issues (which we still do) and more about finding the best use for a new model and explaining why to the reader. 

In the time I’ve been using Stradics (about 15 years) I’ve used them as general purpose bait fishing and squid reels, with the exception of the CI4 models which I use for lures. It’s not that they’re not a great reel for lure fishing (they are, and this model is the best yet), but they’ve always been an ultra-reliable and durable utility reel that years down the track feels as good as the day you bought it.

When it comes to marketing, bait fishing isn’t as sexy as lure fishing and almost all reels use marketing content with lure fishing images and videos. However, most anglers are bait fishermen – and bait reels get a lot of abuse. I’ve spent just over six months testing the Stradic FM 3000c heavily. It’s been on an egi road targeting squid on every trip since November and on every whiting trip, two species I target often. It’s literally caught hundreds of whiting, hundreds of big squid and multiple big cuttlefish. The same rod I use for squid I also use for bait collecting, so it’s caught countless Australian salmon, big pike, couta, yakkas, slimies and fought all manner of bycatch such as rays, banjo sharks, big leatherjacket and countless pinkies.

This reel has constantly had its gears worked, has occasionally had its drag worked at high pressure and is regularly exposed to excessive salt, slime and grime through these messy styles of fishing. It is used frequently and catches fish frequently. When I come home I just hose it down with a light spray from the hose, give it a shake, let it drip dry and then once a month I wipe it down with Salt-Away. It’s still as good as the day Shimano sent it to me for review.

Stradics have always been tough and reliable, and this new FM series is even better. It’s a high gear reel with a ratio of 5.8:1, making it highly versatile thanks to its fast retrieve speed, yet it doesn’t sacrifice torque and low-end grunt. Shimano’s MicroModule II cold forged Hagane gears are tough, smooth and ultra-durable. This is what I’m looking for in a reel – smooth, tough and durable.

The FM features the new Anti-Twist Fin, which is a small elastic rubber fin that sits near the line roller. It’s designed to prevent loose line falling and wrapping over the lower part of the spool. This is something I often experience when squid fishing as I’m always releasing the bail to let the jig sink and then winding up slack line. The Anti-Twist Fin works very well at preventing this from happening.

Another new feature for the Stradic is Dura Cross Drag, made using different fibres in the washers to increase durability of the drag. This isn’t something I noticed while fishing, aside from the fact the drag was always smooth and didn’t falter after seven months of rigorous use.

The main upgrade to the Stradic FM is Infinity Drive, a structure that supports the main shaft and increases torque while keeping winding light and fluid.

I should also note that while the Stradic is built tough with a Hagane body, it’s still a sensitive reel where I am able to detect small finicky bites from fish like whiting. 

Just because I’m catching squid and whiting and using bait, doing what’s considered simple fishing, it doesn’t mean I’m looking to sacrifice feel and performance, or strength and durability, and the Stradic FM offers both in spades. I want to enjoy each fight and each cast and I don’t want to be concerned about whether the reel will last me years of regular use and salt exposure – and that’s what this reel offers. It’s a work horse that drives like a Porsche with the reliability of a LandCruiser.

At $389 it offers great bang for buck. It’s priced in a similar range to the Vanford ($415), which I prefer to use throwing lures to bream, perch and trout. But for regular heavy saltwater use, the Stradic is the better choice.

Leave a Replay

Latest Articles

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

Join Our Newsletter

Exclusive Content And Early Access E-Mag And Videos.