Shimano Stradic FJ Review: A Fisherman’s Best Friend
If you want to have a fantastic fishing experience, then you should try the Shimano Stradic FJ. This is a reel that has little or no knotting and wrapping, when the line is cast out. If you have ever had a reel that has an inconsistent retrieval speed, then the Shimano Stradic FJ will not disappoint you.
Whether you are going fast or slow, this reel will always perform as expected. This is a reel with technology that can sense when a fish is on the hook, alerting you so you can reel it in. Any fisherman will be amazed at this feature. This means that you can laze about or read a book, as you wait for a fish to be hooked and the reel it in. Keep on reading this Shimano Stradic FJ review for further info.
What to consider before buying fishing reels
If you are a novice and want to get into fishing as a sport or hobby, you need to know what considerations are important when making your choice. Here are some of the factors to consider:
Spool design - You should always consider the design and composition of the spool before you buy a reel. Spinning reels are made from anodized aluminum or graphite. Anodized aluminum will offer more strength and durability, unlike graphite spools which can crack when reeling in a strong fish. You should also consider whether you want a skirted spool or an internal one. The internal spools are older and many old-time anglers will not use any other spool. However, advanced spinning reels feature a skirted spool. The purpose of the skirt is to stop the line from getting entangled within the housing of the reel. Anodized aluminum spools are common in conventional style reels, although graphite is used sparingly. If you want a heavy-duty reel, then you should try the specialized metal spools made from Chromed bronze or stainless steel.
Casting controls – most reels come with a built-in casting control system, which is used to adjust how fast the spool should spin during casting. The systems are centrifugal or magnetic, and can be adjusted externally or internally. Although these systems are designed to maximize casting distance, they are not a guarantee against backlash. In order to have trouble-free casting, you should have an experienced thumb and a good casting control system.
Level wind systems – these are systems that are used to make sure that the line is evenly distributed on the spool when you are reeling it in. These systems are convenient when you don’t want to have the challenge of manually guiding the line as you retrieve it, but they also have more mechanical problems than standard non-level wining reels. The parts of these systems are also prone to frequent wear.
Presenting the Shimano Stradic FJ Fishing Reel
The Shimano Stradic FJ is quite an advanced spinning reel, with its ability to alert the wrangler when a fish has been hooked. It is an improvement of the Stradic CI4, which had some problems with twisting lines during casting. The new system in the Stradic FJ reduces this twisting in the reel. It is quite a strong reel and can handle a 6 pound and an 8 pound line with ease. The revolutionary propulsion spool reduces the amount of friction between the line and the reel.
Things We Liked
- It is durable due to its fully metallic construction
- It handles heavy lines with ease
- It alerts the angler when a fish is on the line
- It is sturdy and compact and can handle large fish with no stress or torque challenges
Things We Didn't Like
- The full metal design makes it quite heavy
Key Features of the Shimano Stradic FJ fishing reel
The Shimano Stradic FJ is an amazing spinning reel and the features below are what make it a leader in its category:
The Stradic FJ casts just like its predecessor, the Stradic CI4, and there is a reason why this is so; they both make use of the Shimano Propulsion Line Management system. This is the system that reduces the twisting of lines. Twisting of lines affects the line lay, reducing the distance that the cast will cover; not to mention that dealing with twisted lines can be quite a challenge. Whether you are using a 6 pound or 8 pound line, the lines will flow sweetly off the reel in both long and short distance casts. This system reduces the contact friction between the line and the spool, allowing the line to flow fast and evenly during a cast. The SR one-piece bail works quite well and effectively controls how the line is directed over the huge line roller. There is no wrapping around the S-Arm Cam.
Whether you retrieve the line at a fast or slow speed, the Shimano Stradic FJ is always smooth, and there is absolutely no detection of spool wobble. It takes very little effort to wind up this reel, and it feels very powerful when there is a fish hooked on the line. Other reels may feel a little powerless and may even feel excess torque when dealing with large fish. This easy retrieve is brought about by The “X-Ship” design of the Stradic FJ. The X-ship design is actually a double-supported pinion gear in the interior of the reel, and it locks the pinion in place, using two S A-RB bearings. This reduces the movements of the rotor flex and pinion gears resulting in a very smooth but powerful retrieve.
The power of the drag has been rated at 15 pounds, but when tested in a controlled environment, a full lockdown showed a power of 16.7 pounds. The new drag system of the Stradic FJ brings together steel and felt washers, locking them in a series of interlocking settings. The result is washers with a tight tolerance, and there is application of pressure on the center stack, thereby maximizing pressure and contact through the entire arrangement of surfaces. This results in a drag that is not only strong, but resistant to contamination; the steel provides protection for the felt washers in between.
To add more protection to the whole assembly, a rubber gasket in placed on the inside of the adjustment knob, which helps to keep out water and dirt. When a fish is hooked, the drag system gives consistent pressure, which is smooth so there is no vibration under the load.
The Shimano Stradic FJ reel feels very solid and compact when held in the hand. The reel comes with T-shaped handles, and although they are somewhat heavy, they have excellent balance. The rubber grip is fantastic as it avoid slipping when your hands are slimy or wet.
What other users say about the Shimano Stradic FJ fishing reel
A detailed search for user comments on the Internet yielded some interesting views about the Shimano Stradic FJ.
One user praises the X-ship design saying that the strength it provided allowed him to reel in large fish with less effort. He says that he caught a 30 inch Redfish, and a lot of larger Sheepshead. The pearl finish gives the reel a wonderful look too.
Another user said he used the reel in conjunction with a St. Croix Legend Extreme bass rod and he caught 80 bass in one single day, because he was able to cast the line very far into the deep water.
A third user says he has been using cheaper Shimano models in the past and decided to upgrade to the Stradic FJ. He says that now he can cast further, and there is a smooth and consistent drag. He says that the extra price that he paid for it was worth it.
However, a fourth user says that despite having a smooth retrieve, he heard an odd noise coming from within the reel. He tried to lubricate it according to the manual but the noise did not abate. He has used the Stradic FJ to comfortable reel in Bluefish and Fluke.
Alternatives to the Shimano Stradic FJ fishing reel
This is the smaller brother to the Stradic FJ, and therefore costs less. However, it performs just as well as its bigger brother when it comes to fishing. It has a small M-shaped body, which is quite compact. The reel is made from aluminum and plastic materials. If you want a reel that has the X-ship gear configuration, then this is the lowest priced Shimano. True to the quality if the brand, the Symetre offers excellent casting capabilities, great line management and smooth cranking. The sealed bearings allow the angler to feel the movement of the bait, thereby alerting him when there is a fish hooked on the line.
Pflueger Supreme XT
This is a high performance, low cost reel made from quality materials. In order to keep the weight of the reel down, the side plate, rotor and body are made from magnesium. The handle is made from light carbon fiber composite, which makes it strong and firm. The reel also has EVA foam knobs to further reduce the weight. This is a reel that has been praised for its fast and easy casting capability and the drag from the carbon fiber stack makes it feel very smooth during retrieve. This is a reel that you can use with one hand
Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel
This is a reel that strikingly resembles the Pflueger Supreme XT in looks. However, it is made from different materials, and has a different weight. The gear is made from aluminum, and set in a carbon insert molded frames sideplate; the Supreme XT is made from magnesium. This is a reel that is ideal for light shaky head fishing and drop shot fishing. It has a reputation of being ultra-smooth in its operation, thanks o the Carbon Matrix drag system. The reel comes with a braid-ready spool.
Although the Shimano Stradic FJ costs more than other Shimano reels, its performance far outweighs this increase in price. Sometimes adding the extra cost is beneficial when you consider the advanced features of this fishing reel. The pearl finish of the reel is adds aesthetic value to the reel, and shows that the angler has class and style. It is made from quality materials and is durable and effective. If you want to improve your fishing experience, then this is the reel that you should purchase. If you want a cheaper reel that will give you the same performance then you can check out the alternatives and decide which is best for you.