Over the past few seasons I’ve had the opportunity to try a lot of different gear. A couple of reels that I have specifically kept notes on are the Shimano Stradic Ci-4 and the Shimano Stradic FJ. The Stradic line of spinning reels is quite possibly the most popular line on the market today, as it offers a selection of high quality reels for all different applications. If you think “a reel is just a reel”, well that is completely false. These two Stradic reels are completely different and here’s why;
The Ci-4 being the lighter of the two reels is constructed of carbon based graphite, which makes for an extremely light product. It has a carbon frame, rotor and side plates and because no metal has been used, it will not rust. Tipping the scales at feather light 6.2oz (1000 model), this is an ideal reel for finesse fishing, drop shot fishing and especially when you’re using light line. The fact alone that the Ci-4 is approximately an ounce and a half lighter than the Stradic FJ, makes a big difference throughout a full day of fishing.
Shimano has also really focused on the balance of this reel. The Ci-4 is actually so well balanced that you can pick up the reel, crank the handle really fast and watch as the spool rides up and down with little to no wobble. Try doing that with other reels and see what the results are. Pairing up the Ci-4 with 4-12lb fluorocarbon and a medium action rod, will take full advantage of its benefits.
Although finesse fishing is a big part of a bass angler’s game, we also need those reels we can go to when things get tough. The Stradic FJ is that reel. Coming back with the historical white finish, the FJ has every bit of power the previous model had and more. Shimano has introduced X-ship technology in the new Stradic FJ and X-Ship gives this reel power and lots of it. A perfectly tuned reel for dragging heavy tubes or fishing around heavy cover, X-Ship is essentially two components; a hard, light weight machined gear and brass pinion gear with bearings on the top and bottom. When you combine a hard a soft metal together in a system such as this, you get a very smooth, fluid motion. Also, Shimano has actually positioned the pinion gear closer to the center of the gear itself to create a smoother, more powerful reel. I prefer 10lb braid and a medium – medium heavy action rod for the Stradic FJ, especially since I’ll be fishing slightly heavier baits and either dragging or throwing around heavy cover.
There is a major difference in these two reels, simply pick them up and you can feel the difference right away. At first, I wasn’t a fan of the FJ; I thought it was heavy, bulking and not very smooth. After trying different lines and pairing it up with different rods, it dawned on me; it wasn’t that the reel wasn’t smooth, it was literally the power I was feeling when I cranked the handle and that’s the biggest difference from the Ci-4, you can actually feel the power of the FJ in your hands.
Both of these reels have done exactly what they were designed to do with no problems and I would confidently recommend them to any bass angler.