Best Freshwater Spinning Reel 2020

We have reviewed some of the top-rated freshwater fishing reels out there to find you the Best Freshwater Spinning Reel. If you are in a hurry:

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is the Best Freshwater Spinning Reel.

Review Summary: Shimano Stradic Ci4+
  • Performance
  • Power and Drag
  • Ease of Use
  • Build Quality
  • Design & Appearance


Shimano Stradic Ci4+ offers great value for the quality, performance, and design. It comes with a game-changing oscillation and gear systems. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ spinning reel is a must for any freshwater fisherman.

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Best Freshwater Spinning Reel Review

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is a high-end quality reel designed for fresh and saltwater. If you are looking for a lightweight, durable in-shore fishing reel with superior life expectancy look no further. With its smooth drag, high bearing count and easy to use bail, this reel will make fighting a bass feel like slicing a hot knife through butter.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500 FB Spinning...

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ stands for the material that this pole is made from. Ci4 stands for Carbon Interfusion with the 4 representing the number of electrons in a carbon atom. The benefit of this reel constructed from carbon fiber is additional strength and durability. 250% stronger and 20% lighter than metal according to Shimano. It also means it is rustproof as no heavy metal is used.

Here is a quick summary of the specifications:

  • 6 stainless steel anti-rust ball bearings with a 7th roller bearing
  • 7-20 lbs of front drag range
  • Aluminum Hagane gear drive
  • 6:1 gear ratio
  • 31-inch line speed
  • 6 ounces, about 7 ounces with line
  • Dual position retrieve
  • Mono Line Capacity: 6/200, 8/140, 10/120
  • PowerPro Line Capacity: 10/150, 15/145, 30/10

When you open up your new reel you will see three things, the reel itself, the owners manual and protective foam casing that ensures your reel gets to you in one piece.

The reel includes an Aero Wrap II oscillation system, a Core Protect waterproof casing, X-Ship gear system, A Super Stopper II stop system with a one-way bearing, 6 stainless steel ball bearings, and an adjustable ambidextrous handle.


On top of the move of the Oscillation system, Shimano uses its own Arrow Wrap II system. This is a bit different from we are used to.

As you reel, instead of an even up and down wrapping of your line, it moves the line up quickly and then down more slowly. This creates a crisscross effect on your line. This has actually improved my casting distance. It’s all about the way that line releases. It feels like a perfect drive down the fairway.

The AR-C spool used also helps your cast. It has more of a V shape to it. This makes it so that your line casts in smaller loops, keeping your line tighter and more efficient. It also helps reduce my backlash.

The power roller on the Shimano Stradic Ci4 is no joke either. Nothing irritates me more than a ruined cast because of a twist in the line. I am finding that this is happening much less with the Ci4 model. There are little grooves in it that reduce twisting.

Power & Drag

The real premium feature to this reel is the Magnumlite Rotor. As per Shimano, this rotor reduces rotational inertia by 14%. Coincidently, this rotor is also 14% lighter than the earlier model. They also boast a 30% reduction in rigidity. You would think the weight reduction would mean a loss in strength but it’s actually the opposite.

As we discussed in the spec this rod has a range of 7-20 lbs of drag. The drag is easily adjustable mid-fight. But, I adjust the drag before I even throw my first cast. With the Shimano Stradic Ci4, I spend very little time messing with my drag. Unless you catch a monster you weren’t expecting, you shouldn’t have to touch it.

The X-Ship system ensures a smooth reel. The pinion is actually on both sides of the bearings. This eliminates the friction between your gears and your pole. You can feel it when your reeling in too. It feels a little like the power steering of a Cadillac. It’s smooth and effortless.

Ease of Use

The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ has some pretty great features to make sure your comfort while you fight your fish.

For starters, this model has changed the location of the oscillation system. This may seem minor but while reeling this causes reduced stress on your hands. With this feature, you have one more advantage over your prey than the earlier design.

The roller bearings have some pretty cool features. The 6 roller bearings may seem a bit overkill but man is it smooth. They are anti-rust as we discussed before which means they have a longer lifespan than your average bearing. The handle has a one-way bearing that sets the hook for you. No need to jerk your line anymore to set a hook.

This reel is actually ambidextrous as well. It can easily switch between left-handed and right-handed users.

Build Quality & Durability

Stradics have a pretty good lifespan. I have not had mine for a full product life cycle yet, but what I gather from reading around its about 8-15 years. Obviously, it depends on how well you care for it, as with anything in life. You need to do more than rinse it with fresh water every once in a while.

I saw a video on YouTube of someone using this reel. He lost his pole while helping his partner. The reel is so light that when he used it with a cork handle, it floated. And he still got his fish too.

I’m not gonna throw my reel in the water on purpose to test that. But, I will be getting a cork handle pole for it now. Better safe than sorry.

Design is an opinion based question. For me, I am impressed with the design. I feel that it looks cutting edge and sleek. Its look matches its weight.

It’s enclosed gears give it a minimalist look. It comes with a flat handle nob. I prefer this for in-shore myself, but the handle is replaceable if you have one that you are already in love with.

Warranty & Customer Service

As per Shimano’s website, they have a standard 2-year warranty on all rods and reels. This seems industry standard, but they claim their products are free of defects. Likewise, they do cover defective parts.

They specifically do not cover if evidence of lack of maintenance exists. Make sure you are caring for it after each use. They do not cover normal wear and tear, damage during shipment, damage caused by using non-Shimano products, if the serial number is not visible, saltwater corrosion.

You must also have the original receipt. If you buy it from some guy off a classifieds site, you may not be able to use the warranty.


Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is the Best Freshwater Spinning Reel.

Stradic Ci4+ is one of the best freshwater spinning reels on the market. Designed with your comfort in mind the Ci4+ gives you every advantage against your catch. It is a must for any serious fisherman’s arsenal. And it doesn’t look half bad either. You must check it out today.

We hope you like our pick for Best Freshwater Spinning Reel. If you have any other recommendation, please let us know via the comments section. We will try to include it in our next update.