Shimano Stradic Ci4 Spinning Reel Review [Pros & Cons]

By: Luke Simonds on April 5, 2018
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Have you tried the Shimano Stradic Ci4 spinning reel?

Like it? Love it? Hate it?

This post will show the pros and cons of the Shimano Stradic Ci4 Spinning reel, and you’ll also see how the new model compares to the older Ci4.

Best of all, this review is 100% independent because we are only sponsored by the Insider Fishing Club Family so that we are able to give unbiased reviews that have zero influence from equipment manufacturers or corporate sponsorships.

The video you’ll see below will cover both the pros and the cons of using multiple Shimano Stradic Ci4 reels over 3+ years in both fresh and saltwater while also experimenting with many other reels from other manufacturers.

And the 2nd video will show some fun footage of a big fish caught on a very small reel.

Shimano Stradic Ci4 Reel Review

This video shows what I  have found to be the top pros and cons of the Shimano Stradic Ci4 spinning reel.

If you have used this reel, please share your findings (pros and/or cons) using the Comment section at the bottom of this post.

Just click on the video below to watch it:

Shimano Stradic Ci4 Drag Strength

There are many ways to test drag of reels, but the ones I trust most are one-the-water tests.

So I thought I’d include a video showing how a small 2500 sized Shimano Stradic Ci4 performed when faced with a very strong tarpon.

Here’s a short video showing an accidental tarpon catch when using just 10 lb line and this small reel.

Shimano Stradic Ci4 (PROS)

One very important benefit of this reel is that it is extremely lightweight while also staying very smooth and maintaining plenty of drag power.

This is especially important to me because I mostly use artificial lures so I get a lot of casts in every day I go fishing, and every ounce of weight savings truly does make a difference.

Also, the lightweight nature of it allows it to float when set up on many rods to allow for easy recovery in the event of an accidental dip in the water.

This feature alone saved me over $350 one day because I was able to recover rod that a trout yanked out of the boat when we weren’t paying attention to it…

speckled trout steals rod

Best of all, we got the rod/reel back and also landed the trout:)

[Click here to see the video showing that fun trip]

Note: Although this reel was completely submerged in saltwater, it did not suffer in performance even though we did not bother taking it apart to clean out any salt that could have made its way in.

Shimano Stradic Ci4 (CONS)

The biggest con of the Shimano Ci4 in my experience using it is just that its price is higher than many other reels for inshore fishing.

Most stores carry it at roughly $220 and up based on the size of the reel, and that is more expensive than many other options.

[Click here to see other reel reviews and tips]

Where To Buy Shimano Ci4 Reels

These Shimano Stradic Ci4 reels are popular reels, so they fortunately can be found at many local tackle shops which is where I recommend going to first.

But if the stores near you don’t offer them, here’s a link to where you can get them on Amazon: Ci4 on Amazon


The Shimano Stradic Ci4 has been a lot of fun for me to use over the past few years.

I especially like that is it super-lightweight while being very smooth and packing enough power to handle pretty much any fish that feed on the flats such as redfish, seatrout, snook, flounder, and even some small to medium sized tarpon.

The biggest con is its price tag which is typically offered at $220 and above (depending on the size of the reel).

Please share your thoughts with these Shimano Stradic Ci4 reels using the Comments section below… we would love to hear from you!

Note: We do not have any ties to Shimano, so feel free to leave good or bad reviews.

Click here to see more articles about fishing reels


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James DoyelSang NguyenJoseph JanutkaLuke SimondsGary McCue Recent comment authors
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Sang Nguyen
Sang Nguyen

I got the older model 3000 ci4 plus few year back fish for 2 month….was in the repair shop for 2 summer straight and still not fix. The repair shop replace all internal part and still not smooth like before….so he gave up and i came to pick it up yesturday with no charge… it suck

James Doyel

I just repaired mine myself. Definitely different than most reels, but with patience it’s not impossible.

Joseph Janutka

The Stradic 2500FB reel I ordered from Amazon came today and I was surprised that it doesn’t have an anti-reverse lever like all my other (cheaper) reels do. Is this normal for all the Stradic reels? The manual in the box also shows a 2500 HG reel that retrieves 35 inches per crank revolution instead of 29 inches like mine. As far as I know, the 2500 FB is the only 2500 that Amazon sells, but, according to the manual, Shimano makes other CI4 HG reels as well. Does anyone know what they’re best used for?

Gary McCue

I’d like to see the comparison of the Ci4 vs. the Daiwa Ballistic XL. It’s time for an upgrade and I think it’s down to these two reels.

Gary Daniel

I bought two Ci4 2500 reels after using one on a guide boat. I found a price of $189 at Sodium in Crystal River, Fl. I could not be happier. I have always had to settle for 2nd best and in the long run cost me more as they didn’t hold up. The price is commensurate with the quality. Silky smooth, tough drag ( 14 lb snook) and light weight.

Cam Allen

I have a 3000 Ci4 and love it!
It’s amazingly smooth, but my absolute favorite feature is how light it is. At just 6.7oz (unspooled) which is significantly lighter than other reels I have looked at like the Diawa BG 3000 (10.8oz), the Florida Fishing Products Osprey 3000 (9.6oz) and the Shimano Nasci 3000 (8.8oz).
While, as Luke says, the price is higher than most of it’s competitors, a reel, I believe is definitely something that falls in the category of “you get what you pay for”.
I was in the market for a new reel and was about to pull the trigger on another Ci4 but Luke was adamant that a Daiwa Fuego 2500 (7.2oz) was equal in quality to the Ci4 2500 (6.7oz) and at half the price.
At just 0.5oz heavier than the Ci4 2500, I am willing to give the Fuego a shot.
It’ll have to be awesome though. I love my Stradic!

Zachariah Pilk

Love that you have been giving the Ci4’s some attention. I bought my 4000 last year and combo’d it with a 7’6″ Star Rod. The weight and smoothness even with the 4000 is amazing. I hope you can give a review on the Penn Slammer 3.

Cory Ponz

Love the Stradic reels! I have 2-2500’s, a 3000 and 4000. Work horses that last and easy to handle & Take care of. Highly recommend !!


Good review. Have two 1000 Ci4’s and one 2500 Ci4. All are the older versions with the foam handle. Mostly fish freshwater but a couple of weeks each year in saltwater. Never a problem with the reels. They are the smoothest spinning reels I own. For me, the smoother the reel, the easier it is to detect a pickup or strike.
I fish over 100 days a year and the Ci4’s get a lot of use. I do a lot of motorcycle riding and the 1000 Ci4’s are on two telescoping 6’6” Rods (Blazer which is a German company) and in a saddlebag. Reels have been submerged a number of times (fishing from a float tube) but only in freshwater. While the reels are expensive, I paid $220 for the 2500 Ci4’s close to four years ago. Thus, seems price has remained the same.

Robert Galvin

I own 4 from 2500 to 4000. Great reels except the ball bearings in the bail go bad. I have had the issue with 3 of mine. My buddy with 2 of his and my favorite guide sponsored by Shimano many. Spoke with rep at Bass Pro who confirmed major issue. Should not be happening with a reel this expensive.


I now own 3 Model 3000 and 2 Model 2500 Shimano Stradic Ci4 reels and these are my highest performing reels. Can loosen or tighten drag down to gain maximum capacity with larger game fish. These reels raise my confidence level in my equipment

Greg Zak

I have about 8 of them mounted on various rods, and it is a great reel. No problems ever. I’ve been a Shimano fan for many many years. They make trouble free products, and I chose this reel because of the quality of the product along with the lightness of the reel. Since I have tendinitis issues in both elbows this reel allows me to fish all day with any elbow pain. Great reel!


We fish several of these in 3000 and 4000. Having to replace felt washers as we speak so I’m definitely looking for the carbon!!
Has anyone had an issue with anti reverse bail, not sure if I have a bad switch or something but at times it just completely fails and I just want to throw it in the bay and find another brand. Then I get back to shore and it starts working and I can’t replicate the malfunction?

Scott Capehart

I believe they fixed both those issues with the new version.


Guess I’ll have pick one up!

Scott Capehart

Glad this was a positive review… I just ordered two yesterday! I would have been disappointed.
Some additional changes after much research… I believe this is all new to the newer version. please correct me if I’m wrong.
The new Magnumlite rotor for one, features an asymmetrical shape that greatly improves rotation start-up, making it easier to start your retrieve. The Magnumlite rotor also greatly reduces inertia at the end of the retrieve for overall smoother winding and functioning.
Coreprotect technology provides increased corrosion protection and water resistance for longer lasting performance, and advanced Hagane Gearing offers impressive power on the retrieve and smooth precision.
-Hagane Gearing
-Magnumlite Rotor
-X- Ship
-G Free Body
-Titanium Bail

Thom Ray

Anytime a reel is dunked in saltwater I’d suggest to submerge it fresh water immediately, then take it to a shop to have it completely disassembled and cleaned and re lubed. My guy uses an ultrasound tank to clean

Dan Smith

Nice review, Luke. You asked at the end for suggestions for future reviews, so here is one if you haven’t done one yet or if it’s not in work currently.

I like taking Shimano Baitrunners on my inshore trips for a variety of reasons:
1. Versatility
2. Great dual purpose when slowly trolling through spots to use as a trolling reel
3. Flatlining with live bait while casting to other areas with a regular real sometimes yields great surprises. The dual drag comes in very handy when using a circle hook in this situation

1. Usually bigger and heavier than conventional reels.
2. Expensive

Other notes:
1. In the ’80s, Shimano made Baitrunners in 150, 250 and 300 sizes and they can be found on eBay. Now they are bigger.
2. There are hybrids out there like the Shimano Spirex which has a drag-tightening lever, which can also be used like a Baitrunner
3. I’ve seen Baitrunner copies made by Penn and Okuma.
4. The Spirex and older Baitrunners have the Trigger-casting feature on the bale. This is nice when it is working properly

So my suggestion is to compare some of the Baitrunner-style reels. It will be interesting to see if the less expensive Okuma and Spirex reels match up and what is the smallest/lightest Baitrunner.



Great Review. I have owned numerous Shimano spinning reels over the years but just cannot see spending the money this reel sells for. I’ve used a friends Ci4 and like the lightness of the reel as well. Still, though nice the price point keeps me from buying it. However, the Shimano Nasci is basically the same reel and uses the same internal components as the Ci4. The only difference is the reel frame is heavier by a couple of ounces which doesn’t bother me. Yes the reel probably wouldn’t float the rod but, when paired with the right rod I find balance of your setup can make a full day of casting a non issue as far as fatigue goes. I haven’t used either of my Nasci’s in salt water so I wouldn’t know how well they would stand up to salt, but for freshwater applications my Nasci’s haven’t skipped a beat with the price point being about $100.

William Flynn

Great review, I have several Ci4 reels, love them! I also have a couple of the ff products osprey reels, love those too! Great customer service from FL fishing products!


I have used the CI4 since they came on the market , for the amount of drag ( about 24lbs ) there aren’t any better for size I don’t take the reels apart just just basic manufacture maintenance . I’m out over 135 days a year & just change the spools for salt or fresh water fishing 20lb -10lb ). W/ the 3k reel Bonefish, Snook , Reds , Jacks sm Tarpon 40lb , Striped bass 30lb , Lm Bass & SM bass its the best working reel on the market . I send them back to California after every season for maintenance overhaul ( I hate puzzles ) by the pros . I prefer the old handle but such is life . When I 1st purchased the shop owner told me this little reel would catch Bluefish in the 20lb range I laughed pretty good. He was so right on this CI4 I bought two more . I own 2 2500FA & 2 4000FA . I have 6 Speros older models which are workhorse, but heavy in weight so I stick with the CI4 as we know weight is very important . I see no problem with the price , you get what you pay for . I burned one reel in the Lesser Antilles on a few Tarpon on a week of fishing , sent to Shimano for repairs , they replaced it with a brand new one , no charge .


Love these reels! I have yet to buy the newer version, but the older ones have been great! I have a 2500FA and 3-4000FA models. The knobs fit your hand well. I did buy a couple of the newer Stradic C5000’s and Stradic 1- C1000 which have been great reels too! These reels are also A LOT better than the pearl white Stradic’s that they replaced. They were good but had issues with sticky rubber knobs. Yes they are a bit pricey but compared to the Stella’s and Sustain’s, they are a bargain.


Great reels! That’s all I fish with, these days! Awesome job!

Robert. J.
Robert. J.

I fish Shimano reels exclusively. Have two Ci4,s great reels,also use the Sustain 3000. But if you want a real treat, try the Stella 4000.Bought it last year,extremely fine drag system. Been fishing these reels for many years. Also, fish 2 or 3 times a week. Retired. Never had any problem,with any of these reels.

Gregory Ramko

I have both the new and older 4000 series. I too like the older handle. I had a ladyfish take off with the newer reel and it sunk, but the rod I had was a split grip with less cork material. I did notice it started sounding different. Still reeled well. After several times of adding a few drops of oil sound disappeared. I switched the felt drag washers for carbontex with Cal’s grease and made an already incredible drag even better. . Love them so much I always buy extra spots so I can jump from 10 lb braid to 20 lb instantly if need be. Worth every penny.

Hayden Gallagher

I would highly recommend replacing the felt drag with carbontex washers. The stock drag might be smooth, but it’s not durable. I had the felt drag on a 2500 completely burn up on a fish, and I almost lost a big snook. It was after 6 months of use, but it was very dissapointing to find felt drag washers in a $240 reel. Besides that it has been a great reel.

Robert Olson

Maybe the handles are interchangeable and you can get the handle you prefer on the old one from a parts dealer and put in on the newer model


I have 2 Shimano Stradics Ci4 4000fa and I love them both. Loved my first one so much that I decided to get another one. So far I have had NO issues with these reels and just enjoy the smoothness of these reels. All I do is saltwater fishing and keep my reels and rods clean after every use. Can’t wait to pick up another Stardic!

David Ulgenalp

I wade 200 plus days a year and have been fishing the Ci4 3000 and 4000 reels since they we’re intoduced by Shimano several years ago. Nothing lighter, great drag and they hold up even when dunked. I don’t think there’s a better reel for the money – even at $220. I do have to have roller guide and bearing replaced about once a year but have the same issue with any reel I’ve ever used. I’m a believer.


I have had a pair of Stradic for 3yr. They are awesome and have required near zero maintenance for that entire period . I would fish them 5-6 times a month throughout that time .

Mike Blount

I use the Ci4 3000 on the TFO 7’6” Med rod and love it. It’s by far my favorite set up for artificial. I have a Stradic FK 4000 on a 7’6 Star Seagis med rod paired with it for live bait. I think it’s worth mentioning the new Shimano NASCI is a fantastic reel for the money. They are $100 and worth every penny. I have it in a 3000 paired with a 7’6 St. Croix Triumph rod. It’s hard to tell any difference between the NASCI and the Stradic FK. I would have a really hard time going with anything other than Shimano reels. I feel like the overall quality is better than it’s competitors.


I agree with Robert. I have Stradics and NASCIs. You really can’t tell the difference except the NASCI is less than half the price. Some of the parts are actually interchangeable. Love them both.

Fred Zaiko

The reel gets fouled up after only a few salt water trips and I have to clean the reel.

Jason Bunn

I have had 3000 paired with a falcon rod for about 4 months now and love it. Definitely my go to reel. Found no cons yet.

Mike Tuck

I have two of these, love them.

John Benson

I agree on all points. This is my go-to reel that I have in 2500-4000. The main problem I have with these reels is with the line roller and bearing. I have always rinsed my reels after every use but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I’m now adding a drop of oil to the roller after each rinsing/drying. I’m hoping that will reduce failures.

Jim Woodmansee

That’s a helpful tip. What kind of oil?


You can use the Shimano Bantam oil but I find it too pricy. I use Super Lube myself. It is a good all around synthetic oil (