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Shimano NASCI Reel Review

The Shimano NASCI spinning reel is a high quality fishing reel at an affordable price point that is suitable for both freshwater as well as light to medium saltwater fishing applications.  In the Shimano NASCI reel review, we will look at how Shimano incorporates their Hagane HGN cold-forged gearing and their X-Ship technology for improved power, durability and functionality.

This would be considered to be an entry level fishing reel from Shimano but at around $99 it still incorporates quality in many ways that you would typically only expect to find in a more expensive reel such as their Stradic FK for more than twice the money.  The reel is lighter than some of its counterparts like the Penn Battle II or the Daiwa BG SW which can be had for about the same price.

The Bottom Line

  • If you want to get started with a Shimano spinning reel and are on a budget this is the one.
  • Smooth fishing reel with good drag on the model 2500 and above.
  • Lightweight composite body design.
  • Very durable oversized cold forged drive.

The Shimano NASCI spinning reel is a great starter reel and is available HERE.

NASCI is actually Latin for birth or re-birth. Shimano stated at the 2016 ICAST event that they are positioning this reel as the mid-priced spinning reel.  One of the other features that is incorporated in this great reel is Core Protect water resistance – which means that the reel will last longer and stand up to saltwater conditions better than similarly priced reels that are not sealed.

Features

Overall, I have to say that I am quite impressed with the quality of this fishing reel at this price point.  I have spent hundreds in the past from both Shimano and other manufacturers to get this type of quality.  The reel is just silky smooth as I would expect from Shimano, so let’s take a look at all that has been packed into this great reel.

Hagane cold forged gearing – The Hagane precision cold forged gears provide one of the smoothest retrieve experience you will ever have, especially under a heavy load.  X-SHIP provides a smoother and stronger precision gear system that places a bearing on the pinion.  While this difference does not make itself apparent when you are in the store under no load, the difference does become apparent rather quickly once adequate pressure has been applied (a big fish).  The NASCI comes in both a 5.0:1 and 6.2:1 gear ratio.

Coreprotect water resistance – Coreprotect provides you with 360 degree all-weather water resistance to make sure that this reel will last a lifetime – if you take care of it.

G Free Body – The center of the mass of the reel has been moved closer to the rod to improve the weight and balance in your hand. What this means is that you can feel the strike better and that you can fight the fish better.  Additionally, you will not get tired as easily after a long day on the water = no forearm and wrist fatigue.  This design was first utilized in the more expensive Shimano Stella and then the Stradic FK reels.

X Ship – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to create much greater efficiency. By positioning the pinion gear close to the centre line of the large diameter drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle to the rotor. The pinion gear is also supported by two Shimano A-RB roller bearings. This creates more stability and minimizes pinion gear twist and rotor deflection in extreme situations.

Thick Bail Wire – The thick bail wire might not seem like much at first but it does lead to better performance and less chance that the bail will warp over time which then produces sloppier line management and typically leads to wind knots etc.  As I have said in the past, make sure that after you cast that you use your hand to close the bail vs snapping it shut with the turn of the handle as this will make your reel last and perform better over time.

 Features at a Glance

  • Hagane cold forged gearing
  • Cold forged handle
  • Composite body
  • 4+1 Ball Bearings
  • Coreprotect water resistance
  • G Free Body
  • X Ship
  • Thick Bail Wire

The Shimano NASCI spinning reel comes in five different sizes that range from the 1000 with a gear ratio of 5.0:1 with a 26″ line retrieve rate of mono as small as 2 lbs up to 20 lbs braid with a maximum drag of 7 lbs.  There are three more models in the middle: a 2500, the 3000 (my favorite) and a 4000 series.  The largest of the NASCI spinning reels is the 5000 with a gear ratio of 6.2:1 with a 41″ line retrieve rate of mono as small as 10 lbs up to 40 lbs braid with a maximum drag of 24 lbs.

The reels weigh in starting at 7.6 oz for the smallest 1000, up to 10.6 oz for the 5000 – making this what I would still consider to be a lightweight reel.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelLine Retrieve (in)Gear RatioMono Cap (lb/yds)Braid Cap (lb/yds)Max Drag (lb)Ball BearingsWeight (oz)
NAS1000FB265.0:12/270, 4/140, 6/11010/95, 15/85 20/6574+17.6
NAS2500FB295.0:16/200, 8/140, 10/12010/150, 15/145, 30/100204+18.8
NASC3000HGFB366.2:16/230, 8/170, 10/14010/200, 20/140, 40/105204+18.8
NAS4000XGFB396.2:18/240, 10/200, 12/16015/230, 20/205, 50/120244+110.4
NASC5000XGFB416.2:110/240, 12/195, 14/16520/220, 30/200, 40/160244+110.6

Field Test

I paired the Shimano NASCI3000 model# NAS3000HGFB with a G Loomis E6X model# E6X 843C MF which is a 7′ Medium Fast rod. The two of them together is a sweet setup for just under $300 that feels super light in your hands and extremely well balanced.

I headed out to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida to try this setup on some reds and to see if I could catch one of the larger snook that tend to hide out in several of the mangrove lagoons.  As I launched my kayak, I was excited to see if this set up was going to perform as well as it felt in my hands once I got a sizable fish hooked.

David With a 1lb Redfish

After several casts I was able to hook into a nice little 1 lb red that actually felt larger due to the sensitivity of this rod and reel combination.

After a few more casts, I caught a few nice speckled trout in the 2 lb range – again the reel performed flawlessly with a great drag that was as smooth on the outgoing line as was the retrieve.  I was fishing a 3/8 oz jig head with a 4″ soft plastic in a white patter which seems to always get me the action I am looking for.

When I compare this setup to one of my other regulars, a Penn Battle II on a Star Stellar Lite 7′ Medium Fast, I have to say that it felt considerably lighter.  The more I fish with lightweight gear the more I remember why I have been an avid fly fisherman for so many years.

Pros

  • Amazing price point for this quality
  • Composite body
  • Lightweight
  • Silky smooth
  • Hagane precision cold forged gear drives

Cons

  • Not a fully sealed reel
  • Spool is not braid ready

Alternatives

If you are looking for something that is fully sealed and a bit heavier then, I would recommend that you check out the Penn Battle II which is a quality reel typically around $99.  Read the full Penn Battle II review HERE.

While it weighs in at 2 more ounces in the 3000 size take a look at one of my favorite reels the Read the full Daiwa BG SW review HERE..

If you wanted to step it up a bit in the budget, I would recommend taking a look at the Pflueger Supreme XT which is a high quality reel that does not cost a fortune.  The reel is made of high quality materials such as magnesium and even incorporates carbon fiber into the handle keeping the reel strong and lightweight.  Read the full Pfleuger Supreme XT review HERE.

In Conclusion

This is an awesome reel for $99. It is super smooth and has most of the technology integrated into it that you will find in the higher end Shimano reels.  I think that Shimano has done a fantastic job of finally delivering a quality reel in the sub $100 price point.  In the past, the Shimano reels that were at the lower end just did not have the same luxury smooth feel that Shimano is so well known for in their higher end reels.  I can highly recommend this reel and would give it a 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Summary
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Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel
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