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Shimano Sedona FI Spinning Reel Review

The new and improved Sedona FI is here to impress you both on the water and in your wallet. In this Shimano Sedona FL Spinning Reel Review, we want to show you all the upgrades they’ve made to this reel so you can make an informed buying decision. 

First things first — if you’re sitting back wondering if there’s a reel on the market that combines exceptional top-of-the-line features with a low price, you’ve found it. This reel is now lighter, faster, and stronger than ever before.

Let’s start by talking about one of the most significant upgrades made to this reel. The old Sedona FE had a compact reel body, and with this one, they’ve upgraded to what Shimano calls a G-Free body style that gets the center of the reel closer to the rod.

Along with the body change, they’ve also changed to Hagane gearing, which is an all-metal, cold-forged gear. This improvement allows anglers to throw larger baits and chase bigger fish. 

They’ve also changed their original STD rotor to an improved Magnumlite rotor which provides you with lighter startup inertia and rotation. They’ve included the Magnumlite rotor on all models and higher gear ratios and increased drag for each model excluding the 1000. 

The Bottom Line

  • A very good quality entry level freshwater reel that can be used sparingly in saltwater
  • Very smooth reel with great drag
  • Strong and durable Hagane gearing that will last years
  • G Free body design allows you to fosh all day long

The Shimano Sedona FI is an all-around winner and is available HERE.

The benefits and upgrades continue with the propulsion line management system. This combines the new design of having a spool lip and line roller without a contact bail arm to improve the distance on your cast. 

Pairing that along with the G-free body centers the reel closer to the rod, which improves comfort and castability. When you put these two together, you have an incredibly comfortable rod and reel combination that not only feels great in your hands, but it offers maximum performance as well. 

The Varispeed Oscillation system is not something that has changed between the old Sedona FE and the new Sedona FI, but it’s still a great feature. The Varispeed system is what controls the up and down movement or “oscillation” of the spool when retrieving the line.  

Normal oscillation systems continuously rotate in a way that allows your line to stack inconsistently on the spool. Having a Varispeed Oscillation with an oval oscillation gear alters the speed of oscillation to produce a consistent pace, and ultimately an even line lay on the spool which plays a part in reducing wind knots and provides for better casting.

Something that really stands out to us about this reel is how they were able to pack so many incredible features into a reel while still keeping the price affordable. This reel is awesome for anglers on all types of budgets, but particularly a lower budget.

Shimano has an excellent reputation in the fishing world, and they’ve made a ton of improvements to the already great, Shimano Sedona FE.

Features

G Free Body – The G-Free body helps shift the center of gravity towards the rod. This process improves comfort for the angler and allows them to fish more extended periods of time, free from fatigue. 

Hagane Gearing – The cold-forged, all-metal gearing system is something that really separates this reel from its competition. The new system allows anglers more flexibility with the type of fish they want to catch. You can use this rod in both small freshwater applications and inshore saltwater fishing.

Shimano uses the best technology to provide you with a long-lasting and smooth retrieval every time. They don’t perform any cutting on the teeth of the drive, but instead, they use special 3D design and cold-forged technology. The fruit of their labor is pristine durability, strength, power, and smoothness.

Propulsion Line Management System – This component of the reel features the spool lip design. Shimano has tested this in 10,000+ casts, and computer simulations and they’ve determined that this new design improves casting distance and helps prevent backlash and wind knots. 

In our testing of the reel, we can atest to the fact that the line does seem to just flow off of the spool effortlessly.

Double Anodized Machine Cut Spool – The machine cut spool allows for more line capacity and works well with the oval oscillation gear system. The double anodizing plays an important part in protecting the spool from corrosion.

Varispeed Oscillation System – This feature is an extension of the Sedona FE, but we’re glad they kept it. Varispeed oscillation helps prevent your line from stacking on one end of the spool. Instead of retrieving at a consistent pace, the reel will alter the speed of your oscillation to provide a more consistent retrieval. As a result, you’ll have a more even line lay for improved casting and line management. 

Single Paddle Handle (SE1000FI and SE2500HGFI) – The single paddle handle helps lower the weight of the reel while still maintaining high performance and durability. 

Power Handle All Other Models – The power handle increases in size and comfort to allow you to handle larger fish on the larger reel models.

 Features at a Glance

  • G Free Body
  • Hagane Gearing
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • Double Anodized Machine Cut Spool
  • Varispeed Oscillation System
  • Single Paddle Handle (SE1000FI and SE2500HGFI)
  • Power Handle All Other Models

The Shimano Sedona FI has model sizes ranging from 500 to 8000. The numbers in the model refer to the diameter of the spool. The larger the spool, the more line your reel can hold. Typically, the more line you have means, the larger the fish you can handle. 

If you plan on fishing smaller applications like rivers or ponds you would go with a 500-3000 size depending on the size of the fish you are targeting. If you’re fishing inshore situations or deep freshwater, you will most likely want to go for a 4000-8000 model. 

Shimano managed to provide a high drag rating on these reels while still ensuring that they remain lightweight. The 5000 model weighs only 10.6 ounces, but it still offers 24 pounds of max drag. 

For some reason the Sedona FI 6000 drops down to 22 lbs of drag but it also drops the gearing ratio from a 6.2:1 found in the 2500-5000 sizes down to a 4.6:1 ratio allowing for easier retrieval of larger fish.

Having these types of options allows anglers to choose just the right sized reel for the species of fish they are targeting. If you live in a place where inshore saltwater is your water of choice, you’ll want to go for a larger reel.

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy some finesse bass fishing in small unknown ponds. If that sounds like you, look towards a 1000 or 2000 model. 

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

ModelLine Retrieve (in)Mono Cap(lbs/yd)Braid Cap(lbs/yd)Max Drag (lb)Ball BearingsGear RatioWeight (oz)
SE500FI272/190
4/100
6/60
5/135
8/105
10/65
73+15.6:16.3
SE1000FI262/270
4/160
6/110
15/85
20/65
73+15.0:17.6
SE2500HGFI366/200
8/140
10/120
15/145
30/100
93+16.2:18.6
SEC3000HGFI366/230
8/170
10/140
20/140
40/105
203+16.2:18.8
SE4000XGFI398/240
10/200
12/160
30/170
50/150
243+16.2:110.4
SEC5000XGFI4110/240
12/195
14/165
30/200
40/160
243+16.2:110.6
SE6000FI3312/265
16/170
20/120
30/290
50/195
65/140
223+14.6:115
SE8000FI3712/345
16/250
20/185
40/340
50/265
65/215
243+14.9:121.7

 

Shimano Sedona FI Field Test

In this field test, I took to the freshwater with my old faithful a Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2. This six-foot light-fast rod pairs well with the Shimano Sedona FI in a 2500 size and is a very affordable combination. This combination of rod and reel is nearly an indestructible duo that is very lightweight and perfect for targeting bass, trout and panfish.

You can click here and see a video we found of someone trying to break the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 to no avail. Both this rod and reel are also incredibly affordable, so they are great for beginners. For smaller freshwater applications you should be able to get away with the rod and reel combo for just over $100. 

Anyway, I decided to head out to one of my favorite little lakes and target some bass.  I happened to be up in Maine for a few weeks and there are a lot of rock piles to fish around that are 3-6′ deep as well as steep rock ledges that drop down to 20′ or so.

I got out on the water early in the AM and I started out casting a small Livetarget Hollow Body Frog up around the weed and lilypads.  This always tends produce very well and this day was no different.  I managed to land 3 or 4 nice 2lb ish smallmouths in the first 20 minutes, then the topwater bite slowed.

I found the reel to be very smooth as I would expect from a Shimano and the retrieval rate of 36″ allowed me to get a nice action on the frog. When getting a strike, I can honestly say that I think the G-Free body does make a difference in the sensitivity.

Then I switched to a Zoom Super Salt Plus Worm in Natural Blue. I love this bait and it almost never lets me down. I was able to get a combination of both small and largemouths using the worm in the rockpile.  As the morning sun started to warm, I moved around the corner to where there is a nice dropoff from a granite outcropping to a nice deep spot. 

I was able to cast the worm easily to the edge of the outcropping and then let the worm just sink into the depths.  Bam! FISH ON! This was a bigger bass in the 3.5 lb range.  The reel had way more drag than was needed, so I backed it off and ended up having a nice fight.

Overall, I was super happy with the performance of this sub $75 reel.

 

Pros

  • Hagane gearing provides maximum flexibility in terms of fishing applications
  • Smooth performance and retrieval every time
  • Long-lasting durable G-Free body
  • Highly desirable line management system

Cons

  • Lacking a reverse direction switch

Alternatives

Now that you understand everything you need to know about the Sedona FI, it’s time to take a look at some other options. 

The Shimano NASCI offers a lot of the same features as the Sedona FI plus you get 1 more bearing and Shimanos Coreprotect water resistance which I think is a bit better for saltwater applications. You, of course, get the G-free body, the Hagane gear system, and the Shimano name. The reel is lightweight and priced slightly over the Sedona FL. Check out the complete Shimano NASCI review here

Here we have a less expensive reel with the Okuma Avenger. This one has a graphite rotor and body that is stronger and lighter than aluminum, but it still doesn’t compare to the cold-forged all-metal Hagane system.

The Okuma Avenger ABF model also comes with a switch that allows you to put the reel into bait feeding mode. The reel is smooth and high performing, but it doesn’t compare to the Sedona FI in overall quality of construction.  Check out the complete Okuma Avenger review here

Lastly, let’s take a look at the Daiwa Exceler LT. This reel is lightweight with an air rotor and bail and machined aluminum handle. It has a carbon light material housing and a variety of models to choose from. You also get the Daiwa Digigear system which offers strength and improved sensitivity.

I think this is the closest to the Shimano Sedona FI in terms of quality and it is slightly lighter weight.  Check out the complete Daiwa Exceler LT review here!

 

In Conclusion

We would say this reel is suitable for anyone looking for a lightweight fresh or saltwater fishing reel that will cover you for anything ranging from bigger inshore fishing all the way down to small pond fishing for panfish.

The reel is comfortably priced starting around $70 retail, so it won’t break the bank, and you get a lot of the incredible benefits of a more expensive reel.

We respect the Shimano brand and highly recommend this reel.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Shimano Sedona FI
Author Rating
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