Maybe you are familiar with the Shimano Stradic line of fishing reels and their different variations.
The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ spinning reel was released in April of 2016 and has a few upgrades over its predecessor the Shimano Stradic Ci4 spinning reel.
The most noticeable being the addition of Shimano’s X-Ship technology that has a double bearing supported pinion gear that leads to a much smoother retrieve especially when cranking under heavy loads.
The Bottom Line
- My favorite lightweight saltwater reel under $250 for finesse inshore fishing
- Very smooth reel with great drag for a smaller reel that can still handle large fish.
- High quality, nearly waterproof design.
- Strong carbon body but still stiff due to X-ship pinion gear support system
If you have a mid-range budget and you want an extremely lightweight spinning reel, this is it. Check pricing HERE.
If you are looking for the Shimano C4i+ you have found it, often people will transpose the “i” and the “4” in the model number.
The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is what I would refer to as a finesse reel as it is super smooth and lightweight, just what I am always looking for in an inshore reel.
There are 4 models to choose from 1000, 2500, 3000 and a 4000 that weigh in between 5.6 oz and 8.1 oz and have a drag range of between 7 lbs and up to 24 lbs on the 4000.
The drag is smooth as silk and to top it off, it is water resistant and has a wide range of settings with the micro-click adjustable drag knob. For me there is no question, the Shimano StradicCi4+ is worth the extra $30 over the Stradic FK. Let us dig in a little deeper to find out why.
Let us dig into the features of this reel.
Magnumlite Rotor – The MGL or Magnumlite rotor is 25% lighter than previous designs. Due to having a better balance it is much easier to start and stop your retrieve which means that less inertia is required and thus you get that silky smooth feel that Shimano is already known for but it is now taken to the next level.
G-Free Body design – 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 tire as easily after a long day on the water = no forearm fatigue. This design was first utilized in the more expensive Shimano Stella and is also available on the Shimano Stradic FK.
Advanced 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.
One of the challenges with trying to make a reel waterproof is that sometimes this leads to a gummy feeling when you retrieve, this is not the case with Coreprotect.
Super-light, strong CI4+ carbon body – This reel is INCREDIBLY lightweight thanks to the carbon fiber body and almost feels as though it is not there. Typically you can only get a reel this light in a more expensive reel like the Shimano Sustain or Shimano Stella.
Cold-forged aluminum spool – These spools provide increased strength and durability over diecast aluminum or graphite spools.
Ultra-hard Hagane® cold forged drive gears – The Hagane precision cold forged gears provide one of the smoothest retrieve experience you will ever have, especially under a 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).
X-Ship pinion gear support system – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to create much greater efficiency. By positioning the pinion gear close to the center 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.
6 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings – Shimano reels are legendary for being smooth and thanks to 6 shielded ball bearings that is the case with this reel.
These are the same as the normal ARB bearings with the exception that they are shielded on both sides to reduce the likelihood of any salt, dirt or water penetrating and affecting the smoothness of the bearings.
Super Stopper II anti-reverse bearing – Shimano uses a one-way roller bearing that will allow you to instantly set the hook when you want without any back play in the reel.
Advanced AR-C spool design plus Power Roller – Cast aside all of the marketing speak. The Stradic Ci4+ does a great job with line management due to a well-designed spool which they call the AR-C cold forged which incorporates a grooved power roller. Personally, I have experienced very few line twists and wind knots.
The Power Roller has a special groove that reduces line twists by up to 50%. I think you will find this reel to be better than most other spinning reels you’ve ever used when it comes to reduction in twisting and line management.
Features at a Glance
- Magnumlite Rotor
- G-Free Body design
- Advanced CoreProtect water resistance
- Strong CI4+ carbon body
- Cold-forged aluminum spool
- Ultra-hard Hagane® cold forged drive gear
- X-Ship pinion gear
- 7-bearing system
- 6 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing
The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is designed with a few things in mind, durability, weight and water tightness. I feel that Shimano has delivered on all these fronts and the reel is extremely lightweight.
When paired with a great inshore rod like a St. Croix Mojo, St. Croix Avid or G Loomis E6X, you will have a combo that will last you for years and will be able to handle everything from your smaller trout all the way up to the big reds and snook that are so fun to catch and fight on lightweight tackle.
Personally, I fish with the St. Croix Mojo Inshore and when I strap the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ in a 2500 to it, I have a rod and reel combo that weighs in at less than 12 oz combined and feels like it is almost not there.
With this combo, I can fish every type of artificial lure to live lining a shrimp and I can feel the fish hit the bait due to the super lightweight carbon fiber body.
For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.
|Model||Line Retrieve (in)||Gear Ratio||Mono Cap(lbs/yd)||Braid Cap(lbs/yd)||Max Drag (lb)||Ball Bearings||Weight (oz)|
- Rapid fire drag
- Near waterproof
- Higher price point
- Small anti-reverse switch
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ Alternatives
Staying with the Shimano brand, I would have to recommend that you look at the Shimano Stradic FK which will run you about $30 less retail. The main difference between these two reels is the water tightness of the Ci4+ being superior and the fact that the Ci4+ is about 25% lighter.
If weight and water tightness are not of concern to you then the Shimano Stradic FK is an excellent reel. Read the full review of the Shimano Stradic FK HERE.
For about half the price of the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ I would recommend that you take a look at the Daiwa Fuego LT which is very close in terms of weight and drag. I love the Fuego LT and fish this reel on a daily basis. Read the full Daiwa Fuego LT review HERE.
For the person that is a bit more of a budget but still wants that very lightweight reel, I can suggest that you take a look at the Pflueger Supreme XT which is actually lighter weight than the Stradic Ci4+. Read the full review of the Pflueger Supreme XT HERE.
The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is an awesome reel that comes from a long line of predecessors in the Stradic family and just keeps getting better and in this case lighter weight.
For most of us inshore anglers a lightweight, smooth retrieving reels with a strong and durable drag system that is near waterproof, is just what we want to have in our hands when we head out to the flats or our favorite fishing hole.
While this reel is in the midrange when it comes to price with a retail of $229 it will absolutely last for years if well taken care of and is sure to not let you down. I love this reel and will be keeping a 2500 attached to my St. Croix Mojo Inshore for the foreseeable future.