Best Lightweight Spinning Reel for the Money?

This is a review on the 2016 Shimano Stradic Ci4+ spinning reel that was launched at ICAST this year. This fishing reel is designed to be just as lightweight as the old model but features a better balanced and lighter weight rotor, making the handle very easy to turn. The light weight and quality of the gears and body makes it a fishing reel that is going to last for years. This new fishing reel weighs in at 6.8oz and costs $229.99. It’s designed to be the workhorse of the line being a middle of the road price point but featuring some top of the line technology passed down from the Shimano stella. I use this reel bass fishing with drop shots, shakey heads, and other small finesse fishing lures. It makes the fishing rod seem lighter which is nice for feeling light bites from bass and other fish species.

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Justin Rackley, known as Lakeforkguy in the fishing world, creates fishing videos on youtube and other social platforms. LFG provides fishing tips and techniques for mostly largemouth bass fisheries but also travels to other freshwater and saltwater fishing spots to explore new fish species and fishing techniques to show as many fishing places as possible and help you catch more fish. Lakeforkguy likes to hang out on any fishing vessel or go bank fishing with his other YouTube Fishing friends and vlog with his Wife Stephanie and french bulldog Winston.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500HGFB
Review the Full Specs Here

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Adam Freeman says:

i have the CI4+ and agree it sick….the only thing that sucks is having to use one of my other reels 🙂

Sweswio says:

What rod is the reel paired with?

tnsteele95 says:

$230 is “middle of the line”…? lol My enjoyment of fishing would go way down if ever felt the need to spend that much money to catch fish.

Jimmy Masri says:

Bout $250-600 reels and $100 reels I prefer $100 reels because I’m reckless with my gear I don’t clean them I leave them in the boat under the elements so reels only last 2years tops with me and I actually find the cheaper ones can take more of a beating

King Yama says:

Daiwa Procyon EX or Okuma Helios

sam scalf says:

I’ve had mine since 2013 . This is a great reel , I haven’t had any trouble out of mine at all , and this is the reel that I usely pick up when I have a spinning reel application .

Marius Bartolome says:

what is the rod with the stradic ci4 2500hgfb

ron barthelette jr says:

I have the earlier model, I bought it right before the newest model like you have came out. I was wondering if you have used the older model and if you have if there is much of a difference. I live in Massachusetts and throw a lot of finesse baits like weightless senkos so I am looking to get another spinning reel. I think mine is awesome by the way, it is so smooth. Thanks, I love your videos, they have helped me a lot.

hippytrippys fromthelandofthedark says:

I’ve got the same shimono clarus spinning rod 6’6 med/hvy with a shimono spirex 2500fd spooled with 12lb stren high impact monofiliment and like you said ever since I traded my Mitchell reel for this spirex line twist are basically gone it’s not a Stradic c14+ but shimono puts good products out that last a lifetime and the spirex is 60$ that’s not breaking the bank at all

Reeling N' Revving says:

We’re here with one of the best reels for the price!!! ONLY $699

Rock Bottom Tin Can says:

You are high speed, iI’m sure peeps of like will follow./ Thanks for your vid. I’m poor, won’t totr
ture myself with this gear.

Tacklecentral Fishinglandia says:

Hagane, whatever, fake crap. Also that reel is sorely underspooled.

Tjd 1 says:

I have been using Okuma’s for a while now. Like them a lot. Work really well for me. Have four of them. All spinning reels.

Mr526 says:

shimano c14 reels are awesome. I have the last model and this newer one both in 3000 size paired with a Phenix Trifecta 8’6″ mh and a Phenix M1 7’8″ m. I fish the southern California surf and these reels are great for it.

If you are thinking of getting one, do not hesitate. You will not regret it. Just be sure you pair it with a nice quality light rod to compliment these reels.

Jmichael Isbell says:

Thanks for posting. But I doubt it is manufactured, anymore by Shimano. Designed, for sure and if the Chinese HONOR the agreement (who knows?) the part quality should be good, as well. Would I would LOVE to see–but don’t hold your breath, is for some testing group to take one, and do analysis on the materials–all the good stuff you mentioned? I would like a tech company to take one apart and CONFIRM they really used the parts the Chinese claimed, they used.
All that said, yeah, I have seen this reel in use, it seems very very nice.

Terry B says:

The new Plueger President XT is $80. It has the carbon fiber handle and cork knob, or the Pflueger Supreme XT for $150. I don’t like the looks of the new Stradic CI4, as it looks cheap.

tomasz trala says:

i got 1 3000 version it soldi reel

James Ritchie says:

$229 is middle of the road pricing?   Ummm, yeah, right.  Fifty bucks is middle of the road pricing.  Carbon composite is just as strong as aluminum, but it still flexes, and aluminum does not.  Flex wears out gears, and cold forging is simply not important in something like a fishing reel.  It’s a great selling point, but makes no difference at all in quality.  The same is true of the carbon composite material used for the body.  It’s very high tech sounding, it’s a great selling point, but it’s not as good as aluminum, and no better than the body on any other reel.

Titanium does save weight, and it is strong, but a thick steel bail is as strong or stronger, and it takes a LOT to bend one on even a fifty dollar reel. 

Shimano does make excellent reels, but the actual technology involved does not warrant the price.  But this is true of almost every brand of reel that costs much over a hundred dollars.  Reels, and many brands of rods, are among the most overpriced products in the world, if you look at it in terms of how little they actually cost to make, and of  how little real difference there is between very expensive and fairly cheap reels and rods.   Often, the cheaper reels and rods by off brand companies cost more to make, use similar, or even better, material, but cost a fourth as much, or less. 

The funny thing is that cold forging is usually cheaper to manufacture, but you get charged more for it.   It can be worth the price, when used on a piece of equipment that takes tremendous strain, such as a tractor,  but a fishing reel is not such equipment. 

In fairness, I’ve owned only one really expensive reel, but the gears in it wore out, while the gears, and everything else, in a sixty dollar Penn with an aluminum frame are still working after nearly three times as long. 

I used to work in design and marketing, and not once did anyone mention more quality.  The goal, regardless of company, was always higher profit margin, and the strategy was how to use high tech jargon to increase MRP while lowering manufacturing cost.   One of the prime design ploys was to find a cheap product that worked well and sold well, make cosmetic changes, use high tech sounding materials that often made the product weaker, and then market it at a very high MSRP based on those materials. 

Rods are even worse.  Many have heard of planned obsolescence, but “planned breakage” should really be the key phrase with many products.    Once upon a time this was used only for very cheap products, but for he last twenty t thirty years, it’s used in very high end products.  The ideal is to make a product that works very well, so consumers will pay a lot to get it, but build it so it breaks relatively easy.. 

Anyway, sorry to ramble on, but some of the work I’ve done, and much personal experience, has made me extremely pessimistic about many high end products, fishing rods and reels included. 

I know there is some real junk out there, but, again in fairness, while Shimano does make great reels, the prices they, and every other high end reel manufacturer charge, are simply not justified at all by manufacturing cost, by quality level, or material level, above far cheaper products.

Tacklecentral Fishinglandia says:

G-free body, formerly known as x-ship, more marketing B.S.

Paul Beach says:

You could pair the whole ugly stik species series pretty well. You would end up with a light action crappie spinning rod, 5’6-9′, your choice, 7′ ML and MH striper rods, and a 7 or 8′ catfish rod. They all match in color and are great multipurpose rods all around. The rods would only total $160 and of course you could pick spinning or casting on all of them except the crappie ones. But “they” won’t tell you that…

Jesset Hollywood says:

this not worth the money I still own and use five or six Shimano bait runners of which three are over 12 years old and still catching big game fish in Florida. the reel in this video won’t last long so spending that kind of money is a waste!!!!!

Charles Vu says:

I stop watching when he said up to 5k………

Ken Tanaka says:

When would you step up to a 4000 series and what rod would you match it with?

Kyle Gingras says:

i have a shimano Sahara.. i think ill put this piece of crap away and buy the ci4 reel..

King Yama says:

@Lakeforkguy.. can you review the curado 300or301E? I know the tranX 300 and 400 is coming out but i dont want to get that till i look at reviews and its been out for awhile.

Joe Buster says:

I bought a the previous version of the Shimano Stradic and I really regret it. The reel felt solid for the first three months and then it’s performance just dropped.

jisterKIS says:

does this reel have a anti reverse?

Xbox Master says:

I have a quantum kenetic sp (40) i got it in 2010 and it is much better than this thing. It has 2 large spools allowing for lots of line and higher pound test and line twist is very rare. The retrival is very smooth with 9 titanium ball bearings. The reel is made completely of metal with a beautiful red and black finish. Titanium bail is something ive have never had a problem with. I dont know why people complian about weight but with a completely metal reel it seems to not be light (My opinion not too much of a problem. I really done care) It costs about 80$ on amazon and honestly so worth it. Thank you for reading my random review on a much cheaper spinning alternative.

Eulo Meneses says:

Can you use it for saltwater

Galen Pingel says:

I know all this technical talk is interesting to design engineers , enjoy.

Richard Siegel says:


Bill Maguire says:

Why don’t you do a review on other reels like okuma or penn o wait you work for shimano why does shimano make the bail arm so thin I don’t get it they bend real easy garbage

M Morton says:

This was an interesting video. I do a lot of jig fishing for crappies. So, is this $300.00 dollar reel going to pull in a 1 lb crappie better than a Zebco 202?

Jack Glenn says:

Is the Clarus a good rod?

soverjas says:

I have this reel and it is a solid reel. Although from a guy who uses spinning reels probably 80% of the time the abu garcia revo rocket is a better reel in my opinion. its lighter, has higher gear ratio (7.0.1 if your looking to pick up line quickly. Also its smoother with 2 more ball bearings . Also for me at least between the two I prefer the handle better on the abu garcia for all day comfort. Best part is the abu garcia is slightly cheaper. I would trade my shimano for another AG revo Rocket.

НКХ hi - tech says:


Dvj Luna says:

I got 2 of the Stradic FK models and I am very happy with them.  Fully agree with your statement that the better made reels manage the line placement on the spool much better.

Robertas Klemanskis says:

Ryobi Zauber . Now thats a good spinning reel.

BentRodZ Texas says:

have the reel love the way it performs

Frederico Carreiro says:

My new shimano stradic ci4 is making a strange noise, is this normal? a kind of buzzing sound.
This is a video i shoot showing that:

Lee Boy says:

My favorite reels are my 2 Daiwa Laguna 3500s. I just wipe them down with a wet paint brush after use, change line once or twice a year and spray corrosion block in the rotor once a year. I have never opened the case and the reels still work just about as well as they did 12 years ago when I bought them. In fact better because I replaced the drag washers with cabontex washers. I bought both reels for under $40 with shipping from ebay.

JesseJ666 Webb says:

Yes they are great reels can’t argue that, however I don’t think they are worth more than 150us tops.

JGS Bassin says:

not cheat at all bro

andy pincince says:

I guess money is no problem for you.. ,good!.. But the average guy will spend maybe 50. or 60. bucks for a spinning reel and be happy with it…You are not making videos for pros, you are making them for the average guy..again, the 50. bucks per spin reel type of guy…think about that..

Nathan Harvey says:

230$ is pretty overpriced for only 7 bearings if you ask me i feel your only paying for the technology/materials

Mark B says:

What rod are you using?

Charsept says:

I recognize the quality materials and build but I’m not likely to drop that much money on a reel. I like my cheap stuff. The last reel I bought cost me a whopping $16

sffzapa says:

For the low low price of 300 dollars

Johnny Sheker says:

Should I put my lews spinning reel on my shimano rod or ugly stick

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