Shimano Sahara FI : The Review

Hello water dwellers

Will begin with a few side notes. You can skip them and go to the picture of the reel if you want to get right to it.

I posted this in news updates a while ago, but here it is again for those who missed it:- Penn has just announced that they are upgrading the Slammer III reels with a ball bearing in the line roller instead of the bushing

It's a cycle we've seen many times before; I tested the reel and found the line roller to be problematic, spoke about it in several articles such as here and here, everyone got defensive explaining in profound terms why I'm completely wrong and how perfect the design is, but eventually the manufacturer just does what I suggested should be done. Not sure what it took Penn almost 2 years to do it, when in the past they were quick to do a major redesign and part swap program for the first generation Torque to address issues I found in the original reels (bail arm gauging the spool, inability to shim spool, etc.). Anyway, I'm yet to test the upgraded Slammer III, but hopefully later this year I will do this and see how it goes. Please allow some time for this.

The second thought is about Shimano, who regularly does some of the most outrageous things imaginable. Recently finished playing with a bunch of sizes of the new Sedona FI, and upon close inspection I found the Sedona FI 8000 to be the exact same reel as the Socorro SW 8000, only minus one ball bearing and a rubber ring. Not talking mere similarities here, rather the exact same reel made of the exact same parts, save for cosmetics of course. The missing bearing is the secondary pinion bearing which is replaced with a bushing in the Sedona, something that makes no difference in this class of reels with their limited drag capabilities. The missing rubber ring is the rotor brake ring, also insignificant because much force is needed to automatically close the bail. The insanity becomes clear when comparing the MSRP of the two models- the Socorro SW 8000 is $130, while the Sedona FI 8000 is $95, meaning that for a piece of rubber and a single bearing Shimano charges an extra $35!! That bearing would indeed be worth tens of dollars if it had been lubricated with the saliva of a voluptuous girl, who then presses the bearing's shields in place with her lusty lips and rolls it up and down her cleavage for final quality control before she packs it. But since the bearing is actually a standard Shanghai bearing spat out by a high-speed machine then packed by a low-paid worker who probably urinates where he stands because there are no bathroom breaks, I'd say it's worth about 40 cents max. Unless you really enjoy being taken for a ride, I recommend that you skip the Socorro SW 8000 and get the Sedona FI 8000 instead, then send a letter to Shimano telling them where to put their $$ bearing. 


This recent message was the second biggest loss reported to me by a fisherman, the biggest being almost $5k by a charter operation back in 2016. It breaks my heart every time, but more so when it's serious money like this. I need you to help spread the word to protect other fishermen by sharing this article which I keep expanding and updating with new scam sites. I've also just added an important update to that article stating that now you could lose money even if you use Paypal. I will not say how because I do not want to teach crooks who might read this, so you'll just have to take my word for it. If you recall, while researching for my last article I created personas of dodgy merchants and embedded myself in the world of cybercrime, and even ventured into the horrific dark web looking for certain services and tips. I still monitor that realm from time to time to know what's out there, and recently came across that intricate technique that allows thieves get your money via Paypal then make you lose your money-back claim. The scammer can probably do it once because the second time would raise red flags in his account, but with countless stolen identities being traded for anonymous bitcoin payments in onionland they have no problem making a new Paypal account after each hit. In simple terms, there is no substitute for extreme vigilance and you can't always depend on money-back protections. 

With less than a handful of freshwater reel reviews on this site, it's understandable that many think I don't care much for freshwater fishing. Actually it's the exact opposite, and for very good reasons. Reason one is the way I work; contacts in the trade send me reels all the time, mostly dealer samples, expo reels, floor models, returns, prototypes, etc. I fish them whenever I can and examine them, then if I think a model deserves a published review for one reason or another I buy a retail piece and review it. Accordingly freshwater reels come my way more frequently because they are generally smaller, lighter, cost less to ship, and if I push one too far and break it paying for it usually doesn't hurt very much. On the personal side, I love fishing freshwater because I can always do it on a whim without much preparation. Unlike saltwater which will always be a "trip" that requires planning and travelling, a lake or a pond will always be a short drive away and I can just throw the rod in the car and go. I don't even do as much as take water and food since I can perfectly survive without these for the 4 or 5 hours most freshwater outings take from start to finish. I post more about saltwater though because that's what most of readers do, but as I hear more from freshwater fishos I'll certainly cater more to their needs.

Beginning with the usual photoshoot, where reels try to show off their beauty

Unfortunately nothing to show off here. I would not call the Sahara FI "ugly", but it certainly is unpleasant to the eyes. From several angles the aesthetics look normal and in line with what one expects from a contemporary Shimano, but the problem comes from this

The bottom contour of the body does not flow naturally, instead it takes a sharp turn upwards (red arrows) which makes the gearbox look.... well, look "incomplete" for the lack of a better description. It's as if a chunk of it is missing. They try to mitigate this effect with the shiny hollow rear bumper that's shaped to fill the missing chuck, but it does not work very well. This is something that Shimano has been increasingly doing, mainly to save material and weight by cutting off a part of the body that is no longer occupied by the mechanism (explained later on). This "incomplete" body made its way through the range ruining reels' looks left and right, infecting even the top of the range 2014 Stella (FI in export markets) and from it moved into its 2018 replacement (Stella FJ in export markets). I know looks are usually subjective, but I might dare to say that this trend is as close as it gets to being objectively ugly. Actually when I first unpacked a 2017 Exsence, a friend who doesn't fish but has seen many reels around the place over the years remarked something to the effect of "that one looks weird". I don't blame her.

Made in Malaysia, and the sticker bears a code that tells you the date of manufacture and the location of the factory. It has been a couple of years since I last explained it, so once more;  the first letter is the year in alphabetic order with "A" being 2002, "B" being 2003, etc. The second letter is the month, and the third is where the factory is. The PC-P on my Sahara would then translate to 2017, March, Malaysia.

Comes with a big chunk of paperwork that weighs almost half as much as the reel itself, and a bag of shims that fit beneath the spool to fine tune the line lay pattern.

When new it has this sticker around the spool. Please remove it before you spool it. It is something to tell you the reel is new and unused, but not the type of sticker that's used to prevent braid slippage. Yes, I've seen people who spooled their reels on top of this sticker in other Shimano models, thus this advice.

The actual weight matches the advertised weight. At 300 grams (~10.6 oz) the reel is very light for its size, thanks mainly to its full plastic body construction. Shimano builds reels in three major categories - full metal, where the entire body is aluminium or a mixture of aluminium and magnesium parts. Hybrid, where the chassis including the stem is metal then a plastic gearbox is attached to it. And full plastic where the entire body is made of one type or another of synthetic compound. There are subcategories where a rotor of one material is attached to a body of a different material etc., but these are the three main ones. The choice of which build category one should consider depends first and foremost on the rigidity required for the intended fishing and target fish, and once that has been sorted out the second deciding factor should be weight. If you go for light weight first without considering the strength needed to tackle your target fish, you might find yourself on the water with a reel that's struggling to cope with what's at the end of the line.  

I was pleasantly surprised though with how this full plastic reel felt. Smart design elements have a hand in making it feel more rigid than one expects. The stem is split into two limbs for better handling of tension and compression forces, and the rotor's shape inches ever closer to Daiwa's arched design because that design is so good at reinforcing a rotor there is no point in continuing to avoid it for the sake of pride. In addition to the rigidity stemming from the design, the plastic itself has been improved. This is not the high grade long-strand carbon infused plastic the Japanese companies use in their expensive reels. It's their basic material, but it just has become better than the plastics of yesterday. That's the normal progression of things just as we know that today's steels are better than steels from the past etc. The reel's rigidity is puzzling when you first hold it and feel that it's too light to feel this good, but you get used to it quickly. Still in the above picture, the reel has the parallel foot which has become the standard in Shimano reels...

This parallel foot could cause compatibility issues with some rods when the reel is large, but for the small Sahara FI series and similarly sized models there is absolutely no issues with any spinning rod. I paired the reel with a standard configuration rod whose first ring is not particularly large, and as you see in the picture the line flows smoothly from the reel into the ring without sharp turns.

The drag knob has no sealing whatsoever, but this shouldn't be a problem in a freshwater reel since it's unlikely you'll be fishing while being sprayed with water. If though you're using a boat to go from one fishing location to another it might be a good idea to cover the reel to keep sprays out.

The drag washers of my 5000 size are carbon fibre, while smaller Sahara FI reels have felt washers. There is nothing wrong with this since felt is perfectly fine for low stress work where you don't expect the drag to heat up. Felt produces a drag that's smoother than anything carbon can produce, but carbon shines when heat is involved since heat destroys felt. If someone tells you felt is bad tell them that even the Stella SW 4000 has felt drag washers and that carbon comes in sizes 5000 and up of that reel. Anyway, a quick reminder that you should not grease felt washers, only oil them.

Drag clicker is simple and reliable, although I prefer coil springs to wire springs for durability. The Sahara FI's drag  produces a nice buzz that you should hear easily, unless you were next to a waterfall or some stupid tourists were noisily frolicking behind you and kept asking you to take group photos of them to show to their similarly stupid Instagram friends! I really really hate fishing where people can walk by and can't wait to get back to the solitude of a boat in the middle of nowhere.

The spool lip is the familiar reverse tapered design, and of course there wouldn't be a hardened lip on a reel of this price. Don't throw it about or drop it not to ding the lip and hurt the casting performance..

Speaking of which, the group effort of spool lip, the line lay, and the parallel foot makes this reel an extremely good caster. The line flows smoothly without much resistance or tugging, and the coils leaving the spool looked so consistent with barely any contact with the rod I just had to take this picture. It's the parallel foot that keeps line away from the rod.

That excellent casting is highly valued in these small reels, since lures are usually very light and difficult to throw far. Not only could I send small 3/8 oz crank baits far away, but the absence of line tugging and little line collision with the rod allowed me to make precise casts lading lures where I wanted even in tricky situations. Sometimes would need to go below a low hanging tree that looks like a graveyard of tangled lures people lost in it, and other times I'd need land my bait right next to bank vegetation without becoming entangled into it. Shimano's parallel foot is such an intriguing feature. On one hand it could be a complete pain if it's one of the big reels and your rod is not made for it, but on the other hand when it's paired with a suitable rod you're in for a treat. The first time I commented on that design was 5 years ago in the Stella SW's reviews, where I said this

So one has a choice to make. Other reels with standard foot that guarantee good matching with any spinning rod, or a Shimano with a straight foot that might not match all rods but when it does it's fireworks. Well, I digressed here because as I said earlier this is not an issue with the smaller reels like the model being reviewed here, which will give you great casting performance without having to worry about the rod. 

The spool shims (red arrow) are easily inserted and taken out. Shimano has always been good at this, Daiwa not so much. The rotor nut (blue arrow) is a simple open type. There is no protection against water intrusion around the main shaft here, which, again, is not an issue for this type of reel. For future reference though let's call this point "1 of 4", and I put it in red font to make it easy to spot later.

As cheap as it is, it still comes with a rotor brake that prevents rotor rotation during casts. When you open the bail, the lever's tip (red arrow) comes down and engages the rubber ring (blue arrow) to keep the rotor still. All sizes of the Sahara FI have an automatic bail closure.

Beneath the rotor, a cap keeps things in place (red arrow), and here we see another open area around the pinion (blue arrow). For the third time I'm not saying that these are problematic at all, but I'm pointing them out and naming them for a good reason you'll see at the end. I'll name this opening "2 of 4". The green arrow points the base of the cap, and this will be "3 of 4".

This is the highlight of the reel. The anti-reverse clutch is Shimano's proprietary design with elements found in top tier clutches, which lend it exceptional strength and longevity while reducing the possibility of slippages.

Not only a proprietary design, but one with individual metal springs to control each brake cylinder independently. With few exceptions, every other spinning reel in the world in this price range uses a generic catalogue ordered clutch with plastic springs, made by the same dude standing in a puddle of pee asking himself what went wrong with his life.

The limb of the spring reaching beneath the lock ring to keep the cylinder in constant contact and compensate for wear. This took some serious macro-photography, so you're welcome to congratulate me and mention how incredibly talented I am, and feel free to ask how come I'm so unbelievably awesome yet I remain humble and down to earth.

Taking out the rear bumper shows the full extent of material removal from the housing. Basically an entire corner has been sliced off, and the shiny bumper struggles to mitigate this aesthetic crime. Shimano's penchant for disfiguring reels by material removal knows no bounds, and at its most extreme looked like this in some models

The horror! Every bit of unoccupied space has been savagely shaved off, so much so that the bottom contour of the drive gear is visible and screw posts protrude fully outside the body. The rear/lower part of the body looks like a school of hungry piranhas attacked it. Meanwhile Daiwa does some orgasm-inducing visuals like this

And when Daiwa wants to remove material they do it discretely and elegantly (red arrow). I'm whining too much about it because I hated how the 2014 Stella (FI) looked, and I hate how the 2018 Stella (FJ) looks even more, and I'd be gutted if they similarly disfigure the next SW model. 

Open sesame

Unfortunately the rotor needs to be removed in order to open the gearbox, which is a missed opportunity in my opinion. Could have easily made it an easy-access gearbox that one can service in minutes or even inspect while on the water if needed.

The drive gear is mounted on a ball bearing on each side. No seals, just a bearing in a recess, and we will call this "4 of 4".

The oscillation block rides on a stainless steel bar (red arrow) for stability and less resistance under load.

Main shaft is of considerable strength. Actually a little too big for a reel this size, which is quite welcome and nothing to complain about. Only adds to the overall rigidity of the reel. The oscillation block (red arrow) is curved for a well timed stroke that lays line well

I mean really well. Look at this exemplary lay which one rarely expects to see on a budget reel. In addition to being an important factor in the excellent casting performance mentioned earlier, it dramatically reduces chances of line problems. If you get wind knots, it won't be the reel's fault.

The blue arrow points the secondary pinion bearing, and the rest of the photo explains how they managed to vacate the lower corner of the gearbox and slice it off. About 4 years ago Shimano began moving most or all of the oscillation mechanism from the bottom to the top, so that it's now located above the shaft instead of below it (red arrows). It has been done to both locomotive and worm oscillation systems. They call it "G-Free body" in another example of garbage catchy marketing names, and they say it "shifts the centre of gravity closer to the rod" and claim it "reduces fatigue and increases casting comfort". After typing that last sentence I actually needed to stop for half a minute until I stopped cringing so I could continue writing. Actually this is so bad I need to preserve it in a capture just to prove they actually said it

That takes rubbish to new highs, and watching fishing publications mindlessly repeat it is all the evidence one needs to realise the magnitude of illiteracy that fuels this industry. Without getting too technical, they are talking about altering angular momentum, which is a product of moment of inertia and angular velocity. Moment of inertia depends on the mass distribution of the body in question, and that mass distribution is what has been changed in these reels. In practice though by changing the oscillation gear's location they had only shifted a few grams by a few millimetres, and considering how close the entire reel is to the axis of rotation during the casting motion it becomes clear that this shift is so minute its effect is negligible. Yes, it's a real thing, but it's purely theoretical in this context and application and should not be touted as having any effect on your fatigue level. An analogy would be asking you to spit your gum before climbing into my car in order to save fuel. Yes, the gum does have weight and theoretically less weight equals less fuel consumption, but in practice it's nonsense and will lead to no measurable fuel saving. What this really does is allow them to use less material which saves cost especially in metal bodied reels made of high grade alloys, and naturally less material means a bit of reduction in weight. It would have been less infuriating (although still nonsensical) had they claimed that the bit of weight of reduction "reduces fatigue", but they did not and instead spewed a ton of garbage about centres of gravity to appear super smart and scientific an stuff.

The pinion with its primary bearing. A well made and finished piece of quality brass alloy, machined accurately into a strong part without being too heavy.

Wearing nicely at a very acceptable rate. Couldn't ask for more at this price. 

The drive gear is quite interesting. It's Shimano's best effort to supply a budget reel with a quality gear, without spending too much on making that gear. What we get is the marriage of different worlds. From the premium world a cold forged aluminium alloy gear plate (green arrow), and from the budget territories a low-cost cast zinc gear base (red arrow) as opposed to the machined stainless steel bases found in reels up the ladder. The cold forged plate has black Almite surface treatment, which is done to lower standard and less hardness than in mid range reels, but still remains a highly useful and practical addition. The assembly of the gear plate to the base is also done in a budget fashion. In the picture above you see 4 posts (blue arrow) protruding from from the forged gear plate, and interlocking into 4 holes in the cast zinc base to prevent separation under load. This is cheaper to manufacture than the high pressure press-fitting or the press-fitting plus screws found in more expensive reels.

The oscillation teeth are integral to the cast zinc gear shaft.

The cold forged teeth are sturdily shaped, and come with all the desirable characteristics of this tested and proven forming method which is used in reels all the way up to the venerable Stellas.

My reel has been well fished and tested, so it's not a surprise that the coating is starting to show signs of wear. Sure would've loved it to have the harder coating of the Spheros SW/Saragosa SW, but for the price I can't complain. The coating of my Sahara's gear is wearing at a satisfactory rate, and when it eventually wears off completely it's not the end of the journey because beneath the coating there is cold forged aluminium alloy ready to keep working hard. I'm quite happy with the toughness of this gear, and I haven't seen a better one in any spinner in this price range. Considering the amount of use I put on it, a standard cast zinc gear (usually found in reels of this price and even a bit higher) would by now be suffering visible volume loss and likely some warping.

This brings us to the "use" it was put through, which is the main reason it took me ages to post this review. You see, the reel feels solid in hand, and the list of specifications is quite impressive with forged stuff, proprietary things, oversized this and that, but ultimately all of it means absolutely nothing, and it would be reckless to draw even the smallest of conclusions based on it. The fish, and only the fish, can tell you truth. For about 10 months I fished it every chance I got. It crossed the Atlantic 3 times catching Pike, Bream, Perch, and Chub on one side, and on the other side a load of fish from the Black Bass family which I did not care to distinguish because they look annoyingly similar and I neither kill nor eat them. Still, none of that was enough for me to form a proper opinion, because I believe that a reel needs to be systematically pushed to near its limits and methodically brought close the maximum figures advertised by the manufacturer before I can open my big mouth and claim that I figured it out. I'm saying all of this to make you show some forgiveness for the silly thing I was forced to do when none of the fish I had caught in lakes or rivers pushed the reel to where I wanted it to go..

I had to take it to saltwater! This is not an invitation or a recommendation to use the reel for salt, instead it's something that needed to be done if I did not want to leave you waiting for 10 more months. I brought it along while testing a couple of saltwater shore reels that will be the subject of future reviews, and whenever I felt that fish of the right size were around I'd put down the salt gear and pick the Sahara FI and cast. A few times I accidentally hooked fish that I deemed too big to fight on a budget 5000 sized freshwater reel, and I would then put the rod aside and basically hand-line the fish without any involvement from the reel. The picture above though is a good example of the right fish that tested the reel's abilities to my satisfaction. That gentleman took the Sahara FI about 7 minutes to land, and while it was released in water without being weighed I estimate that it was about 4 kilos (~9 lbs), which I decided was borderline the maximum capability of this reel. If you will regularly land fish weighing over 4.5kg (10 lbs), look elsewhere.

The bail mechanism is simply perfect, and without a doubt the best there has ever been in any reel. The coil spring dives into a sleeve which pivots around a protruding post, allowing it to turn with the opening stroke like a watch's hand to apply consistent pressure throughout the full opening motion. How come it's the best there is? Because it's a Daiwa design that first appeared in their premium reels at the beginning of this decade, which Shimano apparently helped themselves to. These guys are like Apple and Samsung, except that they are not as litigious as the two phone makers and seemingly each lets it go when the other nicks a design of theirs.

Expectedly the line roller has no ball bearings. Instead it depends on an external polytetrafluoroethylene washer (red arrow), and an internal bushing made of the low friction and very durable polyphthalamide (blue arrow).

In a touch of top notch engineering, they made a step into the internal bushing (blue arrow) instead of using a plain straight one. The post it fits around is similarly stepped to house it (red arrow). This way any containments would find it extremely difficult to get past the step and reach the rest of the bushing to jam it, that's if these containments could get past the external washer to begin with. Simple, low cost, and deadly effective. I had zero issues with the line roller throughout the testing period.  

As impressive as this reel is, it remains a budget product that has budget features, the most obvious of which is the handle. The handle is attached to the gear via the awkward and cumbersome hexagonal shaft & screw system. This system is generally inferior to the screwed-in handle, primarily because its stability depends on the screw being tightened, and with use the screw could become loose and require re-tightening. Also if the handle shaft is left inside the gear for prolonged periods without cleaning and lubing, it might become stuck due to containments, corrosion, or salt in case of saltwater reels. I'd gently check if the screw was securely tightened at the beginning of each day's fishing, and every 6 months or so I'd remove the handle and clean and lube both the hex shaft and hollow gear shaft.        

The plastic hood of the handle (yellow arrow) surrounds a metal sleeve (blue arrow), both are held together with a retaining ring (red arrow). Another low cost setup that works well for this reel.

The other end of the metal sleeve has pyramid shaped extensions (red arrow), which fit into the slot of the stem when the stem is upright. The blue arrows point to some small finish damage that came with use, but I can't complain since that's an issue that I've found and highlighted in much more expensive Shimanos. Shimano's handles of all classes could use some improvement.

Thankfully they did not permanently bolt the grip, which is a common practice in budget reels. The grip of the Sahara FI is handsomely assembled with screws and can be taken apart for cleaning or swapping with a different style grip.

A synthetic bushing inside the grip for smooth operation (red arrow), and they did not forget to put a drop of Loctite on the grip's screw for extra security (blue arrow).

In summary, the Sahara FI is a light weight, dependable, and a very pleasant reel to use. It's built intelligently to provide a taste of the durability and reliability found in more expensive reels, but in a budget package. Things like longevity and reliability usually reside in the back of your head while you fish, but other things such as its smoothness and great casting will always be present on your mind as you throw and retrieve lures. Once a fish strikes your thoughts will immediately shift to appreciating the consistent drag and the fact that under stress the body flexes less than you'd expect from a plastic reel. Other than that dung about the reel being blessed because they moved its centre of gravity to the Vatican, I love pretty much everything about the Sahara, and you will most likely feel the same as long as you keep things in perspective and remember that it's a budget reel.

Now that you've persevered through another one of my awfully long brain farts, I'm going to double your reward and turn this into a double review. Do you recall the 4 red font markers I dropped in this review? Imagine a simple seal added at each of these points, and now you've got yourself a full review of the Shimano Nasci FB as well. Yes, the Nasci is the exact same reel made of the exact same parts as the Sahara FI, only with the following 4 seals added at the marked locations; a seal on top of the rotor nut for the main shaft, a seal around the pinion on top of the black assembly cap, an O ring seal beneath the edge of that cap, and a seal beneath each of the drive gear's bearings where the handle enters the body. The Nasci FB is $20 more than the Sahara FI, which is not an obscene amount to pay if you prefer to have these seals. I tested the Nasci almost two years ago and liked it, and thinking back these seals did not affect free-spinning much because they are not tight. When I had the Nasci I did not find myself in a situation where I needed protection from heavy splashes, but if your fishing environment somehow subjects you to this then the extra $20 is not a bad investment.

You know, you've been really patient waiting for this review, so you deserve a triple value for your time. Ready? The Sedona FI sizes 1000, 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000 are almost identical to the Sahara FI reviewed here, with the following differences; the secondary ball bearing of the pinion is replaced with a bushing, there is no rotor brake ring to stop the rotor when you open the bail, some models have higher gear ratios, and the 5000 size has felt drag washers. To remind you, the Sahara FI and Nasci FB have felt washers in all sizes except 5000 which have carbon ones. The Sedona FI is $10 cheaper than the Sahara FI, so you look at the differences listed here and decide if you want to save that $10 and get a Sedona, or just spend it and get the Sahara.

It's important to stress here that this similarity between the Sedona and Sahara only applies to Sedona sizes 1000 to 5000. Do not confuse this with the two extra Sedona models 6000 and 8000 because these two are completely different designs. The Sedona FI 8000 is the same reel as the Socorro SW 8000 minus a bearing and the rotor brake ring as I explained at the beginning, both reels having a double-sided carbon drag washer. The Sedona FI 6000 though is strange in that it is also a copy of the Socorro SW 6000 minus the bearing ans the ring, but they differ in drag material where the Sedona FI 6000 has felt washers while the Socorro SW 6000 has carbon ones. See how many reels got covered? Wasn't lying when I promised you a wide ranging review.

I know all these intersections and differences between the models and even between sizes within the same model are quite complex, but I did my best to keep it simple and another reading would make it stick. Everything you've read here is correct and accurate based on first hand experience with retail versions of all these reels, so don't get confused if you hear different things elsewhere. I'm saying this because a lot of wrong information and specifications are floating around, some of which are inadvertently spread by Shimano itself. For example Shimano Australia's website states that the Sedona FI has what they call "X-Ship"

And Shimano itself describes "X-Ship" like this

But in reality the pinion in all sizes of the Sedona FI runs on one bearing and one bushing, therefore the information on Shimano Australia's site is wrong.

In conclusion, the Sahara FI, the Nasci FB, and the Sedona FI are yet more pages in a new chapter that tackle makers had no choice but to start a few years ago, under pressure from the well informed fishermen who demanded more quality for their money and rewarded that quality with orders. I spoke about how it all came to be at the beginning of the Makaira review. Thanks to that movement we now get more quality for our cash than at any time before, and this extends beyond the budget slice into mid range and even a bit further as you'll see in future articles. You need to always keep on mind though that while these budget offerings do provide better performance, reliability, and longevity than previous reels costing as much, they still have their limitations. You can't expect a Sahara to perform like an Exist, nor think that a 2016 BG can do a Stella SW's job.
The review is over. Here is what's happening next. I'll continue to scan the market and queue the interesting stuff for reviews. I will be releasing one or two minor Blog articles in the not so distant future, but overall new material will come at a slower rate than usual for a while. Partially because there is nothing of crushing importance out there at the moment, but mainly because I'm back to helping with the design/debugging of a couple of reels that are still under development. I used to do this years ago then stopped because it was time consuming and there was too much drama involved in the inner workings of some companies, but recently someone made the convincing argument that if I really care about fishermen it's better to help making a good product from the beginning than to wait for its release then point out issues and beg for fixes. I'm giving it another go and will see how it goes.

Keep checking the News page for updates about everything, and keep the feedback/questions/abuse coming. Off to try and finish my bloody Panini world cup album before the tournament begins, and you resume your quest to shower continuously because having been shore-bound lately I discovered that you smell even worse than I remembered!!


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Alan Hawk
May, 4th, 2018

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