For fishermen and women looking for a reasonable quality spinning reel that is durable in salt and freshwater and offers high-performance at a great price, look no further than the Shimano Sedona FI.
We rate the Shimano Sedona FI a four-star reel (and five stars in terms of value) and explain our reasons below.
Shimano Sedona FI: a four-star reel for a great price
The Tackle Village team owns several Sedonas – the Sedonas (along with the even cheaper Shimano Sienna) are our go-to reel for kayak fishing trips.
Why – you ask?
Because of the combination of quality and price, as we explain further into this Shimano Sedona FI review.
Having all lost expensive rods and reels over the side at some point in our lives, we make it a rule not to take any reel into the kayak that costs more than $100!
Shimano Sedona FI review in detail
The Sedona was updated in 2017 with the release of the FI series, replacing the Sedona FE and FD.
Shimano added the cold-forged Hagane gears you find in its higher-end reels and shaved some weight from the rotor and upgraded the drag in the larger sizes.
The Sedona range offers a lot of variation when it comes to size (500 right up to 8000) and gear ratios, or retrieve speeds (4.6:1 and 6.2:1).
We have a 4000 series and with 24lbs of drag and a gear ratio of 6.2:1 it is perfect for pulling fish out of old wharf pylons and other heavy structure.
Shimano Sedona FI key features
- 3 ball bearings and one roller bearing – provides a smooth retrieve and durable spinning reel
- Upgraded G-Free body – shifts the reels centre of gravity closer to the rod reducing casting and winding fatigue. Great for lure fishing!
- Upgraded Magnumlite rotor … reduces inertia when you start winding in
- Redesigned spool (Propulsion Line Management System) to boost casting distance
Shimano Sedona FI Summary Table:
|Japanese-designed, high-quality spinning reel||Less ball bearings that competing reels|
|Great price||Slightly heavier for a given size than more upmarket reels|
|Decent technology included in the price – Hagane gear, G-free body, Magnumlite rotor and Propulsion line Management system||No anti-reverse switch. This is done internally so you can’t let the reel free spool any more. |
|Available in a wide range of sizes and retrieve speeds – there is a good choice for all types of fishing|
Shimano Sedona FI: Choosing the Right Size
The other good thing about the Shimano Sedona FI is it comes in a full range of sizes from 1000 right up to 8000.
What to consider before buying a spinning reel
The first thing to consider when you go to buy fishing gear isn’t what you might think. It’s not the brand, the model, what your friends are using or anything like that. It comes down to what species you fish for. Whether it is trout, crappie, walleye or bigger targets such as bass and pike or various saltwater species the kind of reel you want to use will be different.
Once you hone in on a species or two that you want this reel to work for, you can choose the right size of reel and also the correct type (spinning vs baitcasting) and the available budget.
This will then govern the weight and the retrieve speed/gear ratio of the reel and help make sure you aren’t fishing with a reel that’s too heavy or can’t crank a lure fast enough.
Matching your rod
The other consideration is that it should match the rod you are using. Pairing a 3500 size spinning reel with an ultralight rod won’t feel right. But put it on a solid bass spinning rod and you’ll have a nicely matched combo to target the chosen species. See how it all comes together?
Type of water
The other thing to consider is whether you are fishing salt or fresh water. There’s no getting away from the fact that saltwater is brutal on gear. The Shimano Sedona FI spinning reel will handle saltwater use for sure, but you want to avoid reels of lesser reels if you are going to be using them for saltwater fishing. Immerse a substandard reel in saltwater a few times – which happens more times than you’d think especially when kayak fishing – and it will soon start to corrode and the action will break down.
Shimano spinning reel model codes demystified
For the full specifications of the Sedona range, click here. For an explanation of the model numbers, please read on below in this Shimano Sedona FI review.
Basically the spool size – bigger number, bigger spool
The “C” at the end means compact: the reel itself is one size smaller than the spool.
The “S” in the end of the model number indicates “shallow spool” that is smaller, lighter in weight and lower in line capacity.
- Normal Spool (no markings or labels)
- Medium “M”
- Small Medium “SM”
- Small “S”
- Super Small “SS”
- Lower Gear “PG” – great for extra grunt for open water battles
- Normal Gear (No marking)
- High Gear “HG” – great for being able to quickly rip the fish away from structure
- Extra High Gear “XG”
There a few other rare ones, but probably the only important one to understand is that “SW” stands for saltwater meaning the reel is corrosion resistant.
Final verdict on the Shimano Sedona FI
The Shimano Sedona FI has enough features to satisfy a serious angler that’s on a reasonably tight budget. Buying this spinning reel over its more expensive cousins such as the Stradic, Saragosa and Sustain leaves more money in your wallet for fishing trips or to upgrade your rod, lures or terminal tackle that often are more of a determinant than your reel in terms of how many fish you catch.
How does the Sedona compare with other Shimano reels?
Sedona vs Sienna
The Sienna has only one ball bearing as compared to the three ball bearings in Sedona and weighs more than the equivalent size in Sedona. Sienna also doesn’t have features like Hagane gear and G-free that Sedonas now boast. And you are more restricted in sizing with the Sienna coming in 1000, 2500 and 4000 sized models only. That said, on value the Sienna models are considerably cheaper and if that’s a key criteria for you, they are – if anything – an even better value reel.
Sedona vs Sahara
The Shimano Sahara has the same G-free body and Hagane cold forged gearing of the Sedona, but has corrosion resistant bearings which boost longevity. It also has X-Ship technology, which helps ensure the pinion gear and bearings remain in perfect alignment and boasts a graphite frame, rotor, and side plate. It is more expensive than the Sedona, but we could easily be talked into upgrading to the Sahara on account of the greater corrosion resistance.
Sedona vs Stradic
The Stradic Ci4+ and FB models are a big step up again. These are really high quality perfectly balance pieces of fishing machinery (with price tags to match). We use the Stradic Ci4+ as our best ultralight spinning reel and absolutely love it. But having lost one overboard (along with a sweet ultralight fishing rod), we wont let it anywhere near the kayak when we head out on the open water. It’s a land-based or boat-based reel only!
What are some alternatives to the Shimano Sienna among other brands?
10 ball bearings in a reel at this price is fairly remarkable, although with bearings it is a case of quality too. The President, not surprisingly has a smooth retrieve and a lightweight body. But while the bearings are stainless steel, they aren’t sealed for corrosion resistance making this reel more suited to freshwater use.
Lightweight, super smooth and renowned for a smooth drag, the Legalis is a really well-regarded Japanese designed reel. Fans of the Legalis say it performs better than many much more expensive reels. For those who aren’t afraid to spend a touch more, it’s a great alternative to the Sedona.
We love our Shimano Sedona FI reels. We fish the 4000XG model with a 6.2:1 gear ratio, which is perfect for kayak fishing around jetty pylons where you need to really rip the fish away from the structure. Cheap, lightweight but with good drag and casting control, the Shimano Sedona FI is a great choice, particularly for kayak anglers like us who are reluctant to put several hundred dollars of reel on the line every time they head out on the water. Accidents do happen!