Shimano Sedona FI Review (2021)

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Shimano Sedona FI

It combines top-quality specs with a price that will make your wallet smile. It’s light, fast, casts beautifully, and is built to last. It truly is a reel you can rely on.

What’s So Good?

Being an avid fisherman, I’ve always found it tricky to balance price with quality when it comes to fishing reels.

There are hundreds on the market, some with extremely low prices but I’m never quite convinced about how long they might last. 

The Shimano Sedona FI reels took away all my worries…

Finally here is a reel that has combined quality with affordability.

Have a look through the Shimano Sedona review and you’ll see that the new Sedona FI fishing reels are high quality reels you can trust to last and catch fish with, day after day, and it won’t break the bank either. 

Things to consider before buying a Fishing Reel

First things first…

Your reel should be something you love to use and in order to make sure it is just that, there are quite a few factors to think about before you get it.

Below, I’ve outlined everything you need to know about reels in order to find a high quality fishing reel that’s perfect for you.

What Are You Fishing For?

Fishing at the Coast

This is an important question, as your reel needs to be able to handle both your target species and the environments they live in.

Here are the points to consider.

  • What species are you planning on catching?

Do the line capacity and the max drag match their strength?

The last thing you want is to be undergunned while fighting the catch of your dreams.

For example, if you want to focus on trout, consider getting a trout spinning reel.

Ensuring you have enough line and stopping power is the only way to make sure you succeed. 

  • Where are you planning on fishing, saltwater, freshwater, or both?

The environment plays a big impact on which reel you should choose.

Some are designed purely for freshwater and others can handle both.

Be sure to get a good reel that can handle where you plan on fishing.

Using a freshwater reel in saltwater is a no go area as the salt will damage it considerably. 

Matching Your Existing Gear

Fishing Gear Placed on Top of a Net

Unless you’re planning on buying a whole new setup, you’ll want your reel to match the existing gear you’re using not only to save a few bucks but also to get the most out of your tackle. 

  • Do the weight and size match your preferred rod?
  • All rods are weighted to manage a particular reel size to ensure the whole outfit balances.
  • A fully balanced setup will let you cast further, more accurately, and remove extra strain from the rod.
  • Is it braid compatible? If you love using braid, and most do these days, you’ll need a reel with a braid compatible spool.

This allows you to fill the spool with braid without it slipping which will stop any tangles or backlashes. 

Does It Match Your Personal Preferences? 

If you’re making an investment into a new piece of fishing gear, you’ll want it to match your style and expectations. This means getting into the details. 

  • How heavy is the reel?

This plays a large part when you’re casting all day as any extra weight will wear you down and make your casting arm tired.

This often leads to lethargic fishing, even if you’re overly obsessed like me, which can make you miss that late evening bite. 

  • Corrosion-resistance and durability, will it last?

If it’s made from the right materials such as graphite, brass, aluminum, or stainless steel that are all corrosion-resistant, you have found yourself a durable reel that will last for years.

The addition of a sealed or intrusion protection system is also an added bonus, as this will stop any dirt, salt, or water from getting into the inner workings. 

  • Is the drag smooth and reliable?

A smooth and reliable reel drag is not only key to catching big specimens but also for the longevity of the reel.

The best systems utilize a multi-disc system of either carbon fiber or felt. 

  • Is the retrieve smooth and fast enough? 

A quick retrieval rate is based on a high gear ratio.

It’s ideal for certain techniques like crank-baiting or popping when you need to gather slackline quickly.

TIP

The smoothness of your retrieve is defined by the gears and ball bearings.

Make sure the gears are tough and that the number of bearings are high for smooth retrieval.

  • Does the quality match the price?

This is all about getting the right bang for your buck and finding a reliable high quality reel that’ll last for years while not having to spend too much.

TIP

Make sure to always test out the reel you want to buy.

The Shimano Sedona FI Review

Shimano Sedona FI

The Shimano Sedona FI spinning reel combines top-quality specs and incredible design with a price that would make your wallet smile.

It’s light, fast, casts beautifully, and is built to last long.

It truly might be the best ultralight spinning reel you can rely on. 

FUN FACT

The Shimano Sedona FI has been upgraded from the previous Shimano Sedona FE to now include some of Shimano’s best technology.

New Feature

The newly improved Shimano Sedona FI reel now includes Shimano’s; G-Free Body system for better casting, their cold forged HAGANE gear technology for increased gear efficiency, an upgraded Magnumlite rotor which provides a lighter startup inertia, plus an excellent management of the line to reduce tangles and backlashes. With all those features, this unit doesn’t come with an anti reverse feature.

The Sedona FI reel is available in 8 different sizes ranging from the Sedona SE500F1 to the Sedona SE8000F1.

The larger the number, the stronger the drag and the larger the room for line.

There is a model to suit pretty much any fishing situation, from light freshwater fishing to medium offshore.

TIP

The Shimano Sedona 2500 is the middle ground for freshwater while the Shimano Sedona 4000 is the bridge between heavy freshwater and light saltwater. 

Pros 

  • Great value for the quality 
  • Cold forged HAGANE gear provides awesome versatility for various fishing situations
  • Performs brilliantly day after day 
  • Excellent Propulsion Line Management System 
  • There is a model for almost every target species/environment
  • Oval Oscillation Gear system for efficiency and improved even line-lay on to the spool
  • A good number of ball bearings 

Cons 

  • The reel comes without anti reverse or reverse direction switch
  • The bail arm on the reel is a little stiff for some fishermen and can close mid-cast when you really go for it

Features & Benefits

G-Free Body

Shimano G-Free Body

How does the G-Free body technology work?

The idea behind the design of the G-Free Body is that it shifts the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod and anglers hand position to enhance casting comfort and reduce fatigue.

movement of the center of gravity closer to the rod means that casting would become lighter and even easier…

The movement of the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod means that casting would become lighter and even easier, as you’re not battling against the weight of the reel with each cast, and instead, the weight is actually assisting you and your rod.

Less Fatigue

This body design allows you to fish for hours with the Sedona and enhance casting comfort without your casting arm getting tired, unlike heavier reels, which is very helpful when fishing for a long period of time.

Planning to catch bass with this reel? This is an especially great addition to your bass fishing gear if you’re having to cast at covers for bass for hours on end. 

HAGANE Gear System 

Shimano HAGANE Gear System

The addition of the Hagane Gear technology to the FI is something you rarely find in a reel of this quality and its inclusion is what puts the Sedona FI head and shoulders above its rivals.

The cold forged technology forms the entire surface of the drive gear teeth precisely through unique 3D all-metal system design that gives you gears that can handle larger species through increased durability, power, efficiency, and smoothness. 

Propulsion Line Management System

The line management system uses a combination of a few things. The first being the design of the spool lip.

The spool lip design has been made to improve casting distance by reducing friction when the line runs against the spool.

This helps stop backlashes or wind knots forming.

The Propulsion Line Management System combines the design of spool lip and line roller with no contact bail arm to enhance the casting distances.

Undergone Rigorous Testing

Shimano has run simulations and field-tested this on over 10,000 casts on their reels, and it truly does make for seamless, effortless casting.

The second design feature that assists with line management on these spinning reels is the Varispeed Oscillation System.

What is Varispeed Oscillation System?

The Varispeed Oscillation system stops your line from stacking unevenly on the spool, which if it did, would reduce casting efficiency immensely.

The Varispeed Oscillation system alters the speed of oscillation and regularises it to provide a constant retrieve and therefore an even line lay. 

The constant rotation of the oscillation gear of normal oscillation systems causes the line lay to stack at either end of the spool and provides an inconsistent spool speed.

Double Anodized Machine Cut Braid Ready Spool

Double Anodized Machine Cut Braid Ready Spool

The machine cut spool is designed to increase line capacity and assists with the function of the oval oscillation gear system for efficiency and improved even line-lay on to the spool.

It’s a braid ready machine cut spool, to ensure the braid holds its place on the spool and doesn’t slip when you’re filling your reel.

Prevents Corrosion

The double anodizing of the machine cut spool is also important for stopping corrosion, as the spool will have to deal with your wet line every time you use it, and that can mean a build-up of corrosive elements, especially in saltwater.

That doesn’t mean that you can neglect washing the reel every time that you use the Shimano Sedona FI reel.

Handle

The reel handles vary across the different models and for a valid reason.

The SE1000F1 and SE2500HGF1 use a single paddle handle to help reduce the weight of the reel so ease of castings and fatigue-less days on the water. 

All the other models feature a power handle for comfort that really comes into their own on the larger models when fighting bigger fish. 

A Size To Suit You 

The Shimano Sedona FI comes in 8 reel sizes between 500-8000 and there is one to suit almost every fishing situation.

The reel size range numbers refer to how big a fish the model can handle, but which one is the right size for you? 

Shimano Sedona FI reel sizes 500-3000 are ideal for targeting smaller fish in rivers, lakes, and ponds, the Shimano 2500 Sedona being the middle ground.

Shimano Sedona FI are made for lighter lines and for fish that need less drag power and less line capacity.

If you’re looking to target larger freshwater or saltwater species, then you’ll need a reel model between the Shimano Sedona FI 4000 and the 8000 range.

All smaller Sedona FI reel models have drag washers made of felt while the 8000 has carbon fibre drag washers, one of which is keyed to the spool to allow both its sides to generate braking force.

Felt washers are not bad and they have their place in light duty small reels, but carbon washers are made to withstand the harsh elements of saltwater fishing.

These models have more line capacity, stronger drag settings, smooth reel retrieval, and increased gear ratios designed to manage bigger fish. 

Great Casting 

The combination of the line management system, G-Free Body Technology, Varispeed Oscillation System, and the low weight of the Shimano Sedona FI reel come together to make a reel that is beautiful to cast with and has a great casting distance.

The line fires off the spool effortlessly and comes back in neatly, to ensure you can focus all your time at the water on catching fish and not having to manage any tangles.

What Are Others Saying About The Sedona

Having scoured the internet for fishermen’s personal thoughts and reviews about the Shimano Sedona FI, it’s quite clear that this reel is loved by most who have one.

Based on the Shimano Sedona review I found, people are raving about the reel from the US to Australia, for both freshwater and saltwater use. 

Both from https://www.bcf.com.au/p/shimano-sedona-2500fi-spinning-reel/530342.html

Alternatives

Shimano Sienna

Designed purely for light fresh water use and comes with a lot fewer features than the Shimano Sedona FI reel.

Shimano Sienna

There are of course a few other reels on the market to look at, one of which is the Shimano Sienna reel.

This affordable spinning reel is designed purely for light freshwater use and comes with a lot fewer features than the Shimano Sedona FI reel.

Difference in Features

It does, however, include the Propulsion Line Management System like the Shimano Sedona FI to help prevent backlashes and wind knots.

Overall, it’s a more affordable option but if you’re looking for a reel to use in saltwater or for large species, this probably isn’t the best fit for you. 

If you’re looking for something more affordable than the Shimano Sedona FI for light fresh water fishing, the Sienna is worth checking out. 

Here’s a summary of the differences.

The Sienna spinning reels are;

Pros

  • More affordable reel
  • Made for light freshwater use only
  • The reel comes with the propulsion line management system to help prevent backlashes and wind knots

Cons

  • Is lacking extra features like G-free body, cold forged HAGANE drive gear system, and more

Shimano Sahara

A spinning reel that’s purely for inshore saltwater fishing use, the Sahara is worth considering as an alternative to the Shimano Sedona FI.

Shimano Sahara

The Shimano Sahara is a very similar bit of gearing to the Shimano Sedona FI reels in both budget and its features set.

The main differences are that the Sahara is a little lighter and is designed more for inshore saltwater use than freshwater.

Difference in Features

The only difference in their features is that the Sahara includes X-Ship gearing which ensures the HAGANE gear keeps it’s alignment to provide 100% efficiency with every crank, this comes in useful when fighting stubborn saltwater fish where every wind counts. 

If you’re looking for a spinning reel that’s purely for inshore saltwater use, the Sahara is worth considering as an alternative to the Shimano Sedona FI.

Here’s a summary of the differences.

The Sahara reels are; 

Pros

  • In the same budget
  • Designed more for inshore saltwater fishing
  • Come with X-Ship gearing plus all the features of the Sedona FI

Cons

  • Come in fewer sizes

Pflueger President

It’s quite a basic reel, but still very well made piece of gear and a pleasure to fish with

Pflueger President

The Pflueger President is again quite similar to the Shimano Sedona FI reels in terms of purpose.

The range in sizes is enough to provide you a reel that’s great for light fresh water or light inshore fishing, but it doesn’t have the size range or max drag to take you into anything bigger like the Sedona FI.

It’s quite a basic reel, but still a very well made piece of gear and a pleasure to fish with but it doesn’t have the ‘tech hype’ of the Sedona.

Features

The things that set it apart are that the drag is sealed for protection in saltwater use and that it comes with anti reverse.

Also, their smallest model is a tad smaller than the Shimano Sedona FI, so if you’re looking to use a super-light line, like 2lbs mono, the Pflueger President is what I’ll recommend. It’s possibly a better choice as it has the right spool for it.

You do miss out on all the Shimano extras though.

If you’re truly a light weight line enthusiast or wanting to reduce your budget a bit for a solid freshwater/light inshore reel, then the Pflueger President is worth a shot.

The Pflueger President;

Pros

  • Comes in a smaller model for super-light line
  • Has a sealed drag system
  • Comes with anti reverse

Cons

  • Has fewer models to choose from, and lacks in the bigger species department
  • Doesn’t come with the Shimano extra features such as G-free body, HAGANE gearing system, and more

Conclusion

The Shimano Sedona FI does an amazing job of balancing affordability with great quality.

They truly have made an amazing reel that gives you great performance day after day that isn’t going to hurt your wallet. 

The Shimano Sedona FI reel casts brilliantly, all thanks to the G-Free Body system. Has the drag power and size to match almost all target species and is made to such high specifications that ensure that it’ll last for many years.

If you have the right rod, then the Shimano Sedona FI is the last piece of gear you need. 

If you’re looking for a top-quality new reel with a low price which is full of features that can take your fishing to the next level, I recommend that you go check the Sedona FI now.

From the Author

Thanks for reading my Shimano Sedona Review and feel free to share this with your fishing friends who are looking for a superb reel.

And also, don’t forget to check out my other fishing articles like the best reels for crappie or the Penn Pursuit 3 review. We got all the info you need. Feel free to dig in.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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