Shimano Stradic CI4 2500





                                                                                    By Brad Stout

After casting for hours at Pyramid Lake in Nevada, I found my hands sore and tired from the constant pounding they were taking after a few hundred casts.  So I started asking some of the local Pyramid Lake experts on what rod and reel they preferred for 8 hours of casting.  I was surprised by the answer that I kept hearing, "Smaller rod, smaller reel, and lighter line."  I reminded them that we were fishing for a 20 pound cutthroat trout and I wasn't convinced 4 pound test was going to handle  these monsters.  I was going to have to build a rod and reel combo and test it out for myself.

I had a few light weight rods to chose from in my personal inventory so I decided to focus my energy on picking the right reel.  I would be fishing 4 pound  Diameter PowerPro Braid and I wanted the lightest and most powerful reel .  I found that reel to be the  Shimano Stradic CI4 2500.

The  Ci4 is made of reinforced carbon fiber.  Ci4 is simply reinforced carbon fiber material with the “Ci” standing for Carbon Infusion and the number 4 refers to the amount of electrons in the Carbon Atom.  Ci4 material is over one and half times stronger and more than 20% lighter than standard carbon fiber.  Because the Ci4 material does not contain any metal, it is resistant to rust.  The Stradic Ci4 also features 6A-RB + 1A-RB rust and corrosion proof bearings.  With the alkaline water of Pyramid Lake, a corrosion proof fishing reel is a definite bonus.  The spool is optimized to hold 220 yards of 4 pound "mono" diameter PowerPro Microline which has a break strength of around 15 pounds.  This reel was designed with a new drag system with 15 pounds of max drag which is a perfect marriage for the braided line. This Stradic also has a super fast line retrieval rate at 34" per crank.


This is an incredible workhorse of a reel when it comes to ultra light fishing, but the Ci4 shines with it's ability to out cast other reels due to the scientific approach to the spool design. Through tens of thousands of casting tests and computer simulations it has been determined that this new spool lip design provides longer casting distances than a standard spool lip design while preventing backlashes and wind knots from forming.  It also allows the line to flow off of the spool in smaller loops during the cast which means less slap on the stripper guide.  Because of the unique shape of the propulsion spool, the line flows consistently off of the spool.  So, with a standard spool, friction alternates from heavy to light as the line slaps the spool lip. This causes backlash and inconsistent line speeds. The propulsion spool lip provides consistently light friction to overcome these situations.  Overall, the entire propulsion line management system provides the angler longer casts with less effort while drastically reducing the chance of backlash, wind knots, or tangles.
The only downside that I found to the fishing reel was that it only came with one spool.  An extra spool would have come in handy, but I guess Shimano needed to hit a price point.  You would think at $229.95 retail price, Shimano could have included another aluminum  spool.

As a field test, I fished the Ci4 for a season at Pyramid Lake. The Ci4 did everything I could ask and more.  During tests  I found that the casting distance was well above my expectation.  The reel felt very fluid and smooth with each turn of the handle.  When recently fighting a 30 inch cutthroat trout, the drag system worked perfectly.  I would highly recommend this reel to anyone who wants the ultra light experience without sacrificing the power of a reel twice it's size.