Shimano Stella





 Stella.  What is a Stella? Well, in the fishing industry the Shimano Stella is the Rolex of spinning reels. Built with all the technological engineering advances you could expect from a company grounded in fishing and the cycling industry. You could imagine how happy I was to receive and get a chance to check this reel out and see if it was really worth the expensive price tag of $799.99.  Yep, that's just for the reel.  Could it be that much better than my favorite Shimano reel, the Stradic ci4? The Stella is priced at 5 times the cost, could it be 5 times better? 

Let's make one thing clear, there are Stella haters out in the fishing world and some of their concerns are well noted.

Stella hater
1. A person who has an intense dislike for Shimano or reels that cost several hundred dollars  (often used in combination):  Some Stella haters just came up to me at the boat ramp and said "That reel is a rip off and Shimano sucks" then just walked away.

2. Informal.
 A person who thrives on showing hate toward, criticizing, or belittling other people for the purchase fishing reel costing more than a monthly car payment.
(That reel costs more than my first house)


The Stella haters do have a few things right: (1) You sure don't need to spend that kind of money on a reel to catch a fish. True.  (2) You can buy four $200.00 reels for the price tag of one Stella.  True.  (3) My wife would divorce me after she saw our credit card bill. True. In rebuttal, sure you can get across town on a hot summer day in a new striped down pick up truck without air conditioning but wouldn't you rather make that trip in a new state of the art truck with all the bells and whistles? Especially air conditioning.  Sure you can definitely buy four $200.00 reels for the price of one Stella but why stop there?  You can buy four $50.00 reels for the price of a $200.00 reel.  And a third and final comparison.  Our wives already own several expensive  Stella's of their own. They just go by different names like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Tiffany. So let her get her's and you'll get yours!

For starters I'm going to begin with my complaints about the Stella.  Crazy as this may sound, it's not the price of the reel.  It's the reel that disappoints me, some of the features that had to be sacrificed in the design to make the Stella worthy of being Shimano's flagship fishing reel.  I really wish the Stella would have the capability of interchanging it's spools with spools from other reels. The Stella is not packed with a extra spool. To get one you have to order one from Shimano parts. What a pain!  Shimano changed the spool on the Stella due to its desire to improve casting distance. Compared to other Shimano spinning reels, Stella utilizes a longer spool stroke length. This increased stroke length results in a 15% increase in casting distance. Thanks for the added performance Shimano but next time just throw another spool in the box and make us all happy customers

Once again to improve performance Shimano removed a feature that I seldom use but it was still a cool one.  On all other spinning reels there is a handle you can flip that will disengage the auto stop that allows you to reel backwards when fighting a fish, thus  giving the angler more control over the amount of tension put on the fish. Shimano feels with their state of the art drag system line control is never a issue. Also by removing the handle they accomplished a couple of things. The reel lost some weight, completely waterproofing that portion of the reel but most importantly by removing the reel's ability to spin backwards they created a direct drive from the handle to the gearing removing any slip.

The Stella I used for testing was the new model 2500HGS.  This is a high speed gear ratio 6.0:1 reel. That's a whopping 34.6 of line per turn of the handle. The Stella features 13A-RB + 1A-RB rust and corrosion proof bearings.  To protect the body, the Stella utilizes a series of 12 different seals and a flat body joint to keep out dust, moisture and element. This will be especially beneficial when I'm fishing the alkaline water at Pyramid Lake, Nevada where I do the bulk of my spin casting.

I have been fishing the Stella for a few months now and I absolutely love it. I assumed that the reel's drag system would be my favorite feature. The drag system works flawlessly with multiple fine tune adjustments but my favorite feature is how smooth the reel feels in your hand. With most high end reels you still feel the gears turn as you crank the handle, especially when under a load. That feeling vanished with the Stella even while wrenching in some trophy size cutthroat trout. The other thing I noticed or should I say didn't notice was the common wobble or thumping that a reel gives off as the rotor assembly and bail arm rotate as its retrieve line on to the spool. 

 If you never fish anything else, you'll think that a couple hundred dollar reel is the smoothest thing ever made.  And it is smooth!  Really don't need anything else.  However, fish a Stella for a few hours and that $200 reel will feel like much less desirable when you switch back.  The Stella is so much smoother and practically fishes itself.  Because the reel feels motion less your line feels like a direct connect to your rod and then in tune to your lure. It's almost impossible not to detect the slightest of bites.  This reel won't apeal to many fisherman, but if your the type of person who appreciate a quality Built product and you have some disposable income, get one.  You'll love it!