Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Has spending lots more money on a spinning reel ever given you a measurably longer period when it runs properly smoothly?

I think I’ve pretty much proved that spending a whack load of dosh on a pair of breathable waders doesn’t mean you’re going to get loads more time out of them via heavy duty saltwater use, but does the same thinking apply to other items of lure fishing gear? From time to time I get a spinning reel in my hands like this Shimano Stradic FK 3000 that I can find online for under £150 and once more I am left wondering if spending a load more money is ever going to get me more of that fishing time when your spinning reel feels pretty much as smooth as it did when you first spun it out of the box……….

I have fished with a few higher end spinning reels this year - out of the box they were just sublime, but two of them went all rough feeling after a week of use over in Ireland and had to go back, and the lad I know who has been fishing with another of them has had his become essentially unusable after about five months of use. These are not cheap reels and I am still waiting to hear what actually went wrong with the two that I had to send back, but five months of proper use via my mate and his reel’s knackered? OK, so it’s under warranty, but can that be right?

Do you spend serious money on your spinning reels,and if you do, are you finding that doing so is giving you a measurably longer period when the thing’s running as sweet as a nut? Spin a Stella or Vanquish (or Daiwa equivalent) and it feels amazing, but the one Stella I have owned didn’t stay gorgeously smooth for any longer than other reels I have fished with that have cost far, far less. I have pulled in some fairly hefty fish damn hard on that reel overseas, but for the kind of fishing we do for the sort of fish we are likely to land, well it’s not as if we need a spinning reel as tough as that. Needing though is entirely different to wanting, and you can’t get away from how nice it is to fish with high end tackle.

That’s an aside though, because here I’m asking whether spending lots more money on a spinning reel is actually worth it when it comes to longevity. Sure, some people can and will buy an expensive car because they like having the best (like with me and my Berlingo of course!), and some anglers like to fish with stunning fishing gear regardless of what they are actually targeting - and there’s nowt wrong with that of course - but I look at this Shimano Stradic FK 3000 that I have been fishing with for a bit now (thanks Ben) and it staggers me how good it feels. I wonder how long it might stay that smooth when compared to a spinning reel costing plenty more?

I don’t know, but you could buy at least two Shimano Stradic FK reels for the price of the spinning reel that has messed up on me a couple of times this year, and neither come with a spare spool so that’s not a factor here. There has to be an argument that the one cheaper reel (which in the case of this Stradic FK feels like almost too much reel for the money) ain’t going to hurt nearly so much as and when it either needs a servicing or gives up the ghost. Sure, we are all entirely free to spend whatever we can or want to on our fishing gear, but the more this whole lure fishing thing consumes me, the more I understand how hard it is on fishing tackle, and therefore the more I question what my gear should be costing me.

I am a serious tackle tart and I love fishing with high end gear, but something like this Stradic FK ends up in my hands and I am completely blown away with it. Yes Henry, but for how long you might ask? Well that’s just it - it doesn’t matter nearly so much at the price. Nope, I am not saying that somewhere just under £150 is throwaway cash, but so far it feels like one hell of a lot of reel for the money, and even if we are going to be all logical about expense versus longevity, I can’t believe that a spinning reel can be made to feel this damn nice for this sort of money. I have no complaints about the Penn Clash 3000 that I have fished with loads earlier this year especially, but then I get this similar priced Shimano Stradic FK 3000 in my hands and yes, this Shimano feels a whole lot more refined. Does that matter? More questions!