Shimano Spinning Reel Review: Is It the Right Reel for You?

Any Shimano spinning reel review tends to attract a lot of interest. And that’s not surprising because Shimano spinners are so very good at what they do. The Spirex FG reels are no different. And if you’re after a genuinely excellent ultra-light spinner, the Spirex 1000 FG deserves serious consideration.

That’s not to say there aren’t other worthy contenders out there. Shimano spinners may be fantastic, but they should watch out for the competition.



In 1921, Shozaburo Shimano made a bold statement that, although perhaps outrageous at the time, has been validated time and again over the ensuing years. He stated, ”I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world.” And he did, and then some.

From humble premises with a single borrowed machine, Shimano has grown steadily to become a multinational behemoth. Supplying products as diverse as bicycle parts and fishing tackle, the company continues to honor Shozaburo’s visionary commitment to excellence. And that legacy of uncompromised quality is evident in the subject of this Shimano spinning reel review.

Let’s look at how the Spirex 1000 FG ultra-light spinning reel reflects Shimano’s high standards.


red fish

image by pexels

The Spirex 1000 FG is the baby in a three-member family of one of Shimano’s front-drag spinning reels product lines. With 1000, 2000, and 4000 variants, the Spirex FG lineup covers ground from ultra-light to medium tackle angling. The build quality of the reels is such that all three would be equally comfortable in fresh or saltwater environments.


Shimano Spirex FG Spinning Reel (6.2:1), Medium Light, 4…

  • Varispeed oscillation
  • Lightweight graphite frame,…
  • Cold forged aluminum spool
  • Line Capacity: 2/270, 4/140,…
  • Maxium Drag: 7 Pounds

Here are some of the Spirex FG’s features.

S A-RB bearings

All bearings in the Spirex range feature the same specifications as Shimano’s A-RB bearings. However, these are fully shielded. Having shields on both sides of the bearing increases their service life by blocking more grit and salt than single shields.

CF aluminum spools

The Spirex FG’s all feature Shimano’s CF cold-forged aluminum spools. The cold forging process results in a spool that is stronger and more durable than die-cast or composite types.

Dyna-Balance rotor

All Spirex FG rotors are balanced in a similar fashion to a car wheel. This Dyna-Balance process delivers a rotor action free of wobble or vibration, which reduces angler fatigue and enhances reel life.

Fluidrive II gear finish

The Fluidrive II system is the second generation of Fluidrive technology that Shimano uses to produce main gears for its reels. Fluidrive II gears are larger and wrap-polished to deliver optimal smoothness and retrieve efficiency. As you’d expect, this has the added effect of boosting the life span of the reel due to reduced vibration transfer to all parts.

Propulsion line management system

At the heart of the Propulsion line management system is a specially designed spool lip profile. The lip design was perfected during an exhaustive series of cast tests and computer simulations, and it delivers outstanding casting performance. The spool lip’s almost frictionless line passage gives the angler longer casts. It also prevents wind knots and backlash issues.

Quickfire II one-handed casting

Spirex FG reels feature the second generation of Shimano’s proprietary Quickfire one-handed bail trigger. This little gadget allows the angler to open the bail for casting one-handed. Additionally, it helps enable quicker turnarounds and more casts per outing.

Varispeed rotor drive

Conventional round oscillation gears in spinning reels often produce inconsistent rotor speeds. Moreover, this can cause uneven stacking of line on the spool. However, Shimano’s Varispeed oscillation gear is oval, delivering a constant rotor speed and perfectly even line lay during a retrieve.


  • Monofilament line capacity (pounds/yards): 2/270, 4/140, 6/110

  • Braid line capacity (pounds/yards): 10/95, 15/85, 20/65

  • Maximum drag: seven pounds

  • Bearing count: five plus oneGear ratio: 6.2:1

  • Retrieve rate (inches per handle rotation): 28 inches

  • Weight: 8.8 ounces

Where to buy


To keep this Shimano spinning reel review fair, we’ll consider two competitor reels in the same feature and capacity class. In all cases, these reels fall into the light to ultra-light categories for both fresh and saltwater environments. So, in no particular order, here’s our lineup.


Daiwa Exceler LT 5.3:1 Left/Right Hand Spinning Fishing Reel…

  • Carbon light material housing
  • Machined aluminum screw-in…
  • Air rotor and airbail

Daiwa is a reel manufacturer of equal stature and reputation as Shimano. And their Exceler LT 1000D spinning reel is a worthy race contender with equally impressive features.

Before we kick-off, though, let’s see the Exceller LT 1000D in person.

Fortunately, the Exceler LT line of Dawaia reels benefits from being a part of the family. This line has inherited some of the groundbreaking technologies found on Daiwa’s larger reels.

Air Rotor system

The Air Rotor is a fairly radical departure from previous rotor design trends. Featuring a unique, strikingly different shape, the Air Rotor is around 15 percent lighter than any conventional design. In addition, the rotors contours distribute rotational stresses far better, increasing its efficiency and life span.

LT concept

The LT frame concept appears in a number of Daiwa’s reel families, including the Exceler. The design philosophy is to decrease the overall frame size while making adjustments to accommodate the larger DigiGear system. This results in an end product that is lighter, stronger, and better balanced.

DigiGear gear system

One thing that stands out when you look at Daiwa’s DigiGear gears is that they’re big — really big. Apart from their size, DigiGears feature precision machining and have a larger gear tooth contact area than conventional drive gears.

This results in one of the strongest, most reliable gear trains in any spinning reel. Additionally, the DigiGear system allows for a butter-smooth operation. Not only does smoother operation ensure less reel stress and longer service life, but it also results in a beautiful-looking reel.


  • Monofilament line capacity (pounds/yards): 4/250,6/160, 8/110

  • Braid line capacity (pounds/yards of J Braid): 10/250, 15/185

  • Maximum drag: 11 pounds

  • Bearing count: five plus oneGear ratio: 5.2:1

  • Retrieve rate (inches per handle rotation): 25.5 inches

  • Weight: 6.4 ounces

Where to buy


Okuma EPXT-20 Epixor Spinning Reel

  • Okuma Epxt-20 Epixor Spinning…
  • 5.0: 1, 7bb+1rb, 280/2 (0.15),…
  • Manufactured in China

Most industries have unsung heroes, and the spinning reel industry is no different. And Okuma is certainly an unsung hero that seldom receives the recognition it deserves. Moreover, the Epixor XT reel series is an excellent case in point.

Our second and last race runner in the Shimano spinning reel review is Okuma’s Epixor XT 20. This little reel is crammed with features that comfortably place it as an able review contestant.

We will examine the Epixor XT 20’s noteworthy features here. Before we do, though, you may want to watch this.

Torsion Control Armor frame system

Okuma has used its proprietary C-40X carbon-fiber technology in the construction of the Epixor reels. This light, ultra-rigid material produces a very light double-arm frame and reel foot design of exceptional strength. As a result, the rigidity of the design keeps the internal mechanisms in perfect alignment, resulting in an exceptionally smooth and reliable action.

This rigidity comes courtesy of the long-strand fiber composition of Okuma’s C-40X polymer technology. This technology produces components that are 25 percent lighter and 50 percent stronger. It’s also, as you’d expect, 100 percent corrosion-resistant.

Cyclonic Flow Rotor system

The Epixor Cyclonic Flow Rotor system is similar to the Air Rotor design used by Daiwa with one interesting twist. Not only is the design stronger and lighter, but it also moves a lot of air around the spool during retrieves. This “cyclonic” action speeds up the drying time of the spool environment, significantly reducing the chance of corrosion.

Centrifugal Disk Bail system

Along with the gear and oscillation mechanisms, a spinner’s bail is one of the hardest working parts of the reel. Okuma has beefed up and balanced the Epixor’s brass bail disk for smoother operation, added strength, and better reliability. And, when you are making hundreds of casts on every session, that’s better for your comfort and the reel’s service life.

Progressive drag system

The Epixor reel family all feature Okuma’s 1-K woven carbon fiber drag adjusters. This system allows finer and more predictable drag settings across the entire drag range. Consequently, it becomes easier to maintain control over hard-fighting fish, particularly when using lighter lines.


  • Monofilament line capacity (pounds/yards): 2/280, 4/140, 6/110

  • Maximum drag: 11 pounds

  • Bearing count: seven plus one

  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1

  • Retrieve rate (inches per handle rotation): 24 inches

  • Weight: 7.3 ounces

Where to buy



image by pixabay

Most reel reviews are difficult to wrap up. However, we’ve tried to give you the best selection of choices to help you find the best fishing reels. As a result, it becomes hard to make calls on those products at the end of the day. On the other hand, we’re not complaining because we know we’re giving you solid, accurate, and helpful information.

This Shimano spinning reel review is no different. Our contender products are all outstanding light to ultra-light spinning reels. Certainly, they are all feature-rich and originate from manufacturers with long-standing reputations for product excellence.

That said, the Shimano Spirex 1000 FG is a mighty fine ultra-light spinning reel. Consequently, it would make a solid, reliable addition to any angling arsenal and can be bought with confidence.

Good luck and tight lines, fellow anglers!

If you have anything to add to this Shimano spinning reel review, please use the comments section below.

Featured image by: Pixabay

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