The Shimano Stella SW Review - Is This the Most Powerful Reel Ever Made

shimano stella sw review
Reviewed by: Pete Danylewycz
Last Updated:

Shimano Stella SW Review

shimano stella sw review
USAngler Rating: 

Unlock the pinnacle of saltwater fishing with Shimano's Stella SW line-up, where cutting-edge technology meets unbeatable performance, offering the ultimate spinning reel experience for anglers who demand the very best.

As an experienced angler and longer time writer for USAngler who has seen and used many reels, I can confidently say that Shimano's Stella SW line-up is the best for saltwater fishing, bar none. These reels, ranging from 2000 to a massive 14000, are fitted with top-tier Shimano technology, offering unmatched quality and performance. The all-metal Hagane bodies, made from a proprietary aluminum alloy, provide a perfect balance of lightness and rigidity. This series stands out with its innovative Heat Sink drag system, which efficiently dissipates heat, ensuring consistent drag performance and protecting my line even during prolonged battles with large fish.

The drag settings, going up to an incredible 55 pounds on the larger models, are exceptionally smooth, making them ideal for big game fish like tuna and shark. Shimano's Infinity Drive enhances winding torque by 26 percent, coupled with Silent Drive, which eliminates gear play, providing an incredibly smooth experience with every turn of the handle.

The varied gear ratios across the range are perfectly tuned for different fishing techniques, from poppers to jigging. Although the reels are designed to accommodate different line types, the larger models are best suited for braid. The spool capacities are excellent, allowing for a good amount of line.

What's truly impressive is Shimano's attention to detail in making these reels as waterproof as possible, rated to IPX8. It gives me peace of mind knowing that neither grime nor salt can compromise the internals of these reels.

In summary, the Stella SW series is an outstanding line of reels, offering the best in Shimano technology. They’re incredibly rigid, have an amazing drag system, excellent gears, and offer great torque and power. Their speed and capacity are top-notch. The only downside is their price, but for what they offer, they are worth every penny. If you're looking for the ultimate saltwater spinning reel, the Stella SW is the one to go for. Nothing else even comes close in the market.

Pros

  • The very best tech that Shimano has to offer
  • Amazingly rigid body
  • Amazing drag that sheds heat extremely well
  • Amazing gears
  • Amazing torque and power
  • Amazing speed
  • Excellent capacity
  • As waterproof as possible for a reel

Cons

  • Very expensive!

Sizes: 4000, 5000, 6000, 8000, 10000, and 14000
Maximum drag: 24 lbs. (4000), 29 lbs. (5000 and 6000), 55 lbs. (8000, 10000, and 14000)
Gear ratio: 6.2:1 (4000), 5.7:1 (5000 and 6000), 5.6;1 (8000), 4.9:1 (10000), and 6.2:1 (14000)
Retrieve: 40” (4000), 38” (5000), 41” (6000), 42” (8000), 40” (10000), and 53” (14000)
Capacity: 30/180 (4000), 30/225 (5000), 50/195 (6000), 40/340 (8000), 40/340 (10000), and 50/400 (14000)
Material: all-metal Hagane body
Weight: 12.5 oz. (4000), 14.8 oz. (5000), 15 oz. (6000), 22 oz. (8000), 23.6 oz. (10000), and 23.8 oz. (14000)
Bearings: 13 + 1

Analysis

Shimano’s reels offer legendary performance, but unless you’re willing to reach deep, deep into your pockets, you’ll never know the best they can offer.

“Unbeatable.” “Unbelievable.” “Amazing.”

Those are words that you’ll hear to describe their Stella SW line-up. And every word is true.

Put simply, this is the absolute best spinning reel for saltwater on the market. Bar none.

Sizes

Available in sizes ranging from 2000 to the massive 14000, these reels are fitted with the best tech Shimano has, no corners cut, no compromises made.

Body

shimano stella sw body

Let’s start with the body. The Stella SW series are equipped with all-metal Hagane bodies that use a proprietary aluminum alloy. This lightens weight while providing outstanding rigidity. No spinning reel you’ve ever fished offers a body like this.

Drag

shimano stella sw drag

Shimano knows that getting spooled can happen, and long runs against big fish can melt and freeze a drag, leading to a lost fish and broken tackle. To prevent this, they’ve installed the unstoppable Heat Sink drag system, a series of carbon fiber drag washers in contact with a heat sink. This design bleeds excess heat to the outside, preventing the drag from overheating as well as protecting the spool for excessive temperatures.

The combination protects the drag washers as they heat up - eliminating any reduction in drag performance - and it keeps the spool from overheating, protecting your line.

Maximum drag settings vary by size, ranging from 24 pounds to an incredible 55 pounds on the larger models. “Smooth” doesn’t even begin to describe their performance, and “fight-winning” is something of an undersell, too.

If you want to skip a conventional reel for tuna, shark, grouper, sailfish, tarpon, and the like, this is the reel to pick.

Shimano uses its innovative Infinity Drive in these reels, simplifying the drive train and increasing winding torque by 26 percent to provide unparalleled smoothness. In these reels, this tech is paired with Silent Drive, eliminating gear play.

You can really feel the performance the Stella SW series offers with every crank, and from the knob to the handle, strength and torque are the watchwords.

Of course, these reels feature Hagane gearing with the best machining Shimano can manage.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratios vary across the range, but they all provide plenty of speed for anything you might have on the line.

That said, the 5000, 6000, and 8000 are designed to maximize performance with poppers, the 4000 and 14000 optimize retrieval speeds, and the 10000 is perfect for jigging.

The 4000, 5000, and 6000 can accommodate any line type, while the 8000, 10000, and 14000 are for use with braid only.

Spool Capacity

shimano stella sw spool

We’ve reported spool capacities for braided line across the range, allowing apples-to-apples comparisons. As you can see, these are exceptional numbers.

Waterproofing

shimano stella sw waterproof rating

Finally, Shimano has sealed these reels against saltwater intrusion better than most submarines. Rated to IPX8, there’s simply no worry that grime or salt will make its way into the rotor or guts of these reels.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the ultimate saltwater spinning reel, you’ve found it.

Nothing else even comes close.

About The Author
Pete Danylewycz
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. Whether he's casting a line in a quiet freshwater stream or battling a monster bass, fishing is his true passion.
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