If you’re in the market for an incredible reel that’s just as capable inshore as it is when you’re fishing for pike, muskie, or trophy cats, Shimano’s Sustain FJ might be the right choice for you.
A completely redesigned reel, this new Sustain is simply amazing, and if I were looking for an absolutely top-flight reel for stripers and reds, my search would end here.
Let’s start with the body. Shimano equips the Sustain FJ with an ultra-rigid Hagane aluminum body. That won’t matter when you’re fighting specks or walleye, but when you’re fighting a 33-inch bull red or a 60-pound pike, you'll really feel the rigidity this new body offers. It’s solid, unyielding, and confidence-inspiring, punching above its price point.
Shimano’s excellent cross carbon drag offers the performance for which it’s rightly famous. In the 2500 and 3000, expect a 20-pound maximum. In the 4000 and 5000, you’ll find the drag tops out at 24 pounds.
Whichever is right for you, both drag options allow the use of heavy braid should you wish, and extremely smooth performance across the spectrum of settings. For anglers using these reels on specks, croaker, flounder, or spot, bass, perch, and walleye, have no fear that light lines and useful drag setting will lead to hesitation.
And if you’ve got a big, mean pike or striper on the line, the cross carbon drag has more than enough fight to tame it quickly.
This drag isn’t going to let you down, period.
Shimano has refined the gearing in the Sustain FJ, reducing noise, improving smoothness, eliminating vibration, and cutting precision teeth that are the envy of its competition.
Two gear ratios are offered in this series: 6.0:1 and 6.2:1. Both offer fight-winning torque and fast retrieves for their size. Spool capacity is excellent, as you’d expect, and Shimano has spared no expense in improving casting distance with rotor and spool tech that really makes a difference.
Finally, saltwater intrusion is minimized by gaskets and seals, and while not the equal of the Stella SW by any means, I wouldn’t worry about gunk and salt getting into the Sustain FJ.
Overall, these are amazing reels for the price, outperforming their competition.