Is the Shimano Sustain FJ the Ultimate Secret Weapon for Big Fish? Find Out In This Review!

Reviewed by: Pete Danylewycz
Last Updated:
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Shimano Sustain FJ Spinning Reel

Sizes: 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000
Maximum drag: 20 lbs. (2500 and 3000), 24 lbs. (4000 and 5000)
Gear ratio: 6.0:1. (2500 and 3000), 6.2:1 (4000 and 5000)
Retrieve: 35” (2500 and 3000), 40” (4000 and 5000)
Capacity: 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 (2500), 6/230, 8/170, 10/140 (3000), 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 (4000), and 10/240, 12/195, 14/165 (5000)
Material: Hagane aluminum
Weight: 7.4 oz. (2500 and 3000), 9.3 oz. (4000), and 9.5 oz. (5000)
Bearings: 8 + 1

Shimano Sustain FJ Review

Shimano Sustain FJ Spinning Reel

Discover the versatility and unparalleled strength of Shimano's Sustain FJ, the perfect reel for inshore fishing and battling trophy catches like pike and muskie, offering exceptional rigidity, smooth performance, and superior drag for an unmatched fishing experience.

USAngler Rating: 

As a experienced fisherman and longtime product reviewer for USAngler, I've had the opportunity to thoroughly test the Shimano Sustain FJ, and I'm very impressed. This reel is a game-changer for both inshore fishing and battling larger freshwater species like pike and muskie. The Sustain FJ is equipped with an ultra-rigid Hagane aluminum body, which really makes a difference when fighting larger fish. It's incredibly solid and gives you the confidence you need when reeling in a big catch.

The cross carbon drag system is another standout feature of the Sustain FJ. In the 2500 and 3000 models, it offers a maximum of 20 pounds of drag, while the 4000 and 5000 models top out at 24 pounds. This system provides exceptionally smooth performance across all settings, making it ideal for both light and heavy lines. It's particularly effective when dealing with large, aggressive fish.

Shimano has also refined the gearing in the Sustain FJ, resulting in a quieter, smoother reel with less vibration. The gear ratios of 6.0:1 and 6.2:1 provide excellent torque and fast retrieves. The spool capacity is also excellent, and Shimano's advances in rotor and spool technology greatly enhance casting distance.

In terms of durability, the Sustain FJ's water resistance is impressive, though not quite at the level of the Stella SW. Still, I have no concerns about saltwater intrusion, thanks to its effective gaskets and seals.

Overall, the Shimano Sustain FJ stands out as an exceptional reel for its price, offering top-of-the-line Shimano technology, rigidity, drag performance, gearing, and water resistance. It's a reel that reliably outperforms its competitors, making it a top choice for serious anglers.

Pros

  • Excellent Shimano tech
  • Extremely rigid body
  • Excellent drag with ultra-smooth performance
  • Excellent gears
  • Excellent torque and power
  • Excellent speed
  • Excellent capacity
  • Very water resistant

Cons

  • ???

Analysis

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.

Body

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.

Drag

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.

Gearing

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.

Waterproofing

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.

Final Thoughts

Overall, these are amazing reels for the price, outperforming their competition.

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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