Shimano Reels & Fishing History

This article is going to be a part of a series where we introduce the popular fishing brands. We want to show the development and progress they have made in fishing equipment over the years. This time it is going to be Shimano Reels and its fishing history.

shimano reels logo

Like all of you probably already know Shimano has had a massive impact on today`s fishing equipment and their innovations have had a significant part on how we see the angling world today. I can confidently state that they are one of the leaders in rods and reels for mass production. However, some of you will probably not know that Shimano Company only started designing their fishing reels in 1978.

What they did before and how were they able to compete with other early tackle producers. Let’s find it out together!

How Shimano Reels Started Out

This company was established in the year 1921 by Shozoburo Shimano with the name “Shimano Iron Works Company”.  Headquartered in Sakai City, Japan. At that time, prior to manufacturing fishing reels, its main product was bicycle freewheels.

Shortly after that, in 1951 company was renamed “Shimano Industrial Co., Ltd.”

In 1978, the company released its first fishing product called shimano bantam reels, which was baitcaster type reel, and after that they made the X-Rods available to the anglers. Since then, the company haven`t looked back in designing fishing reels. Today, they are the leading fishing reel manufacturers across the globe.

To date, they have produced and released into the market around 100 different types of fishing reels. They use 120 accessories to design the reels and took the bicycle as reference and designed an effective gearing system that has been used in the fishing reels ever since.

Apart from high quality and durable fishing accessories Shimano manufacturers rowing equipment to this day. Still, Shimano isn’t perfect and has had its own failures too. They tried to break in to the very competitive golf market until 2005 when they finally stopped producing golf shafts. They even made snowboards until 2008.

shimano reels bantam with package

Legendary Bantam 100 baitcaster


Beginning of Fishing Reel Era

Shimano Reels have grabbed the attention of many anglers over the years due to their amazing precision and detailing. When the person holds one of their reels, they can enjoy the superior grip, quality and feel. Their reels fit in one hand and the angler can operate the fishing elements with the other hand without much hassle.

Moreover, Shimano reels do not put much strain on your arms and hands. They also strive to ensure that all their fishing devices work properly in as many conditions possible.

Shimano reels are designed for variety of applications such as spinning( open face reel) and baitcasting. Models ranging from reasonably priced to the most expensive examples out there like the Stella FI.  They even produce electric reels. With all of these options you can be sure with whatever location, budget or fishing style you come across. The line of Shimano reels will probably have the right product to fit your needs.

Among all the models and series, the Shimano Stradic Series has gained more popularity and are regarded as the best value for money. This is in part due to its waterproof drag system, sharp steel trim, and A-RB bearings.

Furthermore, these machines are durable, light in weight and have an anti-corrosive property. These are less prone to damage when used in the salt water environment on a frequent basis but they are also lightweight for optimal inshore use.

However, the Stella FI saltwater spinning reel is whole another animal. Top-class expensive Shimano fishing reel that is manufactured using the most modern and advanced technology by Shimano engineers. This product is packed with increased power and torque specifications like never before.

Besides developing the ultimate drag mechanisms and enhancing the reel balance, they also ensure longevity by almost eliminating water break-ins completely. This is the next generation product that is ruling the aquatic world. Unfortunately it will stay out of reach for most anglers due to it high price.

Shimano has been one of the early adopters to the fresh baitrunner style of spinning reels. Despite many other fishing brands efforts to create a similar reel with cheaper price, like Okuma has done with its Avenger, no one has seriously threatened Shimano’s position.

Back to Today

Today, Shimano stands as a leader in producing advanced fishing reels across the globe. Still, I am certain that the engineers and every single worker is still striving forward. Despite of the massive success also to bring even more advanced technological solutions  to anglers and continually improve the fishing experience.



  1. The stradic 2000 fg has been in my bag for over 10 years,it is awesome…the price and quality is fantastic…have pulled one pounders to five pounders on my lake with ease..

  2. Stradic 2000 fg….the best,have had mine 10 years plus…awesome…

  3. Great article but FYI, Shimano made bait cast reels prior to 1978. They had a joint venture with Lew Childre a few years earlier and built the #BB2 for them.created their first Fishing logo and slogan. “SHIMANO STRONGER”.
    BTW, I have 2 of these incredible reels!!
    I cannot place a value on them.


  4. Shimano SIS does not mean ‘speed shifters’ It stands for Shimano Index System and was introduced in 1984 on rear bicycle derailleurs to enable ‘click’ stopped gear changes- a good 33 years after the name change, so certainly not ‘soon after’. SIS was switchable defeatable back to standard friction gear changing- I had it on early 105 group sets.

    • Thank you for the correction. After doing some research we found that we had that information listed incorrectly. We have updated the article.

  5. Need some info. I have recently got a Shimano 10 MLZ Spinning reel. It is so small i can completely hold it in the palm of my hand and fold my fingers over it. Any help or what it’s worth would be appericated.

  6. Todd Shackelford

    I have a Shimano Stella FB I have tried to find out what the year it was made…My kids gave it to me for a Christmas present, Also what does the FB stand for …so far I have found that the F is for (made in Europe)
    Trying to find a handle knob and I cant find one anywhere

  7. I have 2 Shimano Bantam B-101 MAG I think they where purchased between 1988 & 1990 sometime. I still have them & I am going to tear them down & put some new oil & geese in them to fish on! I would like to find a year breakdown of all Shimano Baitcasters if any one can help?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Web Analytics