ICAST stands for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades. It is the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. ICAST has the reputation as the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, boating accessories, and apparel. ICAST is the bedrock of the sportfishing industry. A successful showing at ICAST is known to result in a successful sales for that manufacturer for the foreseeable future. Achieving a successful showing at ICAST would certainly be met if your product won a “Best Of,” ICAST show category. In the category of “Best New Saltwater Reel” the Shimano Sustain FI. The Sustain is not a new model from Shimano. It’s been in production for quite some time. It’s first major overhaul took place 7 years ago. In terms of quality and performance, the Shimano Sustain finds itself above the Shimano Stradic but below Shimano’s Stella line.
The first detail to take notice of is the designation of FI with the 2017 Shimano Sustain. It’s predecessor was given the FG designation. The main differences between the new Sustain FI and the former Sustain FG, are the addition of Shimano’s Hagane gear technology. In addition, the Sustain FI has the G-Free body, X-Protect, Cross Carbon Washers, and the MGL Rotor.
G-Free Body – The center of the mass of the reel has been moved closer to the rod to improve the reel’s weight and balance. When you look at the reel, this design change appears as a small hump, or rise in the shape of the body, just beneath the spool. This design was first utilized in the more expensive Shimano Stella but has now found it’s way into the Shimano Stradic and the Stradic Ci4+. In the photo below and to the left, you can see the sleight hump referred to above present in the Stradic Ci4+. Another reel available for sale at Live to Fish.
Ultra-hard Hagane cold forged drive gear – The Hagane precision cold forged gears provide one of the smoothest retrieve experience you will ever have, especially under a load. The cold forging process uses nearly 200 tons of pressure to instantly create a precision gear without the need to do any cutting. The advantage of this is that there is less room for error in the manufacturing process. This proprietary process creates a gear drive system that is both durable and smooth.
Magnumlite Rotor – Magnumlite is a new material that is even lighter than Ci4 and Ci4+ by as much as 30%. Shimano uses the Magnumlite material to manufacture the rotor reducing more weight in the overall reel while still providing strength where it is needed.
X-Ship pinion gear – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to enhance efficiency. By positioning the pinion gear closer to the centerline of the drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle directly to the rotor. The increased power tranfer is beneficial when fighting fish and when working deep crank baits. The pinion gear is also supported by two Shimano SA-RB roller bearings. Support for the pinion gear in this manner provides more stability, reduces pinion gear twist, and rotor deflection; any or all of which can occur in extreme situations. Engineering designed to eliminate such deficiencies provides a reel that will continue to feel smooth regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the pressure on the reel from a running fish.
X-Protect water resistance – Common knowledge for those fishing in and around saltwater is the corrosive effect saltwater has on fishing gear. X-Protect by Shimano uses a three lipped rubber seal that Shimano describes as a, “Labyrinth design.” Their intent is to make it nearly impossible for water to enter the rel through penetrating this seal.
Cross Carbon Drag system – The cross carbon drag system is fully and easily adjustable. You have the option to dial in the exact amount of drag needed. You can reduce the drag to near free spool, up to the reel’s maximum drag capacity. The Sustain FI 2500/3000 have 20 lbs of drag and the Sustain 4000/5000 have 24 lbs of drag; decent numbers for an inshore reel.
8 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings – The 8 ball bearings used on the Sustain are in the same family as the normal ARB bearings. The exception is that with the additional shielding, the likelihood of any salt, dirt, or water, penetrating and affecting the bearings smoothness is greatly reduced.
Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing – Shimano uses a one-way roller bearing. Shimano gave this one way roller bearing the term, “Super Stopper II.” A reel with Super Stopper II allows you to stop reeling and instantly set the hook, with zero back play coming from the reel.
The Shimano Sustain FI is available in 4 sizes. Model 2500, a 3000 that has the same size body as the 2500 but has a deeper cut spool for more line capacity both with 20 lbs of drag capacity. Then the models 4000 and a 5000 . The 5000 with a deeper cut spool for additional line capacity; both with 24 lbs of drag capacity.
While the Sustain is a great all around reel that can be used for all of your freshwater fishing, it is especially good for your inshore saltwater fishing. The Sustain FI is also at home tackling certain smaller offshore species such as dolphin, smaller tuna, bluefish, and stripers. If you are looking to target larger species such as tarpon, cobia, and bigger billfish, I would recommend that you look at something like the Shimano Saragosa or the Penn Slammer III.
Both of these reels are available at Live to Fish, www.livetofish.com, 844-934-7446 or visiting our showroom; Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669.
The additional engineering focused on keeping saltwater out of the reel will benefit any angler. Moreover, it lends itself to increased longevity with the reel. All of the enhancements and improvements mean that you will have a reel capable of lasting longer and requiring less maintenance. Regardless, rinsing your rod and reel with freshwater after every use should never be avoided.