Shimano Nasci reels review

Shimano ditch anti-reverse to really hit the mark

Shimano’s NEW Nasci reels review

by Angling Times |

AS MANY readers will know, rods and poles are our Live Test bread-and-butter subjects.

By and large, although they’re an essential partner to a rod – Starsky to Hutch, Cagney to Lacey – reels haven’t had star billing. Until now, that is!

The opportunity arose to run the rule over Shimano’s Nasci in the three most popular body sizes – 2500, 3000 and 4000. The test did obviously include three rods, all the same model but at lengths of 10ft, 11ft and 12ft. It seemed an ideal way to match them to the reels, as we’d use them on the bank.

All three  versions have a fast 5:1.1 gear ratio
All three versions have a fast 5:1.1 gear ratio

To keep the test fair and impartial I used the same 36g Hybrid feeder on all three reels but had them clipped-up, with the shortest casting distance married to the smallest reel, and so on upwards.


I’m aware that I always recommend smaller 2500 and 3000-sized reels for float tactics, so why did I team them with feeders? Let me explain. The test venue, Earlswood’s Engine House Lake (available on a day ticket, and currently fishing its head off for newly stocked F1s) is dominated by feeder techniques. Throwing a waggler around at such a large, open water just wouldn’t work.

So, let’s now take a closer look at the smart grey and chrome-liveried Nasci reels. All three have a fairly fast 5:1.1 gear ratio that retrieves around 73cm (29ins) of line per handle crank. All three were a little faster than I’m used to, but using a short Method feeder hooklength there were absolutely no issues with spin-ups and the like.

Construction is solid
Construction is solid

They run smoothly, silently and completely wobble-free thanks to high-quality Hagane gearing and a 5+1 bearing assembly. With plenty of winding power, and zero play between the handle and the gearing, they respond instantly when the handle is engaged.

The handle feels great
The handle feels great

They weigh around 8.5oz which, in my book, is quite acceptable for both float and feeder fishing, and they slot painlessly into their seatings on the rods and are forgotten about once in situ, just as it should be!

Key components include the use of Shimano’s AR-C spool technology, featuring an angled front lip said to reduce the diameter of the coils as the line travels towards the guides on the cast. This adds distance with less effort on the angler’s part.

Line lay is outstanding
Line lay is outstanding

Whether that difference is significant is a tough call to make, because you soon become used to how any reel handles unless you’re struggling to cast far enough with it.

Fact is, every cast on all three of my set-ups ended with line smacking smartly against the clip. More importantly, though, even with a nasty side wind blowing down the lake, not once did my line dive and tangle underneath the spool, or wrap itself annoyingly around the bail-arm. I’d filled the reels with 8lb (0.26mm) mainline – on Shimano’s recommendation – up to the base of the front lip. A foolproof system if ever.

Now, I was using a relatively thick mainline to test the reels’ line roller and line management system. If that roller doesn’t work properly or, let’s say, is a little too ‘enthusiastic’, it will twist the line on the retrieve. That can lead to all manner of issues with line-lay and tangles, especially when feeder fishing.

Again, not a problem – step away, nothing to see here folks!

Shimano’s excellent X-Ship line gearing management and durable Coreprotect line-roller proved completely trouble-free and dependable all day long.

You play fish off the clutch
You play fish off the clutch

All this is only what you’d expect from Shimano, widely regarded one of the world’s greatest reel designers and manufacturers. There is, though, an elephant in the room that needs addressing. To some anglers it won’t matter a jot, to others it could be a deal-breaker.

The Nasci does not have an anti-reverse facility. I asked Shimano why this is so, and the company gave me these two main reasons why it stepped away from having this feature on most of its spinning reels:

“Not adding the anti-reverse lever improves the waterproofing quality of our reels. It is easy to imagine that the lever section allows water and dirt to slip into the reel over time, potentially damaging or hampering its performance.

“An angled lip adds distance with less effort by the angler”
“An angled lip adds distance with less effort by the angler”

“Shimano aims for long-lasting smoothness and durability on our reels, and the lack of an anti-reverse lever contributes to this. Our engineers are now able to design more compact bodies and rotors, resulting in a more lightweight reel.”

So there you have it. For me, playing a fish straight off the clutch is something I do anyway – I can backwind if I have to – but so precise are front drag clutch systems these days that there seems little point. The absence of an anti-reverse didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the Nasci reels, or their performance, one bit.

A little bird tells me that plans are afoot for Shimano to introduce a stunning new range of coarse fishing reels soon, and guess what? These do have an anti-reverse lever.

Price: From around £65,

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