3 min read

A lot of you own or want to buy one of these reels but it is easy to get confused with the meaning of all labels and markings. This article is written to help you with buying your next Shimano reel or simply better understanding what you currently own. 

Let’s begin with two numbers after Shimano name and before the model of the reel, which states the year when this model first became available. For example, Shimano 14 Stella is a modification of Stella which became available in 2014. Keep in mind that it isn’t a year when this reel was made.


Now, let's get to the juice – there are 3-5 numbers with letters after that (eg. Stella C3000XG). Let’s figure out what it means.

Everything about the Spool

Number, for example, “2000” means that it is a so-called “normal spool” or deep spool. You can spool it with a lot of fishing line what increases the overall weight of the reel. Size of the spool goes like this: 

  • Normal Spool (no markings or labels)
  • Medium (M)
  • Small Medium (SM)
  • Small (S)
  • Super Small (SS)

shimano reels and their spools


Numbers (1000, 2500, 3000, 4000, etc) indicate the diameter of the spool. Bigger the diameter – more line you spool your fishing reel with. Basically, it is used to believe that Shimano reel with 1000 spool can hold around 150 meters of nylon fishing line in size 1 (Japanese Sizing). 2000 Spool can hold 150 meters of nylon line size 2; etc.

Letters and their meaning

“M” in the end stands for “middle body spool” or medium spool which is in between normal spool and SM.


“MS” is a “middle shallow spool” which is a bit lighter than a medium spool.

“S” in the end stands for “shallow spool” which is a small spool with lighter weight and less line capacity.

“SS”is “super shallow spool” or super small spool which is the smallest and lightest spool available.

Shimano 14 Stella C3000

“C” in the beginning stands for “compact body” which means that everything except spool is one size smaller or more compact. For example “C3000” reel will have “2500” body but “3000” spool.



They are similar in theory to car gear ratios. You have slower gear ratios (5s:1 and 6s:1) which are traditionally used for heavier duty and faster gear ratios (7:1 and above) for faster applications. Spinning reels have this kind of system and markings to indicate gear ratios:

  • Lower Gear (PG)
  • Normal Gear (No marking)
  • High Gear (HG)
  • Extra High Gear (XG)

Shimano Reel Gears

What it all means:

“PG” in the end means that in one turn you will get less line but it will be easier to fight big fish.

“HG” in the end stands for “High Gear” and will get you more fishing line in one turn of a reel.

“XG" will get you more line than anything else.

Other Markings

“F” in the end means that this reel is made for the European market and it is not available anywhere else.

“DH” stands for a double handle which is pretty rare nowadays when it comes to spinning gear but you will find tons of cool stuff in Japan.

“SW” stands for saltwater and means that this reel has some degree of corrosion resistance.

“R” in the end means that there is a drag control in the back of the reel which is rarely used nowadays.

Here is a link to a JDM website which can show you how many modifications of one reel Shimano actually makes.


  • C3000 - 2500 size body with 3000 spool
  • 2500S - 2500 size body and spool; spool is shallow
  • 4000XGM - 4000 size body and spool; extra high gear; medium size spool

Hopefully, now you know your gear better and will be able to make a better decision when it comes to purchasing your new reel or using what you currently have.Let us know if you like this kind of content, so we can tell you more about fishing gear!

3 Responses


December 10, 2018

Very informative!


October 01, 2018

Want to about x-ship

Robert McKay
Robert McKay

August 01, 2018

So what does “FB” stand for on a Nasci reel? Thank you for the valuable information!

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