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!

10 Responses

Gintaras Gelzinis
Gintaras Gelzinis

March 28, 2020

Hi, dear American anglers !

Greetings from finesse spinning & baitcasting enthusiast from Lithuania, European Union.

I am also a dedicated fan of JDM fishing tackle since I appreciate so much true craftsmanship in all walks of life.
I have just red very useful information above related to marking of Shimano’s spinning reels. I have also red some questions below and I see that I have actual answers. I am really glad to share the knowledgement that I have gained by reading either Japanese, Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers’ websites and fishermen’s blogs.

F : I don’t know if it means that it is a model dedicated for European market only, but I do know that it stands for ”front brake (drag)” (usually the marking is FB) while RB stands for ”rear brake” which is nowdays very rare in spinning reels ; however, it is common in heavy-duty carp fishing reels ;
FI : it also stands for ”front brake” of line spool, but the reel is with ”I”-shaped hollow grip of the handle ;
FT : the same as above, but the reel’s handle is with ”T”-shaped solid grip ;
X-Ship : by positioning the pinion gear close to the centre line of the large diameter drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle to the rotor ; the pinion gear is also supported by 2 ARB roller bearings ; this creates more stability.

Dear colleagues, you are welcome to contact me directly with all of your questions since I do feel the need to share with you my knowledge that I have gained by studying for more than 3 years JDM, CN and TW fishing tackle, gear & outdoor stuff markets as well as the ways of direct purchase & forwarding of those goods at human-friendly prices (not such as those in, for example, www.finesse-fishing.com).

Gintaras Gelzinis
Vilnius, Lithuania, European Union
e-mail: gintaras.gelzinis@windowslive.com

you can also send me your sms on WhatsApp: ”+” or ”00” 37060788318


March 14, 2020

Well done, thx. How does the Stradic ci4 differ from the stradic FL?


January 29, 2020

Shawno – FL is the model – the most recent to be exact – the last stradic I believe was the fj. The F indicates its european – the letter after that indicates which model – fa-fb-fc- etc – They do skip some letters however.

Mike H – No idea sorry

Jessie – possibly, but probably not – its a model away and they usually change a few things, I doubt it.

Ed – Same as above

Farmee – Shimano X-Ship. X-Ship technology adds rigidity and cranking power, making the handle easier to turn with or without load. 1. A-RB bearings supporting the pinion gear eliminates pinion gear twist.

Robert – FB is the model as above


December 03, 2019

Shimano Stradic FL?
What do the letters stand for?

Mike Hefferon
Mike Hefferon

September 26, 2019

What is the part number of the Shimano model TX1110Q spool, and do you know where I can get one


August 14, 2019

Is the spool of shimano sienna 4000fd and spool of sienna 4000fe is the same?


June 10, 2019

Will a Sedona 2500 FB spool work on a Sedona 2500 FI?


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!

Leave a comment

Also in Fanatik Blog

Setting the Hook the Right Way
Setting the Hook the Right Way

3 min read

Sometimes knowing when and how to set the hook is a key to landing or losing a fish. The lures and baits, as well as types of hooks you use, will determine whether you set the hook immediately or wait for a second or two after getting a bite. Here is when and how to set the hook on some of the most popular types of lures on the market. 
Read More
Everything You Need to Know about Daiwa Reels
Everything You Need to Know about Daiwa Reels

5 min read

This article is similar to what we did for Shimano reels, so let’s start with simple things. Two numbers after “Daiwa” and before the name of the model is the year when this reel was introduced. For example, Daiwa 14 Caldia is a modification which hit the market in 2014. Keep in mind that it isn’t the year it was manufactured but the year when it hit the market.
Read More
Panfishing 101: How to Catch Bluegill
Panfishing 101: How to Catch Bluegill

4 min read

Most if not all anglers got into fishing when their dads gave them some bait and they caught their first bluegill.Some people stepped up the game and moved into catching larger speciesbut tons of anglers of all ages still target smaller panfish such as perch, crappie, sunfish or bluegill. It happened to be so that bluegill is probably the most common in North America so it is the most known. Bluegill can be super fun to catch and can fill the plate full of tasty fillets. So, instead of spending the entire day to catch a couple of bass or walleye, you can always get tons of bluegill from literally all waters: ponds, lakes or rivers!
Read More