May 16, 2012

Spinning Reel Review: Shimano Sahara 4000FD

Your fishing reel probably isn't that great. It casts awfully, is slippery and has a crappy drag. Take a minute to learn what works best for me on my fishing charter.

I only carry what is dependable, but won't break the bank. If my favorite spinning reel had a cousin that was a gun, it would be the AK-47. It's dependable, versatile, anybody can fish with it and it is easy to maintain. So what reel is this?

The Shimano Sahara 4000FD

Shimano Sahara 4000 FD Product Review

Captain Devin only uses the most efficient reels that won't break the bank.

Why I Like This Reel

The Sahara is tough and resilient. It has been dropped, beaten and dunked in saltwater. I wade fish during the summer months and this type of fishing can be very hard on gear. Inevitably, a lot of saltwater will get on the Sahara as does the sand.

Spooling on 20lb test PowerPro is my preferred method. However, PowerPro does not stretch and this puts more stress on drag washers.

Yet the Sahara's drag has held up against the stress of braided fishing line. It's smooth and easily adjusts on the fly. The Sahara reel in a 4000 size can take on virtually anything in inshore fishing: monstrous bull reds, jack crevalle and huge ladyfish have all met their match in the 4000FD.

Grippy Handle

One of my favorite things about the reel is the "grippy" handle. I used another reel that had a normal plastic handle and my hand would slip off during a fast speckled trout bite.

When I am smashing the trout, I don't have time to wipe off my hands. I just keep casting!

What appears to be a small detail like a grippy handle really does make all the difference.

Auto-Locking Mechanism

You will like this as it doesn't cause the reel to "slam" into the locked position whenever the hook is set. I prefer a reel that doesn't do this and that is the Sahara all day long.

Easy to Lube

I love the service port on the Shimano Sahara! There is a rubber plug on the right side of the reel. This plug screws out to reveal an opening the gears can be lubed through. Just squirt some Shimano reel oil in, work the reel and you are good to go. The oil comes with the reel.

Casting Power

The Sahara also has a smooth, beveled crown at the top of the reel. This allows for the line to smoothly deploy off the spool, resulting in casting smoother and farther.

What I Don't Like About the Shimano Sahara 4000FD

It's a fairly heavy reel. I used them for my fishing charter because the reel could take the abuse and mistreatment that comes when handled by the untrained. But I would never use it for other applications, like finesse presentations or even slot-redfish angling.

Also, the trim can corrode. This is kind of annoying, since the reel is rated for saltwater use, but I found WD-40 and a terrycloth towel helps fix that.

Overall, I'd recommend this reel for routine abuse, such as on a fishing charter, or for a friend who is tagging along but not familiar with inshore fishing.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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