I got pretty excited about this outfit when I picked it up – so much so that I took it fishing the very next day.
I got to sample the new Stradic a few months ago (NZ Bay Fisher December 2015), but Stradic FK models, along with Energy Concept rods, are new season products only now becoming available in our market.
First up I was struck by how comfortable this lightweight micro-jigging set is to hold. You could happily fish it all day without suffering fatigue. I didn’t fish it all day though, which was lucky, because my arms got tired with all the fish I hooked! The anchovy schools were thick along the North Shore’s East Coast Bays, harried by packs of XOS kahawai, a few decent snapper and quite a lot of rat kingfish, to around 55cm. All of them pulled hard, especially the rat kings, of which I probably boated half a dozen during the morning’s fishing.
The Energy Concept range of rods looks striking in blue and carbon black with black bindings, and featuring blue and silver highlights. The Energy Concept micro-jig spin rod is a 1.93m (6-foot 4-inch) high-carbon model with a Fuji reel seat, cork grips, a neoprene butt cap and Fuji K guides. Manufactured using top quality materials and Shimano’s SVX2 uni-directional carbon technology, it’s rated for PE 1-1.5 braided line and 20-60g jig weights.
The rod’s longish skeleton butt lies nicely under the forearm when fighting a fish and the rod action shows the very fast recovery typical of high carbon rods. Its light tip section is able to work a range of jig weights up to 60g, and there’s ample reserve power when a big fish is hooked.
Because predators were feeding on small baitfish, I had most success with a 21g Shimano Colt Sniper micro-jig – even though I felt the rod worked slightly better with 30g jigs and heavier; but these heavier ones were simply too big in this situation.
At times I was fishing in 6 or 7 metres of water, casting the jig away from the boat, letting it sink to the bottom and then working it back with a series of lift-and-winds and pauses to allow the lure to flutter. The kingfish loved this retrieve, but snapper proved more difficult to catch, despite biting well on soft plastics. The only snapper I caught on the jig during this session were undersized, but kahawai could be taken at will by casting towards the bust-ups. (Somewhat annoyingly, they also regularly picked up the jig from the bottom.)
The Stradic FK 2500 is a delight to use. Built to meet Shimano’s Hagane design concept, new Stradics have six shielded stainless steel ball bearings plus one roller bearing, and are said to be stronger and more resilient than previous models. The handle is reversible.
New Stradics feature rigid all-metal Hagane bodies, smooth, highly durable cold-forged aluminium drive gears and X-Ship drive trains which maximise winding efficiency by effectively transmitting input power – no twisting or rotor flex. The FK 2500’s machined aluminium spool is designed for braid: in this instance 300m of super-thin Ocea EX8 PE 1 (9kg approx) multi-coloured eight-carrier line. The drag system can exert 9.1kg of maximum pressure.
The reel drag got quite a workout during my busy morning session. Most of the kahawai were approaching 2kg and some of the kingfish were bigger again. In shallow water long runs were common, but the drag remained smooth as silk regardless of the setting.
With snapper the goal, by the end of the session I’d cranked the drag up fairly tight in an effort to get those pesky kahawai to the boat quickly, so any stickiness or pressure inconsistencies would have been apparent. There were none; and I also appreciated the progressive nature and wide range of available drag setting adjustment.
I like the way Shimano’s Ocea PE line handles. Even though it’s very fine in diameter I had no issues with knots – I tied a doubled length of braid to 20-pound Shimano Ocea fluorocarbon trace, also doubled over, using a modified Albright knot. This connection is reliable, strong and easy to tie anywhere, including aboard a rocking boat. Best of all, I can tie it without my glasses.
With different colours every 10m, the line is perfect for jigging, but it also casts very well.
The Stradic FK 2500-Shimano Energy Concept 6’ 4” rod is a high quality micro-jig combo: lightweight, well finished and very capable.
Shimano Stradic FK 2500
Shimano Super Stopper II concept
X-Ship concept gearing
S A-R bearings (6+1 ball bearings)
Aluminium spool (cold forged)
Shimano Dyna-Balance system
Power Roller II
Propulsion line management system
Aero Wrap II
6.0:1 gear ratio
Capacity mono (kg/m): 3/180
Capacity Power Pro (pound/yd): 10/150 (4.5kg/140m)
Capacity Ocea EX8 PE1 (5kg) 300m
Max Drag: 9kg
Reel weight 235 grams
Cm per handle crank (line retrieve): 88cm
Shimano Energy Concept micro-jig spin PE 1-1.5
Length: 1.93m (6 foot 4 inches)
Guides: six plus tip Fuji K guides with Alconite inserts
Grips: cork with skeleton butt
Reel seat: Fuji
Shimano Stradic FK 2500 – Energy Concept micro-jig spin PE 1-1.5 combo RRP: $529.99