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Shimano NASCI FC Spinning Reel Review

Although I’ve mentioned it before, I believe it’s worth saying again: I was absolutely broke when I was first coming up in the fishing industry. I’d have two rods in my boat and just figure out a way to make it work. I couldn’t even tell you what length or action they were because it didn’t really matter; I just used whatever I could afford. 

With that being said, I’ve taken my affinity for affordable fishing gear with me throughout my career. I sincerely appreciate it when prominent companies make a concerted effort to provide quality bass fishing gear at affordabl prices for blue-collared folks. This particular reel I’ve been testing certainly falls into that category and it deserves serious attention. 

For the past three months, I’ve had an opportunity to extensively test and fish with the Shimano NASCI FC Spinning Reel. Growing up, I always kind of viewed Shimano reels as somewhat unattainable due to my limited budget. I knew they always stood for awesome quality but I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever be able to afford one. At a price point around $100, I can confidently suggest this reel to folks who want a taste of luxury for a very affordable price. Whether you like to fish shallow or deep for largemouth or smallmouth, I’m certain you’re going to find a great and practical use for this rod in your collection. 

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Plays nice with all line types

I make a point to test all spinning reels with a myriad of different fishing lines. I’ve tested the Shimano NASCI FC Spinning Reel with fluorocarbon, monofilament and even braided line and have been quite impressed by its ability to handle all lines quite nicely. The line doesn’t like to jump off the spool and even in a stiff wind, all line types feed off of the spool excellently which allows for maximum casting distance. 

So if you’re a braid-to-fluorocarbon person or you prefer straight monofilament or fluorocarbon, you’re going to be very happy with this reel. I think it’s awesome that Shimano provided this type of performance in such a well-priced spinning reel. 

Has proven to be quite durable

Anytime I run across a reel in the $100 range, I get a little nervous about its ability to withstand the abuse we put ‘em through. I want a reel that can sit on the front deck of my bass boat, inside my rod locker in rough water and in the bed of my truck when I decide to fish a farm pond for an hour or two. A lot of reels in this price range tend to break after just a few months. 

Fortunately, that has absolutely not been a problem with the Shimano NASCI FC Spinning Reel. It has held up well to everything I’ve put it through and I’ve been nothing but impressed when it comes to to its durability and value.

Feels much more expensive in your hand

If I were to blindfold you and put this reel into your hand, I’m willing to bet you’d think it was double the price point. While it’s not the lightest reel you’ll hold, the smoothness will absolutely impress you and I’m certain of that. It balances very well with the large majority of mid- to high-end spinning rods on the market and it feels like a dream throughout the entire retrieve. 

Whether you like to throw lightweight crankbaits on a spinning setup or drag shaky heads through brush piles, you’re going to be impressed by the feel and balance of the Shimano NASCI FC Spinning Reel. 

Impressive drag system

Shimano’s Cross Carbon Drag System is on full display when you’re fighting fish with this Shimano NASCI FC Spinning Reel. So many of the rods I’ve tested in this price range are very clunky when it comes to their drag systems. I guess they’ll get the job done but if a big fish takes a quick, boat-side run, there’s a good chance it’ll pull loose. 

This reel, however, features one of the finer drag systems I’ve ever experienced from a reel at this price point. With silky smooth line deployment and the ability to make menial adjustments on the fly, you’re going to become an instant fan of this reel when you hook your first fish.

Final impressions

I’m having a hard time remembering a better value spinning reel I’ve tested in recent years. It’s light enough to remain nimble in your hands and as I just mentioned, the smooth opertation and excellent drag system round it out quite nicely. If you don’t want to dump a bunch of money into a new spinning reel, I think this might be your best option. We have rated it as the best spinning reel under $100 in 2023.

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