Shimano Stella FE 3000

Guest Review by Terry J. Wiest

Stella FE 3000

Stella… STELLA!  This famous quote comes from Marlon Brando in the move “A Streetcar Named Desire”.  Although well before my time, it’s a quote we here time and time again and is a classic.  From being copied in the movie “Rocky” – “Adriane… ADRIANNE!” to making it in prime time on the Seinfeld Show, we have all heard the name.

But in the fishing world, Stella is not only a classic, cut it’s on the cutting edge of technology and lays a path for others to follow.  The Shimano Stella FE 3000 is the finest spinning reel I’ve had the pleasure to fish.  Shimano’s Flagship reel, I was super impressed right out of the box.  A super slick gunmetal blue color body, with metal colored spool and gold tips, this has to be one of the best looking spinning reels on the market.  Looks are one thing – would it perform is the real question, and would it perform well enough to quantify its $729 price tag?  Yep, if you’re going to fork out this kind of money there better be something to it other than a nice finish… oh and there is!

I’ve long wanted a Stella, so when the opportunity finally arose I’d better think about which model I’d choose.  I’ve always fished the 2500 Symetre and Stradic, but sometimes felt I could use just a bit more line capacity.  The Stella comes in both a 2500 and a 3000, my choice being the 3000.  What I looked at was the extra line capacity of the 3000 but staying within 1/10 of an ounce of the 2500, weighing in at an incredibly light 8.1 ounces.

Stella FE 3000 with G Loomis 1262

I paired the reel up with a G. Loomis STFR1262S Float Rod – another favorite of mine.  After mounting the reel I loaded on 30lb Power Pro.  Man, was this one sweetly balanced setup.

Although my intent of procuring this setup was to fish the Situk this coming Spring, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to break this new package in and headed to the Cowlitz for some summer steelhead action.

My first cast was a thing of beauty.  A slight audible click let me know the bail was “cocked” and as I released the line if flowed off the reel effortlessly.  Since I was float fishing, I needed to feather the line as my presentation made its way downstream.  No problems here.  The spool was well within my comfort zone of my index finger and by placing my finger on the spool lip I was able to feather the line without “bumping” it.  When the time came to engage the reel, whether via the handle or the bail itself, there were no issues.

The biggest difference you’ll notice right away is the retrieve.  Smooth as the hickory wind and there is absolutely no play, zero!  This is just like a centerpin reel being direct drive, only it has gears.  It also has bearings… 15 of them in total. I’ve always loved the Shimano line of reels for these features and the further you go up the ladder, the less play and more bearings these reels have.  Well, at the top of the ladder the Stella is incomparable.

Shimano has always had great drag systems.  I’ve always stressed this is THE most important feature of whichever reel you use. Of course Shimano left the best for the best and the Stella has such a silky smooth drag you’ll be begging for a fish to run to experience this phenomenon.  And when you need power from the drag – of course no problem their either as the drag can be locked down to 20lbs – more than I’ll ever need.

The Stella FE 3000 is such a joy to fish you won’t want to change it up.  I usually pack both a spinning setup and baitcasting setup with me, but the Stella will be hard to put down.

This is definitely on the high end of the price spectrum, but if you want to fish the best of the best, fish a Stella!