Saturday, 25 May 2013

Tackle review: Shimano Rarenium CI4 4000FA.

Time for another tackle review.  This time we will look at the Shimano Rarenium Ci4 4000FA The most expensive reel I ever bought.

GOLD! That lovely spare spool is included in the price.

When I bought the Savage Gear Bushwhacker 10-50g 8' lure rod a couple of years ago I purchased a cheap Shimano Catana 3000 front drag reel to go with it for about £30.  This reel has been adequate and I landed my PB pike with no problems with it but the spare spool is cheap and nasty and the reel is starting to feel a bit loose after a couple seasons of heavy use.  This 'loose' feeling is particularly pronounced when the reel is under strain when using big 1oz spinnerbaits through weed and I had been thinking that it would be be nice to put a high spec reel on the bushwhacker rod instead but couldn't really justify the expense.
Lure fishing is an approach where it really does pay to have a good quality reel in your setup as the reel is under constant use casting, retrieving & snagging up.
Just in time for Christmas I had a very nice surprise when Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs sent me a cheque for £1932 because I had been overpaying being without the benefit of private healthcare that my old employer used to provide.  This free money opened up the world of more expensive reels to me.
For the first time I was able to look at the top end of the Shimano front drag fixed-spool range.  At the top we have the Stella which is overkill engineered for tuna, GTs and the like and costs £4-500.  Down a couple is the Rarenium Ci4.  At  £150-200 this is more like my price range.

I was in Somerset for Christmas and decided to drop in to the excellent Veals in Bristol to browse the reels. I looked at a few before being handed the Rarenium and was instantly hooked on the light weight,  good looks and super smooth operation.  I asked for a 3000 but got some sage advice from the shop guy to get a 4000 instead as bigger reels last longer.  This does seem to make a lot of sense as a larger fixed-spool reel will retrieve more line per turn of the handle than a smaller one so getting less mileage on the components for the same amount of spinning.  I'm guessing you probably get more surface area in the clutch and more cranking power too?

Check out the weight of these reels.  Its miraculous.  With the sexy gold & grey anodised aluminium spool removed the reels weigh almost nothing.  Instead of the traditional aluminum, the clever people at Shimano have made the reel body and rotor out of some space age carbon composite that they use for the cranks on expensive carbon racing bicycles.  The reel is supplied WITH a spare spool identical to the lovely one on the reel.  This is quite unusual for a top end Shimano reel.  I had to pay £40 once for a spare spool for the Baitrunner D I had purchased at great expense.
The reel is packed with bearings and quality gearing etc but comes out at 10g lighter than the much smaller cheapo 3000 reel it was to replace.
A bloke next to me at the counter said he had one and it was the best reel he'd ever used.  This fool was soon parted from (*gasp*) 160 of your earth pounds.

The main reason for getting this reel was to go on the bushwacker pike spinning rod and it is a brilliant reel for lure fishing.  The quality components and drag along with the light weight make it perfect for slinging larger lures all day, cranking big spinnerbaits through weed and playing the occasional pike.  The line lay is excellent.  I think Rarenium is especially good for lure fishing where lightness is required to balance short modern lightweight lure rods.
For lure fishing I have loaded it with the 30lb Sunline Super PE braid in dayglo green.  This makes the setup look very cool indeed.  Call me a tackle tart if you like but it is nice to have quality gear when lure fishing and the reel is very important.

Rarenium on my Bushwacker loaded up with
30lb Sunline Super PE braid for pike.
I am unable to find any fault with this reel as you would expect for the price.  It really does feel like a cut above any other reels I have used.
I've also used the Rarenium for legering for chub and tench and the smooth drag gave line out beautifully on demand when a hard fighting tench gave me the runaround on 6lb mainline.
I'm glad I did buy the larger model as this can be used for all feeder fishing and and medium weight lures from 1/2 to 2.5 oz.  I can even see this one going to India if I get the chance to go for mahseer on lures again or it would be perfect for luring for sea bass if the opportunity arises.
The overall verdict is that this is a top quality versatile reel that is a real pleasure to use and look at.  At £160-170 this is the most expensive reel I have ever bought but it feels like it will probably last forever and having a spare spool included avoids a probable spend of another £30-40.  If you can afford to spend this much on a fishing reel then you will not go wrong with Rarenium Ci4.


I have just purchased a Rarenium 2500 to go on my perch rod, having run out of patience with the Okuma Trio 20 constantly throwing loops off the spool.
The 2500 is every bit as wonderful as the 4000 and weighs a lot less than the Okuma balancing the Dragon Guide Select perfectly.

The new baby.

I have now used the 4000 and 2500 twice for lure fishing for Amazon species in Guyana.  Peacock bass, catfish, payara - even an arapaima have all put massive strain on the drag and components and both reels still feel like new.  The 2500 gets hard use on UK species too.  These reels are 100% recommended and are a joy to own.

A 100lb plus arapaima tests out the drag on the Rarenium 2500 Ci4

Heaps tackle rating  5 stars ***** (out of 5)


  1. Does the Rarenium feel like it can be used as a winch against Mahseer or would you have to use the anti-reverse and regain line by pumping ?

    The alure of these featherweight but tough refugees from the Japanese domestic market is almost irresistible .

    Talking about Mahseer , do you reckon that the recommended Shimano Forcemaster travel rod is any better than your Ugly Stik uptider or just more transportable ?

    Less than three weeks to go for the river season now ....

    1. Hi.
      Shimano rod is nicer & less brutal than the Shakespeare one but impossible to obtain. It has an optional section to go to 10' too.
      I wouldn't want to try and 'winch' any decent mahseer with any fixed spool reel. Pump it every time as you would with any big strong fish.
      Big bream are the only fish you can just wind in in my experience.
      Good luck for the new season & thanks for reading.

    2. I recently obtained a slightly older Ugly Stik 6-10oz uptider , model 1354.285 .

      It is slightly more transportable than your later 510 as the overslip joint is closer to the half way mark . The max line rating is lower than your later version but from what I can see the rod is just as capable - it's just that the rating is more cautious .

      I can't help thinking that rods like the Daiwa Tournament Global are sports cars in comparisons with pick-up trucks like an Ugly Stik uptide and Forcemaster Uptide .

      The closest I've found to the Forcemaster STC is the Japanese domestic market Caranx Kaibutsu S.T.C. :-

      Look good but would need to handle one before contemplating dropping £340 .

    3. My point with the winching was to make a distinction between the strength of the gearing and the drag . As Veals are pointing out bigger diameter gears with coarser teeth should last longer .

      Those guys in the North East who distance cast to cod in kelp forests and even those who touch ledger for bass , eals and wrasse on rough ground must have to keep the fish moving so it does not make it back to the reef .

      With a stretchy length of nylon mono they must inevitably end up winching under load a fair bit .

      Goodness knows how those shore based Ulua slide tackle fishers manage to fight the fish so hard . They are far better at pumping fish than me .

  2. Hi.
    Do you think a 4000 reel is to big to fish for sea-trout and smaller pike/perch?


    1. Seeing as you would probably be using a small light spinning rod for these species then I would say that 4000 is too big. Because it needs to balance the rod.
      Maybe a 2500 size or even a 1000 size if its a very light rod?
      I use an okuma 20 size with my perch spinning outfit. But recommend a small Shimano reel if you have the money.

  3. wow what a beautiful rod it is. I really like it.Deep sea fishing in Dubai

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Great post, good to see the Shimano reels getting the reviews they deserve Shimano Rarenium

  5. Bought one from Veals 2010 if my memory serves me right.Its on a Major Craft Zaltz.Its 5/9/2018 and have not changed a thing.I go for Bass on Chesil and Portland harbour and would recomend this reel .With servicing cost about 22 quid a year.

  6. This Rarenium is just unbelievable. Maybe I should not say so since they can not be bought anymore what is very sad. They was too good and lasted so long that Shimano was not happy with it I was told by a dealer. My wife (!) pulled in a 170 cm trasher shark on that reel when fishing for much smaller Kawai on Motu beach in New Zealand. The reel did the job, the line did not brake, the rod was ok -- good job of the girl. And the reel works as before. My Daiwa Theory 4000 quit the job after the first 150 cm hammerhead shark that went for the bait. The Theory got some salt water splashes. This Daiwa reel has magseal technology and saltwater resistence in the advertisement.
    So that Rarenium 4000 is just fantastic! I agree with all the good comments above! I do not know any other reel for that price on the market that gives so much value for the money. Maybe someone on thar forum could give me an idea, I would appreciate it very much! Miss the Rarenium reel!
    Roland, Switzerland