The Shimano SLX baitcasting reel is the most affordable option in the SLX series but still provides superb quality in terms of smoothness, durability and all-round performance. A great reel for experienced anglers, and those just starting out with a baitcaster.
- Available in 6.3:1, 7.2:1 and 8.2:1 gear ratios.
- 4 ball bearings
- Centrifugal braking system
- 12lb max drag
Reasons to buy
- Very affordable casting reel that provides serious, modern quality
- Compact, stylish design with a comfortable and lightweight feel
- Nice big handle which is easy to hold and turn
- Many anglers say this is the best $100 reel on the market, hands down
- Strong enough drag to handle bass of any size
- Centrifugal braking system is reliable and easy to tune once you get the sideplates off
- World class smoothness with casting and retrieval
- Casting compared with Curado series
- Comfortably fishable in both freshwater and saltwater
Reasons not to buy
- Adjustments on the reel brakes will require the removal of side plates, which may not be suitable for inexperienced anglers, or beginners
- Not really suited to casting lighter applications below 3/16 oz unless you have a fair degree of experience with a baitcaster
- Some anglers don't like the vivid black and blue appearance
Reviews from our Readers
The Shimano SLX is an excellent casting reel for the price you're paying. Many anglers compare the casting and overall smoothness to other world-class, much more expensive models such as the Curado. For this reason, the SLX is largely considered the "King" of affordable, $100 or less baitcasters. It is a fantastic option for the experienced angler on bit of a budget, or someone just starting out fishing a baitcaster. Availability in 6.3:1, 7.2:1 and 8.2:1 gear ratios means there is an SLX for just about any technique or setup.
This reel pairs beautifully with the SLX baitcasting rod, and it is without a doubt one of the more eye-catching combos on the market.
Can you use the Shimano SLX in saltwater?
The Shimano SLX is approved for saltwater use. However, saltwater will always be harsher on your tackle than freshwater. You can absolutely use the SLX for saltwater fishing, but if you are looking to get maximum longevity out of the reel , you are best off sticking to freshwater use-cases.
About the brand
Shimano is arguably the biggest and most respected name in fishing. They are responsible for producing some of the most ground-breaking tackle ever seen, and they continue to lead the market in all forms of fishing.
Shimano has taken a key interest in bass fishing, and have developed the finest baitcasting reels on today's shelves. Many other brands constantly look to Shimano for ideas, as they seldom put a foot wrong.
You simply cannot go wrong with a piece of Shimano gear.
Professionals who work with Shimano:
- Keith Combs
- Brett Preuett
- Bernie Shultz