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I’ve been using the Shimano Sustain XGFI 5000 for the past four months. Although it’s the largest of four models in the Sustain range, the first thing I noticed was how compact it is. Basically, it’s the same size as the Sustain XGFI 4000, but has a slightly bigger spool for more line capacity as well as the round EVA knob on the handle. It’s pretty hard for me not to love this reel as the first fish I caught on it was a 40kg Nile perch at the base of Murchison Falls in Uganda. It bowled over that big girl without too much trouble.

Going through the specs, X Protect technology provides the Sustain FI with Shimano’s highest degree of waterproofing protection. This technology employs the use of a water repellent treatment and labyrinth structure that blocks any saltwater entry into the reels internals. I can’t argue with that as I given it a few workovers on the briny in recent months – including putting the brakes on some big macks and GTs – and it is still smooth as silk in all aspects of operation: casting, jigging, trolling and hook-up. The drag knuckled down when cranked up which meant that most fish were subdued quickly which enabled them to be released in good condition.

Hagane components are employed extensively throughout this classy new Sustain. A rigid aluminium chassis eliminates body flex resulting in less stress on internal components while the cold-forged Hagane gearing is supported by X-Ship ball bearings to ensure smoothness and longevity of gear rotation. A Magnumlite rotor is now a feature on the Sustain FI series and the bail trip lever has been moved to the opposite side of the rotor as the line roller, negating the need for heavy bail-hold support. The machined handle is threaded directly into the main gear and makes for a good solid connection with no slop and the oversize EVA knob offers plenty of grip and comfortable operation.

Four sizes are available in the range from 2500 up to the 5000 compact. All models feature 8+1 Stainless A-RB bearings and drag pressures that range from 9kg to 11kg depending on the model. The 5000 model holds a useful 200m of 20 pound Power Pro braid and is well suited to a multitude of inshore and estuary fishing activities. The Shimano Sustain FI is a handsome spinning reel that has a premium finish to match its high-performance pedigree.


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