Shimano Sienna Reel Review – A Fantastic little entry reel

I originally bought this reel as part of a lighter-weight combo for use on my kayak, in the 2500 size with a 7ft spinning rod. And it was very good value!

That was about 2-3 years ago again and it’s still going strong. And in that time I’ve used it for kayak fishing on saltwater harbours, surf fishing for targeting whiting in the surf close to shore and also for bass in lakes and reservoirs.

While it’s a lower-priced, lower-spec’ed option, I think it’s a great little reel for versatile applications.

It’s surprisingly stable, smooth and an efficient little reel.

This was our top surf fishing reel for beginners in our best-of list this year! Click the link to take a look at what else was rated as a top surf rod.

Shimano Sienna FG Rating Score

4.7 stars

  • Performance: 4.7 stars
  • Durability: 4.6 stars
  • Value for Money: 5 stars
Photo of Shimano Sienna by the Author

Who should invest in the Shimano Sienna? 

Given this is an entry-level reel it would make a fantastic gift for a budding novice to use with their kayak or inshore. They’d get a good lifetime out of it and get to grips with the features of a half-decent spinning reel.

It’s also a nice little reel to have as a more seasoned angler that doesn’t want to blow budget, but have a fun reel they can turn to to fish smaller species closer in shore or flick and flip some lures across a lake.

Shimano Sienna Specs

  • Best for: Beginner surf anglers, beach casters and rock fishermen – and I also sometimes use it for kayak fishing too!
  • Sizes: 500-4000
  • Drag: 19lbs on the 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 180yds / 30lb braid on the 4000 model
  • Weight: 11.3oz on the 4000 model
  • Bearings: 4 ball bearings
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 5.2:1 on the 4000 model, 32 inches per crank
  • Handle side: Right-hand side
2nd Photo of Shimano Sienna by the Author

Shimano Sienna Reel Pros

Contains aluminum to improve rigidity

The body is not just made of plastic and actually contains aluminum contributing to the solidity to this reel. This is surprising for a reel of this price range, particularly from Shimano and compared to competitor brands.

The other reels from Shimano that I’ve come across at this price range are typically all plastic or composite material which can have a lot of flex to them.

So the inclusion of metal in the reel design is a great plus for the plucky Sienna.

Powerful drag system

The drag can handle surprisingly hard-fighting fish and is both sensitive and capable.

Of course, it doesn’t match the drag system of a Daiwa BG, Penn Battle 3 or a higher end Shimano model, but for the price you get a surprisingly high max drag – 19lb on the 4000. That’s more than an equally sized Penn Battle 3 has, by 4lbs!

I find it’s also pretty sensitive when you’re fighting smaller fish too – it doesn’t overpower fish and the start-up inertia isn’t too noticeable.

Pretty durable for the price range

I know that sports store chains in Australia, they stock a lot of these reels, and they’re used in tough conditions and applications there, which says a lot for the durability of the reel itself!

I’ve been using it and bashing it, dropping it in the sand and splashing it – I don’t think I’ve ever rinsed it (I should do!), and I’ve not had any issues with it yet. It still feels smooth…

Smooth reeling action for price range

When I picked this little reel up in the store and gave it a wind I was pleasantly surprised by the action and motion of the reel at the price it was going for. It was lovely and smooth. Other anglers have commented on this too, that it’s a pleasant reel to use.

Shimano has done pretty well in this little reel. There are a lot of complaints online about Shimano’s lower priced reel options, but I think this one has its head a little above that.

Good casting distance

A few weeks prior to writing this, I took the reel out to our local lake which is home to some pretty decent bass. I brought with me a Z-man chatter bait to try out.

I was targeting a nice area of lilypads that looked just perfect for a bass to wait in hiding to swim out and smash my bait.

The lilypads were a fair distance from the bank I was on, so I cast with some energy behind it.

And, instead of falling near the edge of the lilypad, the reel was able to shoot that thing right over on top of those lilypads. Damn – chatter bait lost but heck this reel can cast far.

Shimano say that the Sienna uses Propulsion Line Management System to increase casting distance. Well, it seems to work!

It’s a tonne of value for the price you are paying – a fantastic gift or first reel for a beginner angler. 

Photo of Shimano Sienna by the Author

Shimano Sienna Reel Cons

Small drag adjuster wheel andhandle knob

Might just be my big clumsy hands, but the drag wheel is a little small and can easily be slipped over when needing to adjust it.

The handle knob is pretty small. I’ve slipped off it at the beach before when my hands have been wet or slimy. 

Some give and flex in the reel

Shimano claim the Sienna has the ‘Super Stopper 2’ technology built in for instant anti-reverse that means no backwards give. My view is that the reel is solid and stable but there is a little bit of play in the reel. Under pressure you sometimes feel some flex, but that’s perhaps expected in such a low-priced reel.

Also the anti-reverse switch can become a victim of water and sand exposure, and I don’t really see the point of anti reverse switches when surf fishing anyway.

Shimano Sienna Reel Performance

For the price, this reel is still performing well for me after 2-3 years of use across many different types of fishing.

And I’ll continue to use it and enjoy it for a while longer I believe. There are no indications right now that the reel has any issues or that it’s performance is lagging.

Perhaps if I hook on to a considerably-sized fish it might push it to its limits and test the performance it can squeeze out, but for now I’m confident it will still deliver.

Casting the reel, it’s easy to get distance, particularly if you’re using braid. And the reel has an automatic bail arm to initiate retrieval which I think feels fine and is fairly responsive.

The reel is smooth and stable, even when using top water lures or pulling in fish from close inshore.

Shimano Sienna Reel sizes

The Sienna comes in a range of smaller sizes from the 500 size to the 4000. This reel is great for finesse inshore fishing or lake and river spinning.

Here is a size chart.

SizeBearingsMax dragWeightGear ratioLine RetrieveBraid Cap yds/lbsMono Cap yds/lbs
500446.3oz5.6:127in5/135, 8/105, 10/652/190, 4/100, 6/60
1000477.2oz5.0:124in10/95, 15/85, 20/652/270, 4/140, 6/110
2000498.8oz5.0:128in10/140, 15/115, 20/956/165, 8/105, 10/95
2500498.8oz5.0:128in10/150, 15/145, 30/1006/200, 8/140, 10/120
30004198.8oz5.0:128in10/200, 20/140, 40/1056/230, 8/170, 10/140
400041911.3oz5.2:132in15/230, 30/180, 50/1208/240, 10/200, 12/160

Shimano Sienna Reel Construction Specs

Most of the body of the reel is graphite composite, that’s the stem, rotor and foot of the reel.

The spool however is aluminum providing stability to the graphite body.

The ball bearings are stainless steel too, which provides a bit of that additional smoothness to the winding action fo the reel.

Shimano Sienna Reel FAQs

Is the Sienna a good reel?

The Shimano Sienna is a great reel if you are starting out with inshore fishing, kayak fishing or spinning lures on rivers or lakes. It’s incredibly cheap and you get a lot of good value in this reel. It is durable, smooth and the combination of graphite and metal elements make it surpisingly stable for the price range.

Is Shimano Sienna for saltwater?

You can use the Shimano Sienna in saltwater. It is not waterproof because it doesn’t have any waterproof seals buitl in throughout the reel, so avoid plunging it in saltwater.

I have splashed it and rarely if ever rinse mine – and it still works fine!

Does the Shimano Sienna have anti reverse?

The Shimano Sienna has an instant-antireverse switch, and what Shimano calls the ‘Super Stopper 2’ technology to avoid any give or play in the reel when you stop winding.

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