shimano saragosa 2020

The 2020 Shimano Saragosa: Was it worth the wait?

After 7 years of service, our favorite workhorse reel has finally gotten an update! The Shimano Saragosa SWA is out! Let’s take a closer look.

On our previous in-depth review of the Shimano Saragosa SW, we blatantly said that this series of reels are one of the most highly recommended reels for heavy-duty saltwater use.

Without changing much in the design, keeping everything we love about the reel, and getting some trickle-down tech from the Stella SW blueprint, we are getting a familiar but improved machine.

What excites us the most is the addition of 2 reel sizes that fit the GT popping game perfectly. 14000 and 18000 sizes!

Before I spill out all the information about the updates here in the intro, let’s just take a more detailed look at the sweet upgrades the reel just received.

Let’s start with the updated body of the reel.

The Body

Made out of the same XT7 graphite with the previous model, we still get the very sturdy and pretty lightweight saltwater reel that we all love.

Shimano aimed to reduce the weight of the reel by making the body more compact. This has been a trend with the brand overall, with all reels getting weight reduction design changes.

Reduction of weight is always welcome, particularly our body weight, but I digress. Less weight results in a better-balanced outfit and allows us to fish longer without tiring out too soon.

The Spool

More weight reduction in this area, with 6 large aggressive-looking vertical ports, 3 per opposite sides of the spool.

Apart from the obvious weight reduction advantages, these aggressive ports add to the hardcore saltwater aesthetic that anglers seem to love. Looks make a difference. A good looking reel warrants more use and makes me fish more.

The spool also receives some trickle-down technology from the Stella, utilizing the AR-C spool design. The AR-C spool has an angled lip to allow the line to leave the spool with less friction and in smaller coils, meaning longer casts.

This spool design is also effective in reducing wind knots. Reducing, but not totally eliminating. We still have to load our rods properly to help further reduction in wind knots when casting.

The Internals

The new Saragosas receive more tech from the Stella range here which is great! It gets the Infiniti Drive system which makes for a smoother winding and stronger cranking. This smoothness and stability are achieved with bearings supporting the main pinion gear.

Hagane gears are also utilized and need no further proof of effectiveness. Shimano’s cold forged gears deliver longer-lasting smoothness and strength without the weight.

All these gears and bearings come together and follow the XSHIP design model. A streamlined connection, with the S-ARB supported pinion gear closer to the centerline of the drive gear, we get more power with less play.

The overall upgrades the Saragosa received under the hood makes it incomparable in this price range.


Shimano Saragosa SWA side view

High-end performance without the high-end price tag.

The Saragosas already have great waterproofing but Shimano still upped its sealing to IPX8 certification through the line roller assembly.

With our older Saragosas, water rarely penetrates the reel and maintenance has been a breeze. The line roller was the only location heavily affected by saltwater damage. And it is great that Shimano listens to their customers and made this upgrade.

As described in my previous article, X-protect and X-shield technology successfully prevent water intrusion by designing a series of interlocking lips where the spool and rotor meet, with grease applied at the very last innermost lip.

With the line roller sorted, this pretty much makes it corrosion-resistant.


Now with 8 overall sizes to fulfill all of our saltwater fishing needs. We get the 5000 for light casting applications, 6000 for light jigging then the 8000 for light topwater work for smaller GT and Tuna.

We also have the 10000 which is perfect for general jigging purposes. The 2 new sizes which were just a dream previously, has now come to fruition. 14000 and 18000, perfect for topwater work targeting big GT and Tuna, and other big game species utilizing other techniques. I’m getting a 14000 for sure.

Then the big guns, 20000 and 25000. These sizes game jigging and even fishing for billfish and other large pelagic species.

The Drag

No upgrades in this area but still great, nonetheless.

The Saragosa has what Shimano calls the Cross Carbon drag which again, the Stellas and the Twin Powers have as well. It means that the drag washers are cross-hatched, making a “rough” texture for more grip and more ventilation to prevent overheating.

Exact drag numbers have not been published yet, and I haven’t had the chance to test them out myself, but we can assume that the numbers will be similar to what they were before.

The Shimano website lists 15kg max drag for the bigger 10000 and 14000 sizes, and 10kg max drag for the 5000 and 6000 sizes. The rest of the size models’ drag ratings are left blank.

Like the Stella and Twinpower, the Saragosa also gets the Rigid Support Drag system. This is the upgraded drag support housing which minimizes spool movement and adds to overall stability.

Rest assured you’ll get the reliable drag power that we are used to.


Without having one in my hands yet, I cannot vouch for the reel’s durability, but history proves the Saragosa’s reliability, dependability, and ruggedness. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.


The Saragosa is the VALUE king when it comes to the heavy-duty saltwater fishing world.

With all the size options available, you can set yourself up with outfits for all saltwater fishing scenarios. You’ll get all the qualities you need in a designated saltwater reel. Power, smoothness, strength, durability, and reliability.

High-end performance without the high-end price tag. If you are on a limited budget but want a quality reel that will perform under heavy loads in harsh saltwater conditions, the Saragosa SWA range is our choice.

Will you buy a Saragosa? What size will you get?

Photo credits: Shimano Australia 

If you are looking for a true sportfishing company that offers you more than just a Vanuatu fishing adventure, look no further than Ocean Blue Fishing.

Call us now at (AU) 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322 or you may also contact us through our website at

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The 2020 Shimano Saragosa: Was it worth the wait?

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more
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