Pfluger President vs Shimano Sedona

The Pflueger President and the Shimano Sedona are two of the most popular spinning reels for ultralight freshwater fishing. In this review, we will compare them head to head to see which is the best ultralight spinning reel for trout and other pan fish.

We will be comparing the Pflueger President 20X and the Shimano Sedona Fi 1000. These are the smallest, and lightest model in each line up.

At this price point, fishermen will expect a quality product. For $60, poor tolerances and sub-par quality control is no longer an excuse. Slight flaws and cost savings which we might overlook in the $30 price range are no longer acceptable. There is really no excuse for a dud reel.

Lets get into the comparison.

Pfluger President PRESSP20XShimano Sedona 1000

Ball Bearings74
Gear Ratio5.2 : 15.0 : 1
Capacity mono 4lb100140
Max drag67
Drag washerfeltfelt
Line per crank20.226

Initial Impressions

I have always been impressed with the smoothness and lightness of the Pflueger president, and this current model is no different. There is very little resistance when a spin the handle and the spool glides along nicely.

The Sedona is heavier. At 7.6oz it is a bit to hefty to properly balance some of the more fineness ultralight rods. In the hands it feels just as smooth.

The quality of the gearing is a bit harder to judge. Shimano has invested a lot of money optimising the metal they use for their gearing, and much of that investment has trickled down into the Sedona.

The president on the other hand, I have some doubts over the quality of the gearing. They certainly feel smooth when new, but I have had some feedback that they can start to feel a little crunchy with use. Although, with proper lubrication I really doubt that will be a widespread issue.

Overall, I feel the Shimano Sedona is the better built reel.

Line Lay

All spinning reels need to have good line lay. It is the one category which I feel truly separates a good reel from a great. Having good line lay, no only reduces line twists but also improves casting distance. It is one area all spinning reels must get right.

Both of my test reels get a passing grade. The line winds on evenly and in quite a uniform pattern. Although, the President does have a smaller spool, which forces the line into a tighter wrap. In the long term I can see it having more issues with regards to line memory.

But, in my initial testing, both reels were fine.

Smoothness and Ball Bearings

To be honest, out of the box I find most modern spinning reels to be very smooth. It is hard to tell the difference when new. When differences in smoothness start to become apparent is when a reel is under stress which normally happens when fighting a big fish.

When new, both reels felt very smooth.

If a new reel, does not feel smooth I will seriously consider returning it for a different model because something could be out of alignment.

When fighting fish, both reels continue to impress. I will call this draw.

The President does have 7 ball bearings, to the Sedonas 4. But, I do not really think that makes much of a difference.


The grease felt drags both reels feature are excellent for ultralight fishing. When fishing for trout I never really use more than 3lb of drag, and it works flawlessly.

I prefer, felt drags over carbon for ultralight fishing. I find they provide a smoother more consistent performance. At such low drag pressures there really is no benefit to carbon.

I do prefer the sound of the Pflueger drag clicker. Slightly louder and more consistent.

Overall, I do not favor one reel over the other for drag performance.


A rigid frame is an essential feature for any spinning reel. If a frame is too cheaply made, it will flex under pressure causing the internal gearings to go out of alignment and potentially causing various moving parts to rub resulting in a jerky retrieve.

The build quality on both frames is quite comparable, and I experience no flexing on either reel. I even tighten the drag down to max, a setting I probably will never use while fishing, and there was still no noticeable flex.


Both reels feature good bail arms. They snap shut securely, and I experienced no ‘accidental’ closing during the cast.

Value / Summary

This is a tough one. I like both reels, and they have a lot in common.

If you want to fish ultralight, and balance out a finesse rod. Then the President is significantly lighter. I know some anglers who feel 7.6oz is too heavy for an ultralight reel.

But, overall. I feel the Shimano Sedona is the better reel. It is less flash, but just better built. Its smoothness comes from better engineering and tolerances rather than more ball bearings.

The larger spool, combined with faster retrieve on the Sedona, will also result in less line twist and memory.

For more reel reviews, check my guide here.

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