Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD

Last Updated on 11 June 2024 by James Bevan

Overall Rating

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Score derived from the average of these ratings:

Build Quality - 8.5

Cast & Retrieve - 8.5

Drag / Clutch - 8.5

Value For Money - 8.5

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Shimanos Ultegra range of reels needs no introduction. With a reputation of sheer quality over the years it’s no wonder it’s still going strong.

The 5500 XTD doesn’t disappoint and is an excellent choice for Carp anglers who are looking for a versatile and compact big pit reel with the quality that the Ultegra is known for.

Compare Prices

5 new from £179.50
as of 13 June 2024 19:51

Features & Specs List With An Explanation

Feature Explanation
Parallel Body Designed to improve dynamic line flow and reduce line slap during casting.
Super Slow Oscillation Provides precise line lay, enhancing casting performance and reducing line friction.
AR-C Spool Features a unique spool design that helps achieve longer and more accurate casts.
Instant Drag Allows for quick adjustments between free spool and fight settings with minimal turns.
Extra Spool & Line Reducers Comes with an additional spool and line reducers for versatility in different fishing conditions.
1 S A-RB + 3 Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings Ensures smooth operation and durability, even in harsh conditions.
1 Roller Bearing Enhances the overall smoothness and performance of the reel.
Front Drag Provides precise control over the drag system, essential for fighting large fish.
Available in 5500 and 14000 Offers options to suit different angling needs and preferences.

How The Reel Compares To Its Competitors

Here’s how the Ultegra 5500 XTD compared to other spod reels we have reviewed:

NameOverall RatingPrice
Daiwa 23 Superspod 45 SCW8.8from £169.99
Daiwa Emblem Spod Reel8.6from £134.99
Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD8.5from £134.99
Avid Pro Spod Marker Reel7.8from £94.99
Shimano Aerlex 10000 XTB Spod Reel7.9from £79.99
Sonik Vader X 8000 RS Spod Reel7.6from £44.99

Build Quality

Build Quality
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What Does This Mean?

When we assess the build quality of a fishing reel, we test and review the materials used in manufacturing the reel and how it all comes together in the finished product.

As you would expect with a Shimano reel, the build quality is exceptional and you can just tell this as soon as you lay your hands on it.

It’s crafted from a combination of lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre. This structure basically keeps the total weight of the reel down without compromising on durability and robustness.

The line clip is solid and easily withstands heavy use if being utilised as a spod reel for example.

The fact that the Ultegra can be used in more than one fishing application is testament to its versatility and as such is featured both in our guide of the best carp reels as well as top spod reels on the market today. 

The reel just looks and feels beautiful and well-balanced and you’ll find yourself staring at it for ages like a work of art!

Ultegra 5500 XTD - A Good Looking Reel
A beautiful looking reel

Cast And Retrieve Performance

Casting & Retrieve
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What Does This Mean?

This part of the review is fairly self-explanatory and focuses on how well the reel casts and how smooth the retrieve is.

Distance isn’t a factor in this assessment whereas accuracy and efficiency is.

On top of the actual, physical performance of the reel we also look at the number and type of ball bearings, the spool, line lay and the gear ratio in comparison to its required use.

The reel features a large spool in comparison to the overall size of the reel and holds a credible 280m worth of line. The gear ratio of 5.3:1, provides a smooth and efficient performance with a very quick retrieval.

As such the Ultegra 5500 XTD is a very versatile Carp reel that can be used for a number of different tactics on the bank including spodding and lighter work such as stalking or floater fishing.

SHIMANO Ultegra XTD 5500 - Compact With A Large Spool
Compact yet with a big spool for casting longer distances

Drag / Clutch

Drag / clutch
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What Does This Mean?

When reviewing the drag system on a fishing reel we are testing how smooth the drag is and how convenient it is to use.

There is no bias as to whether a reel has a front or rear drag system, it is solely judged on how smooth it can take out line relative to the amount of pressure that it is being applied.

The quality components of the Ultegra 5500 XTD continue into the drag system which uses the best of Shimano’s advanced technology. It’s smooth and consistent and for someone who uses the drag and clutch rather than backwinding this is very important to me.

I have put this reels drag under significant strain in the past and it never faltered once.

Value For Money

Value For Money
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What Does This Mean?

Self-explanatory in terms of an assessment but yet an important part of the review process. This is because it creates more of a level playing field.

Of course, the more expensive a reel is the more quality components it will have and as such will generally score higher.

Having value for money as a criterion allows us to judge how well a reel performs vs its price point and in turn allows us to recognise good-performing reels at bargain prices.

I’ve scored the Ultegra 5500 8.5 for value for money. It offers a great balance of excellent performance and reasonable pricing. The advanced features and durable construction make it a smart investment for Carp anglers looking for high-quality gear without a prohibitive cost.

The Pros & Cons Of The Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD

Here is a list of pros and cons anglers have found with the Ultegra 5500 carp reel:



5 new from £179.50
as of 13 June 2024 19:51

If you would like to see more fishing tackle reviews as well as compare prices with various tackle shops then you can do so here.

Additional Experts & Resources Used In This Review

Here is a list of resources we have used as part of putting this review together:

Shimano’s Official Specifications –

About Me

About the founder

Hi, I’m James

And I have to make a confession: I am addicted to fishing and have been for over 30 years!

As part of my therapy, I’ve started to write about all things angling.

Learn more about me and my company on the about page.

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