Daiwa’s New Era of Fly
  |  First Published: May 2011

It’s been some time since I've seen fly tackle come into this country from Daiwa. Don't get me wrong, they do fly gear and they do it well, but it's targeted more for European markets and their home base in Japan.

Daiwa’s New Era (NE) fly reels are indeed that, a new era for this tackle manufacturing juggernaut that will get them back on the fly fishing wagon in no uncertain terms. May I also say that it’s about time too! In this review I'll be pulling apart this reel and kicking out the specs on its internals and externals, including drag system and other inside bits.

From the box

From out of the box the NE feels very solid and, with a quick spin of the spool, it feels very smooth with no forward (retrieving) clicker. Turn the handle against the drag and there's a light, but still quite audible click sound, which is good for line control and excitement when Mr Big jumps on board. Going to the opposite side you'll find the drag knob, which has a click adjustment and is also quite solid. I like the tightness of the drag knob, which makes it harder to accidentally change the setting of the drag. Let’s face it, you don't play with it much when you’re fishing and where the drag is set, is where you want it to stay!

The NE has a self-retaining spool disengage screw cap that’s found in the middle of the handle side. Just over three turns, and the spool is disengaged to be taken off. I found if you try to pull the spool off with the reel in the up/down position, the threaded screw lug would sometimes catch the inside of the first bearing. So, holding the reel with the spool facing down and allowing the spool to fall into your hand will avoid this.

When I said spool before, I should have said spool carriage and spool. This is of course why this reel was invented - the cartridge spools factor! Someone has been doing some serious thinking about this reel.

Once you've got the spool off and to get the cartridge spool away from the carriage, hold the unit so the bearings are looking you in the eyes, and with fingers inside the spool use your thumbs to push them apart. Or do what I did – grab them and pull apart... then smash your hand against the other chair next to you like an idiot!

These spools are identical left and right so it doesn't matter how you put them back on...unless you've got line on them! If you don't get this right, you’re not only a twit but you'll be giving the fish line when you should be winding it in! I can see some serious practical jokes coming up.

The tricky little thing you must note when you’re putting the spool back on is the two stainless screw heads sticking out from the carriage. It’s these that you need to line up with the venting holes in the spool. Or not, like I did and when you put it back together it sounds and feels like you've dropped a con rod into the block. I think it goes something like this, “Don't be so grabby and hasty Royter. Look with your eyes not with your hands”. So anyway, that’s not only how the spool goes on, but it’s how it doesn't spin under load! Very clever.

They have doubled the use of these screws, as they are also the screws that hold the handle and counterweight on. There are also three spring loaded retainer balls that help to keep the spool from just falling off whenever you are trying to take the spool off. Very sexy indeed!

The spool carriage houses two drive bearing and the anti-reverse bearings. Only time will tell what the water intrusion rate is in these parts, and whether the bearings are up to pace of the saltwater environment that most people will use them in. This is also where you change from left to right hand drive. A knurled screw cap holds the anti-reverse bearing in place. To switch from left to right hand wind, you simply unscrew the cap, look at which end of the bearing is facing you, lightly tap on a bench until the bearing is out and turn it around to place it back in.

Other info about the spool assembly and cartridges include that the handle is made from nylon and is removable for maintenance and service, and the carriage frame weighs 70g. One spool cartridge weighs 41g.

The frame, drag and main shaft come as one unit, which includes a screwed on reel foot with weight reduction holes. This cageless design means easy ‘in and out’ with full spools of line, and quick no-tangle exchanging. There's actually not much to this frame at all, but it’s surprisingly strong. It weighs 84g, which is excellent for a reel of this size. That gives us a total 196g for the completely engaged reel with one spool.

The use of 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminium frame, spools, spool carriage, drag and spool release knobs, bearing cover, reel foot and drag sleeve give the reel superb rigidity, corrosion resistance and weight savings.

The drag consists of three main parts: Drag plate sleeve, carbon disc and a three point pressure plate. The drag in the NE is dry. Carbon drags more often than not are. This will keep maintenance at the minimal end of the stick. You could grease it, however it’s yet to be seen if it serves any purpose in this reel. The drag is smooth and without start-up inertia and lock-up is at around 2kg.

The spools on these reels are big! The dimensions are inside diameter 65mm x outside diameter 95mm x width 25mm. So this gives you (on the 78) a retrieve rate of around 30cm per crank – now that’s quick for a fly reel!

As a whole, this reel looks the part. Justin Duggan from Sydney Fly Fishing works harder on the water than anyone I know so if he's going to rate them – you’d better sit up and take notes!

Justin said “These reel are great.

“You can change lines in a snap, literally! And, also most importantly, I can change from left to right in under a minute without having to completely de-spool. This is such a great feature for me, being that I have so many people on board my boat every week, and you can bet your last dollar they'll want to retrieve the opposite way I’ve got my conventional fly reels set up! The drags are silky smooth and strong enough to knock over a good sized king. The weight of the reels makes them a breeze for my customers to cast. For the money I think these are gold! The only other way to do it is spend over twice as much getting extra spools,” finished Justin.

So there you have it. Daiwa’s New Era fly reels, looks to be a benchmark in multi-spooled fly reel technology.

Check it out at your nearest tackle store for around $450 or log onto www.daiwafishing.com.au to find out more information on this fantastic fly fishing reel.

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