Many experienced fishers, and lure casters, have felt for some time that spinning reels have lacked the special feel of a good quality, precision made baitcasting reel. The durability of average and high price eggbeaters were an obstacle for many customers who want their tackle to last. Their susceptibility to corrosion, line management problems and parts failures were amongst the most common complaints.
However, there were times when a spinning reel was the optimal choice like high speed spinning for pelagics. A high ratio overhead reel does not have theversatility of a top quality eggbeater when schools of tuna are popping up everywhere and snap casts need to be made.
The downside of using these large spinning reels was that after a couple of sessions of heavy use problems began arising in the handle and an the bail return. These faults got worse over time, and while it’s common to see 5-year-old baitcasting reels still going strong, the numbers of spin reels of that vintage was clear by their absence.
The widespread acceptance of braided lines by recreational fishers created engineering problems with all reel types but the eggbeaters seemed to come off much worse. In my own business, a top quality reel that we had been able to use for 2 to 3 seasons with mono line suddenly started having major problems, particularly with the anti-reverse mechanism, when the nylon was replaced by braid, sometimes within a couple of months of use!
The developmental problems involved in building new generation spinning reels to suit a braid-dominated urbane market led by the tournament and high end sportfishing sectors, has led major tackle companies to produce spinning reels as mechanically precise as their top shelf baitcasters. Over the past 5 years, and particularly since 2004, Australia has seen quality spinning reels arrive at the tackle shop.
Two of my favourite techniques, casting/jigging metal lures and working soft plastics, produce optimum results when the rod is matched to an eggbeater type reel. The market now has the most exciting range of reels of this type ever assembled. So it was no surprise that I re-equipped with some high end hardware in 2005.
In terms of ongoing development, a comprehensive product range, and overall quality combined with versatility and practicality, it’s hard to go past the Daiwa range of reels. The high 7end range offers smooth reels and great drag performance for those of us who, in the past, have been constantly plagued by drag washer meltdown.
When clients can sometimes hook over 100 fish per boat averaging 6-15kg in a single day spinning reels have a propensity for self destructing in short order. The next client I see trying with all their might to turn a handle against a red-lined drag while the fish is still heading for the horizon at 100 miles an hour, will definitely not be the last, but, maybe the number of times the gears collapse under such strain will be a bit less.
On the charter side, the Daiwa Capricorn 4500J has proved to be a faultless performer in the everyday offshore environment, handling species like longtail tuna, various trevallies, Spanish mackerel, cobia, fingermark, coral trout, estuary cod and some big sharks without even a minor breakdown. I’m loath to label them as ‘break proof’, as I don’t think there’s a reel around that is totally unbreakable, but they’ve handled everything dished out to them in the past 6 months with flying colours.
The silky smooth drag handled even the hottest of runners with the oversized handle providing a superb contact point for angler/reel. I wrestled a huge mako going close to 35kg to the boat after a massive first run. A number of clients liked the Capricorn so much they bought one as soon as they returned home.
However, blooding the reel that I’d put aside for my personal use had to wait until the end of the charter season, provided the weather stayed quiet. My ‘toy’ was a Daiwa Caldia Kix 4000, one of the new performers released at this year’s Gold Coast Tackle Show.
Set up on a Daiwa Procaster Z601HFS IM8 graphite rod, the reel is perfectly balanced and is an absolute delight to use. I’ve used it mainly to fish plastics on light jig heads in up to 20m of water, a task for which it is perfectly suited.
The outfit was blooded by a 12kg brassy trevally, a fish that proved at least as stubborn as his predecessors. Landing that fish was made much easier courtesy of the smoothness of the cranked up drag and the Digigear drive train.
The next notable capture happened on an offshore reef and turned out to be one that I had been anticipating for some time. A 30-40m run down deep had the braid sizzling over the guides as soon as the fish felt the 5/0 TT jig hook fitted with a Saltwater Assassin tail lodge in its jaw.
The surge down deep followed by a dogged head-shaking fight had me hoping that this was the species I suspected. When 12kg of beautiful black jewfish hit the net, my hopes were confirmed.
While holding the jewie for the photos, it was pleasing to reflect on how smoothly the fight had progressed due to the seemingly effortless performance of my new outfit. You need to be confident that your gear will be able to be fished hard when reef dwellers like jewfish and fingermark are the likely customers and the power of this seemingly ‘undergunned’ rod and reel combination was certainly an eye opener.
The new crop of top line spinning reels has opened a whole new door for those fishers who like their gear to be the very best. The prospects are exciting and pretty much unlimited so if you haven’t had a good look at what’s available, you’re definitely missing out.
One of those species that even gets a pro guide like Dave excited. 12kg of beautiful black jew taken on a small plastic and new Kix reel/Procaster rod.
Charter client, Darren Ryan from Sydney, looks pleased with this big trevally caught on one of Dave’s Daiwa Capricorn 4500J reels.Reads: 1985