I’ve always liked Daiwa spin reels in the smaller sizes. Daiwa’s attention to detail on these reels, and their ease of use, has made them permanent fixtures on my light spin sticks.
Their most attractive feature, apart from their faultless performance, is the ABS spool system – a spool design that throws the fewest line loops of all the small threadlines I have ever used.
While the TD-S range was hugely popular amongst breamers, bassers and trouties, stocks of this popular range dried up about 12 months ago so I went looking for the next best thing.
This was when I discovered the Team Daiwa Advantage spin series, and these little gold and black beauties quickly cemented themselves as the reel of choice on my rods. Here’s why.
The TD-Advantage series has just about everything a light line angler could want. They make great use of the ABS spool system (reversed taper that allows line to cast better with fewer tangles), use the ingenious air bail system (a hollow bail arm that’s lighter and stronger than solid wire bail arms), Twist Buster line twist reduction (not so much an issue with braid as it is with monofilament line), have a rock solid infinite anti-reverse and a machined aluminium handle that allows anglers to really use the power these reels can handle.
There are five sizes of Advantage reels but I have only played with and use the smaller models. My favourite is the smallest TD-A1500, which holds about 150m of 2kg line. I use this for all my breaming and associated light line lure fishing. It has caught some ridiculously oversized fish and performed sensationally throughout its eight-month life so far.
I also like the TD-A200, which holds 130m of 3kg. It’s a useful reel for chasing bigger flathead, trevally, small mulloway and even jacks with slightly heavier braid.
The reels come with a spare aluminium spool, which invites anglers to use different line classes. At the moment my 1500 has one spool with 4lb Squidgy Braid and the other with 6lb Fireline.
The first time I used the little 1500 was fishing on the Brunswick River for bream with QFM Director Steve Morgan. Brand new and spooled up in the car on the way down, we were looking forward to seeing how the reel compared with the TD-S reels we had back at home.
After an hour of fishing and with plenty of bream coming on jighead rigged plastics, we had gathered an appreciation of the reel’s casting ability and a sense of how well the drag operated. Smooth out of the box is important these days, with anglers increasingly chasing larger fish on lighter tackle, and smooth is what you get with these Daiwas.
This was tested a little later in the day when Steve Morgan hooked a mulloway around the 5kg mark. On 4lb Fireline and 10lb leader he was in for one hell of a tussle, and while the fish made it under a tree about 50m downstream from the hook-up point and Steve nuded up and was in the drink chasing it, the little reel never faltered and the drag didn’t stick at all. It was safe to say the drag was now well bedded in after the 10-minute battle.
A little later over a rock bar we got stuck into some GTs around the 2kg-3kg mark and the drag was again tested to the limit. Again it held up, but this time the fish were landed after tough and fast tussles.
Since that first day the TD-A has seen action up and down the coast, even taking on Queensland snapper off Peel Island in Moreton Bay, Victorian trout in a little lake in the Dandenong Ranges and some great salmon and tailor along the NSW coastal estuaries.
As good as the TD-A is, I personally have a problem with the handle set-up. Sure, it’s easy to change from left to right hand retrieve if you’re lending your reel to a mate, but the screw-in system can slowly loosen over time and allow a little bit of handle play to come into the system. If you tighten this up again and again, you can over-tighten and damage the whole handle assembly (I haven’t done it yet, but I have done it on other similar reels). I would much rather see the handle screw directly into the body rather than through the main gear. But if that’s my only complaint, the reel must be pretty good.
NSWFM editor Tony Zann also has one of these reels and he rates it extremely highly.
“The crank locking nut loosening, which seems to be a perennial Daiwa problem, is the only real issue I have,” he says. “I bought the reel in April 2004 and it’s probably caught 40 bass to 48cm, a few hundred bream to 38cm, 20-odd jew to 88cm, a couple of hundred lizards to 88cm and a dozen GTs to about 5lb. The only other problem I have had was the bail became a bit sticky six months ago so I just squirted in a few drops of Inox – no problems since.”
Steve Morgan had an issue with the bail roller on his reel. Like all good bail rollers, it began squeaking and grinding after about a month of use. This was fixed simply by removing the roller bearing, cleaning it up and rubbing oil into the bearing with the fingers. This is the sort of preventative maintenance most threadlines should receive and is no real reflection on the quality of the reel. There aren’t too many threadlines that don’t suffer this problem without treatment.
All in all, the Advantage reel is as good as it gets for the price. The recommended retail price for the TD-A1500 sits at around $400 but most tackle stores sell the reel for about $50 less than that, so for around $350 you’ll get a reel that will catch you plenty of fish and become a firm favourite.
|Models||Gear Ratio||Ball Bearings||Weight (g)||Capacity (y/lb)||Price ($)|
[SEE BOOTH FOR CAPTIONS]