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Team Daiwa Z Boat Rod & Daiwa Saltist Lever Drag Review

Posted by Dan Sissons On December - 17 - 2010

Daiwa Saltist Lever Drag ReelAs far as I can tell there are only two reasons you won't buy the new Team Daiwa Z boat rod and Daiwa Saltist LD20H lever drag reel. The first reason is they're a bit pricey and its true, with a retail price of £225 for the rod and £315 for the reel the money could be better spent on paying almost a whole months gas bill(!). Secondly, you think that you already have all bases covered in the boat rod department - but you are wrong, I'll explain why.

When I saw the new Saltist lever drag reels I promised myself one. I didn't need to see all the technical guff or speak to anyone who had used one to know it was a bit special. One of the great things about the internet is that we can now see what tackle the rest of the civilised world uses and with its over-sized handle and gear case it could be straight out of a Japanese fishing tackle website and therefore soon to be straight into Danny's tackle bag! The rod, I'm pleased to say was a touch more of an informed purchase, I had a vacancy for a 12lb class rod and no matter what else I looked at I couldn't get past the TDZ (TDZB12) even if my wallet begged me to try.

Team Daiwa Z Boat Rod ActionTeam Daiwa Z Boat Rod

So one season in, how happy am I? Very.

I've used them all through the year; in fact it's the first rod in the boat. It's such a comfortable outfit to fish with, the rod and reel balance each other perfectly. As it's braid specific the TDZ is very forgiving, it's not in a hurry and encourages you to play a fish properly. Even hard running Tope and Smoothhound don't get the rod upset, yet it's sensitive enough to pick out shy Plaice bites while drifting. I found it happily fishes up to 12oz of lead. I've used more but it numbs the feeling a bit, especially when drifting. The blank itself looks a bit clumsy but it feels right. If I was splitting hairs I'd prefer it to be slimmer in profile but that's a personal thing. Its finish is as the price would suggest - very good - the Fuji SIC guides are braid friendly and the EVA grips are super comfortable. It all just works.

Ultimate Daiwa SetupThe new Daiwa Saltist Lever Drag multiplier is a lovely little reel, it's light enough to hold all day yet full of enough stainless steel goodness to handle most things I'll ever catch. It's a very similar reel in concept to my Avet SX, but it feels smoother and better engineered; and dare I say it looks better. I can say this as a fan of the Avet reels. I loaded my single-speed Saltist 20 with 50lb Daiwa Accudepth braid and it works well - if anyone from Daiwa is reading this, show some pictures of the Saltist loaded with the multi-coloured braid - you'll sell more, it's pretty as a picture! The lever drag of course is what the Saltist is judged on. It's all well and good looking the part but it needs to perform and it does, comfortably. After initially setting the drag when the reel came out of the box I've never played with it, more importantly I'm not having to fiddle with it when playing a fish, it gives you confidence to let the rod do the work. The ratchet is also strong enough to leave the reel in free spool and not pay out yards of line every time the boat rolls in a wave. You might not think this matters too much but when we have four or five rods fishing at once the last thing we want is loads of extra line being released into the tide. There is also an option of a 2-speed model - this could come into its own when slow retrieve fishing with shads or soft baits for Pollack, etc and looks lovely with its blue, shiny bits. Both the two speed and the single speed share a one-piece, aluminium frame and side plate along with a machine cut, aluminium spool. My only negative point is that for its price, I'd like to see a reel cover or protector thrown in. You get the stainless rod clamp that will probably never be used, but nothing to protect the reel. Yes, a friendly tackle shop man may throw you in a reel bag but when buying a top end reel I think a branded reel bag would have been a nice touch.

Cod Fishing with Daiwa Combo

I said earlier that I'd try to convince you to find a home for both the rod and reel amongst your tackle, even if you don't need one. I've got boat rods of 4lb, 6lb, 20lb, 30lb, etc, etc - you see where this is going. I too thought I had all I needed, but I was wrong. The TDZ rod and the Saltist Lever Drag reel are out with me every time I'm fishing. It's such a versatile set-up that it demands to be used. The rod in particular is so well suited to downtide fishing with braid that it suits fishing I never intended it for, and the reel compliments it so well it doesn't see another reel seat!

So if you're in the market for a top end 12lb set-up then consider the Daiwa TDZ boat rod and Saltist Lever Drag reel range - like me you might wonder how you lived without it. The worry is Daiwa also make an 8lb class TDZ but its ok, I dont really need one...

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