Tested and triumphant - The latest from Daiwa

By Matt JonesNZ Fishing World
Tested and triumphant - The latest from Daiwa

Matt Jones spent some quality time with a few of Daiwa’s new spin, bait-caster and jig combos - first in Doubtless Bay and then out on the Hauraki Gulf chasing work-ups with Ultimate Charters. It’s fair to say that this assignment has made us more than a little jealous…

Tatula HD 200HS reel paired with Saltist Hyper BJ66XXHB rod

Don’t let its name or metallic purple finish fool you, the Tatula HD 200HS would give Rhonda Rousey a run for her money.  It proved lethal working a Daiwa Pirate 80g in Cotton Candy which made for plenty of envious looks and friendly rivalry amongst my fellow anglers on board Ultimate Charters.  

Being quick on the drop once again proved the point of difference which was made easy with the high-capacity airplane grade aluminium spool and precise tension control dial.  After all the saying “It’s not the size it’s how you use it” doesn’t apply when it comes to getting an 80g slow-jig down to the hungry snapper feeding hard on the bottom in windy conditions.

The author with a great specimen

With its easy-to-hold nature, 100mm swept crank handle and functional ergonomic layout meant the Tatula HD was a pleasure for a sizeable bloke to hold. A smooth drag and the friction reducing T-wing line guide made for another rousing user-experience. Daiwa’s clever T-wing guide also reduces line angle and when combined with the 20 resistance settings on offer with the Magforce Z casting control, precision casting is on offer to suit any situation.

Tatula’s smooth operation, precise controls and powerful yet ergonomic nature had me hooked, leaving my wife asking a few questions when I got home.


  • Gear Ratio: 6.3 (67cm)
  • Bearings: 7BB, 1RB
  • Weight: 225g
  • Drag: 6kg
  • Line Capacity: 5.4kg/180m, 7.2kg/150m
  • RRP: $429.99

Lexa 300HS-P combined with Saltist Bluewater 66BJB rod

With its 7.1:1 gear ratio and 10kg of drag the Lexa 300HS-P would rival an All Black loosie in terms of speed and strength.  A mighty 220 metres of 40 pound line capacity further cements its no-nonsense nature.

Despite its staunch demeanour the Lexa 300HS-P was also easy-going enough that when handed to a slow-jig first-timer on-board the charter, Kurt enjoyed immediate success with a Daiwa Pirate Madashi Sardine in 60g.  It’s fair to say he’s now a convert.

It was also my first experience with Daiwa’s clicking star drag system and I’m now hooked on its complete ease of use, and confidence-building incremental clicking adjustment that allows precise drag-control to turn around a losing battle.

With 10 available settings on the Magforce cast control dial all casting styles and situations should also be covered.  As with all the Daiwa reels tested ergonomics were very pleasing and switching from thumbing the spool on the drop to cranking the counter balanced power handle on the retrieve was completely harmonious.

With its ergonomically correct anatomy and abundance of grunt the Lexa 300HS-P is smoother than a skipjack, but just as fast and powerful.


  • Gear Ratio: 7.1:1
  • Bearings: 6BB, 1RB
  • Weight: 298g
  • Drag: 10kg
  • Line Capacity: 40lb/220m
  • RRP: $399.99

Saltiga 10h reel matched with Saltist Hyper BJ66XXHB rod

Smoother than James Bond and twice as tough, Daiwa’s new Saltiga 10h definitely thrilled my angling mojo.  

I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with this robust, yet refined jigging reel while out hunting work-ups with Ultimate Charters.  Being a fishing journo with a bunch of shiny new gear, accompanying seasoned fishos in a charter situation, brings with it a fair amount of pressure.  

Luckily my concerns were short-lived.  Before the workups had started the 6’6” Saltist Hyper rod loaded up and line started to peel smoothly off the reel.  Perhaps it was luck, but more likely it was the narrow spool design, easily adjustable spool tension and the smooth drag.  This allowed my slow-jig to get to the bottom quickly and near-vertically with a challenging 15-knot Sou’ Wester blowing.

Both this relieved journo, the ATD drag system and 20 pound JBraid remained calm under pressure and a 6.2kg snapper was soon extracted out of 40 odd metres of water - which proved the benchmark for the trip.  The narrow spool also did a good job of self-laying the line on the retrieve.

The other notable features also played their part like the well positioned clicking alloy star drag which is able to be easily controlled without fear of accidentally overdoing it.  The 6.4:1 gear ratio delivers on its advertised 100cm per wind and the adjustable handle can comfortably accommodate different styles and sizes.  A spool-lock is also on hand to aid in retrieving those expensive snagged jigs.

With its slender design the Saltiga 10h combines form, function and exceptional balance in an ergonomic package. Which, in my opinion, makes the classy 10H easy to get along with and hard to put down.

My only gripe was that when I did go to put the Saltist Hyper X45 rod down it wasn’t very agreeable with any of the rod holders.  This was due to the painted blank section between the foam butt and grip rubbing against the rod holder lip.  Most anglers wrap insulation tape around this section and carry a rag to jam down the rod holder for the trip home.  In terms of balance, power and action however the

Saltist Hyper X45’s performance was impressive.

SALTIGA 10H         

  • Gear Ratio: 6.4 (100cm)
  • Bearings: 8 + 1
  • Weight: 405g
  • Drag: 8kg
  • Line Capacity: PE 1/500m, PE 1.5
  • RRP: $899

Legalis 3000H reel coupled with Saltist Bluewater 66BJS rod

To say the fishing in Doubtless Bay was tough a few weeks back would be an understatement. It was the school holidays, a full moon and I’d finally made good on the promise to take my eight year old son fishing.  With only one pannie in the bin to feed a family of four after a couple of hours on the briny, steak was looking like the main course.  That is until a cast into the wash at Bergan’s Point was met with a solid take and the 6kg of available drag pressure was put to the test.

For an entry level spinning reel the Legalis certainly rose to the occasion and delivered when kelp and foul ground called for prompt action to turn what seemed like a good-sized snapper's head.  A few solid runs and nervous moments later and a 10lb snapper in the net had certainly improved the mood on-board, not to mention saved a trip to the supermarket and embarrassment at the dinner table.

A handy spool capacity meant I could squeeze around 200m of 20lb Jbraid onto the wide, reverse tapered ABS (Advanced Ballistic System) spool, filling it to the brim for good casting performance and maximum versatility.

The new 2015 Legalis range features a few welcome improvements over earlier models.  Most notably a revamped “Hardbodyz” frame design which also benefits from an air rotor system for weight reduction and reduced stress.  What it all adds up to is a smooth, rewarding angling experience.

The Legalis 3000h is proof that you don’t have to spend a small fortune on gear to teach the younger generation how to catch their own dinner and save the day.  In fact, given its look and feel I was pleasantly surprised at the price tag.


  • Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
  • Bearings: 4BB, 1RB
  • Weight: 315g
  • Drag: 6kg
  • Line Capacity: 10lb/185m
  • RRP: From $139.99

Thanks Ultimate Charters

The Daiwa gear featured represents both ends of the price spectrum, but no matter the budget available it all performs on the water.  Judging by the size of the fillets in my fridge it’s fair to say it all performs very well.  I also enjoyed the quiet fulfilment of being the only bloke catching at times the other’s on board weren’t.

When the gannets awoke and the work-ups ignited the Daiwa Pirate Cotton Candy 80g, Pink Ice 100g or a 100g Pink/Blue Saltiga Sacrifice Slow Knuckle also proved a tasty choice; both in terms of sheer fish catching pleasure and what they brought to the dinner table.

Special thanks to Captain Mike “Mayhem” and Ultimate Charters for their expert fish-finding assistance to thoroughly test this gear.


Catch the latest news

Packed full of the latest fishing news and tips on the best spots. Fresh to your inbox every week.

Sign up with email