A series of weekly videos showcasing “Daiwa’s Project T” baitcaster on YouTube finally culminated in the launch of the new Daiwa Tatula baitcasting reel at the 2013 ICAST show in Las Vegas. According to Daiwa, the design concept for Tatula was based on developing a reel that’s smooth, tough and yet durable.
How tough and how powerful is it? Here’s what the Daiwa Tatula offers:
Newly-designed flip-up T-Wing system
Compact aluminium frame and sideplate (at gear side)
Tough, corrosion resistant clutch system
Magforce-Z cast control system
8 Bearing system (7BB+1RB)
UTD – Ultimate Tournament Drag dishing out 6kg of drag pressure
A larger gear than the TD Zillion
90mm lightweight skeletal swept handle for greater winding stability and power
Oversized power knobs for firmer grip and control
34mm diameter spool at 27mm width for greater line capacity
The Daiwa Tatula comes in two variants – the Tatula 100 and Tatula 100 Type-R. Apart from all the standard features listed above, the Tatula Type-R features:
A super lightweight 7075 aluminium spool
Helical cut-themed ported frame
Zaion material drag star
Type-R special cosmetics
Weighs 215 grams (compared to Tatula 100 which weighs 225 grams)
Available in a super fast 8.1:1 gear ratio, winding in 86cm of line per turn
The 8 bearing system includes 2 corrosion resistant bearings (2CRBB + 5BB + 1RB)
Tatula 100 Type-R (left) and the Tatula 100 (right).
The highlight of both Tatula baitcasters will have to be the newly designed flip-up T-Wing System (TWS). Prior to the Tatula’s debut, Daiwa first featured it’s TWS in the T3 family of baitcasters. Traditional levelwind designs somewhat inhibit a reel’s optimal casting performance as line is funnelled through a very narrow opening. With the T-Wing design, line is able to exit the reel completely unimpeded through a much larger opening.
The TWS found on the Tatula is an evolved version, which actually pivots back and forth between the cast and retrieve position when the thumb bar is engaged or disengaged. This is a departure from the T3 platform’s ‘flip-up front plate’ design, as the Tatula’s frame stays intact throughout.
Pressing down the thumb bar flips the TWS line guide forward, revealing the wider section of the T-Wing which allows unimpeded line flow during casting.
Re-engaging the reel handle flips the T-Wing upwards to reveal the narrow part of the T-Wing which functions as the line guide during line retrieval.
Frontal view of the Tatula 100P (gear ratio of 5.4:1).
The new Tatula baitcasters have a wider spool compared to its peers of its size. Besides offering a larger line capacity, the wider spool works together with the T-Wing line guide to allow line to move more freely as it unwinds from the spool.
Back view of the Tatula 100.
The drag star on the Tatula 100 is made of plastic.
The Daiwa Tatula 100 comes in both left and right hand retrieve in 3 gear ratios, each distinguished by the colour of the cast control dials –
Black – Tatula 100P (5.4:1), Gold – Tatula 100H (6.3:1) and Red – Tatula 100HS (7.3:1).
The Daiwa Tatula 100 Type-R sports a more sleek, race car-like look. Easily distinguished at first glance by the metallic red cast control knob, spool and “Type-R” stamp on the top of the frame.
Oh, and did you notice the Helical cut-themed ported frame?
A closer view of the A7075 aluminium spool.
It’s worth mentioning that despite the slightly wider spool, the overall size of the Tatula is actually very close to that of the Zillion.
Oversized paddle knobs, which Daiwa calls the “I-Shape” knob, etched with Daiwa’s “D” logo.
To differentiate from the Tatula 100, the Tatula Type-R features a Zaion drag star.
The Tatula Type R comes in left and right hand retrieves and in 2 gear ratios, each distinguished by the colour of the cast control dials –
Gold – Tatula R100H (6.3:1) and Red – Tatula R100XS (8.1:1).
Sits comfortably in one’s palm.
Relatively low-profile body with a good fit when palmed.
The unveiling of the new Shimano Metanium 2013 at the Osaka Show early this year got many wondering if this baitcaster sitting one notch below Shimano’s flagship Antares performs as good as it looks. The new Metanium features several key technologies found on the new Antares such as the SVS Infinity cast control system that allows micro adjustments to the brake settings and Micro Module gearing, which adopts the use of smaller teeth on the pinion and main gears to reduce gear vibration, resulting in smoother gear meshing when engaged.
The new Metanium is available in 3 different retrieve ratios – 6.2:1, 7.4:1 and 8.5:1 and available in left and right retrieve. The 6.2:1 gear ratio model pulls in 66 centimetres of line per crank and is suitable for all-round applications including spinnerbait, small crankbaits and jerkbaits. The HG model with a ratio of 7.4:1 pulls in 79 centimetres of line per crank and is suitable for vibes, soft plastics and minnows while the XG model with the blazing 8.5:1 ratio winds in 91 centimetres of line – great for situations when you need that extra speed.
The new Metanium weighs only 170 grams, achieved by adopting a combination of magnesium and Shimano’s Ci4 material. A notable feature found on the new Metanium is the inclusion of a 3mm offset swept handle – a first for Shimano baitcasters.
With a reel height of 40mm, the low-profile body sits 3mm lower from it’s predecessor. According to Shimano, the height of the reel is almost comparable to the Aldebaran, making it ergonomically pleasing to palm.
Side profile of the new Shimano Metanium 2013
The new Metanium features Micro Module gearing found on Shimano’s flagship Antares (2012). To ensure gear durability despite the micro gears, the load is distributed over a greater number of teeth compared to the previous generation’s gearing module. Both ends of the pinion gear are also supported by bearings to promote efficient power transfer when cranking, a trademark of Shimano’s X-Ship technology.
Side by side comparison of the conventional gears (left) and the new micro gears (right)
A side view of the new Metanium’s clicking drag star.
Centrifugal brake settings can be easily adjusted from underneath the sideplate via a dial without having to open the sideplate.
If further braking adjustments are necessary, brake blocks on the Metanium’s spool can be adjusted by opening up the sideplate with a push of a switch also located underneath the sideplate.
A closer look at the Metanium’s SVS Infinity centrifugal braking system – similar to that found on the new Antares.
The dial with numerical markings underneath the sideplate shifts a trapezoid-shaped brake column closer or away from brake blocks, allowing minute adjustments for applying the appropriate braking force when casting different lure weights.
Adjusting the external dial extends the brake column towards the brake collars on the spool for braking. The above image shows the column fully extended.
We had our first glimpse of the new Daiwa 2013 Certate at this year’s Osaka Fishing Show in February. After months of waiting, we finally got our hands on a 2500-sized Daiwa 2013 Certate.
The new 2013 Certate 2500 model.
Without looking at the specification or tech data sheet, the new Certate 2013 doesn’t look much different from the 2010 model apart from a more aggressive-looking spool. While the 2010 Certate had a sleek, futuristic-looking spool (‘Robocop’ comes to mind…), the new Certate sports some ‘claw-slash’ patterned porting with the high speed models (e.g. 2004CH, 2506H, 2510PE-H, 3012H) having a darker-toned spool. The body colour of the new Certate is a metallic-grey colour compared to its predecessor which has a dark navy-blue-ish tint.
Cosmetics aside, the new Certate now boasts a mag-sealed line roller in addition to the mag-sealed drive shaft which first appeared in the 2010 Certate. Placing a mag-seal at the line roller makes sense as that’s the next obvious location prone to salt build-up apart from the drive shaft, which leads to roller bearing corrosion.
The new Certate features a newly designed Zaion Air Rotor. Daiwa’s arched rotor design disperses pressure to the entire lower section of the rotor, dramatically decreasing stress and flexing that is normally seen in older rotor designs. According to Daiwa, Zaion material transmits vibration through the reel more efficiently and is lighter than a conventional rotor made from the same material. By hollowing out the rotor system Daiwa has created a lighter component with more surface area. This increases strength and better transmits vibration, allowing greater sensitivity. The hollowed out design also serves to enable better airflow through the entire rotor system to prevent foreign material such as water, salt, sand and dust collecting while eliminating moisture build-up that can cause corrosion issues. The original Air Rotor design is further refined in the new Certate’s Zaion Air Rotor to shed off more weight compared to its predecessor.
The new Certate also now features machined-cut 7075 aluminium Digigear II gearing for tough, durable yet smooth gear meshing. Smooth operation of the new Certate is further enhanced with 10 + 1 bearings vs. the previous generation Certate which has 9+1 bearings.
Mag-sealed to protect the reels internals from dust or corrosive saltwater intrusion, yet eliminating friction and allowing free, unobstructed and smooth rotor movement.
The new 2013 Certate’s line roller is now mag-sealed too.
The Zaion Air Rotor on the new 2013 Certate.
Side view profile.
The Air Rotor design facilitates better airflow through the entire rotor system compared to conventional rotor designs.
The engine plate also gets a slight facelift from the ’10 Certate.
Probably the most obvious difference is the aggressive styling on the spool.
The 2013 Certate 2500 loaded with Sufix 832 Advanced Superline 10lb and paired with
Storm Gomoku Erito PE0.8-1.5 for light jigging. The fish are in trouble!
Fred Goh displays a Spanish Mackerel subdued with the new 2013 Certate.
Hot on the heels of last year’s Daiwa’s T3 Air is Shimano’s latest lightweight, ultra-finesse baitcaster – the Aldebaran BFS XG.
Until the debut of the recently announced Shimano Metanium 2013 XG, the Aldebaran BFS XG (Bait Finesse System) was touted as Shimano’s fastest baitcaster with the highest gear ratio of 8.0:1, cranking in 80cm of line per turn! Pretty impressive for a lightweight reel of this size. But speed is not the only thing this little reel boasts of.
Apart from the dusky grey black finish, the most obvious difference between the Aldebaran BFS XG from the previous generation Aldebaran is a newly-designed profile which Shimano calls the ‘Corefit Body’. The palming side of the reel is significantly slimmer to give better comfort when palming. Although not immediately obvious, the cast control knob which traditionally sits under the handle, has been moved to the palming side. With this new compact design, the handle is now 8.5mm closer to the reel body for greater balance.
As an ultra-finesse reel, the business end of the Aldebaran BFS XG is the new low-inertia, magnesium BFS spool which weighs a mere 11 grams. Casting and pitching lightweight lures as light as 3 grams with a low trajectory can be done with ease when matched appropriately with the right rod. Disengaging the sideplate reveals 8 brake collars instead of the usual 6 found in most Shimano baitcasters, allowing the angler to fine-tune braking controls in various finesse presentations.
Another notable feature of the Aldebaran BFS XG is the new 6-spoke drag star, which allows easier access and reach when adjusting the drag tension while engaging the handle. The additional spokes also facilitate one-hand fishing situations.
The Aldebaran BFS XG is available in left and right hand models.
The introduction of Daiwa’s T3 platform last year saw a revolutionary breakthrough in line control for baitcasting reels. Daiwa’s main objective for the T3 platform is to have a levelwind system that enables free and unimpeded line flow when casting, which theoretically, equates to greater casting distances and performance. Featuring innovations such as Daiwa’s T-Wing system, Magforce 3D and Zaion construction, the T3 quickly became the icon of Daiwa’s relentless pursuit to develop the ultimate lightweight baitcasting reel.
Riding on the T3’s successful platform is this year’s much anticipated, ultra-finesse Daiwa T3 Air. Co-developed with K.T.F., the super-tuned T3 Air is targeted exclusively at finesse anglers wishing for a lightweight reel that can allow them to pitch and make long distance casts effortlessly with lures as light as 3 to 5g. The T3 Air meets the criteria through several key features:
T-WING SYSTEM As seen in the T3 and Ballistic, Daiwa’s T-Wing line guide is a big departure from conventional levelwind designs found on most baitcasters. Traditional levelwind designs somewhat inhibit a reel’s optimal casting performance as line is funnelled through a very narrow opening. Improvements over the years have mostly been in the adoption of newer materials to minimize friction or optimizing the angle of line entry. With the T-Wing design, line is able to exit the reel completely unimpeded through a much larger opening on the upper part of the levelwind.
When the reel is disengaged for casting, the hood of the reel is lifted up, allowing line to move freely through the enlarged section of the levelwind. Re-engaging the reel flips the hood down, leading the line into the narrower section, which then functions as a conventional levelwind. According to Daiwa’s statistics, the T-Wing design actually improves casting distance by 5.3%.
MAGFORCE 3D Unlike other magnetic cast control systems that rely on the spool inductor spinning into a single, permanent magnetic field, Daiwa’s Magforce 3D enables the inductor to spin into varying magnetic field strengths. Three main braking modes are adjustable from underneath the sideplate:
MAX BRAKE – in this mode the magnets are shifted closest towards the inductor to provide the maximum magnetic field influence to slow the spool’s rotation. Ideal for casting heavier lures.
ALL ROUND –in this mode the inductor enters the magnetic field similar to the previous Daiwa Magforce V and Z systems, providing braking during maximum speed to avoid over-running. As the spool decelerates, the inductor retracts, allowing the spool to spin longer. This mode is suited for general fishing applications.
AIR MODE – The ultimate free spool mode for pitching ultralight lures. Labelled as ‘LONG CAST’ in the T3, the magnets move the furthest distance away from the inductor rotor, limiting the magnetic field and allowing unconstrained spool revolution.
The 3 main braking modes adjustable from underneath the sideplate…
… position the magnet either closer or away from the spool inductor, giving varying magnetic field strengths as the spool rotates
In addition to the three modes the Magforce 3D system can be further fine-tuned with the cast control dial outside the sideplate. With 20 fine-tune increments in 3 modes Magforce 3D offers 60 brake settings, making it possible to cast or pitch in all conditions and situations.
G1 DURALUMIN AIR SPOOL The business end of this finesse pitching and casting reel lies in the G1 Duralumin Air Spool. The heavily ported, ultralight spool weighs a mere 6.9g (5.6g excluding bearings and inductor) and is made of aircraft-grade ultra duralumin material which is 1.3 times stronger than standard duralumin spools.
HYBRID HYPER GEAR Combining aluminium with C6191 brass on the outer rim of the main gear results in a lightweight yet durable gear that is 53% lighter than conventional brass gears. The C6191 brass is also the same material used in Daiwa’s Saltiga Hyper Digigear.
ZAION DRAG STAR AND PADDLE KNOB The T3 Air’s drag star and skeletal paddle knobs are made from Daiwa’s Zaion material, a strong yet lightweight high-density carbon resin that can transmit vibration through the reel more efficiently, allowing greater sensitivity in lure fishing applications. Sensitivity is further amplified through direct finger contact with the exposed knob shafts.
MICRO BALL BEARING SYSTEM (MBS) Further weight savings are achieved by utilizing high-precision, micro ball bearings with an outer diameter of only 6mm compared to the standard 10mm bearings in conventional baitcasters.
The Daiwa T3 Air reel is truly a super-tuned reel designed exclusively for ultra finesse fishing. As long as the fishing application is centred around its designed purpose, the reel will provide endless finesse fishing fun never before possible in baitcast history.
Line Cap. (lb/m)
The T3 Air is an ultra-finesse reel meant only for freshwater use.
PE, fused or braided line is not recommended as it can cause spool deformation.
Do not attempt to free a snagged lure by pulling at it directly with the reel as this can damage the spool.
Do not wind in line onto the spool with tension greater than 500g. Elastic compression memory of fluorocarbon or mono lines can cause deformation of the spool.
Do not load more than 50m of 8lb line as this can cause deformation of the spool. Ideally, no more than 30m of line from 6-12lb rating should be loaded onto the spool.
Usage limits: Ideally lures should not exceed 15g in weight and lines should not exceed 16lb rating.
Given its large 36mm diameter spool, there aren’t many baitcasting reels in the market that can quite measure up to the compactness of the Daiwa Zillion. For this reason alone, the Zillion has been around for the last six years, having undergone periodical facelifts. It is a known fact, however, that even well-regarded Zillions, such as the Type-R with its 19g spool, are more suited for presenting medium to heavy lures weighing 10g or more. Granted, there is an optional I’ZE factory HLC spool that weighs 13g, but the price is rather dear at around SGD150. No doubt the optional spool does improve the overall casting performance but somehow it didn’t quite wow Zillion fans for one reason or another. Daiwa Japan must have been having their ears on the ground as they recently released three versions of the limited edition Zillion J-Dream baitcaster that comes in 5.3, 6.3 and 7.9 gear ratios. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a 7.9 version.
First Look Held in the hand, the lightness of this robust reel caught me by surprise. Other visible differences are the new 100mm skeletal swept handle and the classy, red machined-decorative aluminum ring just below the large drag star. Also noticeable is the cleverly positioned red marking on the cast control knob, which is rather useful to mark your preferred setting. Like the preceding high-end Zillions, the new J-Dream has adjustable clickers on the drag star and cast control knob. In place of the Type R’s helical-cut theme ported frame are two slats on the right of the frame, which somehow, alongside the gunmetal finishing of the reel and skeletal swept handle, gives it a cool, futuristic look.
The proven Magforce Z is still standard on this latest Zillion. The drag pressure on the copy we had maxed out at 5kg as specified, which is good enough for most fishing conditions. The paddle knobs are similar to the ones found on the higher-end Daiwa baitcasters, such as the Pixy 68SPR and Ryoga 1016, which give a nice, silky touch. Engaging the handle, the gears feel smooth, solid and responsive with no back play, as expected of a Zillion.
The reel weighs only 215g – a whopping 25g lighter than the Zillion Type-R. Most of the weight savings come from three main areas; a newly designed, ultra-lightweight duralumin spool, a lightweight skeletal swept handle and a drive shaft that is made of lighter material which is visibly shorter than the previous model. The effect of this shorter drive shaft can be seen from the flushed handle nut as compared to previous Zillions.
Drive shaft of the Daiwa J-Dream
Drive shaft of the Daiwa Type-R
At 7.9:1 ratio, this has to be the fastest and most ‘palmable’ baitcasting reel manufactured in terms of retrieval speed at the time of writing. Amazingly, despite the 7.9:1 gear ratio, the reel feels as smooth as the velvety Zillion Type-R. But above all, the most interesting feature is the new deeper and narrower spool, which weighs approximately 11g (excluding the inductor). A point worth noting is that this new spool has the same line capacity as the older Zillions. Could this possibly be the ultimate Zillion that narrows the gap against Daiwa’s flagship Steez? I begin to fantasize pitching light lures into fishy looking overhangs with the J-Dream.
Casting Performance I loaded the Zillion J-Dream with 30lb Sufix 832 braid and paired it to the fast-action, 6’3” 8-14lb Rapala Predator. The entire setup felt significantly lighter compared to a similar Zillion Type-R combo given the 25g weight reduction. Based on past experience, I never really enjoyed underhand casting and pitching light lures with Zillions fitted with the HLC spool; something seems to be missing when comparing them against the venerable Steez. To my surprise, though not quite yet within Steez’s casting territory, this Zillion totally blew me away with its performance. Not only was the J-Dream able to cast light lures down to 7g effectively, it also enabled a speedy and flat trajectory, sending lures into low-hanging tight cover with ease. In open water, the J-Dream could even launch lures as light as 5g with an overhead or side arm cast with the outfit. Then again, it is definitely more fun to use finesse reels such as the Pixy and matching rods for such work. After all, we need to justify the purpose of owning different reels, right?
Horses For Courses While the limited edition J-Dream is chiefly targeted at the Largemouth Bass market, it is definitely applicable in a local context. One of the noticeable traits of tropical predators is their occasional love for a fast swimming lure. Not only does the J-Dream 7.9 cast well, its ultra-fast retrieval speed means opening up more possibilities for lure anglers. For example, burning a soft plastic lure along the water’s edge is one of the most effective and spectacular ways of catching Peacock Bass when they are hunting actively around the area. Likewise, saltwater speedsters such as Mackerel and Queenfish can sometimes be extremely finicky and respond only to lures or metal jigs retrieved at breakneck speed. Another advantage of having a reel with a blazing retrieve is the ability to quickly bring in a lure from unproductive zones for a follow-up cast when probing fishy-looking shorelines or in the (unlikely, of course!) event of casting off-target. In such instances, the J-Dream 7.9’s retrieval of 89cm per crank won’t disappoint.
Speed Bump Having said that, the Achilles’ heel of high-speed reels lies in the cranking power, or rather, lack of. For this review, I tested the J-Dream 7.9 with different types of lures, ranging from topwater poppers, down to mid-diving crankbaits, spoons and large spinners. While not quite as powerful as a Zillion Crazy Cranker, the J-Dream 7.9 held itself well even against crankbaits such as the Rapala Risto Rap. But then again, I would rather be using the J-Dream 7.9 for basically everything but heavy resistance lures. After all, we could always justify another purchase of the J-Dream 5.3 for crankbait and large spinner applications.
Wrapping It Up In conclusion, the J-Dream 7.9 is a good candidate if you are in the market for an ‘ultra-hyper’ speed demon for working jerkbaits, surface lures, spoons, jigs and the like, or if you require a reel that’s able to give you flat-trajectory casts via pitching, side or underhand casting when probing the littoral zones of thick tropical rainforests or mangroves. Thanks to the ultra-lightweight duralumin spool, pitching light lures of 7g and up from a Zillion without customization is now a reality. On the flipside, the hefty price tag (between SGD700-800 at time of writing), may not be exactly a crowd puller for an old platform such as the Zillion. Additionally, the new 7.9 gear ratio is uncharted territory for Daiwa; hence the long-term durability of the gears is still unknown at this point. However, for those who can afford it and stick to its intended use, this reel will offer ‘fast actions’ for a long time. After all, the J-Dream 7.9 is the fastest baitcasting reel available in the market as of now.