I’ll start this blog post off my saying that up until the other day, this Daiwa Ballistic EX 3000 Mag Sealed spinning reel that I have been using for a while now has behaved absolutely impeccably, indeed the only thing that I could find about it that remotely niggled me was that you don’t get a spare spool included with the reel. It’s light, it feels great on the sort of lure rods I am going to go bass fishing with, the line lay is perfect, I like the retrieve speed, indeed everything felt pretty damn good with this sub-£200 Daiwa Ballistic EX spinning reel……..
When our second group of clients arrived out in Kerry the other day, Andy’s Shimano Sustain 4000 was feeling as rough as you like because he had managed to give the reel a proper drowning on the Copper Coast when they stopped off for a few days before heading further west. I said no worries, use this Daiwa Ballistic EX 3000 that Daiwa UK kindly let me have a go with - the reel’s there to be used, it’s working perfectly and it’s loaded up with the ridiculously good 20lb bright green Daiwa J-Braid. I reckon it’s also a really good way to test gear - hand it over to clients to see how they get on with it compared to what I might think of it.
So all’s going swimmingly (a deliberate choice of word here, read on). Andy is liking the reel as much as I have been with my lure fishing at home, and we are having an absolute blast with these guys. In a perfect world we’d love some proper autumn swells to hit the beaches for the bass, but aside from part of one day, for the most part the seas were as flat as you like out in Kerry - we did take the guys down to the beach to give it a go when that bit of swell rolled in, but aside from the one bass they just didn’t seem to be there (too much bait around?). These guys are up for it big time though, and Andy took it upon himself to try and wrestle the mantle of The Human Mermaid away from another bloke I know who might or might not be called Charles……...
I never asked Andy to hold back for one second with the reel, but the fact that this reel is now feeling as rough as hell does raise a number of questions, with number one of course being was it unfair to put a spinning reel through that much direct contact (drowning) with saltwater and expect it to keep on working flawlessly? Let’s be honest here - how many lure anglers are going to do what Andy is doing in these photos? However hard you might try to keep it out of the water, it’s copping some proper, direct saltwater abuse, and to be fair to the tackle company, was it designed for anything like this? The reel was washed down in freshwater and kept on working just fine for Andy for the rest of his trip, but it was not until the guys left and I came to check the reel over the next morning that it became apparent that corrosion had obviously set in somewhere inside and turning the handle gave me that horrible, you know it needs at least some new bearings sort of feeling.
The second question I have to ask is how much protection is this whole Mag Sealed thing meant to afford a spinning reel? Until the reel goes back to Daiwa I won’t know exactly where the rough feeling problem stems from, but it sure as dammit feels very much internal, and unless I am mistaken, on this particular Ballistic EX reel, aren’t those inside bits meant to be pretty well protected against water getting in via the Mag Sealed technology? Or as per the fishing that Andy put the reel through, is that simply me expecting too much and being very unrealistic? I am perfectly open to the reel feeling as rough as hell being angler error completely (and I am talking about me here, because I never asked him not to use it as he did), but a part of me also must wonder if a spinning reel that was so damn lovely to fish with should now feel so rough after what was not a long session in all that turbulent water?
I understand completely why the US striped bass anglers who fish big seas and/or swim to rocks etc. need to use sealed spinning reels like those Van Staal lumps, and when bass anglers tell me that so and so reel has lasted for years and is as smooth as you like still, I can’t help but wonder firstly how much they are actually going fishing, and how hard they are actually then pushing their gear. Same with waders. A salmon angler says his Simms have lasted 10+ years and what on earth am I doing wrong with mine that they can’t even make one year, but then it comes out that this salmon angler is standing in freshwater for a couple of weeks a year at best. Some kinds of fishing by their nature are relentlessly tough on gear - sometimes it’s the insane fish that can do the damage (GTs etc.), and sometimes it’s more the elements. Our bass fishing for example, well we love these fish with a passion, but they ain’t putting our rods and reels under that much strain with the actual fights.
If Andy hadn’t fished that brief session in the bit of surf that did actually turn up then I’d be back at home fishing with the same reel and no doubt loving it as much as I was. But he did, and the reel’s a bit knackered and needs to go back to Daiwa, and whilst it’s not my reel anyway, if you had bought it there is of course a warranty that I believe would cover this damage. There’s a high chance you’re never going to lure fishing like these photos anyway and you could buy the reel and love fishing with it because it’s just stunning, but for me it’s a case of now wondering if something so damn simple to take apart and fully wash down and oil like that slightly more “agricultural” Penn Clash 3000 is indeed the way to go if you’re going to get right in amongst it like Andy did. Food for thought……..