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By Neil Taylor,

November 15, 2014

In 2012, Daiwa came out with a new series of reels. In the years past, I used Daiwa products and enjoyed the Tierra and Team Daiwa Advantage spinning reels. My choice for reels for my Strike Three Kayak Fishing business was the “Ballistic.” Offered in both a baitcaster and spinning reel option, I am using the spinning reel only. Right down to an aluminum arm for the handle, the entire design minimizes the weight of the reel. With eight bearing in the guts, the reel performs at an excellent speed with adequate line capacity on the spool, loaded with lighter weight braided lines for inshore fishing. Anglers seeking bigger gamefish opportunities can select larger size model reels and move up in line class selections as well.

For 2015 and forward, they have made this change to this reel, a prediction come true by my reel servicing expert: “Ballistic is now magsealed which will enable it to perform in either fresh or saltwater conditions. Ballistic has a Zaion body and side cover to make it lightweight and corrosion-proof. Add a sealed drag, Air Rotor and Digigear drive and you have a very powerful and durable reel.” The Magnetic Oil: Magnetic Oil is one of a new generation of Nano Fluids that can change density and shape when a magnetic field is applied.

Prices may vary but it is probably around a $200 investment.

Background with Daiwa Reels
My experience with Daiwa reels goes back a long ways. My initial attraction after using their product was the durability with heavy exposure to saltwater. The performance of their reels “a given” the likelihood that a Daiwa reel was going to be a lasting piece of equipment was much higher than with other manufacturer products. The company, in business for over 47 years now, continues to keep their product line in the “value” category. It is this dedication to quality products that leads to a loyal customer base.

Ballistic and the “Test of Time”
The reels have been in use almost daily for several years. It was seven months into the very firs period of use that I took a reel off a rod to go in for servicing. My servicing expert, Phil Marz, is an expert on all fishing reels common to the Florida saltwater fishing scene. When my new reels arrive, they go to Phil for inspection before they go into use. Phil determined a long time ago that Daiwa reels come out of the factory with adequate lubrication to be used “right out of the box.”

In action, they are a solid performer. The knob on the handle is a T-shape, easy for the free hand to locate and grip for a retrieve. Perfect for rods of virtually any length, the reel remains smooth and trouble-free during long days of casting and retrieving lures- winding the light braided line smoothly back onto the forged aluminum spool. During battle, the drag systems never fail always performing at the set strength. The gears and bearings have held up to the punishment of heavy, hard-fighting fish on the end of the line. On general durability: The Zaion body material does not corrode and seems to be very resistant to scratching as well. These reels have been used heavily and still look remarkably like they did from Day 1.

Preventative Maintenance and your New Ballistic reel
For the kayak angler, closer to the water than most fishing venues, there is an option that can be seen as “preventative maintenance.” I have Phil take heavy duty grease and seal all holes that go into the body of the reels. These areas are on the main body, under the spool and also at the handle connection. This extra waterproofing prevents any water from entering the reels not only in use on the water but during the process of rinsing a reel after use.

On the subject of care of the reels and “bathing” your equipment after use: A splashed reel is different from a submerged reel. Over the course of a normal fishing day, the reels will get drops of water or light splashes. The maximum I do for this situation is I pour a little bit of water over the top of the reels before they are put away. A “dunked” reel, even with the waterproofing, is a different situation and it is worth opening the reel to see if any water intrusion has occurred. If so, I will relubricate the reel myself or deliver it to Phil at Bay Area Reel Service for extra attention.

As a matter of general maintenance, I keep a can of Silicone spray handy and spray “all moving exterior parts” about once a week.

The Daiwa Ballistic earns a very high rating on product value from extensive use, long useful life and service manager evaluation. Performance “in use” is without failure or deficiency.

Details from Daiwa on the
Ballistic® Spinning
Built for fresh or saltwater, Ballistic spinning reels feature lightweight, corrosion-proof Zaion Carbon construction that rivals Magnesium for strength and rigidity. Add a sealed drag and body, CRBB ball bearings and lightweight Air Rotor–Ballistic is ready to perform.
Ballistic® Spinning Features:
• Magsealed construction
• Lightweight, corrosion-proof Zaion® body and side cover
• 10 Bearing System (1CRBB + 8BB + 1RB)

• Air Rotor for lighter weight and greater sensitivity
(The Air Rotor weighs up to 15% less than ordinary rotor designs. Its unique shape reduces unnecessary weight while distributing stress more evenly throughout the rotor for maximum strength.)
• Air Bail of lightweight, hollow stainless
• Digigear™ digital gear design
• Waterproof drag
• Machine cut aluminum direct screw in handle
• Two ball bearing spool support keeps drag washers in perfect alignment
• ABS aluminum spool

Choosing the right reel
I do not use the 4000 size. But it is a great option for tarpon and king mackerel.
I like the 2000 and 2500 best but the 3000 is a great option as well for the inshore options:
Ballistic 3000: 8/240, 10/200, 12/170
Ballistic 2500: 6/210, 8/170, 10/140
Ballistic 2000: 6/135, 8/110, 10/90

The “new” Ballistic should be a candidate as you choose a new fishing reel. The old Ballistics won me over. The new Ballistic will maintain the durability factor but feel about 30% “smoother” to me. Pick one up and feel how it flows. I can assure you this: Like all the equipment I use, this is an investment and something I would predict you will have only positive experiences. I wish I could say that about more things in the world.

Neil Taylor
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