Daiwa Ballistic Reel Review
I am hard on gear, and reels seem to suffer the most, the all weather conditions I go out in, the constant salt spray and the constant assault of fish much larger than the intended targets for the reel size tends to make them fail quite quickly. Usually the first thing to go is the bearing on the bail arm which tends to grind as saltwater penetrates deeper, then usually the bail arm spring. I've also had internal parts fail on reels as well(shimano..I'm looking at you...). I don't buy top end reels, the maximum I pay is about $300.00. So out comes Daiwa with a new affordable reel($200-240) with sealed internals, not only that but its high speed which I consider a near necessity for seaway work. To quote the blurb:
The new high speed Ballistic is Daiwa’s second introduced reel that features the unique design to exclude water called “Oil Seal”.Oil Seal is the the solution to saltwater intrusion and corrosion prevention. By placing a new high density cellulose seal impregnated with water resistant oil inside the “capsule body” water and salt intrusion is now a thing of the past. Unlike “o-ring” seals which create friction, Oil Seal not only prevents water intrusion but it also provides smoother revolution to the rotor system and increases sensitivity. Anglers will feel more connected to lures, detect more bites and fight fish with ease. Real design and real technological development for ‘reel sensitivity’.
I bought two daiwa ballistic reels mid last year the 3000(spooled with 10lb braid) and the 4000(spooled with 15lb braid). Since then they have been through alot, I've caught plenty of fish on them in the seaway and on my trip up north, including GT's, queenfish, golden trevally, kingies, spotties and school mackerel, hundreds of mack tuna up to 90cm and lets not forget a couple of big eagle rays which really test gear to the limit. The first thing I noticed was that you cannot fill these reels to within 1mm of the spool edge which I have traditionally done on all my spin reels. Due to the way these reels lay the line you'll get wind knots very frequently if you do that. By backing the line load down about 2mm from the spool edge those problems disappear. The line loading on the 4000 is very good with a level wind from top to bottom. On the 3000 good but not great as it tends to bunch up a bit at the top, but doesn't really cause any problems. The handles are nice and grippy though I still prefer a standard T design rather than a half moon style they have but you get used to it. The reel itself is built strong and doesn't flex under heavy load like some reels do.
The internal workings are very solid and strong, I've had no problems with that in the 9 months or so of use. The drags are good and smooth and have not let me down despite some epic 6 hour sessions on heaps of big tuna and some serious heat coming off the drags. The bail arm bearing is once again the first sign of failure, on my 3000 anyway, the 4000 is still running smooth. The bail arm bearing on the 3000 stopped rolling(no grinding beforehand) but unscrewing it and giving it a spray with some CRC Tackle Guard got it rolling again. The bail arm spring still snaps back the way it should. These reels cast very well, you can probably get about 40 metres on a 7ft rod witha 25 gram slug.
Overall a solid reel from Daiwa, the high speed is great when chasing pelagics and it doesn't feel like you are winding a winch cable when you are on a good fish like some reels can. Just keep an eye on that bail arm roller and give it a squirt with some lubricant if it starts to get sticky. A good reel is one that you forget you are using, that you never have to look at and functions so well it becomes instinctive to use, which these reels accomplish. I would definitely reccomend them over other high speed reels in the same price range and sizes.