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Rod Review

Taking "technique specific" to the next level with the titanium tipped Team Daiwa Cielo rod

Date: 6/16/06
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.66 + INNOVATION AWARD!

Drop shot fishermen, this one is for you. Daiwa takes the idea of the technique specific rod to a new height with the innovative titanium tipped TD Cielo rods. These specialty bass rods are designed for the hard core drop shot angler, and make use of a combination of graphite and titanium to achieve a matchless presentation of baits and enhanced sensitivity.

Daiwa Cielo (TDCEL6101DSS) Specifications

Material SVF Graphite
Length 6' 10"
Rod Weight 4.7oz
Line Weight 4-10lb
Lure Weight 1/16-3/8oz
Guides 8 Fuji SiC plus the tip
Action Extra Extra Fast
Power Medium-Light
Color Flip-Flop Paint finish
Origin Made in Thailand
MSRP $299.95

Impressions: When I first saw the TD Cielo rods at ICAST 2005 I was caught off guard completely. Daiwa has always been known for innovation, and their reels and rods cater to the angler looking for something exclusive from their fishing tackle. With that said, the Cielo is quite unlike any rod I have ever fished before. There have been many inventive graphite based rods, and even some titanium blank based rods, but the Cielo makes use of both materials within a single rod.


Introducing the uniquely styled new Team Daiwa Cielo drop shot rod

Daiwa engineers wanted to create a rod just for anglers that were looking for more out of their drop shot sticks. More sensitivity, quality presentation, and better ergonomics. When they finally scribbled out their ideas the Cielo emerged. A rod with the attributes they were seeking would have to be sensitive yet powerful, and present lures realistically with just the slightest movement of the wrist. They concluded that this simply was not achievable with just one traditional blank material alone.


The rod features a clicking metal reel clamp!


The main Cielo blank makes use of SVF (Super High Volume fiber) graphite for light weight and sensitivity. The tip is dubbed STT (Super Titanium Tip) and is only available on the two drop shot models in the Cielo series. The only real difference between the two models is 7 inches in length. The actions, ratings, and materials are all the same. My first impressions of this rod was one of awe. The finishing on the rod is downright "ito-ish" with a combination of colors all intermixed into the blank and reel seat. The colors vary from a deep purple to a dark green, and photographs really don't do it justice. Under different lighting the rod shows off its unique character. Daiwa has fondly named this the "flip-flop" paint finish. The main graphite blank above the lower section is gloss coated for durability, and does not share this same finish. Instead anglers can set eyes on the dense graphite weave beneath the clear coat. It soon became obvious to me that this was no normal drop shot rod... and it even showed signs of being a possible enthusiast offering.


Complete Test Rig for Daiwa Cielo (TDCEL6101DSS)

Rod Daiwa Cielo
Reel(s) Daiwa Capricorn CA200A
Line 4lb P-Line Fluorocarbon
6lb P-Line Fluorocarbon


Real World Test: Drop shotting has proven to be a very effective technique, one that takes minutes to understand and seasons to master. It seems like no matter how well the technique works on one particular day you have to fine tune your rig each and every time. The clearer the water, the more challenging. One thing is for certain, and that is a proper action can mean the difference between a crowded livewell or simply a tired wrist and no fish to show for.


The blank is labeled with the trademark Super Titanium Tip

Testing this rod turned out to be quite unlike many of the recent rods we have reviewed. After a few attempts we decided not to test the rod on our RoD "WRACK" simply because the results were so skewed by the distinctive titanium tip. It became obvious that there were no rods in our lab to benchmark the TD Cielo side by side with. So with rod in hand I proceeded to the field test portion of our assessment and spent the next three months drop shotting with this multi-colored rod targeting largemouth bass.

The rod seems to yearn for a higher end reel than our test Capricorn...a Certate perhaps?

Casting: The first thing I did was pair the rod with my Daiwa Capricorn. To be honest the reel just didn't seem to match the rod, and it cried out for a Fuego or Cerate spinning reel. Nonetheless I went ahead and paired the Capricorn on the rod and as I mounted the reel I was greeted with my first surprise. As I rotated the locking clamp on the back of the reel seat I was greeted with a sweet sounding "click, click." That's right, the Cielo has a clicking reel seat clamp! This is unheard of on a domestic rod, and even rare to find on many enthusiast imports. The seat functioned perfectly, and I never felt like I was over or under tightening the clamp on my reel. A very nice touch!

Whoa!! look at that tip go! The Titanium Tip loads up where other tips would be breaking

Once I got over admiring the enthusiast grade reel seat it was time to start casting and see if the STT tip would have any effect on casting. Flinging drop shot rigs a serious distance usually isn't a priority, but I wanted to see just how well this rod would cast anyways. Paired up with my usual 1/2oz plug I began to cast off the dock. Surprisingly the plug cast in a rather peculiar arc when I cast hard. If I casted softly I could easily control the trajectory, but if I whipped it like a normal all graphite based rod I found that the tip would actually go into overdrive and provide a final whip to my plug. After adjusting my casting release a bit earlier I was able to compensate. Interestingly when I finally put on a drop shot rig I began to understand exactly what the Daiwa engineers had hoped to achieve in terms of casting. By simply flicking the rod either way I could use the tip to catapult the lightweight rig accurately over short distances. So while the rod may take some getting used to for fishing other baits it absolutely excels at pitching drop shot rigs.

A closer look at the neatly styled exclusive custom designed tournament reel seat

Retrieve: At first fishing the Cielo is somewhat eerie, as the tip arcs in a nimble bend that would signal the breaking point for most rod tips.  Even with a light drop shot weight and Roboworm the minute I moved my wrist the ultra flexible rod tip would come to life. In a up and down rebounding motion I quickly learned to reduce by wrist action to just a twitch.... that's all it took to bring life to lures. 

As if there was any doubt this was a "Team Daiwa" offering

During the first half an hour of testing I was blessed with my first strike. Tick, tick, I could feel everything on the end of the line, but when I went to load the rod with my normal subtle lift-up set I found myself having to move the rod further than normal to detect a solid hookset. The tip actually takes a lot of the slack which means you must lift just a bit faster and higher than with most rods to secure a hookset, but because the tip loads slower but still keeps pressure on fish it is less likely that fish will shake the hook in the first few seconds. Once I had loaded up what ensued was a serious battle. The bass must be a lunker I thought to myself as I coaxed it up the water column, all the while the titanium tip danced back and forth as the fish turned. When I finally brought it to the surface and lipped it JIP was ready with the camera. What ensued was the lipping of a embarrassingly dink-like fish, and a lot of clowning from the other TT editors. All I can say is this is one heck of a sensitive rod, and anglers that fish it are going to relish each and every fight like there is a trophy on the line.

Zander laughs after lipping what he thought was a decent fish. Yes, this is one very sensitive and unique fighting rod


Next Section: Just how sensitive is the Cielo & Ratings









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