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Reel Review


The Team Daiwa SOL Radiates Brilliance when finesse fishing light lines with lighter lures
 

Date: 1/11/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 9.0

Introduction: Anglers stateside drooled when the Daiwa Alphas was first released, and it seemed like an eternity before the first SOL's finally landed at the local tackle shops. When anglers first hold a SOL for the the most common response is "Wow! that thing is tiny!" While the SOL is small in size it is designed to deliver surprisingly robust fish catching ability, all in one of the most striking Daiwa designs ever unveiled.
 

Daiwa TD SOL Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 10/105, 12/90
Gear Ratio 5.8:1
Weight 7.4 oz.
Bearings 6BB + 1RB
Additional Features Free floating perforated aluminum spool, Magforce-V, infinite anti reverse, precision machined marine bronze gears & ultra tough super alloy pinion, low profile, seven disc composite drag, titanium nitride line guide aperture, Autocast clutch
MSRP $229.99


Impressions: Four months ago when we released our coverage of the new 2005 Daiwa lineup the response was extraordinary. The preview received so much traffic that it nearly brought our servers to a screeching halt. Why so much interest? Perhaps it was the sleek new profiles, or maybe the brightly colored finishes, but more likely it was that Daiwa fans were more than ready for a new high end offering. Unlike many other manufacturers that produce complete reel lineups with very similar profiles, Daiwa manages to design and manufacture reels that are each remarkably distinctive and yet still instantly recognizable as an "engineered by Daiwa" product.

 

The Daiwa SOL is radically designed, and the bright Sunrise-Gold finish sure is a head turner

 

Though the SOL sports a similar layout to the TD Advantage reels the new TD SOL is actually much smaller in actual dimensions and weight. The name SOL (pronounced "sole") was named after the Spanish word for "sun." This aptly named reel is painted "Sunrise-Gold" and is designed to stand apart from the competition, but the trend towards colored reels will take the market by force in 2005 as a number of manufacturers have confirmed various color options in their new lineups. The SOL's frame is all aluminum and the reel features Magforce V anti-backlash control, and a ultra light perforated spool on Daiwa's floating ball bearing system. The SOL comes with a service wrench and what is termed "Special Oil" for lubricating the left and right spool shaft bearings.
 

The reel sits extremely low on Fuji reel seats


The Field Tests:
The SOL is designed for ultimate finesse applications and is intended for fishing with light lines, though it can be spooled with up to 12lb line. We decided to test the reel with 3 weights of line (8, 10, 12), and head out for the clearest possible water we could find to see just how well this undersized reel would toss our most diminutive lures.

 

Complete Rig for Daiwa TD SOL Field Tests

Rod GLoomis MBR782C
Reel TD SOL
Line(s) 8, 10, 12lb. Yozuri Hybrid


We paired the SOL with our medium rated, fast action, GLoomis GLX MBR782C. This rod is not known for extreme casting but rather excellent sensitivity and accuracy when dealing tiny lures to finicky bass. Matched together the combo weighed in at an impressive 11.5oz total.
 

The SOL's drilled free floating spool helps anglers cast even the lightest lures with ease

 

Casting: Casting light lines and light lures in the wind was made possible in our tests with the Daiwa Magforce-V. Daiwa's cast control system still takes home the blue ribbon for instant adjustments, thanks to the external knob. We were surprised that Daiwa armed the Fuego and TD Advantage 153HST with the new Magforce-Z while the Sol is fitted with the current Magforce-V system. MagForce-Z uses the same principles as Magforce-V, but does so a bit more efficiently. To increase maximum casting distance and exactness Magforce-Z applies smooth magnetic braking only when needed. The new system allows the spool to start up faster and achieve a higher top speed and a longer spinning period before the magnetic drag kicks into affect.

 

Though primarily intended for fishing with light lines it is possible to spool thicker mono or braided superline on the SOL. The perforated spool starts up quickly. The minute you depress the clutch the Sol enters freespool and gravity alone is enough to give the spool its initial startup rotation. The reel casts effortlessly and we found it extremely accurate, making it a good choice for subtle pitches with light plastics. We also tried striper fishing with the SOL but found the line capacity a bit low, though the reel was absolutely excellent at casting jerkbaits. In addition the SOL is very predictable, meaning once you set your cast controls you know exactly how much effort needs to go into each and every cast for exact lure placement. Repetitive casting is also made easier with the reel’s insubstantial overall weight, which balanced very well with our test rod.

 

The SOL is refined from every angle, and though the reel bears seemingly sharp angles it is surprisingly comfortable to palm

 

Retrieve: The SOL is an unmistakable “Daiwa” engineered product and opts for refinement over buttery smooth retrieve. The reel feels extremely “connected” during retrieves, similar to a F1 car, you can still feel every detail below you, and are constantly aware of exactly what your lure is doing. The Sol also possesses an excellent anti-reverse with no discernable backplay in the handle.

 

The 5.8:1 gear ratio puts the Sol right in the middle speed range making it a flexible reel for a great many applications. Not too fast to slow crawl plastics or too slow for burning spinners. Overall when fighting fish the reel feels more refined than powerful. With each and every crank you will gain ground, but you are sure to savor every second of the fight, especially if you are using 6 or 8lb line.
 

The SOL has a simple drag star, but no micro-click adjustment here unfortunately

  

Drag: For a finesse reel the SOL exhibits exceptional drag pressure. Daiwa’s seven disc composite washer system is fantastic in terms of adjustment and delivery of smooth fish fighting power. During our test 4lb bass could do little to overcome the SOL’s drag pressure, definitely not what I expected from a reel this undersized. Striper fishing put more of a drain on the SOL, and while the act of ripping up fish pushed the Sol’s drags to the upper echelon the reel endured. While the inner guts of the drag were superb the drag adjustment unfortunately leaves a bit to be desired. The SOL has a simple drag star without a micro-click mechanism, making it just a bit harder to make minute adjustments on the fly. We understand why Daiwa did this, as weight reduction was a key factor in the reel’s design, but what angler doesn’t yearn to have their cake and eat it too.

 

The SOL's Magforce-V cast control has proven itself on countless Daiwa reels and does an excellent job minimizing backlashes while extending casting distances

 

Ergonomics: If you have smaller hands the SOL is going to be an absolute dream come true. The reel is so small, and sits so low on most rods that it is instantly consumed by your entire hand when palming. The reel looks angular in pictures but we found every edge to be ergonomically sculpted, including the front of the reel which easily accommodated our fingers when palming. This reel is so small that anglers with large hands might actually find it “too small,” a concern rarely encountered. But we believe that the vast majority of anglers will find the Sol’s unique dimensions, style, and weight to all be very ergonomically positive attributes.

 

A palming dream the SOL seems to disappear in the palm of your hand

 

Durability: The SOL feels solid and well crafted, the only plastic on the reel is the left sideplate. The entire frame and right plate are constructed from single pieces of aluminum. The gearing on the SOL isn’t quite as robust as the supertuned TD Advantage we just reviewed but it isn’t anything to scoff at by any means. This finesse reel boasts quality bearings, a machined bronze drive gear, and a super-alloy pinion. The SOL reeled in Largemouth and Stripers and is no worse for wear. The reel is highly refined and we recommend finesse fishing with the reel more than more aggressive techniques like ripping and deep water cranking, this will help ensure the reel remains perfectly tuned.

 

Ratings:

Daiwa TD SOL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The SOL feels solid and is quite durable considering it is intended to be a finesse reel. 9
Performance A quality reel with all quality components.  The drag was impressive, as was the feel of the retrieve. 9
Price The SOL isn't cheap but the price more than matches the performance. The reel is priced reasonably against the competition. 8.5
Features All the features you would expect from a high end Daiwa. Would have been a perfect 10 with new Magforce Z and a clicking drag. 9
Design (Ergonomics) A palmers dream come true, the SOL is extremely sleek and compact and rests low on the reel seat making it very comfortable to palm for hours at a time. Ergonomically this reel is excellent. 9.5
Application The SOL may be designed to be a finesse reel but during our tests the reel proved to be surprisingly versatile. The reel is only limited by its line capacity and can be used for fishing a variety of lines for different species. 9

Total Score

9.00

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent refinement L No micro-clicking drag
J first-rate casting ability L Wish it had Magforce-Z like the Fuego
J Sleek low profile  
J Excellent for handling light lines  
J Looks to kill  

    
Conclusion: Do we like where Daiwa is going with their latest reel designs? Yes. Do these new designs preserve all that anglers love about their current Daiwa reels? Definitely. Daiwa's new SOL may not look a lot like the previous generation reels, but make no mistake this reel is undeniably from the same proud pedigree. The sleek SOL makes use of proven Daiwa technologies like Magforce-V, a free floating spool, their exclusive fiber composite washer system, and manages to incorporate all this in a all new ultra compact low profile design. Anglers that like to palm their reels while fishing will find the SOL is perfectly suited for extreme finesse fishing. This reel can work the lightest baits with ease, making it an ideal tool for drop shotting with ultralight lines, or shaking tiny plastics. Though exceedingly refined, when push comes to shove the SOL is no slouch, and the bronze gearing and hearty drag will deliver. The only major gripe we had with the reel was the lack of a clicker on the drag, but if omitting the clicker is necessary for hitting the low weight target then we can accept the sacrifice. The SOL's performance matches its sexy exterior design and delivers Japanese refinement to anglers stateside. If you are looking for a sleek low profile reel with few sacrifices and plenty of upside the Daiwa SOL shines brightly apart from the competition when it comes time to finesse fish with those ultralight lines.

 

Until Next Time....Tight Lines

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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