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Complete ICAST 2016
Coverage

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Shimano Stradic FK Spinning Reel Review
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Kistler Rods Magnesium 2 Review
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DUO Realis Onimasu Swimbait Review
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First Look Inside Shimano's New Compact Curado
 


 


Reel Review


The Surprising Daiwa Ballistic EX Spinning Reel

 

Date: 2/24/15
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.18 - GREAT

Introduction:
Carbon is the new wonder material for fishing reel manufacturers and why not? The material is pervasive in countless other industries from cycling to automotive where stresses and strains structural parts are under far greater loads than that of a fishing reel frame. Daiwa has been slowly introducing their take on this material, code name Zaion, into rods and reels and today we take a look at their latest, mid-line spinning reel built with a Zaion carbon body and sideplates. Introducing Daiwa's Ballistic EX 2500H Spinning Reel.


Introducing Daiwa's Ballistic EX 2500H Spinning Reel.

Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 8/170 : 10/140
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 13.2 cubic cm
Retrieve Ratio
5.6:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
23.5" - 32.5"
Weight 8.6 oz
Handle Length 57mm
Bearings 9bb, 1CR + 1RB
Bearings per Knob 2 bearings
Roller Guide Bearings Bushing
Origin Made in China
MSRP $199.99

 

Quality/Construction: Spinning reels have long been Daiwa's forte dating back to the collectible SS Whisker on through the Certate and Steez spinners. These were and still are middle to high end reels and the Ballistic falls in just below that threshold. Our 2500H, however, has a very refined and high end feel to it out of the box. The finish is a very dark cool grey with a hint of very small metal flake you can see when in the sunlight.


The Ballistic EX 2500H has a very refined, high end feel to it out of the box.

Body and sideplate tolerances on spinning reels are not as critical on spinning reels as they are on casting reels because the only place your fingers really touch the reel are on the reel foot, bail arm, and handle knob. Nonetheless, the Ballistic EX is put together very well. Handle tolerances are tougher to judge on this reel since, if you reel backwards hard enough, the handle detaches, but from what we can tell, there is no backplay in the handle although there is a little wiggle to it producing a very faint knocking sound if you hold the reel tight in one hand and try to torque the handle from the knob. The reel's knob is on there nice and tight too.

 

Quality Ratings for Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
4
5
19
20
9.5

Performance: I spooled my Ballistic EX 2500H spinning reel with 8lb Sunline Supernatural Monofilament and matched it with a Rapala Canada Concept One spinning rod for our field tests.


Paired with a Rapala Canada Concept One Spinning rod.

Retrieve: First thing to notice with the Ballistic EX 2500H, even before taking it out on the water is how smooth this reel operates when you crank its handle. It has a high end feel and sound - yes I said sound - as you spin the handle. Higher end spinning reels have a certain pitch to the whirring sound all spinning reels make, and of course, this sound is absent of intermittent knocks, pings, and faint clunks, that some lower end reels have. The Ballistic EX 2500H is very smooth.


Listening closely for any strange, out of place, quirky sounds - didn't hear any.

Performance Ratings for Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Bail Operation (1-5)
Line Twist (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
3
4
5
3
20
25
8.0


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the Sweet Drag profile of our Daiwa Ballistic 2500H. Note the reel's drag is quite erratic in the upper range, but also note this upper range is quite high for a reel that will be used mostly with 8-12lb test line.

Drag: The Ballistic EX 2500H has a surprisingly powerful drag, but as you can see in the reel's Sweet Drag chart above, behavior is quite erratic at higher settings. A little grease on the drag stack should help smoothen this out, but at the same time, how many people are going to be fishing this reel with the drag buttoned down to more than ten pounds of pressure?


Back at the lab, we took at look at the drag stack.

Opening up the Ballistic's water proof drag stack, we found it to be quite dry from the factory, so again this could be the explanation. I didn't notice any erratic behavior of the reel's drag out on the water, but I typically have my spinning reel drag set pretty loose. Remember I was only fishing 8lb test line.

Sweet Drag Performance for Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H

Turns backed off from locked drag >>>>
1.5
1.25
1
.75
.5
Avg % Change
Start Up

4.24

5.76
9.06
10.11
6.67
Sustained
4.89
5.65
7.35
10.3
17.07
Lowest Value
4.14
5.16
6.38
7.85
6.39
Change in Startup vs Sustained
15.4%
1.9%
18.8%
1.9&
155.9%
62.6%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
15.4%
8.7%
13.2%
23.8%
62.6%
24.7%

 

Power: The Ballistic EX 2500H comes with a 57mm handle (equivalent of a 114mm handle in baitcasting) and a 5.6:1 gear ratio that equates to 23.5 to 32.5 inches of retrieve per turn of the handle all depending upon how much line you have out on your cast. For comparison's sake, Daiwa's Steez EX100XS, a 7.9:1 gear ratio, 100 sized baitcasting reel picks up anywhere from 17 - 33 inches of line per turn of the handle. So even though the Ballistic EX 2500H's gear ratio is quite low, because it's spool is so much larger than that on a casting reel, the actual rate of retrieve is equivalent to a high speed low profile baitcasting reel.


The 2500H's rate of retrieve is equivalent to a 100 sized low profile baitcaster in the high sevens or low eights (7.7:1 - 8.2:1).

I bring this up because typically, a casting reel with super high speed retrieve is not considered to have much power. The Ballistic EX 2500H performed fine for me, but again, I only used it in finesse situations with 8lb test line and drop shot techniques - not exactly situations that require a powerful reel.


The 2500H sized Ballistic comes with what we call a lower case "t" knob.

Next Section: Smooth bail operation


 

 

 

 

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