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Reel Review

2009 Highspeed Reel Shootout : Daiwa's 50th Anniversary Hyperspeed Zillion (continued)

Retrieve: Technically, the new 7.3:1 Zillion retrieves just under half an inch more per turn of the handle as compared to the 7.1:1 version, and out on the water of course this slight increase in rate of return is barely perceptible. It’s more a badge of honor being the first 7.3:1 reel to hit the market than anything else.

The spool is laser engraved commemorating Daiwa's 50th Anniversary.

In hand, the 100SHSLA is very smooth and solid as you crank its stock ninety millimeter, swept handle though I found it interesting Daiwa didn’t go all out and use one of their I’ZE carbon swept handles instead and match it with a special dragstar. The knobs are bearing supported AND removable which is a good thing because they are also the US market, "soft touch" knobs featuring cut ridges that supposedly give you better grip. I much prefer the smooth, JDM style knobs.

Of course, access to the spool is through the non-handle sideplate.

Drag: The 100SHSLA features the same eight disc drag system found on other Zillion models with fibrous discs very similar to the aftermarket Carbontex washers available through SmoothDrag. The stock drag delivers a full eleven (11) pounds of maximum pressure and pulls out smooth and consistent throughout its range.

Simply remove it and pop the spool out for servicing.

Design & Ergonomics: The Zillion platform is very familiar dating back not only to our 2007 review, but really, back to the discontinued TDZ. It is among the most comfortable reels to fish and has excellent palming ergonomics. The afore mentioned, stock 90mm handle is the longest amongst our specimen of shootout reels giving you just that added degree of leverage when powering a fish or bait back to the boat.

The Zillion SHSA/SHSLA makes an excellent jig and soft plastics reel.

It’s interesting that coming from a company known for its lightweight reels, the Zillion 100SHSLA comes in third amongst our shootout contenders weighing more than the new Shimano Chronarch and the Quantum Tour Edition PT. Of course, were it the Steez 7.1:1 in this battle, all weight bets would be off.


Daiwa Zillion 100SHSA/SHSLA Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Arguably Daiwa's most rock solid low profile reel 9
Performance If high speed is your game, the SHSA/SHSLA does not disappoint 8
Price Not much above a standard Zillion and "limited" edition status is a bonus - a fair price 6.5
Features Bearing supported knobs, CRBBs, clicking dragstar and cast control knob, 90mm handle, serialized thumbar, laser engraved 50th Anniversary spool 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) The Zillion platform is very familiar and very ergonomic 9
Application Fresh and saltwater safe 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:


J Limited edition reel status at a USDM price point! L Wish it came with the carbon handle instead.
J Bearing supported, removable knobs! L A specially designed spool with a tuned rotor would have made this reel extra special
J Comes equipped with CRBBs for fresh or saltwater applications  


Conclusion: Realistically, there’s not too much different from the 50th Anniversary Zillion and it’s standard edition counterparts. A slightly faster retrieve, special color, and serialized numbers are the primary aspects setting it apart from its brethren. The $30 cost increase over the standard edition is not an overwhelming sum to overcome and helps deliver some enthusiast level intrigue at a reasonable price. Had Daiwa really taken it to the next level with this reel providing the ninety millimeter, I’ZE swept carbon handle together with a customized dragstar, AND a superTTuned spool, all for the same price, I’m sure they’d be close to sold out of the reels by now.


A US domestic, limited edition reel from Daiwa. It doesn't get too much better than this!


Instead, we are left to seek these items as aftermarket upgrades and move onto the last stand alone review in our High Speed Reel Shootout. Then it is onto the wrap article where we throw the scores out the window and pit each reel head to head in specific categories, total up the wins and crown our 2009 High Speed Reel winner.


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