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Reel Review

The Team Daiwa Advantage gets the Supertuning treatment, and the results are inspiring

Date: 11/08/04
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.5 + Best Value!

Introduction: If there is one thing anglers know about Daiwa it is that the company is no stranger to innovation. New reels from the innovative manufacturer often sport entirely fresh profiles, and new-fangled technologies. Daiwa steps up to the occasion yet again with a supertuned variant of the recently introduced TD Advantage. We take a look at this soon to be released reel, to see just how well the Advantage responded to Daiwa's renowned "supertuning" treatment.

Daiwa TDA 153HST Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 12/140, 14/120
Gear Ratio 6.3:1
Weight 8.6 oz.
Bearings 8BB + 1RB
Additional Features Free floating perforated aluminum spool, Magforce-Z, infinite anti reverse, precision machined marine bronze gears, low profile, seven disc wet drag, micro-click drag adjustment, titanium nitride line guide aperture
MSRP $139.99

Impressions: Just two months ago Daiwa USA revealed the new TD Advantage and Sol reels. The Sol offers exceptional refinement while the Advantage delivers more bang for the buck than just about any baitcaster on the market. To help fill the gap between the two reels, Daiwa prepares for the arrival of the new supertuned version of the TD Advantage.


Introducing the new Supertuned TD Advantage


Those anglers that have set eyes on or perhaps already fished with the current TD Advantage will instantly recognize the new Advantage 153HST supertuned reel. The profile of the reel is uniform, but the new reel is devoid of plastics and composites, save the sideplate locking knob, left plate, and autocast clutch. Gone are the painted composite drag star and solid handle arm. Instead the 153HST makes use of familiar components found on the popular TD-X reels. The reel employs the exact same aluminum arm and drag star found on the TD-X, but comes tipped with more comfortable ergonomic rubber knobs. The next thing we noticed was a much more high quality spool than that found on the normal Advantage. The 153HST features a perforated aircraft aluminum spool for faster startup, is also free floating, and comes armed with Magforce-Z magnetic anti backlash control. To top it all off the bearing count on the 153HST is up from 5BB +1 RB on the standard Advantage to a bounteous 8BB + 1RB.

The new Supertuned Advantage features aluminum knobs and a perforated spool

The Field Tests:
The new 153HST is not intended to be a finesse reel like the new Sol or Fuego, instead the reel offers a solid balance of power and refinement and is made for a wider range of applications. The reel has a fast 6.3:1 ratio so we decided to test the reels speed and strength against some hard hitting stripers in the famed San Luis Reservoir, but before hitting the water we dissected the 153HST in our lab.


COmplete test rig for Daiwa TDA 153HST Field Tests

Rod GLoomis MBR783C
Reel TDA 153HST
Line 12 lb. Trilene Big Game

Once we opened the 153HST we were instantly impressed with the reel's robust gearing. The 153HST doesn't have second-rate cast gears, instead it utilizes precision machined bronze gears that are engineered bigger than conventional gears, and are resilient enough for even marine applications. The one piece frame and right sideplate are made of aluminum, while the left sideplate is constructed out of plastic. Overall construction was respectable, and we were all taken aback by the quality of internal elements in a reel of this price range.

The TDA 153HST makes use of high quality oversized machined bronze gearing


Casting: Daiwa reels are typically excellent casters due to free floating spool design, which permits the spool to detach from the main gearing during the outcast, and the 153HST holds true with tradition. Cast tests were excellent and anglers who have fished with the initial Advantage will notice the improvement in start up speed right away. The perforated spool starts up quicker allowing for longer casts when you really whip your rod, and more accurate short casts by enabling you to deliver your lure to the target at a quicker velocity. The 153HST casts so quickly that most normal anglers will want to make use of some amount of resistance using the new Magforce-Z. While we think the traditional Magforce knob found on most Daiwa reels is more attractive than the larger adjustment knob implemented on the 153HST, we can't object to the fact that this larger knob is easier to adjust on the fly with just one hand on the reel.

The new Magforce-Z is more precise and allows anglers even greater casting distance


Like all other Daiwa reels the advantage of being able to adjust your cast control without opening up the sideplate makes it easier to adjust any weight lure to wind conditions instantly. MagForce-Z uses the same principles as Magforce-V, but does so 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. In our field tests the new system translated to slightly increased casting distance but a noticeably increased range of cast control. If you set the Magforce-Z to a 3 setting versus a 5 for example, you will experience a perceptible reduction of distance but much improved cast control.

Remove the sideplate and you can see the free floating aluminum spool


Retrieve: The 153HST may not have the ultra refinements enabling light line finesse fishing found in many of its Daiwa siblings, but it makes up for it with blazing speed and brute strength. This reel is fast, very fast. With a rapid retrieve ratio of 6.3:1 the 153HST matches the TD-X and TD-Z's speed, making it among the fastest baitcasters available. Compare that to the Shimano Curado SF's 6.2:1 or even the new Chronarch B's 6.2:1 ratio. During our lab tests we noticed the large brass gearing, and on the water this rendered assertive expeditious retrieves. This reel is so fast that some of our Lucky Craft Pointers seemed to run strangely when jerking and cranking hastily on the reel. it was only after closer examination that we noticed we were retrieving the lures faster than their optimal run rate. By slowing down our cranks, we were still able to generate fast retrieves, yet save some energy for fighting those hard charging stripers.


A low profile and super fast 6.3:1 retrieve ratio allow anglers to blaze spinnerbaits or burn cranks with ease


Drag: Nothing is better than field testing a reel when a fish suddenly decides to test the performance of your drag by committing to your test lure. Which is exactly what happened during our 153HST field tests. While cranking the reel and testing retrieve rates I was suddenly interrupted by a striper that grabbed hold of my Spro bucktail and set itself. I had the drag open and it took off immediately, stripping as much line out from the 153HST as it could manage on it's mad dash for freedom. With a flick of my index finger I rotated the star drag and pressure was immediate put on the line. The 153HST's massive seven disc wet drag put the brakes on our unwitting volunteer, and within a minute a 24 inch striper joined me for a photo op. The 153HST's seven disc drag uses a combination of fiber composite washers for extremely smooth fish control, honestly doing most of the work for you as you clamp down on your fish.


From every angle the 153HST is ergonomically shaped, and the new lower profile design is easier and more comfortable to palm than previous generation Daiwa reels


Ergonomics: The 153HST proved comfortable to retrieve in standard or palmed position, and Daiwa deserves kudos for engineering the reel with a profile that is 5-6 millimeters lower than most standard baitcasting reels. The autocast clutch button is wider than those found on most Daiwa reels, and is easy to engage. The only real downside of the 153HST is the lack of weight reduction. The reel weighs 8.6oz and while that is just .1oz more than the standard Advantage we hoped that the use of drilled aluminum over composite components would have reduced the weight slightly. 8.6oz may seem heavy when compared to the 5.8oz Sol, but when you look at the Curado SF's weigh in at 8.7 or the Current Chronarch SF at 8.4oz it seems to fall within the appropriate range.


The TDA 153HST was a excellent reel for striper fishing thanks to a combination of speed and power


Durability: While we haven't yet had time to do long term durability tests on this new reel our editors were all impressed with both the materials and reinforced construction found in the 153HST. The aluminum star drag and hollowed handle are both proven on other reels, as is the seven disc drag system. There are no noticeable problem areas on the reel and we were happy to see that Daiwa chose to apply a titanium nitride line guide aperture for ultra smooth casting and the ability to handle braided super lines. 


Zander greets a striper that was an unwilling participant in our retrieve and drag
field tests

Price: Moving on to the subject of price and value. Most Daiwa reels cost slightly more than the competition but with recent exceptions like the new Daiwa Procasters, and the 153HST also continues to buck that trend. The original Advantage was a surprisingly good value at 99.95 and for just 39 dollars more, the 153HST is an even better one. For under 40 dollars extra, anglers get a reel with supplementary aluminum components, the addition of 3 performance bearings, and a perforated aircraft aluminum spool. You can further make an argument aligned with the competition as well. Is the 153HST aimed at the Curado SF? or perhaps even hedging the current Chronarch SF? The bearing count, casting distance, retrieve speed, and quality of aluminum components all suggest that it can contend versus both, yet is 10 dollars cheaper than the already affordable Curado SF.



Daiwa TDA 153HST Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Supertuned Advantage picks up exactly where the standard reel left off and further refinements in materials and design help create a quality reel in all respects 9
Performance The 153HST may not be as refined as other higher end Daiwa reels, but it does come closer to what makes Daiwa so popular. We were impressed with the reel's speed and power and the only area we would love to see improvement is weight reduction 8.5
Price An excellent price for a quality reel, and puts the competition on notice yet again in the fight for performance versus price category 9.5
Features The 153HST makes use of the latest technology including Magforce-Z, and new lower profile designs. Overall a generous package for little money 9
Design (Ergonomics) The design can be likened to a slightly larger Sol. While I like the Sol's dimensions better the TDA153HST is intended to be a power reel and fits the bill nicely. Once again, the only area for real ergonomic improvement is to shave a few ounces 8
Application The reel does much better in power fishing applications like burning baits or pitching jigs than in finesse presentations or slow crawling plastics 7

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Quality construction and gearing L Higher weight than standard TD Advantage
J Excellent value L Best suited for speed and power applications over finesse
J Plenty of power  
J Nascar-like speed retrieves  
J Supertuning that makes a real difference  

Conclusion: Daiwa knows how to make premium reels, and with the impending introduction of the new Supertuned TDA 153HST it looks like the company knows how to build a mean mainstream reel as well. The Advantage supertuning is certainly more than just superficial modifications, and the effects on performance are easily worth the 40 dollar premium. If you seek higher refinement you will likely opt for a Sol or Fuego, but if you are looking for a reel that delivers a superb balance of performance and price, then the TDA153HST has your name all over it. Whether we were burning bucktails or ripping jerkbaits the 153HST stood out as a capable executor. The fact that Daiwa was able to improve the reel so much with such a minimal increase in price is commendable in itself, but when you consider that this reel costs even less than a Curado SF you can't help but be impressed.


Until Next Time....Tight Lines










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