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Event Article: 2006 ICAST Special Coverage

ICAST Special - Daiwa Wajima Specials, functional works of Art

Date: 8/1/06
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Admission: Buyers & Press only
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: At car shows many auto manufacturers showcase concepts that may or may not actually make it to final production, others create these often radical prototypes to highlight their design capabilities, and unique technologies. Whatever the case, these prototypes always garner plenty of attention, and if enough consumers pine over these creations then the manufacturer may indeed follow up with the introduction of an actual mass production product. Daiwa did something very similar when they brought a complete “Wajima” showcase from Japan to ICAST 2006 Las Vegas.


JIP shoots the Wajima-Nuri Steez as Toru explains to customers that these products are not "yet" available for sale

These are products that we will never actually field test or review, let alone hold in our hands, but they were among the most eye-catching products at the show.

Even the new Steez rods are given the "Wajima" treatment

Check out the details...

The technique used to ornate these reels dates back 600 years. Of all the Japanese lacquer ware the “Wajima-nuri” are known for their grace and long lasting quality, and are considered by many as the most authentic. Only a few artists in the city of Wajima, in Japan, are true masters of this technique, and are laurelled by the Japanese government as “living treasures” themselves.

A look at the split grip of the Steez spinning rod 


The Steez baitcaster glimmers as light touches it from every angle

These reels make use of handmade metal parts that differ from the mass produced components. But what makes them so special is the unique lacquer coating process, normally reserved for works of art. Under the surface of each piece lays roughly a hundred processes that mandated over a year to finish!

The Steez spinning reel's spool is completely lacquered, and showcases a deep rich tone


The reels themselves have an estimated "street" value of between 10 to 12 thousand US Dollars! And you thought you thought a TD Steez was an expensive investment! Daiwa doesn’t expect to sell a lot of these, nor have they even fully decided to sell any of the pieces displayed at ICAST, but that didn’t stop a lot of buyers from inquiring just how much it would really take to bring one home.


The Wajima Millionaire Steez highlighted the fact that many of the components on these products were not mass production parts, but actually individually hand machined just for this project

Shot through a glass case we couldn’t do these reels justice, but seeing one of these in person is breathtaking. Every angle features inimitable details, and each time we gazed upon these reels we found more to like about them. Cal, our Enthusiast Editor, is seldom impressed, but it took two other editors to pry him away from this display.

Ornate etching on every angle of this one of a kind Millionaire


The Wajima TD Crank (left) and TD Minnow SG (right) are worth over 3 thousand dollars each!

The special Wajima technique is not limited to reels, and Daiwa showcased TD Lures and special custom Daiwa rods that also were garlanded with the same technique. Each of the lures are worth 3 thousand dollars a piece, and the rods are worth about the same as the reels.

The TD Vibration lure's showcased designs matching the Steez rods

Conclusion: When asked if these were actually fishable, Daiwa explained they “absolutely” are, but would you want to? Sure these are functional, but they are designed to be exquisite centerpieces in the most hardcore enthusiast’s collection. By the end of the show Daiwa had received so much positive feedback that they were indeed contemplating introducing a limited run of these Wajima specials. Lunacy you say? Well, someone prior to the show had already purchased the 1 million dollar diamond laden MacDaddy’s big game lure, and in comparison to that 10-12 thousand for a limited edition reel seems like chump change….relatively speaking of course. While we are positive even our most tackle afflicted staffer, Cal, won’t be buying a Wajima (even if it was possible to buy one) anytime soon….like the sexy automobile prototypes at the Detroit Auto show, Daiwa has succeeded in giving hardcore enthusiasts and tackle collectors something to dream about.










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