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Reel Review

Not Built to Suffer Fools Gladly : Daiwa's Z200/Z2020 Platform


Date: 5/28/12
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal


When you think of Daiwa and their lineup of low profile baitcasting reels, what adjectives to mind? Small? Light? Expensive? Progressive? Remember, this is the company that brought us the legendary TDZ, introduced swept back handles, twitching bars, and the T-Wing line guide. Of course, they also build very big and robust products like their Saltiga saltwater series reels and the heralded Ryoga/Pluton. But ever since the advent of tossing big baits for bass, there's been a void in Daiwa's reel lineup. Where's the low profile baitcaster for tossing big baits?


Introducing Daiwa's Z2020 / Z200 platform.

Those familiar with Daiwa's JDM lineup will argue for the Big Bait Special. I tried it - several times and over the course of a couple of years and was thoroughly unimpressed. Further, this reel was never officially released in the US market. If you knew how, and it's not very hard, you could purchase one from overseas, but you couldn't walk into your local tackle shop, pick one up and give it your own five second test.

The Z2020H & SH were available in Japan a full year and a half before Daiwa decided to bring them to the US Market.

So which reel in Daiwa's lineup have the faithful turned to for tossing big baits? It comes down to three - the Luna, Zillion Crazy Cranker, and Pluton. But each of these reels has their pluses and minuses. The Luna is perfectly capable, but if you're an Enthusiast, the Luna just doesn't cut it. The Crazy Cranker is my preference over the Big Bait Special, but still, line capacity isn't quite there. The Pluton is solid and deservedly ran away with our Ultimate Enthusiast Award honors back in 2009, but for whatever reason, round reels just aren't in vogue. The Ryoga 1016, a smaller version of the Pluton 200 and made for the Japanese Market, is very capable, but it's really built for inshore fishing and features like the bait clicker and clicking drag are extras not really needed in bass fishing.

But when they did, both the left and right hand versions (H model only) were available for purchase.

No what Daiwa really needed to do was to build a low profile version of the Pluton 200H/HL. Wouldn't that fill the bill? Is that the reel you've been waiting for from Daiwa? Well, be careful for what you wish. Introducing our take on Daiwa's vaunted Z200H/SH and Z2020H/SH.

Daiwa Z200HL / Z2020SH Specifications

Daiwa Z200HL
Daiwa Z2020SH
Rated Line Capacity
12lb/185 : 14lb/155
0.330mm (US 12lb) / 140yds
Tested Line Capacity
205 yds of line measured at 0.32mm diameter
205 yds of line measured at 0.32mm diameter
Retrieve Ratio
Inches Per Turn (IPT) tested
30.5 (full spool)
34 (full spool)
9.7oz / 277g
9.3oz / 265g
Number of Bearings
8 + 1
12 + 1
Bearing Size
3x10x4 : 5x11x4
3x10x4 : 5x11x4
Max Drag
Handle Length
Micro Click Adjustments
Drag, Cast Control
Drag, Cast Control
Spool Weight
Brake Type
Magforce 3D
Magforce 3D
External Brake Adjustment?
55,750 JPY (~$695)


Impressions: This reel was introduced in Japan as the Z2020H/SH a year and a half before it showed up at ICAST as a new for 2011 reel. Trouble is, at that time it was only available in right hand retrieve. It didn't matter. While my personal preference is for left hand retrieve reels, I can use both and just had to check this reel out - a low profile Pluton? The prospect seemed like a no brainer. I had the perfect testing ground for this reel and bought one just in time for our first trip to the Amazon.



We tested the Z2020SH down in the Amazon.


But just as I was getting ready to write up the Z2020SH, word out of Japan was they were going to introduce a left hand version and there was a real possibility this reel was coming to the US market. So I waited to make sure I had a chance to check this reel out in a left hand retrieve.


This was the first of Daiwa's reels to feature Magforce 3D.

Prior to the reel's release in any market, conjecture was that this was going to be Daiwa's Curado 300 killer. Realistically, while the Z200/Z2020 is close in size to the Curado 300, the Z's line capacity would put it in the 200 size class - just like the Pluton. Further, at more than twice the price of a Curado 300, these two reels are simply not in the same league. Those interested in the Curado 300 will scoff at the Z200/Z2020's price point, and those in the market for a Z200/Z2020 are seeking something more refined than the Curado 300.

All adjustments for this reel's casting brakes takes place externally, but this is what it looks like under the sideplate.

The Z200/Z2020 is a large reel by Daiwa's standards. It is also heavy for a Daiwa low profile reel, but considering it's modeled after the Pluton, this all makes sense. The Z2020 is also the first of Daiwa's reels to feature the 3D Mag Force brake adjustment system as explained in Zander's review of the T3. This system makes total sense for a reel designed to throw a wide range of baits. So does the Z200/Z2020 make the grade? Let's find out.

As soon as the USDM lefty was available, we snatched one up.

Field Tests: We've been using variations of this reel for well over a year now and have put it through a pretty wide range of applications. Among the rods on which these reels have seen action include a Daiwa Zillion TDZL691MHXB, Phenix Recon PHX-C796, and a Megabass Orochi X4 F5-68X4 Cover Hacking.

Cal's brother, Kin, with a Wolf Fish from the Amazon.

Next Section: Casting the Z200









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