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ICAST 2021 Coverage


Daiwa Dominates Reel Categories this ICAST and the Saltist takes the Salt


Date: 7/22/21
Location: Orlando, Fl
Admission: Industry Only
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: Daiwa crushed it this year at ICAST taking home the Best of Show in both the freshwater and saltwater reel categories. Our readers already know how much we like the Zillion and on the saltwater side it was the new Saltist MQ that won over the buyers and media.


Meet the new Saltist MQ


Saltist MQ: Daiwa’s new Saltist MQ spinning reels are designed to be lightweight, smooth, durable and sleek. The new series features Daiwa’s  Monocoque (MQ) construction, like we have seen on the Exist, and enables a small but rugged and corrosion resistant frame.

“Serious anglers are going to be absolutely thrilled with how much advanced technology we’ve jammed into our Saltist MQ line,” says Marc Mills, Field Marketing Manager for Daiwa-US. “Of course, superior strength and more power is a great edge when battling trophy fish, but to really stand the test reels need to operate smoothly and precisely, stand-up to repeated salt-water dousing, and take a beating day after day and trip after trip. We’ve worked hard to build a stronger, lighter and more durable higher-end spinning reel at a reasonable price and it’s really nice to see all that effort come to fruition. In addition to their one-piece anodized aluminum monocoque (MQ) body, these reels feature a Magsealed shaft, Zaion Air Rotor and Air Bail, tough Digigear technology, waterproof Advanced Tournament Drag (ATD), and a round decorative but very functional machined aluminum knob handle, all refined and polished under the watchful eyes of the Daiwa team.”


The Saltist MQ took home top honors in the saltwater category at ICAST

With sizes ranging from 2,500 to 20,000, the Saltist MQ series is saltwater driven and can cover just about any species from speckled trout to giant bluefin tuna. Though when we look at the smaller sizes we can easily imagine the reels employed for bass and stripers. Yes we have a lot of other spinning reels to pick from but the Saltist looks sharp!


Brian Yamane shows us both the new Saltist MQ and Saltist side by side. These reels will co-exist in the Daiwa portfolio


With the new monocoque design, the reel body serves as a stiff and distortion-proof frame, which is handy and compact at the same time. In this design, the reel’s screw on side plate has been replaced with a twist in version. This allows elimination of the screws and their sockets, allowing the size of the reel body to be reduced even while gear size is increased by 20 to 40 percent.


With the Saltist MQ's larger gears and a tighter seal comes more power and torque production plus a reduction in corrosion for a win-win improvement.


Further, Daiwa’s renown Digigear technology incorporates a larger gear, larger tooth pattern and a perfect mesh between an ultra-tough drive gear and pinion gears for optimized speed, torque, precision, smoothness and durability. Daiwa claims that Digigear gear life can be as much as three times greater than the gears used in competitive reels.


Anglers looking for a more affordable saltwater reel can consider the new Eliminator Series


Like other high-end Daiwa reels the Saltist also gets Magseal technology which keeps water and contaminants from going down into the one-way roller bearing and into the gear set itself, which can really inhibit how the reel performs. Other performance oriented features include a Zaion Air Rotor and Air Bail. The rotor is engineered to be especially lightweight–15-percent lighter than typical rotors of the same material by cutting out areas to improve stability. This reduces vibrations and enhances the rotational balance thanks to the near symmetrical shape and very low center of gravity. Under the same strain, a conventional rotor can become much more distorted. With the Air Rotor design rotation of the handle and reel is easier, especially when retrieving lures and the popular saltwater poppers driving the tuna market.

The Air Bail, meanwhile, is a tubular design. This reduces bending of the wire to make it more rigid, and a round aluminum handle gives the user a comfortable knob in which to really grind on fish. As you might expect a saltwater reel of this caliber needs a powerful drag and the Saltist comes with the company's Advanced Tournament Drag (ATD) which is fine-tuned to react quickly and smoothly, offering smooth start up assures anglers have the give necessary to ease the pressure of that first powerful run. Even the smallest size can deliver 22lbs of drag while the 20000 size is capable of providing 44.1lbs of pressure.


The Eliminator features an aluminum frame and Digigear design for only $89-$119 dollars


The Saltist offers a lot for $299 for the smaller sizes and $389 for the largest sizes. Overall a good deal for what comes in this total package. The previous generation is still popular and with shortages hitting the industry the company has decided to continue to support the old platform for a while so it will co-exist with the new MQ reel.


Anglers looking for a more affordable solution can also consider the new Eliminator reels which feature an aluminum frame, air rotor, digigear, and a smooth carbon drag. This reel doesn't have the MQ design or Magseal but it is designed to be a workhorse at a great price from $89.99 to $119.99. Whether it is fresh or saltwater spinning Daiwa has anglers covered this season.










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