DAIWA SALTIST HYPER 792H ROD AND DAIWA SALTIST 5000 REEL
Mid Weight Magic
Reviewed by: Andrew Randall
I have to admit that when it comes to buying new fishing gear I have a bit of an obsession. It’s not surprising then, that when Tony (Editor, New Zealand Bay Fisher) asked me to test out one of the latest Saltist combos I jumped at the chance faster than a kingi at a stickbait. I have a lot of gear, but my pride and joy is my Daiwa 8000 Dogfight reel which has battled and won against many kingfish up to 30kgs. So as soon as I found out I was going to be trialling Daiwa fishing tackle I was ready for the combo to be top quality.
First impressions are always important and when I unpacked the Saltist Hyper 792H rod I fell in love straight away. It’s a great-looking piece of kit; great colours and extra light, due to its HVF carbon bias wrap construction.
The Saltist Hyper range has taken over from the very popular and well-tested Monster Mesh series. This particular model is rated at PE 5 and is suited to 24kg braid. It incorporates the excellent quality and toughness of Fuji guides, a Fuji reel seat and extra strong EVA grips. I knew straight away that there’d been no shortcuts taken with the design and manufacture of this rod, given the use of quality componentry such as this.
And I was more than pleasantly surprised when I took the Saltist 5000 out of the box ... a great-looking reel with a black body and blue trim. Straight away you could feel the weight of the reel, which screamed ‘quality’. It has an aluminium body with an impressive line-up of features: Digigear II, Magseal, ATD, Magsealed Line Roller and Air Rotor all feature in this new Saltist. This componentry is normally reserved for the high end reels such as the Saltiga, but they managed to go all out on this reel too – at a third of the price!
This model is designed for around 24kg braid which makes it perfect for the Hyper 792H rod. It has 8 ball bearings and a maximum drag of 10 kilos.
Before I hit the rocks I loaded the reel with 300m of Daiwa J Braid in the 50 pound line class; the line filled the reel spool perfectly, with no mucking around or leftover braid. I only had a few days to get out on the water before the review had to be in so I decided to head around the coast to one of my favourite kingfish spots. Unfortunately there had been a lot of rain, making the sea conditions quite dirty, but we were still able to give the combo a good workout.
The first test was its castability, since the model is described as a stickbait casting rod. Casting lures off the rocks, I normally prefer a rod around 8.5-9 feet long; this one is a little under 8 feet in length. No surprise then that I wasn’t able to get quite the distance I normally do with the longer rod, but I was still able to get well out into the strike zone.
The reel performed flawlessly; it has a gear ratio of 5:6 which is awesome for casting stick baits or poppers. One thing I would recommend is that you stick to the lure weight of between 60 and 100g, as casting performance began to decline when I used a heavier stick bait.
On the day, pickings were meagre given the discoloured water – but I managed to land a good-sized kahawai, which proved to be no match for this combo. Kingfish were hard to come by though, so I decided to change over to bait and target big snapper. I had a couple of solid takes and fought a good fish for a few minutes before pulling the hook in the wash. But I was able to really load up on this rod, and liked that it had tremendous power in the butt section and folded away nicely at the tip. I feel you could confidently increase the drag pressure up to and slightly above the recommended rating, as the rod is extremely powerful. The same goes for the reel; it had a very smooth drag and proved itself well on the fish that were presented to it.
I didn’t manage to hook a kingfish so it’s a little difficult to predict how this combo would perform against a true beast from the deep. My gut feeling however is that this is a perfect set up for targeting trophy snapper and medium sized kingfish up to 20 kilos. With a maximum drag of 10kg it would struggle to contain a fish above that weight, especially when fishing off the rocks, although it would be a different story when using it from a boat casting lures to schools of feeding kingfish – it’s much easier then to lead your fish out to deeper water and away from structure. Sight casting to medium sized kingfish would provide a great test for this gear, which I believe would pass with flying colours. If I wanted to target big kingfish I’d prefer to fish with the Hyper 82XH model that’s rated at PE 8, and I’d combine it with the Saltist 8000 or Saltiga reel. But if you’re looking for a rod and reel combo in this middle weight class and price range it would be hard to go past this set-up for use either from a boat or off the rocks.