Daiwa Saltist BW 962HFS Rod / Daiwa BG 5000 Reel
light... and tough
Reviewed by: Andrew Randall
After recently testing the Saltist Hyper 792H rod and the Saltist 5000 reel it was with great excitement that I was able to try out a lighter outfit in the Daiwa range: the Daiwa Saltist BW 962HFS rod and BG 5000 reel had arrived on my doorstep.
This time I decided to open the reel first. Once again I was very impressed with the look of the reel, with black and gold trim and that strong aluminium body that seems nowadays to be synonymous even with reels in the lower price range. With 6 BB and 1 RB and a gear ratio of 5.6:1, I really liked the solid feel when turning the handle. In my hands the reel felt like a superb piece of engineering, no doubt due to such factors as the Digigear, Air Rotor and advanced bail features, along with the ATD (Automatic Tournament Drag) system. ATD ensures a very smooth drag right from start-up with line coming under tension and throughout the taking of line from the spool; no pulsing under load here at all. (Daiwa had included a 300m spool of 50 pound Daiwa J Braid which filled the spool perfectly.)
I have to admit that when I first took the BW 962HFS rod out of its packaging I was a little concerned that this design was not going to be a good fit for a reel that had a maximum drag of 10 kilograms. The rod looked the goods though, with an attractive black blank and a perfect length of 9’6” for casting off the rocks. It had a rating of PE 2-5 which, when first looked at, appeared to me to be more around 2-3. I decided I would put the combination together anyway, and test it before taking it out for a fish. My fears were soon put to rest, as the rod folded away beautifully with a great fast action in the tip section and a lot of strength in the butt.
Now I was getting excited. I had a feeling this was going to be a winner and I was blown away by the quality of the components – remember, this rod retails at under $200. It incorporates a graphite composite blank, titanium oxide guides, a graphite reel seat, EVA grips and a Fuji rubber gimbal. Initially I thought this would be a combination best suited for shoalie snapper but soon found myself thinking about testing it on those big spring season moochers, and any rat kings that might be around. Now I waited for a weather window that would be give me the opportunity ....
I was really keen to try out one of my favourite spots that has produced the goods in the past but it requires flat seas and light winds to allow us to jump off the inflatable onto the offshore island. Trip One didn’t allow us to get onto the island but we managed to find a spot hidden from the strong north-westerlies. The first performance feature to come under scrutiny was the cast, and I wasn’t about to be disappointed. I consider a rod casts well when it requires minimal effort, nothing more than a flick of the wrist. In this case, great distance was achieved and the ability to cast accurately into channels was a bonus.
Once the tide started to move the kahawai started coming into the burley and it wasn’t long before I hooked up. This combo had little problem with the fish, and I felt extremely comfortable making the most of the drag on the reel without putting too much pressure on the blank. The only problem was that actually I didn’t have a chance to check out the drag under any real test; I was able to manhandle the fish in without it pulling much line. Once the tide subsided we headed to one of my favourite kingfish spots, but unfortunately we weren’t greeted by any of those yellow and green machines.
Trip Two allowed us to get to the island, and this time I was more confident that we’d get a shot at a snapper. Again at this time of year we generally catch snapper up to 7 kilos at this spot and I have to admit I normally put away the light tackle in exchange for a combo with more grunt. But I felt at ease using this outfit, despite how light it felt. We only managed snapper to 3 kilos but I was extremely impressed with the amount of hurt I could put on these fish. The ATD drag performed well and I felt that if a fish of over 5 kilos was going to come along it was more than capable of doing the job. Used with a bit of skill the combo will handle trophy snapper.
So overall for the price, this combination rod and reel was very impressive and would be able to handle most snapper in most fishers’ hands. I would have reservations targeting kingfish over 10 kilos (even though it would still land them) unless I was fishing over sand or at a spot I knew well and one that didn’t have too much underwater structure that might entice a marauding kingfish to duck for cover.
Daiwa have once again given us a very well-priced rod and reel that will keep any angler happy when targeting solid snapper and modest kingfish off the rocks. Certainly a lot of quality and features for the money invested.