|By Sami Omari
Throughout spring and summer I extensively used the Daiwa Heartland XA MLFS coupled to a matching 2000 sized reel along with the heavier HFS and matching 3000 sized reel. The lighter outfit has been used for chasing EPs, poppering bream along with chasing the summer time run of rat kings in Sydney, while the heavy outfit has been used for throwing big plastics for jewies and poppers and plastics for bigger kings.
The capability and versatility of quality modern fishing equipment is impressive and was again demonstrated when I managed about a dozen rat kings on soft plastics and five big bream fishing poppers over the flats using the lighter outfit one morning. While the outfit isn’t a dedicated kingy stick, it wasn’t that long ago that I would have cooked the drag and possibly busted a rod if I attempted to catch kings on the ultra light spin gear. Quality equipment isn’t cheap but you get what you pay for.
The Heartland XA rods are crisp and fast in taper – being high modulus graphite you’d expect these rods to be light weight, top shelf performers, and they are. The thing that impressed me most about these rods however is their strength. Testing the integrity of these blanks was an unexpected event because I normally hate trying to break things. After a morning chasing kings on the Harbour, an overzealous mate “helped” out by backing my car and boat underneath my carport with washed rods still in the rod holders resulting in two broken rods and one damaged rod. The damaged rod that was “forced” underneath the carport was the Heartland XA HFS which had the two middle runners ripped off and a deep gouge along a foot or so of blank section. On seeing the damage my heart sank and I thought it was a goner. I had the runners rebound figuring that I’d plug away and press my luck – about 40 or so kingfish later the rod is still going strong. To say that I was surprised and impressed is an understatement. I honestly thought the rod would break after sustaining such considerable stress and damage, however the integrity of the blank is a testament to the quality of materials and manufacturing process.
The reels have been tested against a number of Sydney speedsters and have performed without fault being silky smooth to wind and having smooth waterproof drags. All seven bearings on the Heartland XA reels are corrosion resistant CRBB bearings however I make a habit of oiling or greasing line roller bearings and all moving components often. After a season of hard use the reels are performing as well as the day they were bought with no issues to date.
Sami Omari works in the finance industry based in the Sydney CBD. He is also a keen photographer and a regular feature writer for Fishing World magazine who has fished in and around Australia’s largest city for most of his life. As a kid that read way too many fishing magazines, Sami used to constantly nag his old man to take him fishing in and around Sydney, developing a love of the sport and a passion for writing. Sami is a keen and experienced fisherman having spent a number of seasons jigging kingfish, game fishing competitively and luring all manner of estuary species. He is also experienced at going home empty handed and often struggles motivationally if the fishing is slow – occupying his time by talking nonsense or experimenting with lures and techniques that are speculative on the best of days.