DAIWA PRODUCT FOCUS: Hyper Drive with the Tatula HLC – Simon Goldsmith

Few letters are more synomious with hyper baitcaster casting performance than HLC (Hyper Long Cast). An acronym made famous with the purple accented Zillion HLC released between 2008 and 2011, the HLC name and performance makes a welcome return with the Tatula HLC.

One of the best mid level baitcasters on the market today, the Tatula family of baitcasters combines value, performance and strength that sees it punch well above its price point. The Tatula HLC takes the enviable attributes of the stock Tatula and takes it up a notch courtesy of a few hyper performance upgrades.

So let’s take a roll call of the Tatula HLC features and functions and find out what makes this one of the best new reels to own, and one of the nicest performance reels to use on the baitcaster scene today.

Real Four

Daiwa’s famous Real Four technology is where it all begins for the HLC, with the design technology format first made famous on reels such as Certate and Z2020 delivering Real Engine, Real Control, Real Endurance, and Reel Custom to create a reel that’s built proof in construction, yet equally refined in performance and design. The result is a reel that is built to last, and built to perform day after day, after day.

The HLC’s aluminium frame and gear side plate delivers heighten reel strength and rigidity, particularly under heavy load and over continued long term use, while its lightweight construction helps ensure rod and reel balance and reduce angler fatigue.

While the Tatula HLC falls within the mid sized baitcaster category it’s ergonomic frame and side plate design makes the HLC a very comfortable reel to palm, a godsend for long days on water when cast after cast is par for the course. Uncomfortable and poorly designed reels that fail to sit seamlessly in the hand or have features (e.g. cast control dials) that stand too proud of the reel, particularly the non-geared side plate, are a caster’s nightmare. The Tatula HLC is certainly not one of those. It’s a dream to hold and a dream to use.

Tatula HLC 01

 

Good Gear

Inside the frame and side plates sits Daiwa’s famous Digigear gear technology, a feature of refinement and strength that delivers gear smoothness, refinement, and strength that is as assured under heavy load as it is fluid and silken under the lightest use. The HLC’s gearing power and refinement make it equally suited to muscling barra and finessing bass.

It’s the cast performance of the HLC that sees it really step up from the non-HLC Tatula, with Daiwa’s innovative TWS (T-Wing System) leading the charge. A new dawn in line guide technology, TWS involves a larger t-shaped line guide that pivots during the varying casting phases of the reel to greatly reduce line friction and angle through the line guide, and significantly improves casting distance, ease, performance and spool rotational balance.

Like all reels featuring TWS the greatest benefit I find is the significant reduction in effort that is required to cast a lure of bait the same distance as a non-TWS reel. Simply put TWS makes the job of casting so much easier and trouble free.

Tatula HLC 04

 

Getting Spooled

Two other key elements contribute to the HLC’s outstanding casting with the first cab off the rank the Tatula’s lightweight G1 duralumin spool. Strong and light, the G1 spool allows for faster spool start up, a factor that is of particular benefit when casting light weights. The next key element is the HLC’s Magforce Z casting control system. A system while made famous on many reels over many years receives a slight tweaking on the HLC to offer deliver casting performance.

Reports from within Daiwa are that the Tatula HLC offers a little more braking control than that of the original Zillion HLC. Doing this makes the reel just a little easier to handle and makes it less prone to temperamental casting moments. The old Daiwa TDZ Type R and Type R+ baitcasters of the early 2000s were the poster children of this wild behavior, and at times could be a handful.

The Zillion HLC was similarly designed as a hyper tuned casting reel, but was largely purged of the wildness of the TDZs. The Zillion was, and still is a fantastic reel but in comparison to the Tatula HLC is doesn’t seem quite as impressive as it use to. The Tatula HLC takes its pedigree and hyper casting performance from the Zillion HLC, and certainly gets my vote as the best performing, and certainly the best behaving, of the two.

Tatula HLC 02

 

That’s a Wrap

UTD, ratcheted star drag, swept handle, and saltwater safe design rounds out the roll call of features of the HLC and combine to make the Tatula HLC one of the best, if not the best, high performance mid sized baitcaster for under $400 getting around at the moment.

Stylish in looks, stunning in performance, and unwavering in strength, the Tatula is keeping the HLC name alive and only strengthening the reputation of this famous acronym. Find one, try one, and if you get the chance buy one.

Tatula HLC 03