DAIWA PRODUCT FOCUS: TESTING THE 16 CATALINA – MARK BARGENQUAST

I must admit I am a longtime fan of spin reels, once upon a time bait casters were my favorite and in certain applications they still are, especially for pinpoint accuracy and direct feel when presenting a lure in a tight estuary but the many years of offshore pelagic spinning I soon learnt spin reels were it!

Quite often while hunting around the bay for pelagics long range casts are necessary and can be the difference between success and failure, finicky tuna and even trevally on the flats can be very boat shy and getting upwind and drifting, waiting for the chance to get a long cast at feeding fish can be both exciting and frustrating! This is without doubt the realm of the spin reel!

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Recently I received a sample of the new daiwa 16 catalina in a 4000H size, it’s a standard 4000 sized spin reel with the H standing for high speed and it surely is fast with a gear ratio of 5.7 to 1 on the 4000 sized spool it can really move a popper or stickbait without much effort for the angler!

First impressions for me that it was a different colored saltiga and indeed most parts have the legendary saltiga heritage and strength. The reel comes in a charcoal color with dark bronze and silver bling, matched with a generous hyperlon ball handle it presents well, as usual it has the daiwa mag seal bearing system for longevity.

I spooled the reel with 300 meters of J-Braid after running some backing on the spool first, remember when spooling any spin reel it is a good idea to wind a layer of mono onto the spool base to add some fill and grip to the spool core, generally speaking run a ruler along the side of the spool from the lip to the rear edge and the line should be about a millimeter or less from touching the ruler, this will give you maximum castability and best drag performance, a low spool will drastically reduce you range when casting long distances by as much as 30 %.

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I only had one spare rod a Black Label rated to 9 kg, 7 foot 6 inchs on the old scale but a very capable casting stick for tuna. Now for an on water test, heading up the bay early in the morning we found plenty of mac tuna schools, knocking over half a dozen on plastics and over there stickbaits was great fun but certainly no match for the catalina reel. We kept heading north, both my son and I catching macs until we found some longtails righ at the top of fraser.

End results were great landing 3 longtails to 12 kg, the last one took the lure at the rod tip and with a cranked up drag the fish had no chance, I certainly have no hesitation to rack a 16 catalina next to my saltiga when heading offshore!