Sunday, June 26, 2011

Upgrading a Daiwa Saltist

I have been wanting to post this since I bought my Daiwa Saltist 20H but somehow I always get sidelined with other things. Anyway, here it is and I hope it will help other anglers who are using the same reel.

When Daiwa said it's Saltist is a full metal reel, it's not entirely true. There is one plastic part -- a spool shaft bearing. But that's not a problem. Mine had one which I upgraded to a Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearing (CRBB). In addition to that plastic part, I also upgraded the crappy drag washer to Smoothdrag Carbontex and some Cal's Drag grease.

The process is pretty simple, first remove the non-handle side plate where the centrifugal brakes are located. Then remove the spool. Then, remove the power handle and then then the drag star. Once the drag star is removed, remove the screws on the handle-side side plate. If you look inside this side plate, you will see a white plastic bushing that supports the spool shaft. I removed the retainer spring and removed the spool tension knob from the other side and pushed the bushing out from that side using a q-tip or small screw driver. Once removed, I replaced the bushing with a 3mm x 8mm x 4mm CRBB that I got from the spool of another Daiwa Reel that I upgraded to Abec 7 Ceramic. I oiled the bearing and then pushed the bearing in, and then place the retainer spring back to the original position.

Once done with the bearing upgrade, I then removed the drag washers. The first generation Daiwa Saltist reels have felt washers and they are rough and dry and can damage the metal washers. Aside from that, these washers are jerky under load. The best upgrade is to replace those washers with Carbontex washers. I ordered mine online from The second generation Saltist reels have carbontex washers on the main gear but the washer under the main gear is still the old felt material so you need to upgrade that to Carbontex.

Before installing, I  put a thin coat of Cal's drag grease (also available at on all the drag washers. I cleaned the rest of the internals and then sprayed a thin coat of Silicone oil for salt protection. I just made sure that none of the oil got into the drag stack. Silicone oil is very smooth and slippery and can reduce the drag rating if it gets into the washers.

After oiling the bearings, I then re-assembled the reel.

In about 15minutes, I'm done.

What can I say about the reel? It's now all metal! Except of course for the paddle on the power handle which can be upgraded to an all aluminum round version. The reel is very smooth, solid and versatile. The centrifugal brakes allow you to use this reel as a Surf casting reel for throwing baits long distances. The only complaint I have about the Saltist is that it doesn't come in Left hand versions. It feels tougher than Shimano's Torium or other similar Shimano offering. Toriums are full of plastics and despite that fact,  they are still so overpriced. After heavy use, you can feel that the reel with plastic parts will lose smoothness. For me,  you can't beat the Saltist at that price.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eging (Squid Fishing) in Subic Bay

This coming Monday is a Public Holiday in PH and that means it's a long weekend and lots of time to fish. We were planning to go to Calatagan Batangas to try Anglers' Hideaway fishing pond and also to fish the nearby reef. Fellow anglers would like to test popping the reef while I would like to try eging or squid fishing as I recently acquired a size 1500 Team Daiwa Advantage reel and got a couple of Japanese egi jigs from overseas courtesy of Shakespear (Chris). Unfortunately, a typhoon also got interested with the long weekend and made it's way from Mindanao up to North. By estimate, it would arrive in Batangas Saturday and fishing will be impossible. So we cancelled the Batangas trip and hurriedly decided to to further north to Subic to avoid the storm. My estimate is that the storm would not arrive until the afternoon of Saturday.

To get more fishing time, we left Manila 2am and arrived Subic 4:30. When we got there, the signs of the impending storm is all over. The moon is barely visible due to the rain clouds. Bong, Miko, and RC quickly got to work and chucked their DIY poppers using 8ft popping rods and size 8000 Shimano reels. Me, I started with micro spoons, jigs, and poppers. No takers on any of the poppers and my micro lures. To make matters worse, I kept on getting tangles on my braid because I again overfilled the spool. After removing excess line, I got to tune the reel. By 8am, still no signs of fish. No feeding activities whatsoever.

By 10 am, we only got a small bagaong and a couple of small trevallies. I decided to abandon other lures and concentrated with Eging. At first no takers on the squid jigs in natural, blue, and purple. I remembered the tip from the Yozuri youtube channel to use pink when the day is cloudy and the water is turbulent. I got my small pink jig and after 5 casts, a solid pull and squid on.

On the same spot squids kept on attacking the jig but most of them are small and all I landed were pieces of tentacles that got pulled out from the squids. By lunchtime, it started pouring and the water turned cloudy. By then, the squids stopped biting. If there was no rain, there could have been more squids landed. At around 1pm the rain poured without letup. We were so drenched and decided to call it a day. 
After the trip, I got one trevally (released) and four squids for my wife.

The squidding combo I used was a Daiwa E-GEE 80ML and a Team Daiwa Advandtage 1500 loaded with 15lb powerpro and 12lb Yozuri Flouro. I realized that the eging-specific gear really improves the chances of catching squid as it imparts the correct action to the squid jigs. The really light flourocarbon leader is also an advantage. I was using 15lb but the recommended is around 6-8lbs. Other anglers who were with me tried casting squid jigs on the same spot but got no takers. They were using heavy leaders and slightly stiffer rods. Another thing, the size and color of squid jigs are important depending on the condition of the area. It is possible to catch them without eging-specific gears but there are higher chances with the correct gear. I will again try eging hopefully in Batangas. I just hope the weather will cooperate.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Will It Stop?

Buying rod and reels, that is.

A newbie will ask what gear would be a good starter kit and people would instantly advise that a 2000-2500 spinning reel matched to a 6'6" rod should be the best starter kit. After the first kilo of fish caught with the new gear, the newbie will go berserk and go on a shopping spree for rods and reels, which most often than not, will rarely be used. Spinning reel, then baitcasting reel, trolling reel, then jigging reel and so on and so forth. After a hard look of the accumulated rod, reels, accessories, and tons of lures,  the guy/gal will realize that he/she doesn't have a single clue how the stuff performed because, after a few use, he/she has not caught a single shit of a fish --- and that is a fact. Which is a good thing for prospective buyers lurking on fishing forums.

The reason I rant about this is because that is what exactly is happening to me. It seemed that after a few weeks or months of purchase, I wanted more. When I was just starting, I got this el-cheapo spinning reel from local shop. After a while, I got hooked to fishing and bought a couple of JDM spinning reels. Then, I got exposed to BC and sold my spinning reels and got myself an Abu Revo SX. Then I realized that I need a salt-worthy casting reel, and bought a Revo Inshore. Then, after a few weeks, I convinced myself that I need a heavier gear and got a total of 3 Avet reels in less than six months. Got myself a couple of SX reels and one MXJ. Then without even using them, I sold them all. I got a Daiwa Saltist 20H and a matching rod. After buying the combo, it sat there rarely getting time on the water. Then I got a few Curados and some Daiwas. Then, just a few weeks ago, I got back to spinning combos. Kinda odd since I vowed not use a spinning reel a year back.

Before all of these reels, I was using the el-cheapo Daiwa Apollo 4000 reels and matching Apollo rod, I was happy catching fish once a week with that gear. But then I got exposed to a few fishing forums. That's when things got really out of hand. True, I learned a lot from forums but I also started the never ending obsession with new gears. Maybe forums on fishing are driving this sickness? If I stop visiting forums, will the obsession die down? I wonder.

I remember a story from another angler way back. He heard a theory from a Malaysian angler explaining the behavior. It goes something like this.

Anglers will obsess on buying gears when they get limited time on the water.

That makes perfect sense! Combine that with too much time on forums and you will get an armchair angler with almost no time on the water, buying gears left and right!

So, if you feel  that you are starting to become obsessed on gears, stay away from the computer, go out the door and fish!