Daiwa T3- the verdict is in
Honestly, I can’t say that I liked it. Like it doesn’t do it justice. Love is the best way to describe it. I’m not sure that I’m ready to sell my beloved Steez collection and replace it with a stash a T3s but I’m certainly ready to get my hands on one permanently and throw a lot lures with it.
Two days on the water, 26 hours of fishing and 50 plus fish (not all caught on the T3 though) gave me the chance to give this new silver bit of Daiwa baitcaster wizardry a reasonably roadtest pre-Christmas at Eungella. Do I think they live up to hype? Hell yeah! Would I recommend them as a must have for baitcaster anglers? F-yeah!
Here’s the rundown on my thoughts on the T3.
Size wise they position themselves just a little bit larger than a Steez, Alphas, and Pixy, but they still remain an easily palmable reel. It easily fitted in my small hands the same way the afore mention three reels do. One small change I had to make was with the position of my thumb on my left hand when holding the reel. Why I hear you ask. Well it’s because the right hand side plate has one of its three retention screws sitting right where I usually put my thumb when holding a baitcaster. Not to much of problem it you’re only fishing for a few hours, but over a longer period of time it results in a sore thumb. It did for me anyway. A slight adjustment in holding position and all was good.
Weight wise it’s not the lightest reel available, a Steez and Pixy are lighter, but then you’re dealing with reels that are made from lighter material (Steez- magnesium & freshwater only) and with different purposes in mind, i.e. the Pixy is a finesse reel. And of course weight isn’t everything, balance and function are both far more important, and the T3 gets ticks in both these boxes.
Getting a Handle On It
The swept handle adds to the balance of the reel when cranked and adds a sense of style while the large ratchet star drag not only looks super modern but delivers precise drag setting and control. Ratcheting up the drag isn’t just a figure of speech with the T3, the drag actually clicks as you turn that space aged star drag. How’s the drag under load? Excellent. The days of stutterery single washer drags are long gone with the T3, and worked flawlessly even when I cranked it up when I was fishing tight in the trees. Would it have that new just out of the box operation after a year on the water? There’s only one way to find out I guess. So I better get fishing.
Closing the Lid
Most baitcasters require the handle to be turned to reengage the reel after cast it, but with the T3 you can actually manually engage the reel by pushing the T-Wing (aka the bonnet) down with your hand. For me this involved making the cast, feathering the spool towards the end of the cast with my thumb then closing the lid just as the lure pulled up. This approached was mainly used when I was buzzing spinnerbaits through the shallows (one foot of water) and meant that lure was working the minute it hit the water. The manual close approach was also handy when fishing close to structure and targeting fish that were inclined to take the lure as soon as it hit the water or right at the start of the retrieve, namely in the first couple of cranks.
Seeing is Believing
A lot has been stated about the Magforce 3D cast control system since it was introduced in the Z2020, and rightly so. Are the three different settings (Maxbrake, Allround and Longcast) just different shades of the same or do they show a distinct difference in behaviour? It’s definitely the later. It’s just like driving a car in 1st, 3rd, and 5th. All three a different and all designed for a specific purpose. I used the Allround when throwing non aerodynamic crankbaits into a 30knot southeaster, then switched to the Longcast when fishing down wind. In most cases I could achieve the same control with other reels when using a carefully placed thumb and careful rod work, but I definitely couldn’t achieve the same cast distance, and with same level of ease. And it’s the ease in using the reel and the reduction in casting effort that comes with T3 that I see as its biggest advantage.
The T-Wing system is the driving force behind this reduction of effort. On the cast line is no longer choked through a small line guide on the reel but instead feeds out through a jumbo sized guide with the greatest of ease. Casts are easier to make and cast distance increases. What’s not to like. Every silver lining has a cloud though and the only short coming that I managed to discover was with regard to leader knots and the T-level Wind Guide and Stabilizer Bar. What the hell is he talking about? Is what you’re thinking, right?
Let me explain. On the retrieve the line feeds onto the spool passing through the bottom of the T-Wing Level Wind as it goes. As it passes over the rear of the T-Wing Level Wind on its way to the spool it runs underneath the Stabilizer Bar (it pops up and down with the T-Wing System). The gap is only the small and if you run a long leader that sees you leader knot get wound onto the spool then you have a problem. I was using a 12lb leader, which isn’t overly huge, but it did create a problem. You could hear the leader knot hit each time you wound it through and after a while the knot failed. The problem was an easy fix, just shorten the leader. Which I did. It really isn’t a problem just something you need to be aware of if you’re not fishing straight through and if you like using long leaders.
What Use Did It Get
Application wise I used the T3 on most of my fav sooty techniques, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and lipless where all thrown with it. I fished it on three different rods, a Steez Topgun (1/2oz spinnerbaits in the shallows), Steez Machine Gun Type 1 (crankbaits in the timber), and Steez Flogger (3/4oz spinnerbaits on deep trees). All three matched perfectly and were well balanced to the rods, as you’d expect.
The Flogger in particular was a standard out, with the Longcast option selected on the reel and long searching casts through the deep trees (30 plus feet of water) allowing plenty of water to be cover.
What line did I spool the reel up with, 30lb Daiwa Shinobi PE.
Where Does It Fit
Where would I slot the T3 in my baitcaster collection and what would I primarily use it for. Well I’d use it for everthing. If I had to be pushed on the point though I’d say ratio wise (6.3:1) it’s probably a bit to fast for my slow bass crankbaiting, but is ideal for my sooty crankbait work where I’m more inclined to throw larger cranks than when bassing, and the need for slow and steady is less of an issue. As a spinnerbait reel it’s one of the best that I’ve used, and I’m counting the days already for when I can throw spinnerbaits with it at Eungella again. It makes the job of making repeated casts in quick succession super easy (I think T.Namiki calls this machine gun casting- I can at least dream that I’m half way as good as him).
And that’s the thing that I love so much about this reel, it makes the job of casting lures so easy. And when you have a tool that makes your job easier than before then you’ll find yourself wanting to use that tool more and more. And that’s definitely how I feel about the T3.
If you get a chance give one a go, you wont be sorry.