This is an initial review of my shiny new Daiwa New Era SLR 9ft 6in rod in a 6 weight.
Having broken two rods in less than 6 months I needed a new one to use primarily for boat fishing on stillwaters, but also for bank use. Most of my previous rods have been 9ft and while that’s absolutely fine, I fancied one a tad longer as it gives you a bit more control when boat fishing, so I set my sights on a 9ft 6in rod his time. I do like a fast actioned rod, I loved my Scierra HM3 so needed a suitable replacement. Having had a look round the tackle shops I was particularly impressed with the lightness of the Daiwa 6# in a 9ft and 9ft 6″. Back to back with a number of others I held it felt very light and impressively stiff, the tip recovers very quickly.
So time to have a cast with it. I managed to get a shot of it and the new Daiwa Lexa at the recent Glasgow Angling Centre open day. My initial impressions were so so to be honest, but I think the problem was I was maybe a tad “afraid ” of it. Or was I afraid of having Hywel Morgan studying my casting while I tested? lol who knows. I moved onto the Lexa and it was a bit softer but I have to say very nice and I was soon putting out a good length of dead straight line. Worth mentioning at this point I was trying the #6 rods with #7 lines as most of my existing lines are 7’s and while rated as 6’s these rods are meant to be able to deal with a weight up and down from the rating. No problems on this front. I then tried the SLR again. With a bit more “intent” in my casting. What a revelation. My first cast nearly exited the far end of the casting pool ( careful- there were other people trialling rods there with Scott McKenzie!)
I have to say I loved it. The only problem for me was while the 9ft rod comes with a half wells handle, the 9ft 6″ is a full wells. Obviously this is for sound engineering and ergonomic reasons but for me with my arthritic hands its a problem We have done something about that though.
So whats it like to fish with? Initial impressions are very impressive. When double hauling it puts out the longest length of line I have ever managed, and with nice tight loops. while a little lighter than my previous 7 weights it has plenty of back bone for dragging big flies on sinking lines up from the depths, and being 9 ft 6″ the extra leverage is a help here too.
The rod has titanium lined stripping guides and one feature you may not notice but is apparent when you go to take it down is the unique joint system holding the 4 sections together. It makes for a very smooth transition of taper through the blank. I like the understated black finish in the offset weave carbon. They call this X45 and is supposed to reduce twist in the blank. I don’t know if I stress the rod enough to be able to tell how well this works but the range suggests it does.
It comes in the heaviest rod tube I have ever encountered with a rod bag. It has a cork/composite fighting butt and double uplocking threaded nuts on the reel seat.
So far I am delighted with the rod and will update this page once I have had a few more outings to try it out on.
The only criticism I have at this point in time is the lack of alignment marks on the sections. I feel this is a bit of an oversight, not major but I find it useful on rods that have it.
A year (or so) in review
Having had a season or so with the rod a few observations. This is BY FAR the best rod I have ever owned. I have never been able to cast so far with a rod before. I have on a couple of occasions delivered all but the last 2 metres of my fly line off my reel. A better caster would do this and some backing I am totally sure. While distance isn’t everything, when the fish are well out there is no substitute for being able to reach them than a rod like this. I find it a very forgiving rod, I have rarely had a tailing loop since I got it.
It bends when fighting fish a ridiculous amount. I had a rather large Tiger trout right under the tip on a stalking bug recently and it wasn’t for coming quietly, I thought I would break the rod with the 4lb fish almost at my feet and pulling like crazy- the rod was totally hooped over, it was fine.
It comes to bits easy peasy due to the V section inter connections between the sections. Alignment marks are a little over sight but a tip is the keeper ring is lined up with the main axis of the rod, align your rings to this and you will have no issues.
Only problem I have encountered is with the real seat which has quite a fine thread and two rings, one to lock against the other with a rubber washer between. Care needs to be taken when loosening them that the two rings separate as otherwise if you force it- like I did, you might strip the reel seat thread. It was my own cack-handedness to blame but now I understand the right way to do it I won’t make that mistake again!
Would I have another? In a second! I fancy the 5 weight, 9foot for larger rivers and if I am feeling flush some time in the future will get one.