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Reel Review

The Team Daiwa Advantage HSTA, A "Supertuned" Remix (continued)

Ergonomics cont'd: The TD-A series is already on the wide side when it comes to baitcasters and anglers with smaller hands have taken issue with the way these reels palm. The HSTA’s new glossy surface looks great but feels slicker than the previous reels, especially when wet. Other than that the HSTA offers notable improvements in style and ergonomics over it’s predecessors. Gone are the plastic knobs, and the new swept handle and drag star look and feel far more premium. As with the other TD-A variants the reel features a rigid one piece aluminum frame and right sideplate, and a composite one on the cast control side. Though the reel features a large handle the Zillion style drag star helps the reel actually drop in overall weight .1oz below the HST. Of course the TD Sol-like porting in the top of frame doesn’t hurt either.


The clutch has now been finished with chrome as opposed to the raw plastic on the HST


In terms of ergonomics the HSTA will once again remind many anglers of the more expensive Zillion, as the reel makes use of the same styled handle, as well as borrows some of the same colors. In terms of ergonomics there really is no comparison, the Zillion will palm better due to its more compact TD-Z like profile. However looks can be deceiving and the HSTA while wider actually weighs less than the 100HA Zillion by .1oz, and .03oz less than the high speed Zillion 100SHA.


Though wide I was still able to palm the reel reasonably comfortably, while it is no Zillion in terms of ergonomics it certainly can be palmed


Price & Applications: The original HST retailed for only 139 dollars making it a downright bargain when matched up to with other comparable reels. In fact it was 10 dollars less than the Curado SF at the time. Since then the Curado has shot up in price, and the Citica has moved up to position once occupied by the Curado series. While the Citica is a great deal at only 119 dollars, it doesn’t offer all the refinement that the HSTA does, and comes armed with only 3+1 total bearings. If anything the HSTA not just replaces the HST, but actually elevates the profile of the reel series. The HSTA ups the bearing count from 8+1 to a whopping 10+1, and the handle knobs in the HSTA are fully bearing supported.


The traditional knobs now found on so many Daiwa baitcasters


So how much more are anglers willing to pay for the many improvements the TD-A HSTA offers? The handle alone is reason enough for entry level enthusiast to buy this reel, some of which actually swap it out with other higher end Daiwa reels in a effort to gain leverage and power, and even if you don’t buy into the “less wobble” argument lets not forget that the handle just looks plain cool.  Add in the extra bearings, machined component knobs, and weight reduction and you have a package worthy of the “supertuned” moniker.


The TD-Advantage HSTA's more powerful retrieve makes it a good choice as a workhorse reel


All this makes the extra 20 dollars over the previous reel seem like pocket change. For a retail price of 159.99 the HSTA is an even more incredible value than its predecessor. Angler’s that want a reel at the 119 dollar price point where the Citica rests can also consider yet another TD-A variant, the new Tierra. The Tierra features the same basic construction of the HSTA minus four bearings, the supertuning, and features the more traditional handle and drag star.


The HSTA has the features, performance, and style to keep anglers interested in fishing the product over the long haul. Unlike many other mainstream reels of the same price point the HSTA has some enthusiast appeal, and watch out... if you are not into premium reels this is a great starter reel that can start you down that path


Daiwa TDA 153HSTA Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Advantage HSTA offers the overall same build quality as the HST, which was already good. Some minor improvements include machined parts but the overall construction remains the same 9
Performance The HSTA ups the ante when it comes to performance. While it doesn't cast any farther than the original it is able to handle lighter baits better, and it certainly feels more powerful 9
Price Though the price increases 20 dollars overall the original it is hard to ding this reel for it as anglers are getting quite a bit more performance and refinement for such a small premium . When you consider how affordable this reel versus the performance it starts to eat into Zillion space 9.5
Features The HSTA gets bonus points in this category adding a slew of features from weight reduction, added bearings, and the Zillion-like handle 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) The design hasn't changed, and the profile continues to feel wide for some anglers. The reel does shave a tiny amount of weight but it is hardly noticeable 8
Application In terms of applications the reel gets a boost over the original. The reel is more powerful than the HST, but the added refinement makes this a good choice for some finesse work as well. Interestingly the reel has the features and enthusiast appeal to keep anglers interested in fishing the reel, which is unlike many other competing reels which simply get the job done. 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Added features add refinement L Slicker finish looks cool but is slicker when wet
J Still an excellent value L Still same width, which is harder to palm for anglers with small hands
J Plenty of power, long handle  
J Consistent performance  
J Casts light baits surprisingly well  
J Enthusiast appeal at a great price  

The TD-A HSTA has earned the right to bear the “supurtuning” moniker but does so more through material and feature upgrades rather than “tuning” in the traditional sense. The fact that the reel is undoubtedly a more refined reel than it’s predecessor and yet retails for only 20 dollars more is impressive in itself, but what really won us over was what an overall stunning package the new HSTA represents. Here is a mainstream priced reel that has the look of an enthusiast offering, performs consistently, and is a great choice for a workhorse reel. Unlike most workhorse reels the TD-A HSTA has the style and refinement to keep anglers interested and even dare I say, energized, to fish this product. Most reels at this price point simply get the job done, and while they do, they certainly don’t do much to inspire the enthusiast (or what I call the little “Cal”) in all of us. Sure it may not be as palmable or as refined as other Daiwa reels, but remember the price point. So good is this new reel that some anglers will opt to save some money over the Zillion and pick up a HSTA as their choice workhorse reel. We are not saying that the HSTA is a Zillion, certainly not in terms of ergonomics, but it is surprisingly close in both feel and performance, making it is a good thing for the Zillion that the HSTA is not yet available in a 7.1:1 burning retrieve or that gap would further narrow. Anglers looking for a well rounded Daiwa lineup will do just fine with a Steez for finesse and the Advantage HSTA for power applications. Daiwa does it again with the TD Advantage HSTA, and with the latest improvements have managed to turn what was once a great value reel into an “Editors Choice,” with a proper remix that takes into account price, performance, and a little enthusiast appeal added in for good measure.


TackleWarehouse has the Team Daiwa Advantage HSTA in stock here











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