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Reel Review

Wicked style, the limited edition Daiwa Black Widow II (continued)

Retrieve: The BWII is able to take in 28 inches of line per crank, which is considerably more than the previous generation reel which sported a slower 5:2.1 ratio. There was a time when 6:3.1 was considered blazing fast, but with new “burner” class reels popping up from other manufacturers like Shimano and Quantum, 6:3.1 is becoming more and more mainstream. During my tests I found the reel reasonably good at towing plastics and jigs, and excellent for retrieving jerkbaits and deep diving cranks. At first our test reel felt very slick when retrieved, as if the reel is almost excessively lubricated. After a few days the reel started to feel more accurate, and more refined.


The oversized clutch bar is easy to engage

The reel feels more powerful than the SOL or Fuego, and is a better choice when targeting larger species like Stripers and Reds. During the test I hooked into a six pound largemouth on a Norman DLN while deep cranking. Bringing the fish up was quick and easy with the BWII’s self-assured retrieve. Since I was already used to fishing the other Advantage reels the BWII felt right at home. It did feel a tad smoother than the standard Advantage, but definitely a couple levels below the HST model.

A wide body makes it effortless to feather the spool

When it comes to drags Daiwa’s latest generation of reels offer an excellent balance of stopping power and elegance. Some companies boast extreme counter pressure, but we find it is usually at the expense of refinement. While it is true that some competing reels deal out higher numbers the drag is choppy under pressure, so much so that the jerking is enough to drop slack line and potentially lose fish. This isn’t the case with the BWII which exhibited 9.1lbs of smooth drag counter pressure in our lab tests, which is more than enough for largemouth bass and most stripers.


Like the other Advantage reels some porting is done on the front of the reel fro weight reduction. This reel weighs exactly the same as the HST


The drag star is composite like the Advantage and Coastal...only if it was aluminum and anodized orange, that would be sweet


The handle is also the stamped versus forged handlel


Unscrew the locking knob and the sideplate is free to rotate off the palming side of the reel


Rotate down and the plate comes off to expose the spool


A look inside reveals the bright orange spool

Ergonomics: The previous generation Black Widow was a mainstream-value reel. Priced aggressively the prior reel featured utilitarian ergonomics, with an emphasis on function over form. The original was easy to fish, but not all that comfortable to palm, since the reel featured more sharp angles and an upright stance when mounted on most reel seats. In stark comparison the low sitting Black Widow II has the same stealthy feel as the other Advantage reels, and while it does not completely vanish under your palm, like the TD Sol, it is comfortable to palm all day. With smooth sloping angles and a low profile the BWII remains conformable even when ripping jerkbaits.


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