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Reel Review

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

Durability: Have you ever noticed how some reels start silky smooth then after only a short amount of time seem to feel grainy? While sometimes foreign material can enter a reel and cause damage to the gear surface the majority of the time the roughness is simply caused by wear and tear on gears that are either too soft or do not boast tight tolerances between components. This isn’t a problem with the BWII which makes use of oversized precisely machined bronze gears. The frame should also hold up nicely being constructed out of aluminum stock, except on the takedown plate. The only possible problem area is the black paint on the reel, but throughout our tests we didn’t see any reason for concern. The reel survived nicely through our abuse, and while we didn’t notice any boat rash only time will tell, and we will revisit the permanence of the finish after a full season of use.


Out in the open you can see the magnetic ring half of the Magforce-Z system

Price & Applications: Other than its sinister good looks the Black Widow really didn’t differentiate itself from it’s siblings in terms of performance. Which really isn’t a bad thing, considering the Advantage reels already delivered solid performance, especially when you considering the price. The BWII is slightly more refined than the original Advantage, and it has a certain enthusiast appeal to it, partly because it resembles the import Presso in finish. In terms of applications the BWII will dole out plenty of performance. The quick 6:3.1 retrieve allows anglers to work a great variety of lures. I would consider the gearing “powerful,” and should be able to handle most freshwater fish. Best of all the multi-disk Daiwa wet drag is extremely smooth, even under duress.

The other side has a bearing and pin that separates from the master gearing on outcast

Turning to the issue of price, the BWII is priced at 119.99 retail. This is 20 dollars more than the TD Advantage, and 20 dollars less than the HST. Sandwiched right in the middle the only real difference between the Black Widow II and the others is a single bearing, and slick cosmetics. If you are looking for the best deal when it comes to the best “bang for the buck” you will want to stick with the sub 100 dollar original Advantage (TDA150H). However if you are looking for something unique, the 20 dollar premium isn’t so hard to stomach. To draw a parallel the new reel isn’t like a BMW M3 versus a 3 Series, in which the M3 features a super tuned engine with performance to match. Instead this offering is more like a special trim car, like a Limited Edition Honda Accord, which features mostly cosmetic difference like limited edition interior trimmings.


Another angle of the spool


The Black Widow is comfortable to palm


The familiar Daiwa grips found on so many of the company's baitcasters


Got a lunker on the line? The Black Widow II is ready for the challenge



Daiwa Black Widow II Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solid construction just like the Advantage. The look and feel of this reel is very good. Would have loved to see the metal drag star on the HST make it to this reel, if it was also anodized orange that would have been a big plus! 8.5
Performance Not as refined as higher end Daiwa reels but offers plenty of performance for the money. Slightly smoother than a standard Advantage. Magforce-Z is excellent, and offers a wide range of minute cast control settings 8
Price A reasonable price for a quality reel. While it isn't the best value if you look at the original Advantage it is a good deal for a hard to find reel like this 9
Features The Black Widow is sandwiched right in between the original Advantage and the HST supertuned model. While it has all the normal features it would have been outstanding if Daiwa found some way to implement the flipping switch found in the prior Black Widow reel 8
Design (Ergonomics) The design can be likened to a slightly larger Sol...just like the other Advantages. The reel sits low on most reel seats and is easy and comfortable to palm 9
Application This reel can handle most freshwater species without any problem. It is not as well suited for straight up salt as the Coastal so it isn't quite the crossover reel, but keep it in fresh and brackish water and it will do just fine 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Wicked good looks L Wish it was based on the Advantage HST
J Great construction L Hard to find
J Good Value, reasonable price  
J Limited look and feel  

Conclusion: Style is what the Daiwa Black Widow II is all about. I would have loved to see Daiwa further super-tune the HST model and make that into a limited edition Black Widow reel, but then it probably would have deviated too greatly from the original Black Widow which represented a solid balance of features and price. Interestingly the Black Widow II is relatively hard to find. While it has popped up at shows and on the shelves of some regional stores, for the most part is not offered by the major e-tailors. This fact alone will make the reel all the more appealing for collectors. To break it down, Daiwa basically took an already quality reel and made it a tad bit better functionally, and quite a bit dissimilar aesthetically…the result is a “wicked” looking reel that should appease Daiwa fans looking for something a little more distinctive in the mainstream space.












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