Daiwa Pixy Epiphany : PX68/68L SPR
Total Score: 6.91 - FAIR
Introduction: With the arrival of Daiwa's PX Type R on US Shores late in 2011, all was supposed to be right in the finesse casting world. Daiwa Japan had finally relinquished their strangle hold on the Pixy and allowed Daiwa USA to import the reel with a few tweaks to make it their own. But as plans were being finalized and the PX Type R started rolling off the assembly line, Daiwa Japan had another trick up their sleeves. Yes, the company now infamous for offering iteration after iteration of the same platform had done it again. They went and developed a new iteration of the Pixy platform, but this time it featured something the company had not previously attempted in a bass sized baitcaster. This new Pixy was being made with centrifugal brakes! Could it really be? And if so, why?!? Here now is our look at Daiwa Japan's PX68 SPR.
Daiwa PX68/68L SPR Specifications
||6/100 : 8/80
|Inches Per Turn (IPT) tested
||24" per turn of the handle @ full capacity
|| 5.6 oz (with line)
||3x10x4 (spool), 3x8x4 (sideplate)
||1 bearing, 1 plastic bushing
||50,000 JPY (~$640 @ 78JPY/USD)
Impressions: The PX68 SPR is an interesting departure in Daiwa Japan's casting brake philosophy. Normally relying upon their magnetic brake technology, Daiwa decided to go centrifugal on the SPR to help deliver brake assistance during the early part of the cast.
Daiwa's Liberto Pixy has been the finesse casting standard for years.
Centrifugal brakes work by controlling the spool's speed pretty much from the onset of your cast putting more weight out at the end of the spool and creating rotational resistance. The easiest way to conceptualize this is to think of a figure skater spinning on the ice. Do you notice that during a spin, when they're arms are extended out from their bodies, they slow down, and when they want to gain speed in a spin, they pull their arms in? It is the same principal.
So what were they thinking in making the "SPR"?
In fact, unlike most other reels that feature a series of brakes in a centrifugal set up, the PX68 SPR is just like a figure skater in that there are only two brake arms on the spool. What's more, the brakes are not fixed in or out but rather, are free to slide back and forth depending upon whether your spool is in rotation or not.
A Daiwa with centrifugal brakes? Really?
Frankly, I was rather puzzled at this design decision since the Pixy has traditionally been a finesse casting wonder with performance almost akin to a spinning reel in its ability to cast and pitch lightweight finesse baits. In fact, speaking of pitching, I'm one to favor magnetic brakes in my pitching reels because you essentially have no brake influence during a pitch as the spool does not spin fast enough to push the rotor out towards the magnets. But maybe Daiwa had some other intention behind this reel so naturally I set out to investigate by ordering a PX68L SPR from Jun and Kayo Sonoda at JapanTackle.com so I could fish it side by side with my PX68L to see what differences, if any, I could discern out on the water.
Yes, really ...
Proceed with Caution: The first thing I did when I received my PX68L SPR from JapanTackle
was to open the reel up and have a look at that spool. I was expecting a brake
system similar to what Shimano uses and was prepared to play with the brake
settings only to find out the brakes can't be set. As mentioned above, the brake
blocks slide in and out on their own accord. Yet another adjustment to be made
mentally, no adjustable brakes.
But careful, they're not adjustable and if extended when you put
the sideplate back on, the arms will get bent.
So I put the side plate back on and spun the handle to get a feel for the reel only it started making some noise. Long story short, since the brake blocks are free to slide in and out of their own accord, you need to be extra careful when removing and reinstalling the sideplate. Unbeknownst to me, the brakes were fully extended when I reinstalled the sideplate and I ended up bending the brake arms, damaging the spool! My reel was brand spanking new and now unusable.
Otherwise, it's a familar fit and finish.
I contacted Jun to order another spool, only Daiwa Japan would not allow them to order just the spool. I ended up purchasing a second PX68L SPR so I could get on with the tests! Quite the expensive lesson.
By the way, check out the
reel seat of this rod...
Field Tests: So finally, I was able to spool up my second PX68L SPR with some five pound Sunline Shooter Metan Invisible to match what I had on my standard PX68L and take to the water for a little head to head comparison.
It's Evergreen International's TDC-66MLBF-Pro Stingray 66.
I took a couple of different rods out on this comparison test and swapped reels around on all three sticks to get a feel for the differences in their capabilities. These rods included a Phenix Recon PHX-C683ML, a Daiwa STZ6101MXBA-SPX (the Megatop casting rod), and an Evergreen International TDC-66MLBF-Pro Stingray 66.
The return of the triggerless casting reel seat.
Pitching: One of the first things I did with the PX68L SPR before spooling it up was to spin the spool. You know, the usual test that in the end, really never really tells you anything about the reel's capabilities, but it builds the anticipation and expectations nonetheless. Well, the PX68L SPR's spool spins really easily. So easily in fact I thought it would make an excellent pitching reel.
Spooled with 5lb Sunline Shooter Metan Invisible.
So, I strung it up and checked it out using a quarter ounce casting plug. In the end, I found its pitching capabilities somewhat average and preferred the standard PX68 for these duties.
We had high hopes for pitching performance, but it's pretty
Next Section: The light bulb goes on...