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Enthusiast Review

The Two Faces of Ryoga : Daiwa Japan's 1016HL (continued)

Drag: The Ryoga 1016HL is rated at five kilograms of maximum drag pressure. That equates to roughly eleven pounds. On our drag machine, we were able to consistently hit the ten pound mark before the 14lb Polyamide Plus would snap. Not a great indication for the line, but a very good one for the reel and close enough to the factory spec for us to believe the rating.

A look a the Ryoga's swept handle.

Out on the water, unfortunately, I was unable to catch anything to really put this drag to the test, so instead, I backed off on the drag just to test smoothness of operation and found the 1016HL has a very smooth drag. The only oddity? This reel has a clicker, so when line is being pulled out, the reel makes a very audible sound akin to a spinning reel only louder. And because that clicker is so prominent, the entire reel vibrates in your hand when the drag is being pulled out. I couldn’t get used to that, so I tightened the drag back up!

This reel might be compact, but it packs a punch!

Retrieve: The Ryoga 1016HL is the high speed version of this reel and is specified with a retrieve ratio of 6.3:1. The low speed version of this reel comes with a 5.4:1 retrieve ratio. The outside diameter of the Ryoga’s spool is just about one and a quarter inches so if you fill the spool to capacity, you can expect about 24.75” of return per rotation of the handle on the high speed and 21.21” or return per rotation of the handle on the low speed. This is with the spool filled to the max and barely any line out of the spool, so realistically it will be less.

Retrieve is rated at 67cm or 26.4 inches - we calculated it out to 24.75 inches per turn of the handle on a full spool.

I tested the 1016HL back at the lab with just under an eighth of an inch showing from the top of the line to the edge of the spool and got about twenty two inches of return per crank of the handle.

The Ryoga resembles a fine piece of machinery more than it does a fishing reel.

Otherwise, as one might expect, the Ryoga 1016HL is a very smooth reel benefitting from two bearings under each knob. Interesting bit here though is when you spin the knobs, they don’t rotate as freely as other knobs supported by two bearings each so I thought these were supported by only bushings. However, a quick pop of the end cap and disassembly of the knob revealed there are indeed, two bearings under the knob.

The 1016 size is equivalent to the discontinued Millionaire in the 100 size.

Design/Ergonomics: The Ryoga 1016HL tips the scales at nine ounces. You could have fooled me. It is the lightest nine ounce reel I have ever held in my hands. Maybe because of its form factor or the fact it feels like a piece of machinery in your hands rather than a fishing reel, but for some reason, the weight of this mini-me like reel has no affect on me out on the water and I’m usually an advocate of going as light as you can with a fishing reel.

It is very easy to palm.

With that in mind, you can imagine the 1016HL is an extremely comfortable reel to fish, but keep in mind, I’m a big fan of round reels. If you are not, you will likely find this reel a tad cumbersome. Nothing short of a 50-sized round reel will suffice for folks who are adamant about low profile reels.

And super comfortable to hold and fish with all day.

Availability: If you’re familiar with ordering reels from overseas, then the entire line of Ryoga reels are easily sourced from traditional vendors. However, if you’re a little hesitant and/or just like the option of ordering from a traditional brick and mortar store, Hi’s Tackle Box in South San Francisco, California carries this reel periodically and can easily ship it to your location.


Daiwa Japan Ryoga 1016HL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Hard to imagine they come any more solidly built than the Ryoga 10
Performance Better the second time around 8.5
Price With the current exchange rate, no enthusiast reel worth having is going to score well here... just the same, it is 33% more expensive than the Pluton 2
Features External Cast Control, Machine Frame, 13lbs of drag... 9
Design (Ergonomics) Like a fine piece of machinery rather than a fishing reel 9
Application From pitching to casting, this reel can handle it 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ Surprisingly more comfortable to fish than the larger size - It doesn't fee like it, but this reel is heavy - we didn't notice, but you might
+ Heavy but somehow doesn't feel like it - Thanks to a poor exchange rate, this reel is prohibitively expensive
+ If you like round reels, you will love this gem - Not a fan of that clicking drag


Conclusion: The name "Ryoga" is popular in Japanese Anime. At its root it refers to "dual influence" often conflicting in nature. This definition alone almost mirrors my experience with the reel - at first very disappointing, but then, later all together and overwhelmingly positive!


Matched with the Destruction and casting the ima BigStik, well, it's almost unfair - almost.


Maybe it's just the magic of the F6-72DG Destruction, but it's amazing how quickly a product can go from the dog house to TackleTour award honors when fished in the right situation and matched with the right gear. Keeping in mind the likely intent for this product is as a boat reel for saltwater inshore game back in Japan (that would explain the clicking drag), the Ryoga 1016HL is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a rugged, compact casting reel.


Thanks Daiwa for another "Ultimate Enthusiast" quality reel.

I simply cannot get over how comfortable this reel is to fish. I was already a fan of the larger Pluton or Ryoga 2020 reels save for their weight, but I can fish the 1016HL without a second thought to the reel's weight or form factor. Thing is, there's only about an ounce to ounce and half difference between the two sizes. I would expect to the 1016HL to feel cumbersome as well, but that simply is not the case. Something else is at work here, but whatever it is, I really like it. In fact, I like this reel so much, it's skipping over Editor's Choice honors and going straight up Ultimate Enthusiast.

Looking for the Daiwa Ryoga? Try Hi's Tackle Box










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