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Enthusiast Review


Daiwa Japan's SS SV : A Steez in Disguise? (continued)

 

Casting Range: If one needs an idea of how important finesse fishing is in Japan, one only need to look at the emphasis Daiwa places in making its high end, low profile baitcasting reels capable of casting baits lower than one quarter of an ounce. The limited edition, supertuned TDZ Type R and Type R+ were all about this capability via their tuned rotors and the original Steez 103HL was simply a production version of the TDZ Type R+. The trouble was, that Type R+ tuned rotor was very temperamental, and, as we came to find out, brake performance from reel to reel was inconsistent. Those spools were difficult to tame at times.


A close look at the reel's pinion and main gear interaction.

Enter Daiwa's new SV spools - lighter overall, with a very light action spring on the rotor resulting in similar performance to the Type R+ spools in terms of a low weight threshold for casting, but with better consistency and manageability overall.


The real story behind this reel is Daiwa's new SV Spool that allows the SS SV to cast baits like an unweighted Jackall Cross Tail Shad.

Case in point? For testing purposes, I took my SS SV off the 852C NRX and mounted it on my Daiwa Steez AGS spinning rod. I then tied on a bare Owner Mosquito hook and nose hooked a Jackall Crosstail Shad leaving it unweighted. With this setup, and the SS SV's casting brakes turned all the way down, I was able to cast the unweighted finesse plastic a good 45 to 50 feet! This was with 12lb fluorocarbon mounted on the reel. Imagine the performance with quality 6lb monofilament!


The exterior dial has 10 points of adjustment.

Brakes: The SS SV comes with Daiwa's standard Mag Force Z braking system with 10 points of adjustment. The important aspect of this reel's braking system is that feathery sensitive rotor on the new SV spool. It takes very little effort to get that rotor moving meaning even at lower speeds, that rotor is coming out to engage with the magnets in the reel's sideplate to help control your cast.


There is one bearing and one bushing per knob.

Features: Sharing the same shape and size as its more expensive sibling the Steez, the SS SV comes with a different spool and Zaion sideplates. The brake system is adjustable from the outside, and the reel comes with one levelwind bearing, one bearing and one bushing per knob, a micro-click adjustable dragstar, no reel cover, and no vial of oil in the box.

 


It still comes with a bearing to support the levelwind worm gear.

 

Features Ratings for Daiwa SS SV 103H/L

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
2
2
2
2
1
1
10
14
7.14

 

Design & Ergonomics: Handle lengths are interesting. At one point, an 80mm handle length was a nice, standard length. Now more and more manufacturers are offering 84mm and longer handles on their low profile baitcasting reels. We like longer handles for added leverage and it also, somehow, makes the knobs easier to find with your free hand after the cast.


The main gear is made of aluminum no doubt to save weight.

Knobs on the SS SV are standard Daiwa "I-Knobs", palming of the reel is very comfortable and the SS SV's overall weight is excellent. The reel is simple to breakdown for maintenance and reassembly goes just as smoothly.

 

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Daiwa SS SV 103H/L

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
2
4
5
5
4
20
25
8.0

 

Application: The SS SV is actually everything I had hoped the Steez would become. Daiwa's focus for their flagship Steez was to showcase their ability to make a fast reel. Each successive year, they seemed to increase the gear ratio for that reel when what I was really hoping for was a low speed option to round out the line's utility.


Daiwa's SS SV comes in three retrieve ratios and makes for an excellent workhorse reel.

They accomplish this with the SS SV. It comes in the three workhorse retrieve ratios, 5.3:1, 6.3:1, and 7.1:1. It is light weight, super easy to palm, and able to cast super light lures. It is the epitome of an all purpose suite of reels in a comfortable size and weight to fish all day long, several days in a row. Do keep in mind, it is safe to use in freshwater only.

 

Application Ratings for Daiwa SS SV 103H/L

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
4
5
4
2
4
19
25
7.6

 

Ratings:

Daiwa SS SV 103H/L Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solid, just as expected 9.0
Performance Drag and power were about average but high marks elsewhere in performance 7.6
Price For those missing a mid range non t-wing reel from Daiwa, this could be it 7.5
Features The SV rotor makes a difference 7.14
Design (Ergonomics) If you like the Steez, you'll like this reel 8.0
Application A really good, light weight, all purpose option 7.6

Total Score

7.81
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:

Plus

Minus
+ A less expensive Steez - JDM Only - for now
+ SV rotor makes a difference with light baits  
+ Excellent price point for a reel like this  

  

Conclusion: Perhaps because the manufacturer borrowed the form factor from their pre-existing flagship, Daiwa's SS SV seemed to debut very quietly in Japan in 2014. Maybe we just didn't notice. After fishing this reel for a couple of months, and especially considering it can currently be found for under $300 at JapanTackle, there needs to be more talk about this reel.


The SS SV is essentially a stropped down Steez, and a fun reel to fish.

Bottom line for the SS SV from Daiwa is a reel that scored 0.18 points shy of "GREAT" and a reel that is available in all the retrieve ratios we wish could have been offered in the Steez, has a less finicky brake system than the original Steez, and is better able to handle light baits than the current Magforce Z Steez reels. Essentially a stripped down version of its Flagship sibling, the SS SV is very comfortable to hold and fish all day long, and best of all, right now, this reel is at available at a very good price point. Will Daiwa USA bring it into their USDM lineup? We'll find out in a few weeks at ICAST 2015!

 

 

 

 

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