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Reel Review


So much Hype - The Beast that is the Daiwa Zillion 2021 (continued)


Real World Tests: Daiwa provided a U.S. spec reel from their pilot run last November for us to test, and since that time we also purchased a left-handed JDM version from Japan Tackle to compare the two reels side by side. Why purchase another reel? While the two regional Zillions share the same exterior there are some significant differences inside, including the choice to use an aluminum gear in the JDM Zillion versus brass gearing in the U.S. model. We fished both the reels fitted on a variety of rods targeting largemouth bass using both reaction and contact baits over the last few months. 


The new Zillion features a much more streamlined design than previous generation


A look at the JDM reel we procured from Japan Tackle... pretty much the same from the outside, just in a left hand retrieve


Casting: Daiwa has equipped the Zillion with a new braking system called the "SV Booster System" which is designed to be a step above the standard SV system found in Tatula Series reels. The primary difference is that the standard system has a one stage system in which the magnetic brake inductor bumps out during the cast applying varying amounts of magnetic brake force throughout each cast. The new system functions the same way but features a dual stage braking system that is supported by an additional spring.


Casting the new Zillion and dialing in the settings


The goal of the SV Booster's two stage system is to deliver an even greater range of magnetic force when the reel spins up at the beginning and during the end of the cast, with the goal of increased casting distance. To further improve casting Daiwa outfits the reel with a G1 aluminum spool that is machined to be thin and light to reduce spool inertia. So how does all this translate to real world performance?


The SV Booster system is designed with an additional stage in an effort to increase casting distance


We are getting to the point where even affordable baitcasters are becoming very good casters. The difference between a value and high-performance baitcasters is more about feel and refinement than sheer maximum distance. When I compared the new Zillion with previous generations and Tatula Elite reels I found that the new Zillion did indeed cast better than those reels but not as much as we expected. Daiwa claims that the casting improvements are up to 15% greater but in settings that I traditionally use, including a Magforce setting of five, I found that the casting distance improvements were closer to 5-8%, which is still impressive. If you fished this reel all day and really dialed in the settings and had ideal wind conditions it may very well be possible to get closer to that 10-15% improvement, but I always advise anglers to try and not fixate on max casting distance but how well the reel casts when really fishing with it.


The casting difference between this and other Zillion reels is noticeable but what I found even more perceivable was the quick startup inertia of the new design, and how easy it was to cast lighter baits


In terms of feel the two-stage system within the SV Booster system is very seamless and I didn't feel the system engage, like a car's transmission switching gears.


What I did notice about the way the Zillion cast is that the startup is definitely lighter and faster with this new reel. This translates to more effortless and accurate casts. The simple flick of the wrist, or smooth sidearm cast, is enough to deliver even light lures a good distance. The new Zillion SV TW can cast the big stuff really well, and has the precision and finesse for bait finesse. 


As with other Daiwa reels equipped with the T-Wing System the line flows freely off the spool in a natural manner, only adding to the reel's ability to cast lighter baits.


The Zillion's SV Boost spool is 34 and made from Duralumin for a light and thin walled design


This spool module weighs in at 12.7 grams


The reel does also come equipped with Daiwa's zero adjustment spool tension knob where anglers are supposed to "set and forget" the knob and rely primarily on the magnetic cast system for adjustments. I personally still like the ability to adjust spool tension on the fly when making major bait changes, and this is still easily done on the Zillion. The knob is basically a flatter, more stealthy, dial and is still easy enough to tweak.... as much as Daiwa states there is no need to. I like the way the system looks and find it just as effective as on previous generation reels.


I've never really bought totally into the Zero Adjuster. While I don't necessarily fiddle with the dial constantly I still find myself making adjustments when making major lure changes

Next Section: A major gear change and pressure angle









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