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Reel Review

The Surprising Daiwa Ballistic EX Spinning Reel (continued)


Bail Operation: The Ballistic EX 2500H's bail trip mechanism is a tapered ridge molded right into the reel's body that forces a lever inside the rotor to slide up and flip over as it approaches and eventually passes the ridge while you spin the handle. It is a very reliable trip design, and not quite as abrupt as some others I've fished in the past that do not feature the taper.

Bail operation during a cast is fine thanks to Daiwa's latest design.

Line Twist: The inevitability with all spinning gear and the downfall of reels with this design is line twist. The Ballistic EX 2500H was average in this regard. I didn't feel it was exceptional at avoiding line twist, but it wasn't horrible either.

The Ballistic spinning reels are full of features we score like bearings under the spool and another in the spool itself.

Features: What makes the Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H worthy of consideration are not the list of standard features we look for in our scoring matrix, but rather the intangibles - especially the frame and sideplate material. Going back to our scoring matrix, this reel has not one, but two bearings supporting the spool, no bearing at the line roller, what Daiwa is referring to as a waterproof drag, not just water resistant, the usual back play lever, no spare spool and no reel cover in the box.


Unfortunately, Daiwa did not go the extra step and install a bearing in the roller guide.


Another feature worth mentioning for the Ballistic 2500H EX is Daiwa’s inclusion of MagSeal. This new, magnetically charged lubricant seals bearings and moving parts protecting them from dust, debris, and other corrosive elements (like saltwater). We first saw this fluid demonstrated at ICAST 2011 when Daiwa introduced it to their Saltwater spinning reel, the Saltiga, and now the technology finally makes its way over to a smaller, more cross platform reel.


Features Ratings for Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H

Spool Bearing (1-2)
Line Roller Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Water Res Drag(1-2)
Spare Spool (1-2)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Design & Ergonomics: Thanks to the afore mentioned Zaion carbon construction, the Ballistic EX 2500H is relatively light overall and a very comfortable reel to fish. Extension of the index finger towards the top of the spool for feathering the line during a cast is easy, while the handle length is comfortable as is the knob design - I am not a fan of the t-knobs on spinning reels this size, and while Daiwa did go with the traditional "I" style knobs for the 2500 sized Ballistic, they're using more of a lower case "t" design than the obnoxiously oversize standard "T" knobs.

Disassembly is easy if you have the right tools, but how many people have torx screw drivers laying around?

Breaking down this reel for self maintenance is another issue. Daiwa chose to fasten this reel shut with torx screws rather than standard phillips, flathead, or even hex heads. We didn't have a set of torx headed screw drivers at the lab, so I was unable to take this reel apart. Normally, when a manufacturer uses non-standard means fasteners to close part or all of a reel, we'd expect a tool in the box to facilitate maintenance. Daiwa did not include one with the Ballistic EX 2500H.


Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Feathering (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Application: Most seasoned bass anglers, when reaching for a spinning reel have one application in mind - something that has to do with finesse. Realistically, spinning reels are a lot more versatile than that and are more adept at supporting a wide range of applications because of they have far more line capacity than their low profile baitcasting reel counterparts. All one has to do is match the reel up with a properly powered rod, and the application for which the reel is suited are quite vast. Given the Ballistic EX's numbers in our drag tests - with a little more grease to smooth out that drag, this reel's applications are endless.

Spinning reels are really quite versatile and Daiwa's suite of Ballistic spinning reels would make a very worthy arsenal.

Thanks to its frame material and MagSeal construction, we know it's fresh and saltwater safe, so not only is it versatile with applications, but you can use this reel to target any number of species. The only true limitation for this reel out of the box is the lack of a spare spool with a shallower depth for holding finesse lines.

Application Ratings for Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)



Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500H Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A very nicely crafted spinning reel from Daiwa 9.5
Performance This reel was a lot smoother than anticipated 8.0
Price Typical mid-level price 7.69
Features A nice long list of marketed features but no spare spool in the box 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) A good weight and comfortable reel to fish 8.0
Application Spinning reels as a whole are more versatile than casting reels given today's line capacity issues 8.4

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:


+ Corrosion "proof" frame and sideplate material - No Shallow Spool Option
+ Surprisingly Smooth - No Spare Spool
+ Double bearing support for spool - No bearing on the line guide

Conclusion: Spinning gear gets a bum rap amongst bass fishermen. It's not as slick and svelte as casting gear and its presentation, for the uninitiated, is not as precise. Realistically, if you can get over the "uncool" look of spinning gear and learn how to feather your cast, there's not much you can do with casting gear that you cannot do with spinning. Line twist and the difficulty in storing combos in your rod locker not withstanding.

Spinning gear gets a bum rap. I love fishing with light gear and light line especially when smallies are biting and the Ballistic EX is a fun reel to use!


Combine the utility of spinning, with the comfortable, smooth reeling performance of a reel like Daiwa's new Ballistic EX and you have the makings of favorite workhorse class of reel. Throw in a spare, shallow spool option in this package and Daiwa would have a real winner in its lineup.


Looking for a Daiwa Ballistic EX spinning reel? Try one of these reputable sources!


TackleWarehouse : Hi's Tackle Box Shop : Monster Fishing Tackle










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