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Reel Review

Lock and Load with the Daiwa T3 T-Wing System (continued)


Casting: When you first see the T3 in pictures it looks like just the very front of the reel opens up to reveal the unconventional levelwind system. In reality the flip up section of the system is directly connected to the clutch switch and rocks back and forth as a single component. Within the first few casts I could immediately sense just how different the T3 functions when cast. Even with short lob casts the line is able to flow in a much more natural way off the spool both up and to the left and right, and the result is an eerily “free” feeling cast. At first it feels like the reel is going to backlash more easily because line flows at startup with reduced friction off the spool but the MagForce 3D system applies ample pressure on the spool, making casts consistent and more predictable.


The T3 locked in open position for the cast...


The Magforce 3D offers 20 different setting in 3 modes (Max brake, All Around, and Long Cast mode). I found that when fishing weightless plastics the All Around Mode was perfectly good and that Max brake significantly reduced casting distance. The only time that Max Brake settings really made sense during testing were when there was a very strong headwind running perpendicular from the bank. When fishing crankbaits or jerkbaits the Long Cast mode was preferable and delivered effortless casts to cover more water. Overall the system works well and offers a higher range of settings than most anglers will ever need or even want.   


...when casting line comes up and out of the center of the "T" and flows freely in a greater range of angles off the spool


It really takes very little effort to fling heavier reaction style hardbaits. But it isn’t just during long distance casts that the T3 delivers advantages. During short controlled casts or when pitching the line peels off the spool effortlessly and the reduced friction and more flexible approach angle of line exiting the reel allows for the option of a subtle and more delicate presentation.


The bar across the top is designed to hold the line in place during retrieves


The T3 is by nature of the T-Wing design an exceptional pitching reel. Not only is it possible to accurately make those subtle presentations, once the bait is in the water simply pressing down on the T-Wing reengages the reel in a quick single handed operation making it possible to work that bait the split second it touches down.


Fine tuning the MagForce 3D system is possible with one hand via the recessed knob


Retrieve: It is hard to describe just how satisfying flipping open and locking down the T-Wing system is. The reel responds with a very reassuring “click” when engaged in either direction, and when retrieving the reel feels quite smooth. The T3’s spool, pinion, and drive gear are all made in Japan and the use of high quality bearings in key areas helps give the T3 a level of refinement that I feel is on par with the higher end Zillion reels. The Steez still feels more refined and a little smoother to me, part of it may very well be the Zaion versus magnesium frame. While the Zaion does do a very good job ensuring a tight mesh between the gearing it doesn’t necessarily feel like metal and in some ways exhibits a slightly hollow feel when cranking aggressively, but there is no detectable flex whatsoever.


Changes in the master setting is done below the sideplate


Like most other high end Daiwa reels the tolerances are excellent and there is absolutely no give in the anti-reverse. In terms of power the standard 6.3:1 retrieve delivered plenty of winding power for baits and turning fish. Once the T-Wing is reengaged the line drops into the small area of the “T” and the reel feels just like any other low profile baitcaster.


To access the spool there is a quick takedown button


Drag: The T3 features Daiwa’s Ultimate Tournament Drag and in our lab we were able to generate 14.1 lbs of drag pressure out of the reel which is above the reel’s 13.2 lb factory specification. The drag features a micro-click adjustment and I found that I was able to adjust the drag in small increments down to the mid range of the drag spectrum. During tests bass easily succumbed to the drag pressure and the T3 released line appropriately to preserve lighter lb. test fluorocarbon. I hoped to hook into a really big bass or a striper during the field tests to really test the upper end of the T3’s drag but unfortunately I just didn’t have the good fortune in between ICAST and this point.


The non handle sideplate slides open...


Durability: The T3’s T-Wing is probably the biggest area of concern for long term durability, but as expressed earlier this switch is bound to the clutch and a lot simpler than we originally envisioned. Throughout these abbreviated tests the reel has held up very well and in the interest of getting this review out quickly we will return to the long term durability metrics after logging a complete season with this reel. The Zaion construction does provide the benefits of being more corrosion resistant than other lightweight materials, especially magnesium.


...and reveals the MagForce 3D guts

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