May 21st, 2014
Daiwa’s New Tatula Reel – Product Reviewby Grant Pentiricci November 14, 2013
Well folks, we FINALLY got our hands on the new Tatula Reel From Daiwa Corporation that was released at ICAST 2013. Before we share what we found, keep in mind that this is an honest, no expectation review. I am not sponsored in any way by Daiwa or any other reel manufacturer.
I own several Daiwa reels and have found that they are generally reliable and offer comparable performance with other major reel manufacturers. I have owned several different reel brands but these days I primarily fish with Shimano and Daiwa reels and I have been fishing with a Daiwa Zillion Coastal and an Aggrest for several years. Recently have been also using a Daiwa Lexa 100HS as well.
We tested the Tatula 100H by Daiwa for our reel review.
Daiwa Tatula First Impressions
When I pulled the Tatula out of its box I immediately placed it in my palm and began reeling in the handle; like most anglers do when they pick up a reel for the first time. The Tatula seemed smooth; smoother than its lower cost cousin the Lexa. It seemed to be a little lighter and more refined. I was also happy that the Tatula had the familiar swept back handle assembly and larger rubber paddle handles.
Looking closer I immediately noticed the plastic drag star which was a disappointment for me. I also noted the unassuming and simple design of the reel. It didn’t have any of the fancy machining that the Zillions boast; that was left for the more expensive Type R reel. The Tatula had a nice black finish without too many fancy graphics and logos which was nice to see.
The biggest disappointment came to me when I looked on the bottom of the reel. It is stamped with “Made in Thailand”. As I mentioned before, I have several Shimano reels and in my opinion their best reels came out of Japanese Factories. There is something about Japanese manufacturing and quality control that is a cut above the rest. I have found that Shimano reels have never been the same since they shifted their manufacturing to other countries such as Malaysia. Zillions are made in Japan and I simply love them so I’m not overly thrilled that the Tatulas are made in Thailand.
This having been said, I also realize that manufacturing has come a long way in developing countries and that corporations need to find cheaper ways to produce their products. Designed in Japan and manufactured in country X is something that many companies are turning to these days. It’s just a fact of life.
Okay, so I’ve gotten over the made in Thailand stamped on the bottom of the reel. Let’s move onto some of the other things I noticed. I was really intrigued with the T-wing system and noted that the Tatula has a wider spool than the Zillion, Aggrest and Lexa but its marketing boasts longer casts with the TWS. This needs to be tested on the water! I’m also a little worried about the plastic construction of the T-Wing level wind. Will it be able to endure through moisture, UV rays and thousands of casts?
I also pulled the Tatula apart to have a look at its guts. I found that the handle assembly, click leaf spring assembly and cast control cap were all similar to the Lexa and even the Zillion. The handle length was the same as my other Daiwa reels and the swept in angle of the handle was identical; no changes made from the past.
The pedigree of this reel is obvious. The internals were comparable to the Aggrest with a brass drive gear and pinion gear. The drive shaft gear, yoke and several other parts were found to be plastic. The plastic drive shaft gear does raise some red flags when I consider durability but when I compared the Tatula’s internals with the Aggrest, a similarly priced reel, it was pretty much on par. If I were to compare the Tatula with the more expensive Zillion reel the difference in materials used is an obvious reason why the Zillion is priced much higher.
To me the most important gear in a reel is the main gear. Other gears being made of brass are a bonus unless I purchase a top of the line reel, so I’m not surprised with the internals of the Tatula. It’s pretty much standard for its price point. I would imagine that if Daiwa were to go with all brass gears it would put a lot of weight onto the reel, and Daiwa seemed to be trying to keep the weight as low as possible while keeping the reel affordable as well.
The exciting stuff comes when you start looking at all the features that the Tatula comes with at its pricepoint. At $149.99 it is priced slightly less than the discontinued Aggrest, but has more technology built in.
Daiwa Tatula Features
For the $149.99 price, the Tatula has a lot of features that you wouldn’t expect. For starters the reel features Daiwa’s T-Wing system which allows line to freely pass through the level wind by tilting it forward slightly when you engage the Autocast. This reduces friction and allows the spool to spin with less resistance.
All Tatula Reels Feature:
- New T-Wing System
- Rugged, lightweight aluminum frame and side plate(gear side)
- Air Rotation
- UT Drag (MAX 13.2-lb)
- Magforce-Z cast control
- 5.4 : 1, 6.3 : 1& 7.3 : 1 gear ratios
- 7 ball bearings plus roller bearing
- Infinite Anti-reverse
- Corrosion resistant clutch mechanism
TATULA Type-R Special Features
- Super lightweight A7075 aluminum spool
- Hyper Speed 8.1 or all-around 6.3 : 1 gear ratios
- 7 ball bearings (incl. 2 CRBB) plus roller bearing
- Zaion® swept star drag
- Large, 90mm swept power handle with cutouts for reduced weight
- New I-Shape handle knob
One of the features that I think will be useful is the 13.2-lbs of drag. This is slightly better than the Curado’s 11lbs and a lot better than the Zillion’s 8-lbs. The heavier drag would make the Type-R version of the Tatula well suited to heavy cover and dock fishing; areas where you really need to put pressure on fish to turn them and can’t afford to have your drag slip. The Tatula’s drag capabilities aren’t anywhere near the Revo SX’s 20-lbs of drag; so I’d say it sits somewhere in the middle of the pack as reels go in this department.
One of the areas where I think the Tatula beats the competition slightly is in the ball bearing department. The Tatula Type R has 7 ball bearings with 2 of them being corrosion resistant (CRBB). Competitors like the similarly priced Revo SX has 9 BB + 1CRBB for $10 more. When considering durability, the Tatula has more corrosion resistant bearings , which is important. I fish rain or shine and sometimes in the fall and early spring my reels are in sub zero temperatures. Every little bit helps when fighting corrosion and moisture.
Weighing 7.9-oz, the Tatula is not the lightest reel at the $150 price point. The Curado G weighs in at 7.2-oz and the Abu Garcia Revo SX weighs 6.66-oz. The Lews Tournament reels matched the Tatula’s weight at 7.9-oz as well. The Tatula does come in lighter than the similarly priced Okuma Citrix (11-oz) and Ardent Edge (8.4-oz) reels. Weight comes into play when you consider fish-ability and the Daiwa Tatula came in middle of the pack in this area. This is especially important to those who have tendinitis, back or arm pain. The weight of the reel is huge for me as it allows me more time on the water and increases my comfort level.
Daiwa Tatula On-The-Water Testing
I spooled up the Tatula with 40-lb Power pro and since we had gotten the Tatula so late in the year we were facing cold water situations. We went fishing for Small mouth Bass and I paired the Tatula reel with a 7’1″ medium-heavy extra fast rod. I used a flourocarbon leader and a 3/8-oz football head jig in fall craw pattern.
We were most interested in the casting distance as the T-Wing system is definitely one of this reels most alluring features. Once the reel is dialed in it does cast quite smoothly. The magnetic brake system applies brake evenly and the reel didn’t over spin at the end of the cast. like the magnetic braking system over the centrifugal brake of other manufacturers; it’s just smoother to me. I didn’t find that the T-Wing system made any significant difference in casting distance. Regardless, Daiwas have always been some of my best casting reels overall. I think any gains in casting distance would be found if you were chucking heavier baits in the 1/2-oz and higher weights.
I have to admit, the Tatula was very smooth and it palmed very nicely. It had a nice refined feel and as the day continued the Tatula maintained its consistency. The reel didn’t need any adjustments and I was happy with it. When hooking up with fish the drag was smooth and not jerky at all. The 13-lbs of drag was plenty for pulling in smallies in light cover.
I found that the handle had enough power, but I would probably not use this reel for deep diving crankbaits or any other bait requiring a lot of power. The Type-R has a large 90mm handle so this could come in handy in heavy cover. I also wish the fine cast control knob had a “clicker” on it like the Zillions so I could simply click it once or twice and didn’t have to guess how much I was turning it. I really like that small feature about my Zillion and wish Daiwa would incorporate it on more of their reels.
I really had to be honest with this review and I think that the goal was to provide readers with a review that helped them make a decision on what reel was right for them. At $149.99 the Daiwa Tatula is a good mid-range reel. It doesn’t have any surprises and its internals build on proven designs from Daiwa. The addition of the T-Wing system and several other technological goodies make the Tatula attractive to anglers looking for some additional features.
Did the Tatula mercilessly pound the competition? No. The Tatula did prove to be a good mid-priced reel with decent specifications for the beginner to pro angler. When you are considering this reel, you have to decide what features are most important to you. If weight is a concern, then the Tatula may not be your cup of tea. Likewise, if you’re looking for something fast with tonnes of drag for heavy cover pitching, then you may want to look to the Type-R. If you want a good, all around reel that can cast farther and provide you with years of durability then this may be your next reel. I think the medium speed of this Tatula combined with its longer casting distance would make this reel the natural choice for retrieving spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jigs in sparse cover.
- The Tatula takes a lot of its internal design queues and technology from past successful designs
- Daiwa fans will have a reel they are instantly familiar with
- 13-lbs of drag is plenty for most fishing applications
- T-Wing system improves casting distance slightly
- Large paddle handles and swept design improves ergonomics
- Brake is adjustable without opening sideplate
- Affordable price
- Weight is a factor for long days fishing
- T-Wing levelwind seems to be prone to failure (plastic moving parts)
- Not a good reel for power fishing deep diving crankbaits or heavy baits
- Made in Thailand
Daiwa recently made a “Tatula Debut” video as well as 10 Episodes about the new reel. Some cool videos to watch which highlights the pros playing with the new reel:
I hope this review helps readers with information that they can use to make their next reel purchase.
For more information on Daiwa reels check out their website.
About AuthorMore info about author
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci