New for 2021, the Daiwa Saltist MQ has been updated and welcomes new technology such as a monocoque body, ABS Long Cast spool and a Magsealed body. The reel’s costs $399-$499 depending on the size and comes in most common sizes from 2500 all the way up to 20000. The reel boasts a tough offshore sportfishing aesthetic and sticks with the traditional black with blue highlights it’s had since its inception. The Saltist MQ offers a solid build with a powerful drag and updated gearing, which as the name suggests has been designed to target saltwater fish.
I’ve always been a fan of the Daiwa Saltist; it’s a good saltwater workhorse with a budget-friendly price. They have always been up to the task of heavy offshore sportfishing, so I was keen to try the new model.
Hooked Up sent me a 5000 spooled with 50lb J-Braid Grand and it paired well with a PE 2-5 stick-baiting rod. I was quickly off to the reef flats for some light tackle stick-baiting to put the Saltist to the test. My first impressions were that it was incredibly smooth and solid for its size. The MQ body feature is evident when under load and the reel certainly feels like the strongest Saltist yet. Another new feature is the ARK (Aluminium Round Knob), which is an upgrade from the standard rubber handle found on previous models. Handle knobs are subjective, with some preferring round and some T-style rubber handles; I don’t have an issue with either and it certainly does look good.
It performed well sending out stick baits with long casts, and with no wind knots of any kind. After a long day of casting the reel was still enjoyable and comfortable to fish with. I was running a fairly heavy drag for a 5000-size reel and it remained smooth with each capture. A GT even managed to find and destroy my small flats stick bait and gave the drag a couple of solid burning runs. There is no flex or play in the reel at all with the solid one-piece aluminium body and I feel this is definitely the best improvement of the new model.
For those unaware of what the MQ body is, Daiwa states: “The MQ system does not require a conventional side plate, instead using an engine plate to screw directly to the body, eliminating the need for screws to hold a body cover in place. MQ body improves the strength of the reel, it also improves the water-resistance of the body and allows a larger diameter drive gear to be installed.”
(To give this some context: most modern cars use a monocoque design, whereby the chassis and body are combined to give a stronger, load-bearing design. In older cars, the body sat on a separate chassis.)
This explains the added strength and solid feel and instils confidence that water intrusion is less of a concern. When targeting saltwater species of any kind, two huge factors that I look for in a reel are a solid frame that doesn’t experience any twist or flex and a smooth drag.
I managed to capture solid GTs, cobia, coral trout and other reef species and the Saltist performed without issue. It always amazes me how tackle companies can constantly improve reels with advancements in technology, creating new and better models time after time and Saltist MQ has again hit this mark. As a medium price point reel for sportfishing you’d really want to have a good look at this one if you’re on a budget and can’t afford a Certate or Saltiga. Equally, if you’re looking for a fleet of reels for Melbourne snapper or bottom bashing the reefs up north, the Saltist has the size range to handle pretty much all fishing styles.
Words & Images: Colby Lesko
Distributed By: Daiwa Australia