Upon the Airity’s release the only spec I really took note of was how light it was (super-light at 150g) and I put the pressure on Daiwa’s legendary marketing manager Brett Habener to get me an Airity down to review.
He only had a first release sample that wasn’t a true indication of how good a new Airity would feel as it had been fished for the past six months. Perfect I thought, this would give a true indication of the reel, it’s been used, and used a lot, this gives me something to write about. The next day an overnight courier bag rocks up at the door (I did say legendary marketing manager) and there’s the new Airity 2500S, still spooled with some heavily used J Braid, and showing signs of use with grime and scratches. I love a broken-in braid and with all the tackle testing we do of new reels and braid, it’s rare these days I get to leave a line on for long enough to break it in. However, in the bag was a fresh spool of 10lb J Braid and some leader so I thought it best I spool fresh line for aesthetic purposes for the photos.
As soon as I held the Airity the difference between all the other Daiwa reels we’ve reviewed over the past 2½ years was hugely apparent. This sits quite a few levels above. The difference is now very distinct and you can instantly feel the $300 price gap between this and the next comparable reel below it, which is the Revelry. This reel takes the idea of LT (light and tough) to a new level. Even after heavy use and it being a production sample, this reel feels truly amazing. It’s extremely light and beautifully balanced with effortless start-up inertia. You can literally blow on the handle and it will turn. It screams quality and makes you want to take it fishing. The 2500S is 150g and the 2000 is 145g, the first time Daiwa have made a reel this light and you can feel it. The aesthetics are subdued and classy.
I paired it with the new Daiwa Infeet SK and this is a beautiful rod and a great pairing for the Airity. The first trip was chasing trout where I had a dog of day I’d like to forget; I caught a few trout but it seemed every cast resulted in a snag so it didn’t allow me to focus much on the reel.
We then headed to Bemm River chasing bream and perch, where we got to put the Airity through its paces in the perfect environment for this reel. Whether I was working jerkbaits, plastics or crankbaits, everything about the reel’s performance was outstanding.
We had a heap of different rod and reel combos on the boat, and I kept wanting to go back to the Airity. Balanced with a light, high-quality rod just made you want to cast with it.
We didn’t have an easy trip, and while we caught a heap of fish, it was one of those trips where we were casting from 6am to 6pm and working for the good fish we caught. I really appreciated those extra one-percenters this reel offers. It’s much lighter thanks to the Airdrive Design and you feel it; it’s more sensitive, allowing for better lure control while fishing snags and for bite detection, yet exudes power, which can be attributed to the magnesium body.
And when the fishing is tough like that and you’re casting all day, you need an outfit that feels like a friend, like it’s on your side and wants the fish as much as you do. The Airity paired with the Infeet did that for me and felt just as good as my number one outfit, which is a Battler Beowulf and my 2012 Steez.
The drag is beautiful and it landed a heap of big bream with ease, but also had no issue subduing big pesky tailor and silver trevally. It feels very reassuring when you tighten up the drag on a big powerful fish with such a light reel and there isn’t any flex at all or a stutter to be found. On top of this, it still exudes torque and muscle, yet is a featherweight.
The 23 Airity is worth every cent of its $799 asking price and I can’t see any fan of high-end light tackle reels not greatly appreciating what it has to offer. When you take price, performance and features into account, the new 23 Daiwa Airity is the best light tackle spin reel Daiwa have ever made. It’s set to become a classic.
Words & Images: Kosta Linardos