Released late 2016, the Daiwa Emeraldas 2508PE-DH is specifically designed for targeting squid. For those of you that don’t know, Emeraldas has been around for a long time now and this new version has been designed to appeal to the beginner squid enthusiast, those on a budget or for those who just can’t justify the expense of the Emeraldas MX or Emeraldas Air. As far as we are aware this is the cheapest squid-specific reel on the market.
So what makes it a squid reel?
A fair question and one that needs answering. After all, if there is no advantage when targeting squid why not just buy any old 2500 reel and then you have a multi-purpose reel. The first defining feature is the spool: the 08 in 2508 stands for the recommended PE or braided line rating, which is 0.8. The spool is designed to accommodate PE0.8 and you can even comfortably move into heavier line if you choose without sacrificing line management or line capacity. The spool has 7kg of drag and you won’t need at least 65 per cent of it while fighting a squid; however, when working a squid jig you place a lot of pressure on the drag and a larger and more powerful drag system will allow you to put on enough pressure while jigging without ever having to lock the drag up. It also means fewer turns of the drag knob to relieve pressure should you need to when you hook up.
The Emeraldas’ double handle offers a few advantages, the first one being balance. Working a squid jig all day can get tiring – it’s pretty active fishing – so you want a well-balanced outfit. The other advantage is grabbing the handle after a free spin of the reel. Once you get the hang of jigging for squid, you’ll find you start free-spinning the handle to retrieve the slack line after your three or four aggressive jigs of the rod. A free-spin is when you almost hit the handle and allow its momentum to retrieve the slack rather than winding it in yourself. The extra weight of the double handle allows you to do this more easily and it allows you to quickly grab the handle without paying too much attention.
Importantly, the Emeraldas has Daiwa’s famous Magseal feature, which is important in a squid reel. Squid reels get a lot of exposure to saltwater, ink and general slime so this will keep the internals protected for years to come.
Aesthetically, the Emeraldas presents quite simply yet looks cool with its black, chrome and emerald colour motif. It’s fairly light in the hand and will balance well with most egi-specific rods. It’s quite free-spinning and the 6+1 bearings make for a smooth reel in all facets of operation. The drag is also smooth and the double reel handle and EVA handle knobs make for a comfortable reel to use on a long squid session. I personally would appreciate a slightly faster retrieve ratio in an egi reel but 4.8 at 72cm is pretty good and certainly isn’t too slow.
I have used all three of the Daiwa Emeraldas reels and there is quite a difference between the standard Emeraldas reviewed and the MX and Air models. The models that sit above it are lighter and smoother and are amazing reels; however, they are also significantly more expensive. You’ll pick up the Emeraldas for about $250 – at this price it’s a good reel and you won’t find much at this quality for the same money. So if you do want an egi-specific reel but don’t want to shell out $350 for the MX or $750 for the Air, then you’ll be more than happy with the Emeraldas.