Daiwa has released several new reels over the past 12 months but popular series such as Luvias, Saltiga, Freams and Battler have kept the spotlight away from lesser-known new models from the Japanese tackle giant. One completely new model that has just hit Australian shores is the Vadel. Sitting in the mid-range price category and equipped with features previously found only in Daiwa’s high-end reels, the Vadel is a welcome addition to the brand’s line-up and one many anglers will embrace.
The Vadel comes in 3500 and 4000 sizes with a 4.9 gear ratio, plus high gear models of 5.7 for each. All four reels have four bearings plus one in the line roller and all are equipped with a whopping 8kg of drag. They are big, tough reels but don’t compromise the solid build and engineering with excess weight; all four weigh in at 410 grams, making the Vadel one of the lightest in this size range.
This reduction in weight can be attributed to the lack of bearings. At only four plus one, it has fewer bearings than comparable reels in the Daiwa range, which significantly reduces the weight. However, the Vadel has been designed as a “shore game” reel and the fewer bearings there are, the less that can go wrong in what is considered the harshest of fishing environments. It doesn’t matter how well you treat a reel, if you’re fishing off a ledge or on a surf beach your reel is going to be exposed to sea air, saltwater and, of course, sand.
Daiwa has further increased the reel’s longevity by equipping the Vadel with its Mag Seal technology, an amazing feature that stops water and salt reaching the reel’s internal workings. Don’t be alarmed by the lack of bearings – the Vadel is a super-smooth reel and after some pretty aggressive testing and a few mishaps with a lot of sand, still feels as good as the day it came out of the box.
The first test with the Vadel was targeting Australian salmon in the surf. It was a miserable day of 40 knots and torrential rain and no matter how heavy a sinker I tied on, I couldn’t hold bottom. On the plus side the trying conditions did allow me to test the Vadel’s casting capabilities and while not designed purely as a long-distance casting reel, it did cast the heavy weight beautifully. You can get even better casting distance by adjusting the included shims and making the line lay top-heavy. The EVA power knob and large machined handle are the perfect inclusion to this robust reel and make it comfortable for retrieving large fish or repetitive spinning of metals from shore. The high-gear model I have reviewed is perfect for retrieving metals at the break-neck speed required to target salmon, tailor and tuna.
As I didn’t get to catch a fish on the test day in the surf, the Vadel was taken off the surf rod and placed on a jig rod while targeting snapper from the boat. As it’s not purely a “shore game” or land-based reel, it doubled perfectly as a boat/jig reel. I had the Vadel in the rod-holder with a Snapper Snatcher sitting straight down and hooked up on a 5.5kg snapper. The Ultimate Tournament Drag system on the Vadel is silky smooth from first strike all the way to the boat. With increased drag pressure there was absolutely no movement or flex anywhere in the reel. It’s a very comfortable reel to fight a fish with and this can be attributed to the strong body and large handle and knob.
If you’re in the market for an affordable reel that is smooth, strong and can be used from the rocks, surf or out in a boat, you can’t look past the Vadel. I imagine it will become a favourite among anglers targeting a variety of species.