Many years ago I was never happy with my old glass surf rods when targeting larger fish such as gummy sharks. They didn’t have the casting power to easily make the distance required when using heavy sinkers and big baits. The length, slow action and average hardware were never comfortable when fighting a fish either. I had put a bit of effort into finding something more suitable and found the Daiwa Seajigger 325.
This was around 2009. It was a surf rod like no other I’d ever seen, essentially it was a lot of exposed blank with some guides and reel seat, very minimal in design and style. It was extremely light with low profile guides, no grips at all, a very cool carbon fibre graphite aesthetic, a fast action and it was capable of casting in excess of six ounces, which at the time was extremely rare for an off the shelf surf rod. It wasn’t cheap and well out of my budget, but it was perfect so I bought it anyway. This rod went on to become one of my favourite rods of all time. I caught countless fish with it and it travelled across the country with me to some far-flung places where I used it in various land based scenarios.
New but not better
In saying all that, this review is about the new Seajigger 325H (H stands for heavy) that was released in 2015. I’m not surprised it took 6 years for Daiwa to release a new model, there wasn’t a lot that could be improved upon, and in saying that, I don’t believe they have set out to improve on the original, but changed it to suit a larger range of users. Regardless, I was excited to test it out.
Aesthetically, gone is the grey and red finish replaced with a metallic blue and black finish that looks cool. A new and improved reel seat better locks in the reel and is much more comfortable in the hand. Gone is the low profile stripper guide, which allows for better casting with reels with much larger spools. It’s now been replaced with a much larger guide but in the realm of surf rods, its still a relatively low-profile stripper guide, and it’s a high quality Fuji part. All the guides right through to the tip on the new 325 are now larger allowing for easier casting of heavier lines and braid to leader connection knots. The rod is still the same length at 325cm, has a rating of 7-15kg and a cast weight of 150 grams. This is a pretty significant drop in the stated cast weight from the previous model which was 175 grams. I am unsure if the blank has changed. It still feels very similar, crisp, and responsive but maybe a little slower in its action, which could be attributed to the change in guides.
They have certainly made this version more robust and durable by adding a protective heat shrink on the lower butt section, which is certainly better for the rod when in rod holders. They have also added a small amount of high quality and dense EVA on the fore grip, which protects the rod and is great when you have wet hands.
While casting a six-ounce sinker and a big squid head for bait the Seajigger seemed to have the same casting power as its predecessor yet it was a little whippier which actually makes casting slightly easier. During the fight it still has that same ultra powerful butt section and while the action is slightly slower it’s fast enough to set the hook with ease with fairly minimal drag.
A wider audience
This rod isn’t just a surf rod but is designed to cast baits and lures from rock platforms, beaches and even piers. I believe the changes in guides, stated cast weight, grips and protective wraps are so it appeals to a more diverse style of fishing and fishermen targeting big salmon, drummer from the rocks, big tailor, sharks and mulloway. With all these changes its still an amazing rod, that can easily cast more than 150 grams (but don’t blame me if you go over and break it) and fight a big fish in big surf. So, it’s a different beast to its predecessor and a much more versatile rod that will suit all forms of heavy land based angling. Do I like it better than the old Seajigger 325? No I don’t, but I predominantly use it for one style of fishing, gummy sharks in big surf. I do believe that this rod will suit a much larger number of land-based anglers now and it will certainly be a lot more durable. After all, this is a rod that’s going to be falling on rocks, be pulled in and out of rod holders and get a bit of a rough time.